‘ I was surprised to see myself quoted by Boston University College Democrats Campaign Relations Director Elizabeth Jones as saying that students are the ‘scourge of Boston.’ (‘Boston Politics tend to ignore student demographic,’ Sept. 22).? First, I have never said ‘- nor would I ever say ‘- such a disgusting comment.?I believe that students play a vital role in our city and our country.?
On a national level, students ended the Vietnam War.?Students of all ethnicities fought for civil rights.?Students worked to help elect our country’s first African-American president.?Locally, students helped elect me to the Council in 1999, including those from Boston University.?Together, we fought for and won late-night MBTA service (which was eliminated two years later due to budget cuts).?I told students then that my goal was to make Boston a place where they could start their lives, and I continue to work toward that goal today.?
The problem is that 75 percent of undergraduate students leave Boston once they graduate.?This is a staggering statistic that requires us to create policies that enable more of the talented individuals who get their education at our world-class schools to stay here permanently.?This is why I created the four-unrelated zoning law ‘- because it will reduce the cost of housing, giving young people the opportunity to buy or rent affordable first homes in our city.?
Keeping a dialogue with undergraduates continues to be a priority for me. In the past two weeks, I have met with a number of student leaders from schools all around Boston to talk about their vision for our city’s future. One of these groups was Delta Sigma Pi Gamma at BU, which I met with this past Monday night.?If you see one of the fraternity’s members on campus, ask him or her if our discussion about the reasoning behind the law helped change his or her mind on whether this is a good thing for students in the long-term. ?
As I continue these student meetings, I hope to meet with more students from Boston University and to hear more about the issues that are important to you. ?
Michael P. Ross
City Council President