Press Release


For Immediate Release

April 4, 2006                          

Daphne Rubin-Vega           646-270-9220
Anthony Walker             313-505-0230   

Stop Hate on Columbia's Campus

WHAT: Rally to protest hate crimes and lack of administrative response

WHEN: Wednesday April 5 at 2:00pm

WHERE: Low Plaza, enter 116 th and Broadway

Columbia students will rally on Wednesday April 5, 2006 against institutional racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. Six hate crimes on Columbia University's campus   within the 2005-2006 academic year have spurred many students to say "enough is enough." Recent incidents have included racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic graffiti in public spaces and student dorms.   Students who are part of a wealthy literary society threw a bottle and yelled homophobic slurs at a student passing by on his way to his dorm.

Diversity on Columbia's campus is not a new issue. In 2004, there were three incidents that took place on campus including a cartoon in the Federalist paper, an anti-affirmative action bake sale, While students protested and won the creation of an Office of Multicultural Affairs for undergraduates, President Lee C. Bollinger made no substantive commitments to systematically address bias and inequality university-wide. This year, when students organized under the banner of Stop Hate on Columbia's Campus (SHOCC), it took more than three months for President Bollinger to meet with them.  

SHOCC and allied student organizations held town halls and speak outs that led to the formulation of eight demands addressing issues of hate and institutional oppression. The demands include policies to report, document and publicize hate incidents; increased diversity training for students,   staff and faculty; a central administration office dedicated to student diversity issues; changes in the Core Curriculum to address Eurocentric bias; and creation of more safe spaces on campus for students of color and other marginalized groups.

When students met with President Bollinger, he provided only empty rhetoric and referred students to lower level administrators. Yet students have been meeting with various administrators throughout the university since 2004 and see a lack of action. Students are asking for the president as well as other administrators to be proactive in their commitment and vision of a university that truly values diversity as a "core value."  

Columbia College junior Daphne Rubin-Vega of SHOCC said, "Hundreds of students have mobilized to show their outrage that hate crimes can happen on our campus and the administration can't get its act together to respond."

This week, SHOCC is spreading the word by encouraging all of its members and its supporters to wear black as a show of solidarity with the movement, to pass out flyers, leaflets, and pamphlets to educate those who are disconnected from the campus happenings.   There will be other publicity campaign efforts like "dorm-storms," where students will go door to door inside university dormitories passing out literature and asking people if they would be interested in both learning more and being apart of the effort.   Students will also form a "Safe Space Circle" on Tuesday, April 4 to educate the campus about the history of SHOCC's demands. These activities will lead to a mass rally on Wednesday, the day that President Bollinger is expected to return from Asia.

What is a Hate Crime?

Hate crimes include any and all forms of speech, writing, literature, or expression that stereotypes, marginalizes, denigrates, and isolates an individual or group based on an aspect of his or her identity. Hate crimes challenge an individual or group's sense of self, safety, and belonging within their community. Hate crimes on campus deny the safe space to which all members of a university are entitled.   Hate crimes on campus make Columbia a dangerous place to be.

Background on 2004 Racist Incidents

In 2004, a cartoon in the Federalist paper   (Columbia funded/supported publication) named "Blackey Fun Whitey" that parodied Black History/Heritage Month and stereotyped blacks as "cheap labor." The affirmative action bake sale, which was part of a wave of such displays across the country sold the price of goods based on sex, gender, and perceived level of "oppression." The Columbia Marching Band flyers such as those saying "Said: 0, Yahweh: 1" to commemorate the death of a Palestinian professor in the Middle East Asian Languages and Culture department Edward Said, put into direct opposition several communities with long histories of cultural, societal, and lifestyle misunderstanding. Black students led a mobilization to decry these acts by holding a week-long silent protest on the steps of Low Library in which hundreds of students dressed in black in a show of solidarity. In 2006, as in 2004, students will not tolerate acts of hatred and are mobilizing for lasting change.


Spectator Coverage

Op-Ed: Power Concedes Nothing March 29, 2006 When students demand concrete commitments to diversity at Columbia, senior administrators provide little more than patronizing platitudes. After a long awaited meeting yesterday between President Bollinger and the students involved in Stop Hate on Columbia's Campus, I am more convinced than ever of the truth of Frederick Douglass' dictum that "power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will."

STAFF EDITORIAL: Confronting Hate
March 29, 2006
Earlier this month, homophobic messages were found on the door of a suite in East Campus. The messages were particularly disturbing because one of the occupants of the EC suite is an active member of Columbia's gay community. Dean of Student Affairs Chris Colombo took the first step toward proving that Columbia is taking this incident seriously by sending an e-mail to the student body yesterday. Nevertheless, it is troubling that it has taken the administration two weeks and pressure from the students, most notably those involved with the Columbia Queer Alliance, to make a public response.

