Mar

1

We Know What CUCR Did Last Week

Written by

Breaking news: CUCR President William Prasifka, CC ’12, and David Paszko, CC ’12, have resigned from the CUCR board. Full resignation letter after the jump, and board resignation request here. The Interim President is Tyler Trumbach, CC ’13 (formerly the Executive Director), the Interim Director of Finance is Tom Callander, SEAS’13 (formerly the Director of Operations), and the new Executive Director is Nashoba Santhanam, CC ’13 (formerly the Regent Creative Director). But the big news isn’t that these guys resigned; it’s why they resigned.

Since the story of the Columbia University College Republicans and Ahmadinejad first broke late Sunday night, there have been numerous allegations of wrongdoing traded among us, Spec, and CUCR. Meanwhile, all three organizations were conducting their own investigations and learning different parts of what turned out to be a major conspiracy. Now, Bwog is happy to report that we have the full story. The short version is that, without the knowledge of the CUCR board, David and Will wrote the fake letter to Ahmadinejad (along with two other anonymous people) and leaked it to Spec, only to turn around and get the CUCR board (who had no knowledge of any of this) to release statements to Bwog accusing Spec of “egregiously false” coverage.

Earlier this semester, Will and David started an unofficial sub-comittee to look into inviting Ahmadinejad, more as a publicity stunt than anything else. Without the knowledge of the rest of the board, David wrote a bizarre letter of invitation and Will, using a fake yahoo email account, leaked the document to Bwog and Spec on February 14th. We assumed it was fake, but Will/David contacted Spec reporter Yasmin Gagne, CC ’15, and assured her it was authentic. To help convince her, Will and David someone (probably Will, but CUCR can’t yet confirm who) orchestrated something out of a spy novel: tipping her off that she should check a certain call number at Butler, where they had hidden (fake) price sheets for the potential Ahmadinejad visit—price sheets that later made it into Yasmin’s article. Asked to confirm these and other documents, Will assured Spec they were real.

On Saturday, nearly two weeks after receiving the anonymous invitation, Spec published their story: “CUCR Plans To Invite Ahmadinejad to Campus.” Almost immediately, members of the CUCR board (who had no knowledge of Will and David’s plot) told Bwog that the story was false. A board member sent us a statement disputing Spec’s report, which we published Sunday night. Meanwhile, Spec updated their story to clarify that only “members of CUCR” planned to invite Ahmadinejad.

The next day, CUCR sent a statement signed by all members of the board (including Will and David) stating that Ahmadinejad had never been considered as a potential speaker by the board and Spec’s coverage was “egregiously false.” This statement was technically true—as Ahmadinejad had only been considered by Will and David without the knowledge of any other board members—but incredibly dishonest. This didn’t seem to bode well for Spec. Their star source, who had confirmed to them off the record that he was considering Ahmadinejad, was now all but publicly accusing them of libel. But they couldn’t disclose that Will had misled them, since he had only spoken to Yasmin over the phone both in-person and over the phone, off-the-record. It would violate journalistic ethics to reveal that he had confirmed it was real off-the-record, and besides, there was no paper trail to prove it.

Spec did strongly hint that Will had lied to them in an Editors’ Note, released Monday Tuesday. At the same time, members of the CUCR board came to suspect Will and David had leaked the letter, and asked them to come clean. When they made partial confessions but refused to cooperate further and kept insisting others were involved, the CUCR board made the decision to ask them to resign or face impeachment. At this point, Will threatened to use his power as President to destroy CUCR make the transition to a new president and board as difficult as possible, so the board members got SGB involved. Bwog and Spec learned of the impeachment plan late last night, but were asked by CUCR’s new board not to reveal any details until after Will and David were officially removed, ominously warning that the two of them could do real damage if the news was leaked before they were expelled from the organization. Bwog and Spec agreed to wait; in return, CUCR promised to disclose everything they knew on-the-record and hold a public town hall next Wednesday at 8 pm, location TBD.

This was a messy situation for all involved. Spec’s initial story was incorrect—CUCR did not plan to invite Ahmadinejad—but their reporting was sound. If you can’t trust the President of a student organization when he tells you his organization’s plans, who can you trust? For our part, we do not regret publishing CUCR’s public statements when they were sent to us. Neither do we regret publishing information from CUCR board members who genuinely did not know that their President and Treasurer had set them up. But we did jump to a few unwarranted conclusions: in particular, we assumed and published that Spec had recycled an older public statement from Will and that Spec had misquoted a former CUCR president. These reports, we later learned, were untrue. We regret that our coverage encouraged people to assume the worst about Spec, and indirectly contributed to their freshman reporter Yasmin receiving truly abhorrent hate mail.

Resignation Letter:

Dear Board,

We hope that this letter finds you well. David and I have been growing concerned about the tone of recent meetings. We deceived the Board and members are understandably angry. We are concerned that the longer the reconciliation process goes on, the more personal relationships will suffer. We value our friendships more than our respective positions within the club.

Today, David and I met with Peter Cerneka and discussed the possibility of SGB arbitration. Pete informed us that the process would be long and drawn out – he wanted to begin initial proceedings after Spring break. We do not want that to happen. Therefore, if the board requests, David and I will resign.

Henry Kissinger once said about academia “never are the fights so fierce where the stakes are so low.” We hope that a year from now all members of the board will remember this incident with a sense of humor. David and I plan to release a statement to both Spectator and Bwog later this evening. However, if requested, we will follow the direction of the Board. We would like media outlets to release all relevant documentation to the public.

