Northwestern University and the City of Evanston today announced a pilot program under which the university plans to have its contractors hire at least 25 Evanston residents for construction jobs on campus each year.

Officials said the university hasn’t tracked local construction hiring until now so it has no idea how many Evanstonians may currently be working on its construction projects.

NU President Morton Schapiro.

University President Morton Schapiro said the school spends about $5 million a year on payments to the city for building permits for construction work — so the potential for additional jobs for local residents should be sizable.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl says she suggested the program to Schapiro as a way to help Evanston Township High School grads who aren’t planning to go to college to launch successful careers, but the program doesn’t have any age restrictions.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl at today’s news conference on campus.

Tisdahl said she also urged Schapiro to keep the first year hiring goal modest — so they’d stand a high chance of achieving the goal and could expand it in future years.

“We’re so much stronge when we do things together,” Schapiro said, noting that just Wednesday, on a trip to Springfield, he and the mayor had met with Gov. Pat Quinn and made a request for state financial help to build a new water reservoir that could help the city generate more revenue by selling water to more communities than its water plant serves now.

In today’s announcement Northwestern also pledged to spend at least $1 million a year on purchases with local businesses. Schapiro noted that he likes to tell visitors to the recently renovated president’s residence that the rugs on its floors were purchased “right on Central Street.”

The city plans to schedule a workshop session for residents interested in applying for construction jobs at the university on a Saturday late next month at the Civic Center.

Potential candidates will be vetted by City staff to determine eligibility. The City will then provide a pool of qualified Evanston residents to Northwestern, which will work with its contractors and subcontractors to ensure that residents are employed on appropriate construction projects to the extent possible.

More information will be available to residents who sign up for the city’s workforce development email list or call 311.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. City staff will look at workers?
    This entire program looks like window dressing, these contractors have there own work force, that is they hire most of the workers back from other jobs. They do not go out and fill up will people off the street.
    The city staff looking at qualified workers, that is a joke.
    Nor are they going to hire high school students, the workers being unionized in most case will go through training programs, the Mayor thinks she running her youth summer job program were they give out make work jobs to a large number of Kids, when in many cases there is NO real work to be done. I recall one public official saying they had 300 hundred kids attend and they had jobs for 200, who are they kidding, if they city has this much work who is supervising all these kids?
    The Mayor should start to ask NU for some real money, like maybe 1/2 the cost of a new Robert Crown.rather than allowing NU to build to their property line and cutting down our park’s trees for a fire lane.

  2. It’s time to strip Northwestern of its tax exempt status

    Northwestern has about $4 billion in endowments so this pledge is a mere drop in the bucket. It's window dressing. It's downright insulting.

    If NU had to pay city taxes it would cost the university far more. It's appalling how much college tuition has gone up in the past decade. NU President Morton Schapiro is in the top 20 of the highest paid private university presidents in the nation, earning $1,25 million.

    NU is not a non-profit and should not be tax exempt. The university charges tickets to it's football and basketball games, receives millions of taxpayer money in the form of research grants and loans, shares royalties with faculty and engages in other commercial activities in theatre, health, sports apparel and food services.

    Evanstonians should sue the city and Northwestern just as Princeton, NJ residents have to strip Princeton University of its tax exempt status. A New Jersey tax judge last June ruled the suit could proceed to trial, overruling Princeton's attempt to dismiss the case.

    Princeton University right now voluntarily contributes $10 million to Princeton's coffers. That's much more than what Northwestern gives Evanston. Our politicians should be demanding much more than promises of hiring Evanstonians or some education program to local schools. Instead, politicians seem to brag that they got NU to contribute something. I think most Evanstonians would agree with me. The only thing lacking is taking the next step.

    Is there anyone who doesn't think Northwestern behaves like a business? It's time to take away the tax exempt status of Northwestern University. Period.

    Don't forget, your property tax bill is due tomorrow.


    1. You’ve got your numbers wrong

      First of all, the suit against Princeton came about because the university shared some of its $500+ million in royalties from a drug patent with faculty in the form of salary increases.  That creates a legal issue for a nonprofit.  

      Second, Princeton voluntarily contributes a bit more than $2 million to their community.  The $10 million figure you cite as 'voluntary' is not voluntary at all– that is the university's share of various taxes that it pays. Northwestern pays a number of taxes too– the parking tax, ticket tax, etc., in addition to other fees such as the $5 million/year in building permit fees (a tax, no?).

      Your dislike of all things Northwestern is  well understood, but at least try to provide honest numbers in your diatribes.

