[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher

Enough Is Enough! Trashed street photo.

Communities get destroyed when
good people choose to do nothing.

[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher

U Pitt Puppet Master

Every story has two sides. The story of how Oakland’s two largest universities benefit a community has already been told. OaklandDignity.com shows the story of how these universities’ domination, insatiable greed, broken trust and silence are a deadly combination that can slowly lead to the near extinction of that same community; they can control others like puppets on a string. This website focuses on the devastating impact of the University of Pittsburgh on South Oakland, though the impact of Carnegie Mellon University on North Oakland is nearly as devastating. No community in America that hosts universities deserves such an experience.

Panther Hollow, one of Pittsburgh’s first Italian neighborhoods, is located in Oakland. Its longtime residents’ efforts to protect and preserve that sacred legacy are on the website www.SavePantherHollow.com.

Carlino Giampolo


Open Letter to
University of Pittsburgh
Chief of Staff Kathy Humphrey

Kathy Humphrey
Chief of Staff
University of Pittsburgh

September 23, 2017

Shameful and Pitthetic

Pitthetic: noun – a university, organization, government entity, or individual that negatively impacts a community by action or inaction; adjective – pathetic as a direct result of a university, organization, government entity, or individual’s negative influence.

Dear Ms. Humphrey:

The above given definitions of “Pitthetic” aptly describe the devastating impact Pitt’s presence has made on the community of Oakland. It is not hyperbole to say that no urban community in America has been as severely impacted by a university’s presence as Oakland has. No other university has grown to 35,000 students and taken over the ownership of more than 100 buildings in its host community. Nor has any other once-thriving, multi-ethnic urban community lost over 80% of its residents due mainly to a university’s presence. Pitt’s unprecedented, insatiable greed and uncontrolled growth is a ruthless cancer decimating Oakland’s residential and business districts. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

My grandparents settled in Oakland before the university arrived in 1909. For over half a century prior to the university’s arrival, thousands of hardworking immigrants came to Oakland and built this neighborhood for their families and future generations. I can say with confidence that if my grandparents, and others who had built in Oakland alongside them, could have foreseen the unfathomable scope of the destruction to the landscape—as well as the pain and suffering the university’s presence would bring to future residents—they never would have allowed the university to move from the North Side to their beloved Oakland. The conscience that permeates the university, especially in the last five decades—in which economic profit trumps human dignity—continues today. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

On February 6, 2017, I wrote a letter with these concerns to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and emailed a copy to you, requesting you forward the letter to members of the Board of Trustees. The decisions of the board have a profound impact on our community, and I believe they should be aware of our concerns. Either you ignored the letter or it was never delivered to you, because I received no reply. In the past, your predecessor even admitted to me that some of my emails to Chancellor Mark Nordenberg were never delivered, because he would intercept them.

I did ask our Oakland councilman and senator to assist me in asking you to forward the letter, but they chose not to get involved. These decisions illustrate that power is simply the ability to choose whether or not to take action. The university leaders have an inordinate amount of power because other Oakland leaders’ refusal to act enables the university to exert their own power unrestrained, instead of helping to end the suffering of their community. I have no confirmation that the Board of Trustees ever received my letter. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

One month after sending you that email, I attended the memorial service for the renowned Dr. Thomas Starzl, a friend of our family. He was a person of high dignity and a humanitarian in every true sense of the word, and he will always have our family’s deepest respect and admiration. I am certain that if he were alive today, he would tell you that Oakland didn’t need to be decimated by university policies in order for him to perform his remarkable work.

You sang at the service and I was impressed by your powerful voice. I approached you after the service concluded and complimented your singing, and then introduced myself. You responded as if you had never heard my name before, allowing me to believe that you never received my email. When you and Chancellor Patrick Gallagher took office, our community hoped that a conscience of love and respect for our community would emerge, and there would be a new beginning. Instead, the present administration is a continuation of the destructive ways of the university’s past. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

You work in a male-dominated environment both within and outside of the university, and that may invoke pressure. You are the first high-level female administrator since 2007 that I have communicated with concerning our community’s problems. And of course, there has never been a female chancellor in the history of the university.

