On Wednesday, March 16, President Schwartz agreed to speak with students in the Dorothy Young Concert Hall to offer information about the University’s potential land sale. Students had the option to attend either in person or over Zoom and had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the land sale.
Schwartz began by elaborating on Drew’s financial tactics. He explained how the University is a non-profit, private institution that gains revenue from student tuition payments and alumni donations. This revenue goes directly towards university operations and any leftover money is stored in an endowment. He then went on to explain that each year, 5% of the endowment is taken out and used for student scholarships and faculty support.
According to Schwartz, over the past few years the university has not been able to receive a comparable amount of revenue each year to replenish what is taken out of the endowment. The depletion of these funds has forced him, along with the Board of Trustees, to look into any non-productive assets owned by the University that can be monetized to replace the deficit.
Schwartz and the Board of Trustees conducted an analysis of the peripheral university land roughly a year ago, which includes the area located behind McClendon and near Loantaka Way. The analysis concluded that a total of 40 acres in question is worth between $60-$70 million. The money from the sale would be allocated into the endowment and would allow the University to double the amount of money they normally offer annually in scholarship funds for incoming students.
After deciding that a land sale would be the best option, for the last several months the University has been undergoing zoning negotiations with the Borough of Madison. The land is currently zoned for university use, and has the potential to change its zoning guidelines to either high or low density housing. President Schwartz highlighted his ideal land sale:
“What is interesting to me is that there has been nothing to stop the state, the county or the town from making a proposal to us to buy the land. Our first choice would be to let them buy the land at market value. Instead what they have been doing is negotiating with us over the zoning,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz also reassured students that he has been in communication with STEM faculty to ensure that student research and outdoor class learning will not be affected by the land sale. He also emphasized that the Zuck Arboretum is not a part of the land sale.
“We have environmental consultants, you should also understand that we are not talking about clear cutting. That there will be, even if there were homes, let’s say, that are built, many trees will still remain,” said Schwartz.
Students who have questions about the details of Drew’s land sale are encouraged to email the President’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.