    2. Princeton and NU

      NU tax exemption was granted by the state at or soon after NU was founded.  I doubt any court could undo that.

      NU orignal land grant was to Centtal and Asbury—I don't know about the other boundaries  south and west of campus beside that but given gifts back to the city must be a substantial portton of downtown—so they GAVE a lot of land back to the city.

      Princeton has an Endowment per student eight times what NU has.  It is the top per student of any school I've read about.  Princeton is a bad example for comparsons.

      I think NU has a lot to account for—like their pre-professional sports, ticket prices, vocational training [journalism, music, etc.] instead of liberal arts. If people want to rail against NU they should get their facts and comparisons straight.

      1. We need reps who will force mighty Northwestern to pay taxes

        Times have changed since Northwestern was founded.

        I don't think anyone could argue that Northwestern doesn't operate like a for profit enterprise. Congress in 1917 decided to exempt educational institutions from federal income taxes. States and local governments followed suit. What the state giveth the state can take away.

        All it would take is a voter referendum. If Princeton wins its suit all the better. 

        Our property taxes keep going up as Northwestern keeps buying up more properties and taking them off the tax rolls. A good argument has been made that Northwestern and other top universities now see students as clients and parents as customers.

        Read the book "Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University." 

        Northwestern has $4 BILLION in endowments and its unionized faculty and staff live high on the hog.  Two years ago, Providence city officials pressured Brown University, which has been exempt from paying taxes since the Colonial days, to pay $31.5 million over 11 years on top of "what the school already pays in voluntary remittances and taxes on some of its properties.

        Brown University currently writes checks to Providence for about $4 million a year: $2.5 million in voluntary payments and $1.6 million in taxes on certain commercial and leased property."

        The examples are out there. We just have to elect representatives that will fight for the working class taxpayers. Right now it seems like our local officials are only interested in handing money to help big companies like Trader Joe's and Autobarn as well as playing footsies with Northwestern University officials.

        Our aldermen and the mayor are not going to fight for our best interests like city officials in Princeton and Providence did for their citizens. This should be a top political issue. 

        Remember in 2005 when the Evanston City Council with the help of Jan Schakowsky pushed through an advisory referendum that called for the Cook County assessor to challenge the tax-exempt status of Resurrection Health Care, parent company of St. Francis Hospital, "if it is determined that the health-care corporation does not meet the standards for these exemptions, due to failure to provide adequate charity care and for filing lawsuits against indigent debtors."

        The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 and Democratic politicians pushed for approval of the measure to strip the hospital system's tax exemption status, accusing the hospital of not providing enough charity care. 

        If Schakowsky, unions and city aldermen can provide voters with a voter referendum to take away St. Francis' tax exemption then surely these politicians can give voters a referendum to strip Northwestern of its tax exemption status.


        1. It more than NU not paying taxes!
          The Water tank the Mayor just ask the Governor to pay for with our state tax dollars, is not needed. It is clear if anyone looks at the documents NU wants this tank mored for its developement. The Mayor out of the blue at a capital meeting saids we need a new water tank, the Mayor is totally clueless about the captial needs of the city, she seems to have only one agenda in mind and that is to help her friends.

          It more than NU not paying taxes, it about them misusing our resources, the water tank is one example the city cutting down our trees in our park for their development is another example.

          Its not about NU not paying its fair share its about them taking our resources and giving nothing back, the Mayor’s silly recent jobs program is giving us nothing, how many millions is NU spending on its building program? How about a few million or 1/2 of the cost of new ice rink? One or two fire trucks amount to peanuts.

          There appear to be several public officials and the Mayor who keep on wanting to pretrend NU is the citizen’s of Evanston friend, including the council member who is an employee of NU. While its ancient history some might remember NU was going to pay for a former mayor’s trip to the Rose Bowl, once it was exposed the council decided to pay, to end the issue. That Mayor was a good friend of NU’s.

          NU has only one interest, that is its own, not the people who live in Evanston.

        2. St. Francis

          St. Francis was and is a tax exempt organization. Your vote on this matter registered your feelings and nothing more. See your term "advisory." It might have passed in a landslide, but it was just huffing and puffing.  The IRS and State regulators are the ONLY parties that may  revoke  an instiutions tax exampt status.

          This decision is based upon annual audits, not public hysterics. See the court records from across the country who have ruled in the favor of hospitals. It's not up to "public opinion" about whether or not a hospital pays enough in charity care. It's up to the financial results. Your recommendation failed for St. Francis, as it will for Northwestern University.

