Columbia student Evan Daar has an interesting article about the ongoing controversy surrounding Columbia's efforts to use the threat of eminent domain to condemn property it covets in New York City's Manhattanville area, which is mostly occupied by poor and lower middle class African-Americans. Daar notes that Columbia's plans have attracted protest from across the political spectrum. In my view, rightly so. While the university has backed off its initial threats to have the state condemn residential property, it is still threatening to use eminent domain to condemn commercial property in the area if the owners won't sell "voluntarily" (i.e. - under the threat of condemnation proceedings should they refuse Columbia's purchase offers).
I blogged extensively about this controversy in previous posts (see here and here). In this post, I gave some more general reasons why universities should not be allowed to use eminent domain to acquire property.
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