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Mayor of Ithaca, NY, Says City Faces ‘Cataclysmic Trouble’ if Ithaca College and Cornell Don’t Open in Fall

Mayor of Ithaca, NY, Says City Faces ‘Cataclysmic Trouble’ if Ithaca College and Cornell Don’t Open in Fall

“If the students don’t come back in the fall, we’re in real cataclysmic trouble”

An important reminder that many cities depend on colleges and universities as a vital part of their economy.

CNBC reports:

Mayor sees ‘cataclysmic trouble’ if Cornell and Ithaca College do not reopen campuses this fall

The mayor of Ithaca, New York, told CNBC on Monday that the city’s economy faces dire consequences if local colleges do not hold in-person classes this autumn due to the coronavirus.

“If the students don’t come back in the fall, we’re in real cataclysmic trouble,” Svante Myrick said on “Squawk on the Street.”

Ithaca is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College. Cornell, an Ivy League institution, has more than 20,000 students while Ithaca College has about 6,700.

Myrick’s comments came as Ithaca College announced Monday that it plans to hold in-person instruction this fall, with the autumn semester now slated to begin Oct. 5 — more than a month later than originally scheduled.

Colleges and universities across the U.S. are planning for how, or whether, they can safely welcome students back to campus in the fall. The decision has implications for students and staff, as well as for the financial outlook for schools.

But as Myrick’s comments illustrate, the cities and communities in which schools are located also are impacted by decisions on reopening campuses. College students play a vital role in the economy of Ithaca, a city of about 30,000 residents, Myrick said.

“It’s not just pizza shops and it’s not just bars. It’s not just restaurants. It’s barbershops. It’s nail salons. It’s accountants. It’s law firms,” he said. “The ripple effects of all of our students staying home and not coming back to campus, would be crippling.”


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I guess Ithaca is dependent on college kid money since it ran all of the firearm manufacturers off over the years. Ithaca NY used to be the Meca of the gun manufacturers 50 to 100 years ago. The gun manufacturers have either gone out of business, been purchased/re-located, or moved to friendlier communities down south.

Ithaca used to make a nice line of shotguns. Maybe they should capitalize on their strong suit and expand production of quality firearms for an ever expanding market.

BierceAmbrose | May 20, 2020 at 1:09 pm

Kinda sucks to be a company town, doesn’t it?

Well now, that would be a crying shame.

Albigensian | May 20, 2020 at 5:45 pm

There are towns that have colleges (but they have plenty of other things going on also). And then there are college towns.

Ithaca, N.Y. always seemed more the latter than the former. And it goes without saying that if you’re dependent on someone (or something) you’re going to resent that dependence to the extent that you’re dependent on it.

So, yes, I don’t doubt that Ithaca’s economy is heavily dependent on these colleges continuing to operate. Just as I expect that dependence generates a mighty resentment among those who live there and not associated with either school.

But, it could be worse: you could live in Utica, or one of New York’s other “I can’t remember when we weren’t in economic decline” upstate towns.

The Friendly Grizzly | May 21, 2020 at 8:19 am

“Dey sol’ dey souls,
To uni book sto…”

Ithaca: your city, and also your state, have made it next to impossible to conduct any kind of business without being regulated, fined, and taxed to death. Deal with it.

I think it’s telling that the mayor’s comments don’t include any criticism or even discussion of the wisdom of the lockdowns and closures as a response to COVID-19. I read his statement, and my question is, what’s your point? Do you think the colleges remaining closed is a bad policy? Or are you just whining? Alas, the point is likely just more of the usual: woe is me, I need bailout money from Uncle Sam.

Meet Svante Myrick:

Memo for Ithaca voters: You put this cut-rate Obama into the mayor’s chair. Now deal with him.