           IRC section 501 (c) (3), which regulates foundations for public and private universities, states that the funds endowed must be "organized and operated EXCLUSIVELY for educational purposes." NU's endowment is for however its Trustees deem fit to advance the educational purposes of NORTHWESTERN. It is not petty cash for whatever the latest, greatest idea community residents want to spend it on, no matter how you wish it to be so.

        3. NU or You

          Oh please, NU is not the reason for higher taxes.  The real problem in Evanston is people who don't understand basic economic development.  For decades past, right up to present day, the uniniformed have fought and hindered economic development investments that would throw off long term streams of revenue that would have benefited taxpayers for decades to come.

          It's the people who don't understand the simple structure behind a Gordons foods, Trader Joes, Autobarn investments.  It's the people who fight the idea of boutique hotels, who succeed in their fights and leave Evanston taxpayers with millions in liabilities, who forgo the jobs, forgo revenue streams, forgo progress, forgo proposals that would have been utilized by thousands of Evanston residents every year.  

          The people who want to stop outsiders from standing at their boutique hotel window looking down, apparently with derision or malevolent intent, upon the good people of Evanston while they sunbath. The stop the transient academics crowd.

          Those are the people who bring the most economic harm to Evanston, and have done so for decades.  Those people are the very reason the tax burdon grows, not NU.  Thats a simple fact, to the tune of millions upon millions of forgone dollars.  

          Want to see the problem, look in the mirror, it won't be Willie the Wildcat relfecting back at you.

          1. Northwestern should be taxed accordingly

            If your post is directed at me, I never said NU was the reason for highter taxes. All I ever said is that NU operates like a for profit enterprise and therefore should not enjoy a non-profit tax exemption.

            I understand your argument about some Evanstonians who fight every development imaginable such as a highrise downtown or the city providing incentives for large businesses to open shop or expand in Evanston. To your point, the city used $2 million to land Trader Joes and also netted Gordon Foods. Autobarn probably will be next but note that a competitor who moved his business out of Evanston, Rob Paddor, wrote here that it was a bad business move. I predict Trader Joe's will cause Whole Foods next door to close. The city didn't give up much for Gordon Foods. Please note that the businesses you mentioned –  Trader Joes, Gordon Foods and likely Autobarn  – all received city incentives. So where are the "millions in liabilities?"

            As for the reason for the growing tax burden? Try the other side of the ledger – city expenditures. If you spend more money you need more money.

            There are good arguments to be made on how the city provides incentives to attract businesses. Evanstonians shouldn't just accept every handout city officials give to businesses. There should be accountability, results and common sense. Does anyone really think the taxpayer investment for a Howard Street wine bar is going to pay dividends? Maybe, but I have my doubts.

            There is also a very good argument that NU operates like a for profit enterprise and should be taxed accordingly.

            Don't you think NU operates like a for profit enterprise? 

          2. falling short

            The basis of your post directly links NU operations with local tax generation, examples trotted out about taxes paid by a few Universities to their host communites, calls for union intimidation style tactics to get NU to pay more in local taxes, etc etc.  Everything referenced to Evanston taxes means a logical link to frustration with high taxes in Evanston.

            NU operates like the large University it is.  And anybody who thinks a University like NU survives on the tuition revenue it receives from students is clueless.  All the great programs a University undertakes are funded by the large foundation behind it that supports those programs, and the larger the foundation, the greater the ability to create and operate programs, fund research, develop scholarships and financial aid, etc. etc. etc. 

            Of course it it run like a for profit business, what kind of foolish thinking would say they should run like anything else.  A non profit, and I sit on several non profit boards, needs postive cash flow at the end of the day, a "profit" as you define it.  And every non profit desires more revenue, more "profit" in order to grow the fullfillment of their mission. 

            What defines a non profit is the work they do, and research is part of that work, the fullfillment of their mission, not the size or growth of their budget.  And education is a mission the whole country believes worthy of non profit status. Can valid arguments be made within the large University structure concerning specific things like sports revenue, yes, can the opposing viewpoint in support of the sports revenue streams be made, of course, easily.

            Calling for broad sweeping generalizations about taxing non profits simply because they successfully perform their mission, because they create benefit that grows an endowment that secures their future, enables further growth, is simply short sighted.   

            Your assessments of NU payments to Evanston falls short, your thoughts about operating as a for profit falls short, and your labeling "millions in liabilities" concerning economic development exhibits shortfall in those matters as well. 

