Universities: Agony on Morningside Heights

Oh, who owns New York?

Oh, who owns New York?

Why, we own New York!

Why, we own New York!

Who?

C-O-L-U-M-B-l-A

—Columbia College marching song

Although Columbia does own a good $200 million worth of Manhattan real estate—including the land under Rockefeller Center—the boast is not literally true. But to many of the university's neighbors on Morningside Heights, Columbia is about as popular as a slum landlord. Last week 150 demonstrators, including many sympathetic students, clashed with police while trying to block construction of a new university gymnasium on park land that some...