Though you are a minority in your profession, you are not alone in your silence of watching our community suffer and be decimated by Pitt. Over 4,000 Pitt faculty members have done the same. It is not ignorance that prevents these teachers of our future leaders from breaking their silence and using their voices to defend our community, for our concerns are pervasive and of great importance. Most likely, it is fear that prevents them from putting their values into action. Since 2008, 10 messages were published in their faculty newspaper delineating our problems and the solutions—and yet the faculty’s voices remain silent. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

There are numerous symbols of shame throughout Oakland due to the university’s presence. One of the most egregious is the Mark A. Nordenberg Hall built in 2013 to house 559 first-year students only. That building symbolizes the incessant greed, self-centeredness, and never-ending expansion prioritized by the university leaders. The hall never should have been built. Its effects bring further pain and suffering to our community. Although it greatly enriches the coffers of the university, it has attracted developers who are further destroying our business and residential districts with their student housing projects in order to accommodate the university’s ever-increasing enrollment.

The Oakland Planning and Development Corporation was compelled to initiate a Community Land Trust program to try and keep a semblance of a residential community, but it cannot succeed unless the corporation’s leaders raise their voices to stop the university’s expansion. Our councilman must raise his voice in a similar manner for he is now experiencing the effects of the cancerous spread of increased student enrollment in his own neighborhood of the South Side. He is experiencing the suffering there as more generations of longtime residents leave, while he attempts to pass laws to curb the horrific student binge drinking problem that plagues both the South Side and Oakland. Chancellor Patrick Gallagher makes no attempt to stop this overwhelming student enrollment increase. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

Shame is a real emotion that is often not talked about because it can be too strong or frightening a word. However, shame can destroy individuals, communities, and countries. It diminishes one’s dignity. Almost all adults encounter it in life either by their own actions, or by the shame that is passed on to them by others. Shame-based individuals can be overachieving, competitive, and perfectionist, act super-human or sub-human, and often don’t recognize their own shame. However, feeling shame can be an integral part of one’s spiritual journey as it can lead to remorse and the choice to take appropriate action to end the shame.

Shame that is numbed, masked, denied, or ignored will continue to grow. Our community has been systematically decimated by the presence of the university. No leaders of the university, past or present, have expressed compassion or empathy for the massive takeover of our land by the university, and for the suffering of our people. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

Our grassroots movement began in 2007 with a simple desire to implement an environmental program to end the litter and trash problems in our community caused mainly by university students. Oakland has the reputation of being the city’s filthiest neighborhood. We asked university leaders to provide our community with the equivalent of only $4 dollars of each student’s tuition fee to implement a daily maintenance program, and we were denied. Those squalid conditions are symbolic of the university leaders’ conscience that does not take responsibility for these unclean conditions and tries to pass their shame onto our community.

One stupefying suggestion by a vice chancellor was that longtime elderly residents, among other property owners, should be taxed and pay for a Neighborhood Improved District to end the problem. Another dumbfounding remark by a university vice chancellor was that we should already be satisfied because once a month, the university sends us students who walk around the neighborhood and pick up litter. The yearly increasing student population has exacerbated the litter and trash problem. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

From this basic initiative, our grassroots movement has expanded to deal with myriad problems concerning the university’s presence. There are now 80 links on www.OaklandDignity.com describing actions taken to protect and preserve our community. One of those problems was in 2015 when the city, nonprofit organizations, and others planned to build a roadway through historic Panther Hollow and The Run in Greenfield, to connect the Almono site in Hazelwood to Pitt and CMU. Those who advocated for the roadway weren’t concerned that our two neighborhoods would be destroyed, because they only wanted to satisfy the insatiable expansion of Pitt and CMU, and add to the glory of Pittsburgh leaders in their attempt to make the city the Silicon Valley of the East. Our residents triumphed, but not a voice from the university’s more than 10,000 employees, including your own, offered us support. Should those disastrous plans be resurrected, we will continue to seek the help of the district attorney and others agencies to uncover any wrongdoings.

A similar attempt to destroy Panther Hollow transpired in the 1960s when then-chancellor Edward Litchfield proposed a $250 million 21st century Research Park complex which would have obliterated 60 homes and displaced 250 longtime Italian residents. Even though our residents triumphed over his efforts, he continued his injurious expansion plans by purchasing the iconic Forbes Field and leveling it. He then convinced a state agency to invoke eminent domain across the street, and proceeded to demolish homes, businesses, and a church. He is another chancellor who was treated as a hero by the university by having a building named after him. Our true heroes are the men and women who fought for human dignity and social justice to protect and preserve our community’s identity. As our current grassroots movement demonstrates, we will continue to push back on destructive plans such as this. Today, the site where the eminent domain occurred is not for the public good, but rather is now occupied by the university’s Bouquet Garden dormitories. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

The issues threatening the very identity and existence of our residential community are ever increasing. Ten days ago, an article appeared in the online edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled, “Study: Pittsburgh and its universities aren’t leveraging full economic potential”. It was conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution and called for the creation of an Oakland Innovation District that would encompass the entire 1.7-square-mile neighborhood. The study was paid for by the Hillman Foundation and Heinz Endowments, the same nonprofit foundation that is part-owner of the Almono site and whose leaders advocated for a roadway through the historic neighborhood of Panther Hollow and The Run in Greenfield.

