"Shortchanging communities in Harlem"





Creative Commons Licence


Contributed date

November 20, 2019 - 4:16pm

Critical Commentary

I phone-interviewed Dr. David Maurrasse due to his research on gentrification in Harlem and community-University relations. He claimed that Columbia saw itself as a global institution, focusing internationally and enlisting faculty to work on solutions for issues such as the environment, hunger, and disease. Yet even as many of these manifested locally, he never felt the University saw the “symbiotic nature of a University fulfilling its mission as a knowledge institution and simultaneously serving community needs.” He argued that involving more departments in such a mission would give the University a fulfilled sense of purpose tied to its core mission. From the time of the gym plan, Columbia became more reluctant to work with the community out of fear that they might provoke a protest: “Instead of going further in, they went further out, although that was a moment where they had to go deeper in.” Columbia’s mindset consisted of separating the local from the global—local as parochial and global as higher scholarly enterprise—shortchanging communities in Harlem.