Table of Contents:
1. Racist incidents on campus
2. The bigger problem
3. Our response
4. The administration's response
1. RACIST INCIDENTS ON CAMPUS
Three recent events, all of which spoke to a greater systemic problem at Columbia, provided the spark that ignited the movement.
Although three individual yet interrelated events served for
the catalyst for the movement and prompted the birth of CUCSC, it is
important to realize that some students are forced to deal
daily with oppression, harassment, and marginalization both spoken
and un-uttered. The recent isolated incidents were blatant representations of the
increasingly unsafe environment faced by marginalized members of
the campus community daily. Such thoughtless shows of ignorance
helped to mobolize hundreds of outraged students in opposition to
the perpetual "silencing" of people by those who feel safe enough
to exercise privilege so openly and with no regard for their peers.
The three events were:
1. Insensitive attacks on multiple groups by the Columbia University Marching Band;
2. A poorly executed "bake sale" by the Columbia College Conservative Club that attacked both affirmative action and students of color at Columbia; and
3. The Fed's publication of a blatantly racist cartoon.
2. THE BIGGER PROBLEM
Racism at Columbia is systemic, and its extent is most evident from the testimonials of individual students who have lived with it during their time here.
Read the following testimonials to learn about the experiences of individual students of color--or submit a testimonial yourself.
3. OUR RESPONSE
The eight negotiators responded to those events and to the larger problem on Thursday, February 26, with a proposal to the administration.
The proposal responded directly to the three events by asking the administration for systemic change in the ways in which the University interacts with and supports students of color. It made clear that the events reflect not simply insensitive serial transgressions but also a failure to recognize that the comfort most students on campus take for granted is a comfort some students must fight to achieve everyday. The disappointments, frustrations, and anger expressed are fundamentally products of systemic administrative failures on a number of fronts, which include the failure to adequately address the needs of Columbia's diverse student body.
Bollinger responded on Monday, March 1, with a counterproposal addressed to the negotiators.
The counterproposal was insufficient because it failed to provide a point-by-point response with explanation to the student proposal, as Bollinger had promised to provide.
4. THE ADMINISTRATION'S RESPONSE
In addition to Bollinger's first direct response to the proposal, administrators and campus leaders have issued the following official statements.