To the Editor:

Katie DeWitt quotes Joyce Chen ’01 (“Many universities face town-gown issues,” 3/29) thus: “Even when taking city size and population into account, Harvard’s donations are much greater than Yale’s contributions to New Haven.”

Interestingly, Harvard’s Web site states that the university’s total land holdings are 4,862 acres, for which, DeWitt says, Harvard makes voluntary payments of $4.1 million. Yale gives its total holdings as 925 acres (including the golf course), for which it makes voluntary payments of $2.3 million.

Simple arithmetic would seem to refute Chen’s contention, having Yale give around three times as much as Harvard per acre. Or am I missing something?

Neil Simpson ’04

March 29, 2005

The writer is a development officer for Yale.