Minority Hiring at Columbia University Expansion Project Under State Scrutiny

Columbia University will be expanding its footprint in Harlem by 17 acres

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Harlem area contractors questioned Columbia University’s minority hiring practices at its $6.3 billion West Harlem campus expansion project. Now, in response to a community request the project will be monitored by the State, DNAinfo reports.

Vincent Morgan, a banker and a candidate for City Council, wrote a letter to the state’s chief economic development agency Empire State Development Corporation, asking them to make sure minority-owned businesses were receiving contracts to assist in the project. They responded that they would do so.

In exchange for permission to expand onto 17 acres of land from West 129th to West 133rd streets between Broadway and 12th Avenue, Columbia signed a community benefits agreement requiring 25 percent of construction contracts be handled by minorities, women and local businesses. 35 percent of non-construction contracts should go to  minority, women and locally owned firms.