          3. NU execs want more “moneymaking” technologies

            Northwestern pursues research as a PROFIT-making endeavor. It distributes royalties from the PROFITS to its faculty. NU's gross licensing revenue reached $191.5 million in 2011, and after doling out cuts to researchers and others, Northwestern netted about $80 million, mostly from the drug, Lyrica.

            Here's a quick quote from a Crains article –  "Northwestern executives now are pushing to develop more moneymaking technologies, looking for another Lyrica." Key word – moneymaking. Why would NU executives care about moneymaking technologies? What's their motive? Education or profit and growth? Is Northwestern growing? Yep.

            Northwestern is in direct competition with for profit companies that specialize in developing new drugs. Why should NU get tax exempt status while these private drug companies can't? Where do you draw the line between educational research and a drive to grow and earn "profits?" 

            Can I start a university that specializes in drug development, license the new drugs, sell it and disburse royalty payments to my researchers and faculty and still get a tax exemption?  

            FYI – Northwestern University has led all colleges nationwide in revenue from inventions since 2008.

            There are Northwestern owned buildings that are commercial in nature and do not function as educational purposes, which is a main qualifier for non-profit status.

            Here's a wildcard – Northwestern football players want to join a union. Why? Because they want to get in on the profits. Is football have educational purposes? Should Jack Ryan Stadium be tax exempt?

            FYI – Northwestern is exempt from Sales Tax, Use Tax, Retailer's Occupation Tax, Service Occupation Tax (both state and local), and Service Use Tax in the State of Illinois.

            Keep in mind, Northwestern enjoys $4 billion in endowments. Yep, I said $4 BILLION – B as in BILLION! 

          4. $4 billion, ain’t much, really.

            Yep $4 BILLION-B as in Billion! WOW! so much money. 

            Talk about a complete and total lack of perspective.  You have no idea how municipal economic development works and you also have no idea what it cost to run an institution like NU.

            Lets put some perspective to that 4 billion your so impressed with, a cursory overview.

            NU has an annual budget of over $2 BILLION each and every year,  Yep,thats $2 Billion spent, with a capital B!  Every year!  

            Tuition from students covers maybe 25% of that 2 billion dollar annual expenditure.  That small $4 billion endowment is capable of covering maybe 20%, maybe, of that annual budget. (Harvard endowment is around 35 billion)  That leaves a shortage of over a billion dollars annually.  In proper context to reality, 4 billion doesn't deserve any big B!!! exclamations of over abundance.

            And yes, NU is a major research University, and they budget around $500 million each and every year in research.  And if you don't think there is anything educational about that, well, there is no sense in attempting to respond to that sentiment.

            Gee willy, a1 time net from Lyrica, 200 million annual in license agreements, to help support the $500 million spent annually in research expenditures, to help grow the endowment, the future, that math is being called a net "profit" ???   

            Guess your right, that $2 Billion annual spending has nothing to do with education, lets tax em, by golly, ain't no book learnin goin on here.  

            Good lord, anti NU hysteria is tiring, but it must be combated.

          5. Residents wanting to do without ?

            I guess the NU hater don't think there is any value in the medicines, medical devises, enviornmental research/products and all the other things NU does–foks it takes money !

            Do these people also want the law school to do away with re-evaluating criminal convictions they feel are flawd, the clinic to provide legal aid to the poor ? 

          6. Anti-NU hysteria??
            You made a comment – in your reply to the AL , he does not know much about Municipal finance, can you enlighten us on the city of Evanston?

            That is why does it appear NU is interested in the Water Tank being moved, I heard from someone who attended the press conference NU president was stating a new tank was needed, I would like to know how he knows that? Why did he and the Mayor talk to the governor about a water tank.

            Also since you seem to know so much – why don’t you enlighten us on the city of Evanston operation of the water department? Please tell me how much profit they are generating? Given Wally can’t tell me that, Maybe you can tell me? My own anti-hysteria analysis shows it losing money, yet the city does not want to provide any numbers to show it makes a profit!

            I am not interesting in NU operation, I am interested if they want tax payers to move a water tank for them at taxpayers expense! Maybe you will enlighten all of us to this matter?

            The issue of the 4 billion becomes more interesting when they are asking us to support their development plans.

    3. NU and Evanston

      In the interest of full disclosure, this comment is coming from a grad student at NU, who takes advantage of the university, but also lives in Evanston, and takes an active role in community (non-university related) groups and wants to see the city thrive, too.

