News | Administration

Columbia submits bid to host Obama presidential library

  • LIBRARY LOTTERY | Columbia submitted a bid to host President Barack Obama’s, CC ’83, presidential library on its Manhattanville campus, a University spokesman confirmed on Monday.

Updated, June 16, 7:31 p.m.

Columbia submitted a bid on Monday to host President Barack Obama’s, CC ’83, presidential library on its Manhattanville campus, a University spokesperson confirmed.

The University submitted a response to the Barack Obama Foundation’s request for qualifications, which presents Columbia’s qualifications for hosting the library. The response is not a detailed proposal about the University’s plans for the library.

The Barack Obama Foundation is "seeking to build a facility that will cultivate a strong relationship with the surrounding community and be an anchor for economic development," in addition to providing information about the site, surrounding transportation, and the community.

“We would be honored to have the President and Mrs. Obama join our university community after leaving the White House,” a statement from the University said. “We believe Columbia and New York City would provide a fitting platform for a post-presidency engaged in the vital issues of our time, while further adding to our core mission of teaching, research and public service.”

Kofi Boateng, the executive director of the West Harlem Development Corporation, which receives its funding from Columbia’s $76 million Community Benefits Agreement, told Spectator on Monday that the corporation submitted a letter of support of Columbia’s bid to host the library.

“The fact that Obama being the first and so far only African-American president—it’s important to have his library located in Harlem, which is known as the mecca of Black America,” Boateng said. “That will be fantastic to add to the storied legend of Harlem.”

Boateng said that Harlem would be a fitting location for Obama’s presidential library because of the neighborhood’s presidential history—Ulysses S. Grant is buried on W. 122nd and Riverside Drive and Alexander Hamilton once owned a home in the neighborhood—and because Obama’s background as the child of a single mother is relatable to children in the neighborhood.

“While a lot of our kids may not relate to Alexander Hamilton or Grant, we know they will very well relate to President Barack Obama,” Boateng said. “Especially given President Barack Obama’s own youth is not far removed from a lot of the parents and youth that we deal with.”

“Anything we can do to make this become a reality, we shall,” Boateng said.

Columbia’s bid has also received support from New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with Rep. Charles Rangel.

“We deeply appreciate the support this idea has received from our City, State and Congressional officials,” the University statement said. “We will engage in this effort with energy and pride not only on behalf of this institution, but on behalf of the remarkable City and community we call home.”

The deadline for responses to the foundations's request for qualifications was Monday. Hawaii—Obama’s birthplace—and Chicago, where Obama began his political career, are also expected to submit proposals.

Later this summer, the Barack Obama Foundation will select bids to complete proposals. The foundation is expected to announce the location of the library in early 2015.

news@columbiaspectator.com  |  @ColumbiaSpec

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CU_Alum posted on

"...the neighborhood’s presidential history—Ulysses S. Grant is buried on W. 122nd and Riverside Drive and Alexander Hamilton once owned a home in the neighborhood...."

"Presidential history" includes Alexander Hamilton because.....?

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lolcat posted on

if you're on money you must have been president... right...

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Anonymous posted on

No, because Columbia students aren't taught shit.

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Anonymous posted on

Wrong!

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Anonymous posted on

Did they put down how many rapes per year and how many hate-based assaults per year they plan to have in that library?

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Anonymous posted on

Nothing is worse than your constant hate fuled posts. Get a life.

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Anonymous posted on

Learn to distinguish between facts and hate. You say hate in a ridiculous attempt to change the issue. Facts are that every year there have been rapes and assaults at Columbia University. Facts are that Columbia University leaders talk about them ad absurdum, do not protect the victims, and do not allow New York law to have its intended effects. I wager that if a Presidential library were built here, it would be only a matter of time before rapes and assaults happened on library premises. You have a right to be in denial, and to keep your head stuck up your own ass.

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Anonymous posted on

You started out ok, but then you wonder with inaccurracies. Yes, Columbia has some reported sexual assaults every year, just like everywhere else, proabably less than most institutions with a total of about 80 thousand students, staff, professors, workers, doctors, nurses, etc. That doesn't make it right, but the facts are the facts. Why do you harbor on this issue? Yes, adults in every location may assault each other. Do you think that Chicago has less crime and murders than New York? Do you think that would be a safer location? Again stats show that U of C and the city of Chicago have more violent crimes and murders per capita than Columbia or New York. Yes, I stand with you that I would like to see zero assaults too.

