One thought on “Question #3: Community-University Partnerships

  1. This is a very difficult question. In many instances universities utilize their economic power to impose their will on local communities, leading to persistent distrust and tension. For a partnership to exist, universities have to engage in a constructive process that involves much more than dialogue. As some people have said on other related posts, universities can start by going to the community rather than asking the community to come to the campus for meetings and discussions. In ideal circumstances universities might be magnanimous and approach local communities without prodding, but to me this is wishful thinking. A less optimistic butperhaps more realistic way to look at the issue would be to say that “partnership” often begins when a local community mobilizes enough to force a university to recognize that compromise will cost less than litigation or public protests. An organized community, in other words, presents the best opportunity for balancing competing interests.

    David F Suarez
    Assistant Professor
    USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
    University of Southern California

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