It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
ARSON AT A COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY RENT-CONTROLLED APARTMENT
BY GERSHON MENDLOVITZ August 23, 2012
While living a block away from Columbia University on Morningside Heights twenty years ago, Gershon Mendlovitz was going to school there and working in Butler Library during the day. Eventually, Columbia University decided he was not progressing fast enough with his studies and for their own internal-clock of expansion into former students’ Rent –Controlled apartments, and decided at his 90th credit at The
School of General Studies to lay a fire trap in his apartment.
The wooden floor boards in the bedroom of the apartment were slowly melting and rotting away from the constant leak of water from the radiator’s pressure valve, so Johnna Anderson, the director of Columbia Real Estate, and her superintendent of the building where Mendlovitz lived, Ray Corbin, tore out the covering , which consisted of most of the rotting floor boards, from the surface, and left a big gaping hole of raw wooden floor with jagged edges around the leaking radiator and the exposed steam pipes now visible in the uncovered floor leading to the radiator.
Repeated calls and entreaties to the superintendent Corbin and his boss Andersen for a repair to the floor went by unheeded. Eventually, after a few months, Mendlovitz received a call at work around 2 pm, that there had been a fire at his apartment. He went home immediately and saw the fire damage to his bedroom. In addition to the burnt area around the radiator, all the windows in the apartment facing 119th street had been knocked out and the front door was broken –in by the firemen.
Subsequent calls to the New York City Arson Investigative Unit yielded a decision of no-guilt on the part of the Columbia University Real Estate Department and within a few months Gershon Mendlovitz moved out of New York State. Within six months of that, he was unemployed.
Further information on this topic may be found at http://www.stopcolumbia.org/ .
To be nobody but yourself, in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
E. E. Cummings