The city will be revealing the RFP tomorrow for its new engineering campus, and if history is any guide the mayor will name drop Stanford at some point during the proceedings. The world’s best known computer science university has been playing public footsy with New York during the ongoing bidding process to build a huge new outpost in the Big Apple. But it seems like Stanford’s student body has other ideas. “West Coast, best coast,” writes Kristi, a sophmore who loves hi-tech, swing dancing and walking backwards talking loudly about how great Stanford is to a bunch of sweaty overweight strangers (ahhh, the student tour guide type).
Yes, admits Kristi, New York is a center for finance, media and fashion, but Stanford epitomizes California’s natural beauty and entrepreneurial spirit. “Why mess with that?” asks Kristi incisively. “Were money, time, and resources no object, this might represent an interesting academic experiment. However, in my opinion this is an unnecessary venture that is at best an altruistic publicity stunt and at worst an expensive and distracting dilution of the international prestige of our wonderful University.”
Stanford President Hennessy, a native of Long Island, has been a very vocal supporter of the project, but Kristi isn’t fooled. No matter what anyone says, NYC’s gain is Cali’s loss. “Call me Machiavelli, but what do we stand to gain from a New York campus? We already have our Silicon Valley, with all of the wonderfully symbiotic relationships with industry that it entails. Helping New York found its own tech region would be a retrogressive move, retracing steps we’ve already taken and perfected out west.”
It seems like the rest of Stanford agrees with her. A poll on The Stanford Daily with nearly 2,000 votes found 50 percent oppose the New York extension and 39 percent support. Kristi suggests Columbia and Cornell would be better deserving of Mayor Bloomberg’s largess, a wish which might very well come true.
Overall Kristi’s sophomoric arguments about campus dilution and knee-jerk defense of some coastal divide makes it pretty clear she’s not tapped into the current tech scene. Young entrepreneurs and veteran VCs don’t respect any geographic divide when it comes to great ideas (Facebook, Harvard, hello?). Future generations will continue to embrace remote learning and opportunity powered by globalization. If Stanford brought its brand to New York, it would gain far more from access to new networks in fashion, finance and media than it would lose by dividing its CS campus.
And just for the record, we’re not exactly chomping at the bit to see New York squander its funding on students who spend their time building Star Wars simulations. Our local CS students would prefer to break shit, rock out and create the default location layer for mobile apps.
Follow Ben Popper via RSS.