SHOCC Calls Sudden Meeting
March 30, 2006
After meeting on Wednesday morning with University President Lee Bollinger and other administrators, Stop Hate on Columbia's Campus held an emergency open meeting last night to address its demands and discuss its strategy for the future.

Op-Ed: Hate Crimes and Fire Alarms
April 03, 2006
As far as I know, my boyfriend is not gay. He said the following to me: "How did people find out about the vandalism in EC? If someone had written something like "fuck fags" on my door, I just would have shrugged it off and forgotten about it." His lack of concern may be due to his sexuality, but his ability to write off recent events as mere pranks is disconcerting--especially if it is indicative of greater campus sentiment. Certainly the tardiness of Dean Colombo's explanatory e-mail implies that there are more pressing matters on the administration's minds. Does this then mean that hate crimes are becoming common enough on campus to merit the same attention as an accidental fire alarm?

SHOCC Kicks Off Campaign
April 03, 2006
After another planning meeting Sunday night, the student coalition Stop Hate on Columbia's Campus announced that it had finalized plans for a sweeping three-day awareness campaign beginning today and culminating in a large rally on the Low Steps on Wednesday, the day Lee Bollinger returns from a trip to Asia.

SHOCC Alters Campus Tactics
April 04, 2006
Four months after the creation of Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus, a student group which formed after a vandalism incident in Ruggles Hall, the group’s leaders decided they needed to change their strategy. After the incident in December, they formulated a list of demands which they sent to University President Lee Bollinger and other top administrators. The students met with administrators twice last week. Feeling that little progress was made, they decided to reach out to more students and take a more aggressive approach.

SHOCC Begins Public Rallies
April 05, 2006
As Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus enters the third day of its “action plan” today, support from student groups and individual students grows. Organizers have put student awareness and involvement at the top of their list of priorities, holding public demonstrations, posting fliers around campus, and campaigning door-to-door in residence halls. The outreach efforts, which began last week, are designed to build support for the group’s eight demands and to encourage students to attend the rally today on Low Steps, which will take place from 2 p.m to 6 p.m.

Op-Ed: An Absent Administration
April 05, 2006
Eighteen days. It took 18 days for the Columbia administration to publicly condemn the hate crime vandalism that occurred in East Campus. The vandalism comes under the specter of the Ruggles hate crime vandalism that occurred just a few months prior. The mounting frustration comes, in part, from the administration’s lethargic response to the EC incident. But it is also frustrating to face the harsher reality that Columbia may not be as safe as it purports itself to be.

Letter to the Editor: SHOCC Protects Students Against The Tyranny of the Majority
April 06, 2006
SHOCC is a group of marginalized students and allies seeking to create a more just campus community. Many of us are people of color, queer, women, and working class, but we have not come together as mere representatives of our groups. Our commonality is our alienation and support for each other. We are rooted in a history of protest and self defense by students of color, LGBTQ students, and women at Columbia stretching back at least 40 years.

Anti-Hate Group Rallies on Low Plaza
April 06, 2006
Some students just walked by, while others approached those dressed in black to take fliers and ask questions. Yet regardless of each individual’s response, the ad-hoc coalition Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus got what they were looking for yesterday: something students would be unable to ignore.

SHOCC Boycotts Mona Lounge
April 10, 2006
In an expansion on its previously stated scope of activity, Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus is calling for a boycott of a local bar after alleging the staff there mishandled an incident of sexual assault on a Columbia student Saturday evening.

April 12, 2006
Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus, the new anti-hate group on campus, has in many ways already lived up to its acronym, SHOCC. Administrators seem shocked that students can so effectively mobilize, and students seem shocked that a singing circle can be so frightening. The organization has been successful in some key areas, including pressuring an administration whose response to diversity issues on campus would be comical if it weren’t cripplingly depressing. Clearly, SHOCC has been most successful in raising campus awareness of diversity issues. But despite this success, and the admirable aims that precipitated it, SHOCC needs some important touch-ups if the members want to effect real change.

SHOCC Meetings Yield New Success
April 14, 2006
Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus, an ad hoc student group which formed in December, continued demonstrations and discussions with administrators this week, seeing the partial success of several of its demands. Though the group staged fewer public events, it organized a discussion about the Core Curriculum on Low steps Thursday, and is planning more direct action for the future.

Op-Ed: Stop SHOCC Now
April 19, 2006
The administration owes it to the Columbia community to promote tolerance and not a radical agenda, mutual respect and not racial empowerment, assimilation and community and not institutionalized favoritism. Over the last few weeks, however, we have heard the opposite rhetoric emanating from a new campus group. Its name is Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus, and its agenda is extremist.

Letter to the Editor: Kulawik’s Column Betrays Narrow-Minded Lack of Research
April 0, 2006
In his article “Stop SHOCC Now” (April 19), Chris Kulawik has displayed his usual laziness and disregard for research.