Office of Public Information and Communications
Columbia University
New York, N.Y.  10027
(212) 854-5573

Fred Knubel, Director of Public Information
April 15, 1996

Statement by Columbia University on Advancements in Ethnic Studies:

Today Columbia University re-affirmed its commitment to providing a myriad of courses on the world's rich cultural traditions, including in particular the African American, Asian American, and Latino traditions as they are developing in this country. Concurrently, Columbia announced that the student occupation of Hamilton Hall and the hunger strike undertaken by three students in support of this protest have ended. The students left the building at 6:50 P.M.

The protesters and the administration have come to an agreement that the University, which has already committed substantial resources to building programs devoted to the study of these traditions, will continue to do so and do so aggressively. Since there was no significant expressed support among faculty for an ethnic studies department, the University could not support such a department and none was created. The University will however continue its initiatives in the way of faculty appointments and curricular development in multi-cultural issues and the American cross-cultural experience, and those will be moved forward vigorously.

Columbia welcomes dynamic discussion of differences on this campus as long as the rights of all participants are respected and normal functions of the university are allowed to continue. We believe such lively debate reflects an exceptionally bright and socially committed student body that almost always, in spite of the difficult issues sometimes raised, deals with them in a constructive way. While we regret that during this protest some actions were taken that temporarily interfered with the rights of the majority, we are very pleased that all of us have now found common ground. We look forward to moving ahead from here.