The University of Saint Thomas hopes to fill the vacant post of its longtime neighborhood liaison early next year. Neighbors had been asking questions about the position ever since former liaison Amy Gage retired in August. Though the job will be filled, there will be changes in how some of the duties are handled, the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee was told on October 11.

Earlier in the month, the Union Park District Council passed a motion asking that UST fill the liaison post. Until that happens, several university staff members and offices are dividing the tasks, said UST chief of staff Amy McDonough.

The job opening is to be posted soon, with the goal of having a new hire in place by the start of the spring semester.

McDonough said one change being made is that instead of the neighborhood liaison and public safety staff both responding to such calls as off-campus student parties, they will now be answered by public safety personnel first. They will then provide information to the liaison and other UST staff.

UST assistant dean of students Josh Hengemuhle said his office will continue to handle complaints when students
violate the school’s code of conduct.

UST has a stepped-up public safety response on weekends and for large events, McDonough said. School security and off-duty Saint Paul police handle those duties, which will not change.

The university is continuing to work closely with landlords of student housing. Hengemuhle noted that in one case this fall students had their lease terminated after a couple of large off-campus gatherings.

 

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UST has a stepped-up public safety response on weekends and for large events, McDonough said. School security and off-duty Saint Paul police handle those duties, which will not change.

UST has had a neighborhood liaison in place since 1990 when former City Council staff member Andrea Albrecht was chosen to fill the post. John Hershey then took the helm for 16 years before retiring in 2014. Gage was hired to succeed Hershey.

The position has evolved over the years to become the director of neighborhood and community relations. It has gone beyond working with student neighbors and party houses to also focusing on city issues, such as zoning code changes.

Most recently, Gage worked with neighbors of the Highland Bridge development on the site of the former Ford plant, where UST is considering constructing a new athletic complex.

— Jane McClure

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