Yes, DU is surrounded by ghetto! That is how this city is tiered: a few blocks of ghetto, then a few square blocks of nicer areas, then ghetto, etc.
For our purposes, I'll take it as a blessing. We'll have less distractions near our campus. Downtown is dead after 6 PM because there aren't any people living in the downtown area (well, there are a few, but not enough to make downtown have a viable nightlife), and therefore the nearest 'fun' zones are safely out of reach in the Southside and Oakland.
The Hill District (what was the residential zone of Downtown) used to be a vibrant black community supported by a relatively viable local econonmy. It was a community that is today best remembered for being the epicenter of the Pittsburgh jazz scene, whose long-gone clubs headlined all of the jazz legends at one time or another.
The commercial district of the Hill was replaced by the giant silver UFO that is best known as the Mellon Arena. The Arena is best known for being one of the first domed arenas with a retractable roof (that can't retract any more because of massive lighting rigs that block the mechanism).
Welcome to Pittsburgh!