Student Coalition on Expansion and Gentrification

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The Student Coalition on Expansion and Gentrification (SCEG) is a member club of the Columbia Student Solidarity Network. SCEG was founded in fall 2003 in response to the university's announcement of its plans for expansion.

To contact SCEG, email sceg@columbia.edu. Meetings are at 5:30pm Sundays in 405 Kent.

Mission statement

University expansion and gentrification are processes that affect everyone in our community. As students we recognize our unique position in relationship to the University and community at large and, therefore, the necessity of our action in support of an equitable expansion. To this end, we are committed to standing in solidarity with those most affected by the process of gentrification, and to educating and mobilizing the student body towards a goal of greater University accountability. We support the local Community Board’s 197-a framework for neighborhood development, a substantive Community Benefits Agreement, and a development process that puts the needs of local residents before the interests of the University.

Activities

  • We educate ourselves by attending Community Board 9 meetings and learning about alternate plans for the neighborhood, such as the CB9’s 197-a plan, which emphasizes preserving affordable housing and good manufacturing jobs, among other key neighborhood issues.
  • We organize informational events about Columbia’s expansion so that students, faculty, and staff don’t just get Columbia’s side of the story. In the past, these have included faculty panels, lectures from community members and technical experts, and town halls.
  • We organize press conferences, protests, and other actions that make our concerns known off-campus as well as on-campus and publicly put pressure on Columbia’s administration.
  • We sponsor Community-Student Dinners that seek to bring together Columbia students and residents of West Harlem so that we can get to know each other, talk about issues related to the expansion, and build a stronger movement to hold the University accountable.
  • We regularly write opinion articles in the student paper to make our concerns about the expansion and the planning process visible.
  • We work with CCSC and other student groups to educate them and build coalitions around common causes.
  • We conduct letter-writing campaigns and encourage student involvement in public hearings about Columbia’s plan to try to influence the decisions of local government officials.
  • This year SCEG is hosting an art exhibit to show different perspectives on the neighborhood’s history and how it has changed.
  • We are communists.

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