Ball State is the latest in a growing trend among college campuses utilizing eminent domain to acquire land. The article highlights some other instances such as at Columbia University (which is particularly troubling since the government is taking land from private citizens to in turn give to a private entity--Columbia University-- Kelo anyone??) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Those of you who follow eminent domain law in Wisconsin are well aware of the university's use of eminent domain to acquire the building that house[d] Brothers Bar (As a UW grad and former 310 pound lineman (see left) who frequently attended 10 cent wing night (and ate ungodly numbers of 10 cent wings) this only added to my desire to protect landowners rights!). The property was condemned by the university to build a music performance center.
As the article points out, these acquisitions are not being made for "advancing research or educating poor students." University's are acquiring prime real estate (University Ave in Madison WI) to make money! The UW has plenty of land in Madison to build a music performance center (have you been to the lakeshore area of campus??). However, they want to built it in a prime location right on university avenue next to state street. A place where businesses thrive (even selling 10 cent wings). Why should the university be able to come in, take private property to make more money.
In the article, David Giroux, a UW-system spokesman stated that this was only the 3rd time in 50 years that any of the 26 university of wisconsin system school have exercised eminent domain. However, the University must continue to tread lightly. The University of Wisconsin is a great university, Madison is a great town, but that is not an excuse to walk all over the rights of Wisconsin property owners.