Statement on Cornell's financial contributions to the City of Ithaca

We at Cornell recognize the financial pressures on Ithaca and accept our responsibilities to contribute to our city. We remain committed to working collaboratively with the mayor and local officials.

Negotiations in public are rarely helpful. Demands are often counter-productive. In light of them, we feel compelled to address some of the assertions recently made by Mayor Svante Myrick.

It is worth noting that in 2003, Cornell and the City of Ithaca signed a 20-year extended agreement, praised by then Mayor Alan Cohen, that laid out in specific terms Cornell's financial contributions to Ithaca. In the years that have followed, Cornell has met the terms of that agreement in every respect. We have done so despite our own financial challenges during the Great Recession.

Cornell was one of the first universities in the nation to make voluntary contributions to its local municipality and organizations in support of public services. Last year Cornell's contributions totaled more than $2.1 million, with 80 percent of that amount going to the City of Ithaca and Ithaca City School District. This year's contributions are expected to total more than $3.2 million, which compares favorably to the contributions of our peers. Of course, beyond its direct financial contributions, the university has an enormous positive impact on the local economy and quality of life.

Cornell and Ithaca thrive when the city and university work together constructively. Indeed, our new buildings, programs, and faculty are a significant plus for the city as well. We stand ready to conduct substantive conversations with our colleagues and counterparts in the City of Ithaca aimed at arriving at mutually beneficial solutions to difficult problems. We believe as well that the likelihood of a successful resolution of our differences increases in the absence of "us versus them" charges and characterizations that are not conducive to cooperation.

John Carberry
Division of University Communications