Friday, August 29, 2014

Erika D. Smith: With new president, University of Indianapolis to take active role in shaping image, future of Southeastside

Erika D. Smith: With new president, University of Indianapolis to take active role in shaping image, future of Southeastside

When I first moved to Indianapolis, one of the earliest bits of advice I received was this: Don't go to the Southside. Where exactly on the Southside, I have no idea. Why I shouldn't go, I don't know that either — other than a vague rumor about racism.

I don't put much stock in rumors. But even now, even though I have plenty of friends who live south of Washington Street, the Southside to me still has a nebulous quality about it. For those who don't live in Beech Grove or Greenwood or close to Garfield Park, it's a side of our city with an identity defined more by rumors and misperceptions than reality.

So I had to laugh when moments after meeting Robert Manuel, the new president of the University of Indianapolis, he asked me: "How do you define the Southside?"

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