      The one thing that strikes me in all of these conversations is everyone overlooks the fact that NU predates Evanston by roughly two decades.  Some of these concessions made to the university also predate Evanston.  In this respect, without the University, would Evanston even have a profile and identity as its own town, or would it be the next annexed "neighborhood" of Chicago?

      There are also multiple intangibles that the university brings to the town in terms of visiting families, visiting scholars (or is that "transient academics?"), which contribute greatly to the coffers of Evanston.  That's not to mention the countless volunteer hours that NU students, staff, and faculty contribute to numerous Evanston causes.

      On the whole, I truly believe the university contributes far more to the town than many of these complaints allow for.  It strikes me that an argument similar to Wrigleyville could be made here – if you don't like the shadow of NU, don't move to Evanston.  For those that say "my family has been here for generations" – this may be true, but as per above, NU has been here longer.

      Rather than gripe and complain about this institution to whom Evanston owes its existence, perhaps find ways to engage with the university community?  The university's art scence is available to the public (Block, Pick-Staiger, Theatre Program), offering high quality "product" at extremely reasonable rates (consider $8 for the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra vs. $30+ for the Skokie Valley Symphony [which is nowhere near the quality you'll get at NUSO]).  Experience the benefits that a world-class university offers a town like Evanston – it may change your perspective.

      1. Purple and Orange


        I applaud your attempt at balance in the conversation about the relationship between Northwestern and the City of Evanston. As both a proud alumni of Northwestern and proud 22 year resident of Evanston, I could not agree more with your points. For many years, I've tried to raise the same salient points. Evanston is a wonderful community made better by the presence of Northwestern University. I think of the out of town friends and family that have commented to me about how wonderful it must be to live in Evanston, given its lovely lakefront, proximity to the City and all the things NU offers. I think of my neighbors, who  settled here because they discovered Evanston as NU students or are NU employees,  who have maintained local real estate prices through purchase and upkeep of homes. They participate in civic events, are engaged in public schools, and are good neighbors. They are the kind of citizens every community wants to attract, and are in Evanston because of Northwestern.

        I have largely given up. There is a small, but loud, set of Evanston residents who see Northwestern as nothing but a deep pocketed sugar daddy who should bail out fiscal mismanagement then just shut up. If you want some entertainment, attend an Evanston City Council meeting. If it's like the last one I attended, the discussions ranged from gripes about NU bus noise ( I suppose the CTA buses don't make any noise) to litter,  to conclude with the list of things the City will/should approach NU to pay for. It's comedic.

        Most Evanston residents, I contend the vast majority, want to live as partners with Northwestern. They do, and should, expect NU to be a stablizing force for good. Those I speak with think for the most part, it is. But there is a small, bitter but loud group of Evanstonians who will never be satisfied. Their quixotic battle with Northwestern must be their life's cause. Just read some of the comments in this discussion. One suggests that Northwestern should pay for 50% of the renovation of the City's Ice Arena. Imagine the outrage if NU did, and asked for 50% of the ice time. No, NU is just supposed to write the check and shut up, until they are asked to write the next check, and the next, and the next, etc. I would encourage my alma mater to participate in the fund raising for the new arena, and give, but NEVER as a result of a demand. And this demand never seems to be satisfied. Then there is the truly uninformed contributor that suggests "we"should reconsider NU's tax status. Well, unless "we" are IRS officials or Illinois Treasury officials, no one is going to ask us. NU and its foundadtion have complied with IRC 501 (c) (3) regulations annually for many years, and until they don't (which is so unlikely that the idea is absurd) they will retain tax exempt status. 

        I'll close with two pieces of advice, jvds. First, get to know Evanston. Don't allow the few occupational whiners to define this wonderful community for you. I encourage you to participate  in events by the Music Institute, build your creativity at the Piven Theatre, enjoy several fantastic restaurants, take in a movie, and when we experience summer again, all the lakefront festivals. There are well run, focused community groups who focus on youth, women and arts who could probably use your talents. Second, remond people what your school and my alma mater has done for Evanston. We both come fromthe same founder, John Evans. Yes, while Northwestern was here first and Evanston grew up around it, that's a bit irrelevant now. We should want to move forward together.

        1. re: Purple and Orange

          Thank you for your thoughtful response.  Rest assured that (with the exception of Piven Theatre, which I have simply not yet found time for with my studies) I do get to know Evanston in every way you describe.  Perhaps we've crossed paths along the way!  Unlike my many classmates who choose the excitement of Andersonville, Lakeview, Rogers Park, or other north side neighborhoods, I have chosen to remain in Evanston because I do appreciate what it has to offer.

