City | 3:12 pm | May 9, 2009 | By Victor Zapana

Economy causing town-gown strife? Not here, Morand says

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As the economy worsens, so are the relationships between many universities and their communities, a front-page article in The New York Times reported today.

But in a post on his Facebook page about the Times article, Associate Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 begged to differ — at least in the Elm City.

“NOT in New Haven, though!” Morand wrote in his Twitter-like response to the article, which carried the headline “Slump Revives Town-Gown Divide Across U.S.”

“Hometown & Yale University working as closely & cooperatively as ever,” Morand added.

He included links to a Hartford Courant column last month praising the University’s commitment to the city and a News article on the University’s decision to double its annual voluntary payment starting fiscal year 2011.

As Yale officials struggles to close a $100 million budget gap for fiscal year 2010, University President Richard Levin has maintained that one his principal goals during the budgeting process is “remaining a good citizen of New Haven.”

Nevertheless, University construction has slowed: In an effort to save $2 billion in capital spending, Levin in February delayed most planned construction projects.

The article, meanwhile, cited examples such as Harvard’s slowed expansion into Boston’s Allston neighborhood and a proposal by Providence, R.I., Mayor David N. Cicilline to charge students at the four universities in his city a $150 per semester “municipal impact” fee.

“We feel like we’ve been betrayed and taken advantage of,”  Harry Mattison, a Boston resident who serves on the Harvard Allston Task Force, an advisory group, told The Times. “Instead of Harvard bringing in jobs and excitement and vibrancy, we are sliding backwards.”

Perhaps to the secret delight of Yale administrators, the article carried a Boston dateline.  Yale was not mentioned in the piece (though “Harvard” appeared 10 times).

(Photo: The New York Times)

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