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Dear AUP Students and Parents,
 
Now that AUP students have returned from Spring Break spent virtually everywhere across the globe, some of them with AUP professors on study trips, it’s time for my monthly letter to our community. 
 
I want to share with you the exciting progress we have made on AUP’s Campus Plan, a project we embarked upon with the renovation a year ago of the Combes Student Life Center, designed by a then 25 year old AUP graduate. Since Combes opened its doors nearly a year ago, with its new and beautiful façade, students have enjoyed an AMEX twice the size as the former one, a sidewalk café, a gallery space, a customized art studio, a state-of-the art environmental science lab, and two floors of student government spaces, clubs spaces, student lounges, media centers, production labs, each embedded with the appropriate Student Development Office staff. Art History and Science faculty are housed in this building. Since that time we have moved our entire administration to an exquisite building at 5, Bd. de la Tour-Maubourg, where we now work side by side to produce synergies that better guide the University. Everything from Admissions to my own office is located in two buildings joined by a glass passageway. We also renovated last summer two classroom buildings on the Passage Landrieu, most notably the 102, St. Dominique space in which six spacious, soundproofed classrooms each have their own balcony and French and Math faculty offices cluster around them. This spring we emptied and gutted the Grenelle Building hidden in the garden behind the Lutheran Church. It will open its doors June 3 as a new center for teaching and mentoring with classrooms, the faculty offices for all remaining departments, beautiful spaces for mingling and mentoring, an Instagram wall for student photography and a continually changing exhibit of student art work. The point of the renovations has been to cluster hubs of service to our students, to facilitate all kinds of learning, including group and team work, one-on-one support, and classroom work in newly designed, modular spaces.  
But I’ve saved the biggest and best news for last. A month ago, France Domaine, an arm of the French State, accepted our offer to purchase a magnificent building at 69, Quai d’Orsay on the Seine, back-to-back with our Combes Building. As our project of creating there a conjoined set of buildings—Student Life Center and a Student Learning Center—fell into the City of Paris’ plans to create a Ville-Campus in the heart of the city, the Mayor supported our request for a zoning change and will shortly facilitate the building permit process. Over the next 18 months, working with the City, the French State, our Oregon-based, specialized university architects SRG Partnerships, and our French architects, we will demolish the space between the buildings, excavate so as to create a state-of-the art library with a glass ceiling between the two buildings, and renovate entirely the Student Learning Center to include: more classrooms, an integrated Center for Advising, Career Development, Internships and Leadership, ARC support services of peer-tutoring, Writing Lab, Reference Lab, and Technology Lab, the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevents, a Civic Media Lab (I will report on this exciting new initiative in upcoming letters to you), and amazing beautiful conference space at the top with an unobstructed view of the Right Bank, including the Grand Palais.
Joining Combes and Quai d’Orsay will secure about half the University’s owned square meters in a single consolidated space, will contribute to our efforts to reinforce security on campus, and will group all of our services to students in one place. It will also reorient the entire campus close to the Seine between the Eiffel Tower and the Invalides. When we get there, we’ll have gone from 10 buildings and parts of buildings scattered across the 7th to a consolidated campus of six clustered buildings.  It has been a long five years getting here in a residential Parisian neighborhood where there is little real estate adapted to a University’s needs. You cannot imagine how excited I will be to cut the ribbon on this beautiful project when we finish the renovations in winter 2018.  
The Campus Plan has been largely funded by our sale of the Bosquet Building in 2010 and the silent phase of AUP’s first capital campaign, AUP Ascending, about which I shall have more to say in a future newsletter.  Alumni, board members, parents, and friends of the University have already contributed generously to this massive redevelopment project, making it possible for us to realize our dream for a Campus in the 7th, the arrondissement of our founding.
 
Let me close with a few updates on security. Having worked extensively with a security consultant, we now have a stepped plan for implementation of all the changes. In January, we trained our outsourced security force in proactive monitoring of the environment; this semester we’ll be putting special film on the windows of any exposed spaces, and enclosing our sidewalk café in front of Combes; we are also creating airlocks on our buildings, moving turnstiles opened with ID cards out to the street in most instances. We have also updated both our crisis management and lockdown plans. Finally, we continue to develop a security APP that each student will install on his or her phone. Because of the complexity of adapting a product to our academic needs, this may not be implemented until fall 2016. But we are steadily making our campus an increasingly safe and monitored space for our students, faculty and staff. I’m grateful to everyone, especially our AUP students,  for the forbearance with which they have adapted to these new, but necessary, exigencies. 
 
You may have read in the Press, or received a message from the US Embassy in Paris, that the French government has decided to extend the state of emergency/vigilance that would normally have come to an end in late February. This should come as no surprise. Just as the US put in place Homeland Security after 9/11 and has not let up much on the enhanced security apparatus afforded by the Patriot Act since then, so France has decided that it’s best to continue the state of vigilance they put in place after the November attacks.  To date, this has permitted the French police and security forces to be much more proactive in their investigation of any suspicious persons. The extension of the état d’urgence has been discussed in the French Press for the past few months, largely in philosophical terms as an exchange of personal freedom for security, and will most likely run through the European Soccer Championships in June. We remain in close contact with the US Embassy, the French Prefecture, and our local Commissariat de Police. 
 
I look forward to hearing from each and any of you and to maintaining the dialogue we established last fall. Please do not hesitate to write to me at president@aup.edu with comments or questions. 
 
With best wishes to all,

 

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The American University of Paris
5 Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg
75007, Paris, France

www.aup.edu

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