On June 1, at the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany, the Empire State Development Corporation will appeal the surprise December court ruling that the use of eminent domain for Columbia's Manhattanville campus is illegal. In January, the ESDC—the state body that in December, 2008, approved the use of eminent domain for the University's Manhattanville expansion project—formally appealed the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division decision in December, which argued that the expansion of a private university does not constitute a public use. Since the December ruling, the ESDC has said it would appeal the decision against eminent domain—the process by which the state an seize private property for "public use" in exchange for market-rate compensation—and now, the date for that appeal is set for June 1, according to the New York State Court of Appeals website. The remaining private property owners who have not struck land deals with the University have for years opposed the use of eminent domain for the new campus. University administrators have typically deferred comment to ESDC since Columbia is not a direct party in the case, though University President Lee Bollinger said in a recent interview about the upcoming case, "I feel very good about our chances in the Court of Appeals."
Columbia Spectator Staff