Middle East studies in the News
by Lee C. Bollinger
From: Lee C. Bollinger
Dear Fellow Columbian,
I am writing with exciting news regarding Columbia's plans to expand to Manhattanville in West Harlem. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Harlem business leaders to discuss how best to work together in planning a better future for the University and our neighbors. In the aftermath of those highly productive discussions, I'd like to share some central elements of our thinking on Manhattanville.
As alumni know only too well, Columbia is both one of the great universities of the world and one of the most constrained for space. At 326 square feet per student, Columbia has less square footage per student by far than other leading research universities (compare Yale at 866 sq. ft., Princeton at 828 sq. ft. and Harvard at 673 sq. ft.). Moreover, the average age of the buildings on the Morningside Heights campus is 74.4 years. To expand our leadership in the most promising areas of teaching and research, especially in the sciences and the arts, we urgently need to build and equip new laboratories, new classrooms, and new studio and performance spaces.
It has always been my belief that Columbia, like so many other leading research universities, benefits from having a true campus-a contiguous series of physical sites-as opposed to an arbitrary constellation of disconnected buildings. A campus, where academic disciplines exist in close proximity to one another, fosters the kind of community and collaboration most needed as we develop cross-cutting teaching and research programs for the 21st century. The Manhattanville campus would also serve as a critical link between our existing campuses on Morningside and Washington Heights.
The proposed site for the Manhattanville expansion is the area bounded by West 125th Street on the south (including properties on the south side of 125th) and 133rd Street on the north and extending from Broadway on the east to 12th Avenue on the west. In addition, the area under consideration includes two blocks bordered by Broadway and Old Broadway on the east and west between 131st and 133rd Streets, property fronting 12th Avenue between 133rd and 134th Streets, and property fronting the east side of Broadway between 133rd and 134th Streets.
Manhattanville in West Harlem promises room to grow not only in a coherent and thoughtful way but also in a way that is consistent with the economic and social needs of our neighbors. Renzo Piano Building Workshops and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill represent some of the foremost humanist architectural thinking our time, and their vision for Manhattanville promises a beautiful and inspiring transformation of an oft-overlooked parcel of northern Manhattan. The buildings, streetscapes, and public spaces in the plan go well beyond the functional. Together, they would create a welcoming environment to the Columbia community, indeed, and all New Yorkers, while offering an inspiring vision to everyone of the values of a life of learning.
More concretely, the Manhattanville project would also create approximately 9,000 permanent new jobs in an area where employment has fallen by more than 40 percent since 1984 and is now estimated at approximately 1,250 jobs. Today's modest warehouses, automotive services, and light industrial buildings would give way to vibrant, mixed-use development, including public and commercial spaces. The design and construction of the proposed facilities alone would provide an estimated $4 billion of economic stimulus to the economy of New York City.
The expansion is still in its planning stage, and we will continue to work closely with faculty, students, and our neighbors-and listen to alumni-as we refine our ideas. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Faculty Advisory Committee, Student Advisory Committee and Community Advisory Committee for their invaluable contributions to this process, as well as the many alumni who have shared their ideas and concerns. At the end of the day, we hope to be as proud of the process we followed to realize our vision as we are of the facilities and possibilities we've created.
I hope you share my excitement about the proposed expansion. Should you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.
President Lee C. Bollinger
To Learn More about Manhattanville, Visit http://neighbors.columbia.edu/campusplanning/campusplanningHome.php
From: Caroline Glick
Dear President Bollinger,
Thank you for your note. It all sounds rather exciting. When I was at Columbia, it seemed the edge of the earth was reached at 125th Street. And yet, in spite of your bold plan, I cannot conjure up the excitement over my alma mater that I would like to. Columbia did great things for me. The education I received there, particularly at the hands of the late and much missed Prof. Joseph Rothschild has served me well ever since.
But today's Columbia is not the Columbia that I knew. Columbia today is not a fount of liberalism in the spirit of John Stuart Mill but an incubator of hatred and lies in the best Rousseauian tradition of intellectual totalitarianism. Not surprisingly given their inherent opposition to pseudo-utopian absolutism, this intellectual tyranny is being directed against the two things most important to me in the world - the United States and Israel.
The anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism at Columbia, particularly as it manifests itself in the Middle East Studies Department but also in other departments - like English, History and Political Science - has mutated the Columbia that I remember into a clearinghouse for lies posing as scholarship that then enter the public sphere and infect our culture in this time of global war.
I cannot be bothered with caring for Columbia when my two countries - America and Israel - are at war and one of the main places of support for the enemy seeking our destruction in the American intellectual community is Columbia University.
In 2000, after the late Edward Said assaulted Israel with rocks at the Lebanon border like a garden variety Hizballah terrorist, I was asked to support Columbia by the head of the Alumni Association. I wrote to him at the time that I would be unable to support Columbia in any way shape or form, in spite of my wish to do so, for as long as Said remained on the faculty.
Said's death should have enabled me to finally give back a bit of what I received, but lo and behold, rather than forgetting Said as the mind-numbing embarrassment to coherent and truthful intellectual discourse that he was, the university endowed a professorship in his name and conferred it onto Rashid Khalidi - the anti-Semitic, anti-American terrorism apologist.
To a certain degree, I hope that you continue to bring the enemies of the US and Israel to Columbia - draft them from other universities - Princeton, Berkeley, University of Michigan, Notre Dame, etc. In so doing you will be providing a service to American university students who will know to refer to Columbia as Jihad U and stay away from Morningside Heights - or Manhattanville. As it stands, under the current faculty and the prevailing academic climate of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism at Columbia, I would not recommend that anyone I care about enroll in the school.
President Bollinger, when the Palestinians launched their terror war against the Jewish State and leftists on US campuses arose to support our murderers, your colleague at Harvard, my other alma mater, Lawrence Summers, stood up to the students and faculty who dared to condemn Israel for existing and told them they were bigots. In so doing he saved Harvard's soul and ensured its future as a top American university. I am waiting for a similar statement from you.
I question the efficacy of writing to you. You have overseen the sharpest turn towards anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in Columbia's recent past. But nonetheless, as you are the president of the university from which I was once a proud alumna, I take this opportunity to point out a true problem that threatens the future of the university and indeed the future security and wellbeing of both the United States and Israel.
Caroline B. Glick
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org