The Forum's recent article, "Newman project will be 'death of our neighborhood,'" is factually inaccurate and is yet another example of fake news, i.e. journalism failing to serve the best interests of our community. In 2017, The Forum took a picture of Peter Tefft on Church property standing next to a statue of the Virgin Mary. Here the obvious goal was to associate racism with the Catholic Church. The same tract is now being used with the Newman Center where a sensational headline and picture of a Church is used to garner a negative emotional response with factually inaccurate and lazy reporting.
Kim Hyatt, a Forum reporter in attendance at the neighborhood meeting, did not differentiate between Lot 1 and Lot 2 of the proposed project. Representatives of the Roosevelt neighborhood spoke positively about the proposed church, student facilities and faith based housing. Of course there will be those who will object to anything but more single family homes in the city's highest crime area across a block of blighted property. However, overall there has been tremendous support for the project, at least from those who actually care about the formation of young adults during the college experience.
Overall this project will help to build a broad-based value in NDSU, promote the pursuit of excellence by offering a deeper engagement in university life, be a model for the future of campus ministry, and form tomorrow's leaders today. In short, the project will be a tremendous benefit to the community and will not be "the death of the neighborhood."
All of the neighborhood problems the Roosevelt Association are concerned with will be ameliorated through faith-based programing on an alcohol free campus. Scientific studies have demonstrated that faith-based practices produce less sexual assault, domestic violence, suicide, depression, addictions, and sexual promiscuity. Faith-based practices during the critical formation period of the college experience will produce healthier relationships, better marriages, higher addiction recovery rates, better coping skills, better work habits, and a life perspective informed by hope.
The Forum's short-sighted headline and factual inaccuracies demonstrate a true malice for our community and a total disregard for the benefits of investing in our young adults: forming future leaders today. The Newman project, combined with nationally recognized programming, presents a tremendous benefit to our community: vibrant leaders, strong communities, and a healthy society.
Cheney is the Newman Center Director in Fargo.