Two dozen members of DePaul University’s faculty have reportedly signed a letter to the university’s president urging him to withdraw from a deal deal with the city to build a new basketball arena by McCormick Place in the midst of the school’s financial instability.
The letter signed by the 24 faculty members includes the heads of the math and english department and the past math department chair and objected to President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider’s deal with the city, claiming it is “wildly out of line with other univeristy priorities,” according to DNAinfo.com.
The city aims to give tourists and residents more reasons to visit the McCormick Place entertainment district with plans to build $140 million worth of new facilities including two hotels and a new arena that will be the home court for DePaul University as well as an expected draw for trade shows and concerts.
DePaul University will serve as the centerpiece of the new events center and will feature 10,000 seats, 22 suites and 300 club seats.
The new events center is projected to be a hub for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies to use for graduations, athletic contests and other city events.
“We are focused intensely on becoming and remaining the world's leading convention and trade show destination. To do this, we must have not only a state-of-the-art convention facilities, we also need this assembly hall and events center,” said CEO of McCormick Place Jim Reilly.
DePaul and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority are expected to each pay for half of the arena.
The letter focuses on DePaul’s fiscal situation, including a cap and postponement of annual raises and the “unprecedented” level of student debt, DNAinfo.com reported.
The president reportedly addressed the letter in a faculty council meeting Wednesday afternoon and said though he knows the timing is not perfect, he feels it is an opportunity that will not come up again.