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Dec. 19, 2007

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today issued the following statement in response to the New York City Council’s favorable vote to approve the University’s proposed rezoning of the Manhattanville manufacturing area into an academic mixed-use zone.

“We are thankful and appreciative that with its favorable vote today the City Council has recognized the important role that flourishing universities can play in reinforcing and expanding the essential elements of New York’s historic greatness. As a result, not only will our universities continue to attract creative minds with the determination to advance knowledge in service of humankind; they will remain a vibrant source of good, middle-income jobs for a diversity of people seeking to improve their lives here.

Now, after five years and innumerable discussions, negotiations, plans, documents, hearings, and votes, we have arrived at a significant turning point on the matter of space for the University to grow together with our communities. The long-term opportunities for Columbia and the people who live and work in our community and our City are barely imaginable to us at this early moment.

I would like to thank Speaker Christine Quinn, our local Council Members Robert Jackson and Inez Dickens, Committee chair Melinda Katz, as well as Mayor Bloomberg, Chairman Rangel, Borough President Scott Stringer, Mayor Dinkins and the many others who have helped us achieve a broadly shared vision for a future that will provide both the facilities we need to ensure upper Manhattan remains a world center for teaching, academic research and patient care, and the opportunity for Columbia to augment its already significant engagement of intellectual resources in improving the quality of life for the people of Harlem and New York City.”