University of Chicago Alumni Demand Trauma Center as U of C Preps Obama Library Bid

Alumni announce they will not donate to University until they open trauma center

Chicago, IL—(ENEWSPF)—June 5, 2014. As the University of Chicago prepares its bid for the Obama presidential library, alumni are joining a growing chorus of voices demanding that the school open a trauma center. During the University’s annual alumni weekend, a group of UofC alumni will hold a press conference this Saturday, June 7th at 1pm in front of University of Chicago President Zimmer’s House, 5855 S. University Ave, where they will publicly present the trauma center coalition with a financial donation and announce that they will not donate money to the University until it opens a trauma center.

Alumni of the University of Chicago are coming together in support of the trauma center campaign. Alex Goldenberg, BA ‘06, notes that “as alumni, we are in a privileged relationship with the University President Robert Zimmer who relies on our donations for his fundraising. We believe that we have a duty to speak out and tell President Zimmer that he needs to do more for the South Side before he deserves our support.”

The alumni action comes as the University is preparing to bid for the Obama presidential library and just weeks after UofC President Robert Zimmer announced a massive $4.5-billion fundraising campaign. Mr Goldenberg notes, that “it is particularly hypocritical for President Zimmer to announce a $4.5 billion capital campaign and to publicly bid for the Obama Library while at the same time claiming to be too broke to open a trauma center.”

The alumni action comes just two weeks after community members, students, doctors, unions and faith leaders from across the South Side organized a week of protests to demand the University open a trauma center. Students and community members staged civil disobedience, blocking construction on a parking garage for the University’s new $740-million hospital building before being violently dragged away by University of Chicago Police. One protester had to be taken to the ER for treatment. See video here:

Youth organizer Victoria Crider, who participated in the construction sit-in, notes that “the University of Chicago sits in the center of a gun violence epidemic on the South Side and has shown that it does not value black life, by refusing to open a trauma center and save the lives of the young black men dying at their door. Given the President’s roots and ties to Chicago, a South Side location for his library makes perfect sense. But until the University of Chicago shows real commitment to the surrounding community, the Obama library should be placed at another South Side institution.”

The community’s demand for trauma care was sparked by the death of Damian Turner, a youth activist, who was caught by a stray bullet in 2009 four blocks from the U of C but was taken 10 miles away to Northwestern where he died. The call for trauma care is also supported bynew research by Dr. Marie Crandall of Northwestern Hospital on “Trauma Deserts” which shows that longer travel times to a trauma center increase your likelihood of dying.

The Trauma Center Coalition includes of Fearless Leading by the Youth, Students for Health Equity and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and allies including the United Church of Christ, National Nurses United, Physicians for a National Health Plan and the Illinois Single Payer Coalition.

Background articles:

5/20 Chicago Tribune: Demonstrators again press for U of C trauma center,0,5200118.story

5/21 CNN: Chicago needs help, not Obama library

5/22 ABC 7 Chicago — UChicago Students to Deliver Letter to Obama Demanding Trauma Center

5/22 Progress IL: U Of C Physicians, Med Students Join Push For A South Side Trauma Center (VIDEO)

5/22 Chicago Tribune: Doctors add voices to demand for U of C trauma center,0,5817731.story


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