The article went on to mention that this initiative brings together the “big guns” in Pittsburgh such as: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, Carnegie Mellon University interim President Farnam Jahanian, UPMC President and CEO Jeffrey Romoff, Hillman Family Foundation President David K. Roger and Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant. Did anyone honestly expect this sham study to objectively conclude that Oakland’s residential and business districts must be protected and preserved? These men act with a bully-like consciousness, and we all know the true nature of bullies. Does anyone truly believe that any of them would want a massive University of Pittsburgh-like institution in their own neighborhood? Do you believe any of them want student housing projects to be built adjacent to their family homes? This biased study is a further attempt to destroy our neighborhood and add to our people’s suffering. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

Thousands of Oakland residents’ lives have been severely impacted by the uncontrolled growth of the university. Not only must these individuals overcome personal crises as do all residents of Pittsburgh, but they also must overcome crises from the massive presence of Pitt. One resident named Mary was born and raised in Panther Hollow, and lived there for her entire 87 years. She married another Panther Hollow resident and together, they raised six children. She lost both her husband and one of her sons to cancer, and one of her daughters was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For the past decade, she has lived with her legally blind son. She was one of many exceptional and blessed women from our neighborhood, and her home was always a gathering place for residents to enjoy good food and conversation.

When the city made the decision in 2015 to build a roadway through Panther Hollow, she was overcome with tremendous fear, anxiety, and worry. She and her son had vowed to never leave Panther Hollow, but they were now uncertain of their future. She died in 2016 from heart failure without knowing if the city’s grant proposal to build the roadway would be approved or not. Do you think any of the big guns of Pittsburgh mentioned above, or any of your university administrators, cared about her or her son’s life?

She was one of my inspirations to begin the grassroots movement to end the domination of Pitt over our community. In 2007, I visited her home and saw her sitting at the kitchen table with head in hands, near tears, and I asked what happened. She replied that once again in numerous ongoing happenings, she and her son could not sleep because of students’ binge-drinking parties. She said others in the neighborhood were suffering the same fate. She also related that her brother-in-law, who lived nearby, had feces thrown into his yard and the family pet poisoned, among other atrocities, because he had reported the drinking problems to the police. Recently, her legally blind son has been hospitalized several times with a serious illness, while other residents on our street are now fighting to prevent outsiders from building town houses for student rentals. Pitt administrators continue to act as if they have had no negative impact upon our community. That is shameful and Pitthetic.

You have the power of choice to make a difference and become a voice for our community. You always were an avid supporter of students, and now is the time to put your values into action. To take that action will require courage, be prepared to be told you are wrong in the pursuit of what is right. The opposite of courage is not cowardice but rather unthinking or silent conformity. Although you are a very active member in your church, you might agree that a person’s choices in daily life are a true religion in itself. You will have to assess and appraise your values. Does the university truly have the right to destroy its host community because it is the “economic engine” of the city?

Seven years ago, I said this at a public city council meeting: “We have told Pitt administrators that they cannot take away our dignity, diminish our intensity, shackle our freedom, or break our spirit. They will never silence the voice of our soul.” Our community hopes you will express the same sentiment to your fellow administrators and break away from the university’s shameful and Pitthetic past. Please forward this letter to all members of the Board of Trustees and share with us your thoughts.

Sincerely,
Carlino Giampolo


The following email was sent to Chief of Staff Kathy Humphrey on November 6, 2017 after she responded to the above letter. She has not replied to the email.

Dear Dr. Humphrey,

Your response is most disappointing in that our community had hoped you would have the courage, empathy, and compassion to be a beacon of light for positive change. You refrained from commenting on all of the cogent points contained in my letter, and chose to ignore the pain and suffering of the Oakland residents caused by the university's presence in our home.

We asked that you open your heart and put your faith into action. Instead, your response seemed to be a generalized collaboration with other university administrators, and was basically a reiteration of a letter sent to me by Vice Chancellor Paul Supowitz in 2013. Therefore, instead of sending you an in-depth reply, you can read my response to Mr. Supowitz at www.OaklandDignity.com (Link 4).

I invite you to engage in more constructive dialogue. Would you like to meet one-on-one?

Sincerely,
Carlino Giampolo
cc: The Pitt News

 
 

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