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Anonymous posted on

Then get Bollinger & Co to do their jobs responsibly, or else then add your voice to getting them fired. Depending on how interested really you are in Columbia, I would encourage you to look at how these university leaders perform. Try to understand their personal motivations. When you do, you will be outraged.

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CU_Alum posted on

How does Columbia "not allow New York law to have its intended effects"? Which laws do you mean, and what effects do you have in mind? The university doesn't interfere in criminal investigations or prosecutions. It also doesn't interfere in civil lawsuits. Its internal procedures have problems, but this particular problem isn't one of them.

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Anonymous posted on

Yes it does interfere, actively. "Its internal procedures have problems." What kind of half-assed euphemism is that? Imagine you back as a student. If you do not hand in your papers or your thesis, or if you give a no show on an exam, and if you tell your professor and your dean that "your internal procedures have problems", what grade would you get. Parents and alums must give the same grade to Bollinger & Co. Yes, you should be embarrassed that these needed to be spelled out to you. Did you really go to Columbia?

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CU_Alum posted on

"Yes it does interfere, actively." I ask again: How? Merely repeating the claim does not support it. Neither does calling the question "half-assed". If you have a rational case to make, please make it. Hurling insults doesn't help your argument.

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Anonymous posted on

Look at the case of football player Chad. Ask yourself what resources he got, what involvement did anybody at Columbia have with those resources, what counsel relationships does Columbia have, why given the charges and substantiations the reprimand was so light. Then, if you are a true blue-blooded CU Alum who gives gazillions to Columbia, you should be able to ask the university internal counsel to walk you through how exactly they do these things, and what their real motivations are. But for you to take in these things, you need to start with a mind open to the possibilities that Columbia University and people who run it are not as good as your memories of it are. Otherwise, you will just continue to question the answers anybody give to you, and this will be a pointless debate. If you have mused that its "internal procedures have problems", then perhaps you are open after all.

The Chad case is not the only case of course, but it is one that has more out in public view than most other cases.

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CU_Alum posted on

I remember that case. Why do you think Columbia played any part in his criminal case? (Do you believe they supplied his lawyer? Threatened the victim? Bribed the judge? Blackmailed the prosecutor?) Why do you think his case would have been handled differently if he wasn't a Columbian?

Please don't misunderstand my questions. I'm genuinely interested in what you believe happened and in the basis for those beliefs. Pointing to the case isn't enough to suggest that anything is amiss, but perhaps you can explain your position better.

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Anonymous posted on

Your curiosity is now heightened. It is up to you to address that curiosity yourself. Keep reading and observing. Go and talk to some of the students. I have said as much as I can. Meantime, let me encourage you to withhold that annual giving check. Bollinger & Co do not deserve it.

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Anonymous posted on

Withholding giving will only hurt the people you want to help. The majority of giving goes to financial aid and scholarships, so that all people can apply to Columbia. Bollinger is probably one of the best advocates for the disadvantaged, underserved, affirmative action, human rights leaders there is. You really don't know what you are talking about.

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Anonymous posted on

Yes, much endowment goes to financial aid. So what are you saying? That we should finance people to Columbia, have them raped and assaulted, and then that we finance the legal fees of their rapists and assaulters? Emotional is good. Just recognize that your giving to Columbia is an emotional thing. It is not rational.

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CU_Alum posted on

You're the one making the accusation, so it's your job to persuade. If you have facts to share, share them. Saying "go find them yourself" is not persuasive, and it hurts your credibility.

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Anonymous posted on

I am by far not the only one making these statements. I may be the only one making these statements in this very Spec blog. The important matter here is Bollinger's integrity, not my credibility. Be my guest if you want to stay ignorant. (But I know that you do not, and will keep this blog in the back of your mind.)

