"These indictments make our city and community safer"

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November 20, 2019 - 4:19pm

Critical Commentary

Columbia Vice President for Public Safety, James McShane released this message to University affiliates the day following the NYPD raids: “These indictments make our city and community safer and come as a result of a long-term collaboration between local law enforcement agencies. Following these arrests, we are actively supporting an enhanced police presence in West Harlem...” This led me to wonder: which community was being made safer via these indictments? When I reached out to him to discuss relations between Columbia’s public safety and residents of Grant and Manhattanville, he affirmed that Public Safety “does not really interact with the residents of local housing developments” and he could not speak with me further. However, Deborah Secular argued that Columbia had to acknowledge what they gained at the community’s expense, claiming: “Columbia cannot both welcome the community and criminalize it at the same time.”[1] She acknowledged that which McShane ignored: the fates of residents in West Harlem and Columbia were inextricably interlinked.


[1] Deborah Secular, “Space secured for crisis intervention center to mitigate Grant Manhattanville violence,” Columbia Spectator (2015).