Bad timing!

There was a protest against Manhattanville at the Gates that was ended by the protestors themselves. There are some cops lingering. Apparently protestors were playing drums and were dressed up like buildings. Probably not the best week for a protest. Carry on!

Full flyer after the jump.

Columbia Is Not Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Columbia Is Neighbors Displacing Neighbors

Support the Harlem Community and hold columbia accountable

Columbia University is building a huge second campus in the neighborhood of Manhattanville in West Harlem. 18 acres of land will be bulldozed, spanning from below 125th to 134th street.

What will be the effects of Columbia’s Expansion?

-Columbia’s own statistics estimate their expansion into Manhattanville will displace almost 3,300 residents.

-Additionally, the 3,300 estimate does not take into account that people will no longer be able to afford rent because their previously rent-stabilized units are quickly falling out of regulation.

-The “affordable housing units” said to counter this displacement have rent based on the median income of the entire metropolitan area, including Westchester County and part of Long Island, and therefore do not adequately reflect the economic status of Harlem residents.

Where are the jobs?

-Columbia has tried to promote the Manhattanville expansion by advertizing that it will deliver over 7,000 jobs, but Harlem was home to thousands of well-paying skilled labor and manufacturing jobs before Columbia’s presence in the neighborhood.

-Moreover a large number of jobs supposed to be ‘given’ to the community are comprised of construction jobs, which are temporary and will not be a long term benefit to the community, low wage service jobs, paying less than many of the jobs to be displaced by the expansion, and

-The inherently high-risk biotech labs Columbia wants to build are touted as another source of new employment, however these jobs are dangerous not only for employees but for the community at large because of the immanent threat of environmental contamination

How did this happen?

-Columbia University used eminent domain to seize many of the properties in Manhattanville. Eminent Domain is the power of the state to seize private property without the owner’s consent for so-called “public benefit.”

-In 2005, Columbia sent a letter to a company named ESDC, which has the power to condemn property for seizure on the behalf of private developers, aka.  In order to ensure that the neighborhood would be declared “blighted”, Columbia intentionally kept the buildings it owned in the area vacant. For their services, Columbia paid ESDC $300,000.

Has the community had a voice in all of this?

-Community Board 9 voted against Columbia’s plan 32-2 but Columbia has not taken into account the massive amounts of testimony against the expansion at nearly every public hearing. Columbia University continues to ignore Community Board 9 ‘s alternative plan for development, 197-a , which prohibits the use of eminent domain.

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