          I recognize that the vocal minority who speak on this issue, laying the blame on NU for all they can are just that, a loud minority – and am glad to read another voice on the issue, so that this minority is not the only voice being projected in these forums.

        2. Purple and Orange- we agree on one point
          Let NU build the ice rink, they will not need it for 50% of the time, then they may get the best times so what? I wouid happy with that. We can then go out of the ice rink business. By the way other Universities have their own rinks, the public uses. They clearly are a money loser, most likely why NU does not have a Hockey team?
          I think we agree on one point the city is mismanaged. Given the gross mismanagement by public officials a group of them are puppets for NU. The Mayor running down to springfield claiming we need a new water tank.
          I would like you to tell me why we citizens should pay to move a water tank, for NU building plans? The tank does not need replaced! I would suggest you look deeper into the water tank issue, you might then understand it is not about my desire to have NU pay taxes, if they want to have the tank replaced for $26 million dollars and moved they should do it!
          The management at NU is smart, I give them credit for that, they are doing a good job,controling certain public officials here, to do things for their benefit versus our benefit.

          Just for the record – I did not go to NU, many years ago, I had watched NU and the University I attended, play football, by the end of the 1st quarter, the score had been run up so far they dumped the entire bench on the field because the score was approaching 50 points, NU now is better, maybe they are getting so good, they may have to pay their football players a professional salary? ( courts can decide this one) Do you think these players who want to get a better salary are a small group of vocal individuals? Or maybe they want their fair share? I happen to side with the players, they are not really in school to learn, the Universities bring them in for their football skills to make money. Ofcourse NU and other schools will tell you different just like the tale some spin here about all the benefits NU give us residents.

          1. Facts?

            I always encourage my alma mater to contribute to causes that benefit the greater Evanston community. And they do. If one of these causes is a donation for an ice rink, I'm in support. I am never in support of demands for charitable contributions, which was your suggestion. Do you allow fund raisers to demand contributions from you?

            Can you provide the documents that NU wants to move the water tank? It's my understanding that the City wants to move the tank due to its limited capacity. The tank is currently on NU property.  To my knowledge, one recommendation is to move it to Long Field, another piece of NU property. This is hardly an example of land grabbing. Frankly, I haven't paid much attention. The NU haters have had the "boy who cried wolf" affect on me. The hysterics have lasted so long and been so frequent, I just assume it's just another one sided tirade. But perhaps you can provide official documentation that Northwestern is demanding that the water tank be moved due to their building plans.

            Apparently a football game played years ago is of some consequence to this conversation, but that's only apparent to you. I am just delighted to learn that my alma mater is now a college football power. Who knew? But since you ask, given the number of current and former football players who came out publically in the press this week to defend NU, it seems that it IS a minority who want a union. Who knows? Mabye this small, disgruntled group who regret that they recievd a education valued at $250,000 for four seasons of football will settle in Evanston and tilt at windmills with the rest of the haters.

          2. Purple and Orange
            I do not use my initials when I comment, I have spoken at City Council on this issue

            I would suggest you watch the last APW meeting of the city council that is were I asked about this and the director spoke, that might give you a better understanding.

            I would suggest you read my letter in the Evanston Roundtable on the City Water Operations

            You can come and talk to me any time you wish about the water Tank

            Bill Smith can give you my phone – I would strongly suggest you paid attention, the city spending $26 million dollars of local taxpayers money or everyone’s money in the state on an unnecessary project is clearly not in anyones interest.

      2. Evanston owes its existence?
        If NU was not here, Evanston would be like any of the other suburbs along the lake, given it is close to chicago it would most likely have more apartments.

        You miss the point, while I has not been a huge interest for me NU pays taxes, lately NU is not such a good neighbor, taking our park trees, the water tank, and it is still very unclear if they are blocking residents access to the lake front from their south campus.Thier planning documents appear to show, the access will now be limited, although certain public officials claim that not to be the case.
        Maybe someone connected to the University will give Bill Smith something to show I am wrong?

        You mention the Unversity’s Art scence is available to us residents, didn’t Wally recently mention NU has no interest in working with the city on a downtown Arts center? I don’t have any interest in watch NU students perform. Most residents want to use the arts for their own enjoyment or watch their children perform not NU students! I rather pay more money to watch professional artists than NU students perform..

        You state NU brings ‘multiple intangibles that the university brings to the town’ We live in one of the largest urban area in the country, NU is a minor player here interms of the arts in the chicago land area, and other things it brings to town. We are not in a rural area were NU would be the major enployer for residents.

