Medgar Evers College Sees Itself as Brooklyn’s Answer to Georgetown
By Stephen Witt
With two initiatives in the pipeline, Medgar Evers College wants to become Brooklyn’s version of Georgetown University, which is located in the heart of Washington, DC.
That, according to MEC President Dr. Rudolph Crew, who laid out the vision to students last week as part of CUNY’s presentation on plans to add a quad green space to the burgeoning campus.
“We have everything here in Brooklyn. Everyone wants a little piece of the rock and what we have here are great elements of campus life,” said Crew. “We want our version of Georgetown. The larger question is how to position ourselves. We have a student enrollment of 6,500 here and we want to grow to between 10,000-12,000 students.”
The campus quad proposal calls for the closure of Crown Street between Franklin and Bedford Avenues, which runs through the heart of Medgar Evers, and turning it into a green quad. Amenities include tree-lined walkways, ample lighting, various forms of seating and picnic areas, a large lawn area and an amphitheater for campus events.
In the past, the block housed a sanitation garage, and once completed, the quad will also allow for community access.
CUNY Vice Chancellor Iris Weinshall noted that while several Medgar Evers presidents have come and gone in recent years, the quad project has been a constant. Similar quads and street closures are at other CUNY schools including Baruch College in Manhattan, she said.
Weinshall said $10 million has already been allocated for the quad, and the presentation to students was the first move to go through the city’s lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for the green light to move ahead.
The process includes reviews from the community board, the borough president, the city council and the mayor. The entire process and construction will take a little more than two years, she said.
Among the concerns raised by students and community activists involved the ensuring of minority hiring both in the construction phase and employment once the quad is open.
Weinshall said CUNY always strictly adheres and in most cases exceeds the state guidelines on contracts to include those let out to women- and minority-owned businesses and enterprises (WMBE).
Another student complained about classroom utilization, saying her music class was not soundproof. Crew responded that space concerns were slowly being worked out under his relatively new tenure and that the quad would help ease some restraints.
The second initiative involves the state picking Medgar Evers for a new program that gives tax-free incentives to any business that comes into the campus area and works within the school’s mission and with local students.
Dubbed Start Up New York, the program will allow for space both on and off campus, but will need school approval.