Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Columbia: "Vamanos!"

In what will be a taste of things to come, if Columbia University gets its expansion plan approved, the university has followed through on its intention of evicting the 15, mostly Hispanic auto mechanics from their West Harlem body shop. As the NY Post highlights this morning, the mechanics, as sub-tenants, had no legal recourse to fight their eviction.

Can the handwriting on the wall be any clearer? This is a corporate interest, much like any other, using the false impression of public interestedness to aggrandize its own corporate agenda. As Rolando Sally, one of the evicted mechanics told the paper, "'They don't want to continue to give us a chance...'" His partner Tony Garcia went on to say, "'Everyone is crying...Columbia doesn't want to give {a new lease}.'"

In the dissembling that we have come to expect from this once proud institution, a college spokesman said that Columbia had invited Mr. Garcia , "to apply for space as a tenant in a Columbia-owned property." Yet, as the Post points out (in typical Catch-22 fashion-someone's reading Joseph Heller over at the Morningside Heights campus); "Garcia said the school told him no other space is immediately available."

So we find out sooner rather than later just how Columbia handles evictions. Remember it has also promised the residential tenants of the Till Houses that they will be relocated to "as good, or better" apartments. Perhaps they will, or maybe only when space becomes available.