In recent years, Suffolk University has been housing students at the nearby Holiday Inn on Cambridge Street raising the concern of the Beacon Hill Civic Association and others who take an interest in the life and times of this neighborhood.
Neighbors and city planners felt that the use of hotels for university housing does not comply with proper dormitory planning processes, which would nominally involve community review and approval.
Last week, Suffolk University Vice-President for Government and Community Affairs John Nucci announced that the university has made good on its pledge to respond to these concerns by moving all Suffolk students out of the facility.
Neighborhood leaders hailed the move as yet another example of how the relationship with the university has evolved in recent years.
We commend Suffolk and its able Vice-President John Nucci for this responsiveness. What was once a strained relationship between the university and the Beacon Hill community has recently evolved into one of credibility, trust and reason. Without such positive relations with neighbors and elected officials, the facility growth so needed by Suffolk for its students would be made difficult, if not impossible.
With a new Board of Directors and acting President, the university continues to change with the times in many positive ways, but in our view, none more important than in its approach to the Beacon Hill neighborhood.
That there are no Suffolk students domiciled at the Cambridge Street Holiday Inn any longer speaks volumes about how the university has come to listen to its neighbors and critics.
We hope and we trust the new leadership coming to the university understands the important relationship between the university and the residents of Beacon Hill.
Without this understanding, the future of the university is put in jeopardy as nothing can be done in this neighborhood without general agreement where everyone wins.
Mr. Nucci knows this. Acting President Barry Brown knows this. We assume his board must know this.
When Suffolk’s new president is finally seated, he, too, will need to understand that the university cannot move unilaterally in this neighborhood.
We are pleased that university students are no longer living at the Holiday Inn.
We applaud this progress.