          1. Employers

            The largest private employer in Evanston, according to numbers published on the city's EvanstonEdge website, is Jewel/Osco, with 418 workers, placing it ninth on the list of the top 10 employers in town.

            Northwestern, the same source says, is the city's largest employer, with 10,858 workers.

            — Bill

          2. Largest employer?
            While NU may be the largest employer, my point is NU is not the only major employer, we are Not a one company town, such as a small town were the college or Universtiy is the really the only employer. It would be interesting to see how by neighborhoods how many of NU employees live here, and by NU employees I mean those making the median salary in the Chicagoland area and above, not Grad students or TAs. A large number of residents work else where and not in Evanston many commute downtown to jobs. By the way many of NU’s higher paid employees live in other suburbs.

            One of the major reason NU takes advantage of Evanston, is the area around the Campus is stable, not like some Universities were they have been forced to buy up the neighborhoods around them due to Urban blight.NU does not really need to get involved and they do not, their campus plan appears to be cutting the campus off to the community, rather than openning it up for residents to walk through.

          3. Employers in Evanston

            If NU did not exist would we have two large hospitals ?  As far as I know, and others thought the same, from Evanston to Highland Park there is not another hospital within seven miles of the lake.  As far as I know Rogers Park does not have even a semi-major hospital.  Where would you want to be if you had a stroke ?

            Evanston used to have a number of large businesses—Washington National Insurance, Rustoleum, the largest commerical insurance company [Shawn Monahan (sp)] who left explicitly because of taxes, department stores [Lyttons, Wiebolts, Marshall Field] and many speciality stores—you could get anything you wanted.  All gone. Notice all the small manufacturing and service companies that are gone.

            Skokie kept its manufacturing—just go along Main and Oakton.

            Does Evanston want its labor force going into Chicago everyday like Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park does—or do we want to support the few employers left—NU and the two hospitals.  Apparently some residents don't want them. But without them would Evanston become a Wilmette—don't kid yourself, people would not come here given the crime, taxes and city government.

            The hospitals earn their way but NU is supported by parents who pay $$$ for their kids to get what they think is a good education.  Yet NU spends $$$ on facilities, departments/course and administration that have litle to do with a good education.  And the residents wants NU to fund every project they can come up with and pay taxes/gifts when NU's very presence keeps Evanston alive(?).

          4. You’re right to state that NU

            You're right to state that NU isn't Evanstons only employer.  But the simple fact is that NU directly influences so many other employers to locate here. I employ over 60 people in Evanston, almost all of them local residents.  While there are various reasons to do business in Evanston, for me the #1 reason was NU itself.   

            If it were not for NU we would never have located here, and virtually every other business owner I know, and I know a lot of them, covering a lot of different fields, would say the exact same thing. A prime example validating my decision would be how Evanston weathered this recent deep recession comparably well, and I would argue, simply because of the basic stability of NU. 

            And your comments about NU cutting itself off from the community is pretty baseless.  I am not a graduate of NU, yet I receive a constant stream of mailers inviting me to the many various activities constantly occuring on campus.  Not once in decades have I ever experienced anything that would even remotely justify your statement of NU cutting itself off from the community.  

            Finally, the reason the neighborhoods around NU are stable is because NU is stable.  Without NU an easy argument could be made that the neighborhoods would not be so stable.  You really have it all, virtually everything, completely backwards.

          5. New Business in Evanston—How long do they last

            While I wonder about the failure rate of all businesses—established and recent—-the statisttics on firms that start because of the Incubator and in the past the Researrch Park [which the city seemed to seek everyway to doom from arguing over it being a 'nuclear free zone', to constant sniping at], would be of great interest.

            A number of businesses were started by the Resarch Park and Incubator, but what I have seen and people were were involved with them tell me, they can't afford [taxes, rents, useless city pollicy] to stay in Evanston once their 'time period' ends and that the city government is a best 'tolerant' of them. While I believe business should pay their proper rents/taxes and not get subsidies forever [though the Council seems to dole those out to their favorities all the time], neither does it make sense for rents/taxes to be so high for established and new firms that they have to move—even to better deals in Chicago.  Because of NU Evanston should be a minimum a 'mini' technology center—but business can't afford to stay.  Everyone must know of all the businesses we lost that became very profitable for Chicago, Skokie and elsewhere.  One loss was a employee named Larry Page—who started a little company called Google.  While I don't think Google could have been created in Evanston—the Council would surely have stopped that cold—we might have been able to retain more talent that would have created successful and profitable business.  Instead we raise taxes and the Counicl gives gifts to 'its' choose winners.  Net ROI [even considering any side benefits] I suspect in very low for those choices—but then we get no accounting for those gifts.


