Thursday, July 5, 2007

Columbia University Institutional Racism In 21st-Century?

Over 30 years after the 1968 Columbia Student Revolt that protested against Columbia University’s historic policies of institutional racism during the 20th century, the Columbia University Administration, like most U.S. university administrations, was apparently still not eager to hire many African-Americans as tenured faculty members (despite Columbia’s West Harlem location). As The Great Wells of Democracy by Manning Marable observed in 2002:

“In 2001, the total number of African-American faculty at all institutions was 61,183, a figure representing only 6.1 percent of all U.S. faculty…A 2001 survey of the twenty-seven highest-ranked research universities in the United States indicated that 3.6 percent of all faculty was black. African-American educators remain underrepresented in the upper levels of academic administration…At Columbia University…the total number of tenured full professors and associate professors in the College of Arts and Sciences was eight out of a total of approximately 440 tenured faculty. Three out of these eight African-American faculty members only received tenure in 2001 and 2002…”

Despite the opposition of most Harlem community activists, the Columbia University Administration is also attempting in the 21st-century to expand its campus more into West Harlem, north of West 125th Street.

As The Closed Corporation by James Ridgeway observed as long ago as 1969, “While Columbia passes as a university, in reality it is among the great real estate development corporations.” And in The Tenant Survival Book, Emily Jane Goodman noted how Columbia University operated within Manhattan’s real estate industry during the 20th century:

“Columbia and its chain of associated institutions on Morningside Heights and Washington Heights…engaged in surreptitious acquisitions of multiple dwellings, housing thousands of poor and moderate middle-income families in the neighborhood where Columbia corporate institutions were planning a $250 million expansion plan.

“It has been estimated that almost 10,000 apartments all structurally sound, low-rental and rent-controlled housing were systematically demolished over the years to make room for the Columbia complex.”

Not surprisingly, Columbia has never been very popular with most NYC tenants. As The Closed Corporation also observed:

“It would be difficult to find an institution of higher learning in the country so deeply and justly detested as is Columbia University in New York City…The Ford Foundation approached Columbia…to run some urban programs…The main function of the Ford projects was to provide a publicity shield behind which the educational institutions on Morningside Heights, led by Columbia, continued their land grab…Columbia refuses to make public its real estate holdings.” (Downtown 3/5/97)

Next: Hillary Clinton’s Foster & McDougal Connections Revisited

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