The Columbia University administration wants to expand its campus into a West Harlem residential neighborhood that’s north of West 125th Street. Yet there is apparently some legal basis for arguing that elite private universities like Columbia should not be allowed to locate in residential districts as a matter of right. Some city governments, for instance, have been allowed to legally exclude universities like Columbia from expanding their campuses into residential neighborhoods when the campus expansion projects weren’t in the public interest or were primarily for business purposes.
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