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CU_Alum posted on

You're the only one I know of who's making these accusations. But even if there are others, that doesn't shift the burden to me to find out if you're right. I see a lot of people make a lot of claims about a lot of things, but I don't go digging to find out if they're right. When somebody makes a remarkable claim but refuses to prove it, the most reasonable inference is that the claim is not true. In our conversation, that inference grows stronger each time you refuse to offer any facts. It's still your job to persuade. Saying other people believe what you believe doesn't shift the job to your audience.

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Anonymous posted on

I am not refusing to prove it. But I cannot prove it to you via a blog. If this were simple to prove, Bollinger would not be sitting this pretty today, and Columbia University's rape and assault victims would have an easier time. So I suppose the bottom line is that you are not curious about it enough to do some of your own investigation. For you to be more convinced, your own investigation will be needed. As for the rest of your logic, I understand. It is obvious. It is also provincial. That was why I asked if you really went to Columbia. There is another possibility, of course, that you really did go to Columbia and that you now serve as a legal counsel to Columbia University.

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CU_Alum posted on

Yes, I really went to Columbia. No, I'm not its legal counsel. I don't work for CU in any way. I'm just an active, concerned alum. What about you?

Calling my stance "provincial" doesn't make it so. There's no reason to presume you're right, but there are plenty of reasons to presume you're wrong. That doesn't mean you *are* wrong, but it does mean you're the one who has to justify your accusation. You've offered no evidence that you know what you're talking about. If you want people to take your charges seriously, you need to do more than just repeat them. I've given you many chances to support your claims, but you still refuse. The most likely reason is that you can't do it.

I remain open to persuasion. But you evidently won't try to persuade no matter how many times you're asked, so I'm done asking.

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Anonymous posted on

It's like this: you are provincial, and therefore I say that you are. It's not like this: I say that you are provincial, and therefore you are. That you get this ass-backwards shows your provincialism too. One could use your kind of argument any other way. Just because you say that I refuse to prove things does not make it so. I have said repeatedly that it is not possible to prove many things on a Spec blog. The long and short of this are that you are a proud Columbia University alum, that you are annoyed that someone said some things about your alma mater that you do not like, and that you want to keep an argument going. You could be helpful to a dialogue if you would do some investigation yourself too. That I suggest this does not mean that there is any burden on you. That you say that you have a burden does not make it so. See? Not only are you provincial, but you are also too obviously stupid.

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CU_Alum posted on

You're doing the same thing people usually do when challenged to substantiate claims they can't support -- insulting the other side of the discussion and trying to shift the burdens of persuasion and proof. Your comments repeatedly trumpet what you believe and insist that any reasonable person would believe the same thing, but you have done nothing to suggest you have any idea what you're talking about.

There are people who try to persuade based on important information they have found. They way they do that is by sharing the information. Saying "I know X is true" will get you nowhere, even if you say it 1,000 times and insult anyone who asks you to prove it. There is no point discussing anything with you unless you'll take the next step and say "I know X is true because ..."

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Anonymous posted on

I know X is true because victims' stories have been covered many times in Spec, and because I know some victims' specific stories. But, CU_Alum, that will not satisfy you either. In any case, discovery is easy if you would be just mildly interested. It would not be a burden to able-bodied and able-minded people. Sorry if that is too much burden for you.

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Off-topic posted on

Your comment is irrelevant to the story and completely off-topic. Your case is being discussed elsewhere, and so far it's going nowhere because it isn't based on facts. Of course everyone is against rape and hate-based assaults, but if someone complains about them and expects someone else to be punished, they must have a real case. Else they can’t expect Columbia or NYPD to do something based on hearsay.

Now, this story is about something that may become a major asset for the university, and the whole community may be proud if the bid succeeds. If you despise the university so much, why don’t you just ask for a transfer? Or maybe you’re not even part of the community.

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Anonymous posted on

Columbia University has nothing to be proud of, because it allows its students to be raped and assaulted. Even a Presidential Library cannot help the University itself. It may help university leaders who ignore the real issues.

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CubMailSlayer posted on

I approve! Mrs. Obama could devote a lot of her time helping craft policy proposals, while the Obama girls go to Columbia. Former President Obama will of course be making organic Chicken and Waffles at the food court.

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Anonymous posted on

Columbia, and particularly this location, is by far the best proposal. A New York City location would get substancially more visitors. This would revitalize the area.

