The Archdiocese failed to respond to our request for a meeting with their administrators regarding the reconstruction of the historical buildings located at Arkliu 18. Weeks passed after our July 3, 2012 meeting with the Archdiocese contractors…. this ‘silence’ on the part of the Archdiocese was predictable. During our July 3rd meeting, the Archdiocese project manager had bluntly told us that their construction project was none of our business… and that he doubted if the Archdiocese administrators would see any need to meet with community representatives or residents of the adjoining building.
Neighborhood residents and members of the Old Town Citizens Association actively tracked the situation. After speaking with owners of local bars and restaurants, the Old Town community learned that the intended use of the building, which was being reconstructed on the ISM University campus, was that it would become a beer brewery/bar-cafe. Yet the documentation which the Archdiocese had presented to the Old Town community designated this building as an ‘Administrative building’ – not a beer pub/bar-cafe. The local bar owners had indicated that they declined the Archdiocese offers to lease the building because the price which the Archdiocese was seeking was astronomical.
Incomprehensible to say the least. Instead of seeking to create a healthy, positive space for students – such as a student center with a cafeteria – the Archdiocese had opted to transform the former storage units into a beer pub which would serve alcohol on campus. The Church was intentionally bringing alcohol to the students!
Given the situation at hand, on July 13, 2012 the president of the Old Town Citizens Association requested a meeting with ISM University administrators, on behalf of the Old Town community. The ISM University administrator replied that the earliest available date for a meeting with Dr Vilius Kontrimas, the director of ISM development and infrastructure, was three weeks away.
We then began researching the policies of universities in Lithuania and abroad regarding the sale and use of alcohol on campus. It became apparent that the majority of universities encouraged wellness and healthy choices instead of alcohol. In an effort to maintain student well being, universities were seeking to eliminate and minimize the use of alcohol on campus. Attached is a copy of the letter which we received from the LCC University in Klaipeda, Lithuania. This letter states their firm position and policy against the use and sale of alcohol on campus.
As the Arkliu 18 construction project progressed, we saw the old buildings demolished….. historical bricks thrown into a dumpster and hauled away… new foundations being poured…….