Stanford withdraws NYC campus bid

Dec. 16, 2011, 12:00 p.m.

Stanford withdrew its bid for an applied sciences and engineering campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island today.


This marks the end of a yearlong process spearheaded by Stanford President John Hennessy, involving multiple meetings in New York, discussions at Faculty Senate meetings, the formation of faculty committees, collaboration with public relations and lobbying firms and the development of a 600-page proposal.


“I applaud the mayor’s bold vision for this transformative project and wish the city well in turning that vision into a reality,” Hennessy said in a press release. “Stanford was very excited to participate in the competition, and we were honored to be selected as a finalist. We were looking forward to an innovative partnership with the city of New York, and we are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals.”


After turning in its final proposal, which called for a $2.5 billion, 1.9 million-square-foot graduate school, on October 26th, Stanford officials have been negotiating with New York City for weeks. According to a press release, University leaders and the Stanford Board of Trustees made the decision, “that it would not be in the best interests of the University to continue to pursue the opportunity.”


The press release continued to note that President Hennessy said the University could not be sure that it would proceed in a way that ensured the future success of the NYC campus and thus decided to withdraw. Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said that negotiations between the University and New York were still ongoing as of this morning. The press release stated that, “the University decided to withdraw so that the city can move forward with its selection process and meet its tight timelines for the completion of the project.”


“This competition is about changing the future of the city’s economy, and we are thrilled that we have a number of proposals that we believe will do exactly that,” said New York City mayoral spokeswoman Julie Wood in a statement. “We are in serious negotiations with several of the other applicants, each of whom has a game-changing project queued up. We look forward to announcing a winner soon. We thank Stanford for participating in our process and wish them good luck.”


In a speech at MIT in late November, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called both Stanford and Cornell “desperate” for the NYC campus and added that the city would “go back and try to renegotiate with each one.”


This move leaves Cornell as the frontrunner in the competition–at least according to media members and popular sentiment. Columbia University, New York University and Carnegie Mellon University are also still in the running, and Mayor Bloomberg has stated several times that there is no frontrunner.


“I appreciate the tremendous effort put forth at all levels of the University and the city. We are grateful for the enthusiastic support of the tech community both in New York and in Silicon Valley, the efforts of our alumni and the welcome we received throughout New York and from residents of Roosevelt Island in particular,” Hennessy said in the press release. “We gained through this process a fruitful partnership with our colleagues at the City College of New York, a partnership that will strengthen both of our programs and will continue to benefit New York City students for many years to come.


“We learned much from this process and know there will be exciting opportunities in the future to explore the issues that were at the forefront of this effort—the challenge of expanding our ability to deliver Stanford’s high-quality education to more outstanding students,” Hennessy said. “Great universities need to continue to take risks, to innovate and to explore new opportunities where we can make contributions to supporting economic growth and expanding knowledge. Stanford will continue to follow this path.”

Billy Gallagher is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. He has previously worked at The Daily as editor in chief, a managing editor of news, news desk editor, sports desk editor and staff development editor. He is a junior from Villanova, PA majoring in Economics. He is also a writer for TechCrunch.

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