      3. NU operates like a for profit enterprise

        The gist of my argument is that Northwestern operates like a for profit business and therefore should not have a non-profit tax status. I cited two case examples  – the Princeton court case and Providence, RI, – to support my argument.

        Your response to that is basically I'm a "loud" minority who doesn't appreciate or understand all Northwestern does for Evanston, which "owes its existence to Northwestern." Without Northwestern, Evanston, prime real estate on Lake Michigan and bordering an international city, would certainly exist. 

        You accuse "the loud" minorities of griping and complaining, and that we shouldn't move to Evanston if we don't want to be in the shadow of mighty Northwestern..Regardless of whether I'm a loud minority or not the fact is a good argument has been made that private universities now operate like for profit business enterprises. Don't cha think?

        1. Two?

          You cited two examples of private instiutions providing voluntary payments to munnunities…and as pointed out, didn't even get Princeton right. The Princeton fight was over a income produced by a patent. So, you are down to one.

          Why can't you cite the relationship between Standford and Palo Alto? The University of Chicago and the City of Chicago? Vanderbilt and Nashville? Emory and Atlanta? Baylor and Houston? Harvard and Cambridge? Penn and Philadelphia? Notre Dame and South Bend? Could it be that none support your single example of a university making "voluntary" payments to the neighboring community?

          Of course Evanston would exist without Northwestern. It would look like an extended Rogers Park. Perhaps you'd prefer this option. I like Evanston they way it is.

          You are attributing sentiments to me that I did not propose and do not share. Of course, you should feel welcome to live in Evanston. I recommend that you take advantage of what a world class university offers, a good number are for free, but that's up to you. Another poster contributed that Evanston owes its existance to Northwestern, which is true but less relevant. Still, the facts are that the founders of Northwestern settled the community as Evanston, and that's just the fact. You can speculate on what the community would be without Northwestern. I contend it would be an extension of Rogers Park, but that's just my opinion.

          The past is not as important to me as the collective future of the University and community. It could be a great partnership, such as the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor or Stanford and Palo Alto, where the University produces the research to attract next generation companies and jobs. Some of that has happened here, as In ZS Associates and Leapfrog. A rising tide lifts all boats. Jump aboard.

          1. Yes, two and there probably will be more

            The Princeton lawsuit argues the university violates the provisions of its TAX-EXEMPT STATUS because of patent royalty income AND ITS COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY that SELLS TICKETS to the general public for events and performances.

            The suit "challenges the exempt status of 19 [Princeton] university properties" that it argues should not be tax-exempt because they have non-academic or commercial uses. Every university president in the nation is watching this suit and realizing Americans are waking up to the insanely rising university adminstrative pay and tuition. Some are predicting the $1.2 trillion college tuition debt will lead to another economic crisis..

            It's interesting to note that Princeton officials have begun talks about a new agreement for future voluntary contributions to the town of Princetown. Last year, Princeton University gave a $2.5 million voluntary contribution to the town. 

            BTW- Northwestern has a patent royalty distribution policy.

            Fun fact – Northwestern University has led all colleges nationwide in revenue from inventions since 2008. 

            Fun read – 

            "Northwestern chemist Richard Silverman developed a molecule that limited epileptic attacks. The drug produced $3.7 billion in 2011 sales for New York-based pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc., which started marketing Lyrica in 2005.

            Northwestern received a onetime, $700 million payment as well as big annual fees from the drug's sales. The university's gross licensing revenue reached $191.5 million in 2011, “virtually all” of it from Lyrica, officials say. After doling out cuts to researchers and others, Northwestern netted about $80 million last year, they say…

            Northwestern executives now are pushing to develop more moneymaking technologies, looking for another Lyrica."

            Sound like a non-profit to you?.

  3. Tax Places of Worship Too

    If we're going to tax NU, please tax all the religous institutions as well.  Why should anyone pay for someone else's place of worship, especially when there's one practically every block?  A large house by the lake just came off the rolls because the owner left it in her estate to the very wealthy Archdiocese this past summer.  I don't agree that NU should pay taxes, but maybe it's time to start thinking about all these other "non-profits" that dot the city.  NU should not be so unfairly maligned and singled out. Nonproftis take up 40% of the land in Evanston. That figure includes NU but also includes many other non-profits as well, especially places of worship many of which are very wealthy themselves with rather large endowments.

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