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Anonymous posted on

Just to spite Columbia College, Obama will choose Barnard for the site of his library. C'mon, Obama just spent 2 years at Columbia, and he ne'er said a good word about it.

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Bebop posted on

Damn it! I was going to make a belligerent post like this... I really need to step up my trolling game.

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Cassandra Deal Schriffen posted on

It would be great and he could also help the fostercare children in NYC. Maybe some of them can attend Columbia University with help. Also you can look in to what is going on and the educational neglect with many of these students. Who can get them in regular classes at Columbia University for this summer. Call me if you are for real I have a high school senior who I am trying to help if only her agency will help we can help save these young people. Start with the no good ST.Vincents in Brooklyn.

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oppose posted on

Why would our school want to associate itself with the failed legacy of a failed President?

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Anonymous posted on

Whether you agree or not agree with a particular President's policies, it is still advantageous to possess the manuscripts, documents, correspondance, etc. of the eight years of American history for instruction purposes. Columbia is an educational institution, and possesses one of the largest manuscript respositories in the world.

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Anonymous posted on

Judging his intellect alone, most of the manuscripts will be coloring books.
C'mon, Columbia, surely we can do better.

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Anonymous posted on

With who? One of the Bushes?

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Anonymous posted on

Bush is Thomas Jefferson compared with this charlatan.

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Anonymous posted on

"Judging his intellect alone, most of the manuscripts will be coloring books."

And that's just the upper end of Columbia graduates. (ha ha ha, oh, I just couldn't help myself)

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Anonymous posted on

We really don't need it. We're already so rich...give it to UIC or another public Chicago university, where they can actually use it as a motivator for change.

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Anonymous posted on

As much as we might like this idea, he's from Chicago, he loves Chicago, so it's probably going to be in Chicago. And he hasn't exactly spoken fondly of Columbia either

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tortoise posted on

We might "like" it (or we might not). Either way, it's an absurd idea.

Think about it: Obama spent more time at Harvard than at Columbia and the time he spent at Harvard was of greater consequence. It was at Harvard that he first started to define the persona that eventually catapulted him to the presidency.

But do you hear Harvard mewing for his library?

No. Why?

Because if Obama were to choose any city other than Chicago as the site of his Library, he would be snubbing his hometown in a manner unprecedented in the annals of presidential libraries. His action would be crass. Harvard would want no part of it.

Columbia's proposal is "under consideration" to keep Chicago--and by "Chicago" I mean UChicago--on its game. Really, that's it. In the meantime, Columbia gets to look grasping, clueless, and pathetic.

Nice.

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tortoise posted on

We might "like" it (or we might not). Either way, it's an absurd idea.

Think about it: Obama spent more time at Harvard than at Columbia and the time he spent at Harvard was of greater consequence. It was at Harvard that he first started to define the persona that eventually catapulted him to the presidency.

But do you hear Harvard mewing for his library?

No. Why?

Because if Obama were to choose any city other than Chicago as the site of his Library, he would be snubbing his hometown in a manner unprecedented in the annals of presidential libraries. His action would be crass. Harvard would want no part of it.

Columbia's proposal is "under consideration" to keep Chicago--and by "Chicago" I mean UChicago--on its game. Really, that's it. In the meantime, Columbia gets to look grasping, clueless, and pathetic.

Nice.

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Skip posted on

It's a fair point. South Side Chicago launched Obama. Why on earth wouldn't his library go there? http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-obama-library-community-met-20140716,0,6104185.story

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teapot posted on

Obama has never said or written anything positive about Columbia University or the City of New York. No one even remembers him from his undergraduate days at Columbia after he transferred into Columbia his junior year. Obama must have received financial aid from Columbia as an undergraduate and yet there is no documented proof that he has ever made any significant donation of time, money or effort to Columbia. Why honor someone who doesn't like you?

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Anonymous posted on

I never thought to hear such conversations from and about my alma mater. We are certainly in a sorry state of affairs. If there is a god, may he , she, or it have mercy on us all. But I surmise it is only fitting we take most of our neanderthal divisions
from the public fora to prove(?) our points re a university matter.

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