A Petition to End Columbia's Use of Eminent Domain
We, the leaders of Columbia University’s Habitat for Humanity campus chapter, and our petition members stand firmly resolved that Columbia University should end its use of eminent domain to expand its campus. Partnering with city government officials to force residential building owners and city residents to sell their homes to make space for Columbia’s new facilities is wrong and runs counter to the goals of keeping Manhattan housing available and affordable for all people. Columbia must balance its development goals by building up or properly compensating residents without using the city government to force a sale, while shielding itself from criticism behind the veil of a supposedly “just” compensation scheme. As students and members of the campus community, we have a responsibility to mindful of how we affect surrounding neighborhoods, not just insist that we are while hiding behind pleasant language. Time and time again, the interests of the trustees and we, the lucky few who get attend Columbia and Barnard, have been placed before the interests of New Yorkers who call Harlem home. We call upon all leaders in student government to put forward a resolution to delegitimize Columbia’s use of eminent domain. This must end. We must be agents of change, not passive and complacent observers.
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As a 501(c)3 Habitat for Humanity and its affiliated chapters take no stand on this issue. This petition only represents the personal views of the leaders of Columbia University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, not the chapter or any affiliated parties. Columbia University should not seek retribution against the campus chapter itself: this petition is promulgated solely by the members of the chapter who have mentioned their involvement in Habitat for Humanity to emphasize their background in sustainable, affordable housing policy.