Last night on NY1, the Reverend Calvin Butts took Columbia to task over its failure to reach out to the Abbysinian Development Corporation's leader on the issue of the university's expansion: "Columbia is moving in a way that is really alienating a lot of the community members who have been really interested in working with them to develop a good plan, particularly where affordable housing is concerned,” said Butts.
As we have pointed out, the third rail for this project is the affordable housing issue, and the university's lack of any revealed plan certainly makes it vulnerable to the attacks that have been coming from a wide range of community leaders. We have already made the overture to Columbia on the issue of swapping land owned by the area's largest property owner to the university in exchange for other space that could then be converted into affordable housing.
So far, the silence has been deafening, but there are elected leaders and other affordable housing advocates who are working behind the scenes to push the university in the right direction. Hopefully, the speak-out by the Reverand Butts will get the Columbia officials off of theirs.