David and I have enjoyed out time at this club. No one cares about this organization as much as we do; we are sad to leave. We believe that over the last few years we have really shaped the intellectual climate on campus. Ann Coulter, Geert Wilders and the Safe Space Forum were all great events. We hope that CUCR will continue to host events of a similar nature.

Sincerely,

William Prasifka
President
Columbia University College Republicans

David Paszko
Director of Finance
Columbia University College Republicans

Tags: , ,

168 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    Holy shit. Ahmadinegate.

    No wait, that was bad. Something come up with a better -gate name for this

  2. DJ  

    That's a week we'll all never get back. Ugh, life's too short.

    Glad Bwog's learned its lesson; here's Spec's: if your off-the-record source publicly accuses you of libel, you're not obligated to protect that source any more. They could have explained this earlier on and solved a whole lot.

  3. Anonymous  

    So (apart from the comic depravity of CUCR) the story is still the same as it was on Day One -- Spec got played. So what if the documents were psuedo-true? Was there a 1% chance of Ahmadinejad actually considering a visit?

    • Anonymous  

      The story was never whether Ahmadinejad was really going to come to campus, it was whether or not members of CUCR had written a letter inviting Ahmadinejad to campus. Now we know that the latter is true, although the members that wrote the letter concealed it from the rest of CUCR.

      • qt  

        let's be honest though. if you had received that email, you would've dumped it right where it belongs: in the spam folder. the fact that someone followed it up (from a made-up gmail account no less) seems to speak towards a desire for some kind of controversy--with big, bold headline drumming up more jumping to sensationalist conclusions (only for bwog to jump to opposite, but equally sensational, conclusions)

        not saying spec is to blame for this, or bwog. it's pretty obvious there's some fucked up stuff going on behind the scenes at cucr, and good riddance to the resignations.

        • Anonymous  

          CUCR's goal is to prove to the student body that they have taken steps to ensure that this never happens again. They are having a town hall meeting next Wednesday to answer any questions the general body and the Columbia community have regarding this controversy.

        • Anonymous  

          Oh, that makes sense, then. I knew Spec was still somehow to blame for all this.

          No, bullshit. Deal with the fact that Spec did nothing wrong except trust the integrity of Will and David. The story wasn't sensational, but it was notable enough that if Spec didn't run it, it would look suspicious as a cover-up.

  4. Anonymous  

    almost exactly what happened in the girl with the dragon tattoo.

  5. Fuck off, Bwog

    "there have been numerous allegations of wrongdoing traded among us, Spec, and CUCR."

    CUCR didn't know what the fuck their idiot members were doing, and you acted like giddy gleeful assholes at the possibility that Spec had made a mistake. Spec, on the other hand, handled the whole issue calmly and professionally despite the idiocy that you rained down on them.

    • John Roland  

      But who got the story WRONG, again?

      • Anonymous

        um...bwog? didn't spec report this in the first place, and bwog decided they were false before doing any real investigating?

      • That's a really good quesiton

        Except that Spec didn't get the story wrong -- the original headline was CUCR Members look to invite Ahmadinejad. Based on the documents they had, that was true. It may still have been true, or it may have been a joke these CUCR idiots thought it would be funny to play on all of us. Either way, if the president of CUCR confirmed that the documents were authentic, you can hardly blame Spec for taking him at his word.

        I mean, you can sort of blame them, because CUCR is always full of shit, but maybe it's a journalism rule that you're not allowed to assume that sort of thing.

        The point is, Bwog acted like assholes, CUCR acted like assholes, and Spec reported the story they had professionally -- they didn't "trade accusations of wrongdoing" or whatever Bwog said.

        • Anonymous  

          The original headline was "CUCR Board Looks to Invite Achmedinejad," which was wrong. Let's just be clear on the facts.

        • John Roland  

          I don't think we ought to hate Spec because they printed a childish prank as legitimate news. It's an understandable mistake. But it merits a correction. Maybe if the Speccies could lift their eyes from the Bwog comments and talk to one another--seriously, that office is like a library--they'd realize that they're triumphantly clinging to a hedge that wasn't really a story at all.

      • JL  

        Bwog got it wrong...clearly. the headline was cucr MEMBERS plan to invite Ahmadinejad.

        Why did spec print it? because CUCR members had told them that they were. It's as simple as that.

        Then they updated their story to further clarify a strange situation that they had no way of predicting. As Bwog admits, if you can't trust the president to rep. his organization, who can you?

    • Anonymous  

      I wouldn't say Bwog acted like "giddy assholes"; they reported official statements from CUCR members, which in my opinion is no better or worse than Spec. Both were given tips from credible sources they had every reason to believe, and both got played by the frankly horrifying actions of Will and David. The real culprits here are them, not the publications whose credibility got screwed over by their actions.

  6. See I told you  

    Who cares what the CUCR does. They are just a stain on this campus and those bible thumpers (see their website) should take a moment....and SHOW TITS OR GTFO

  7. Anonymous

    like from the coen brothers!

  8. Anonymous  

    "release statements to Bwog accusing Spec of 'egregiously false' coverage."

    way to try to make it look like it was all CUCR accusing spec of false coverage. you should fix that sentence too before you get that wrong as well

  9. Wait a Sec...

    This actually was covered by the retarded specsùcks blog first. No, seriously, you can't make this shit up! They actually legimately had the tip first!

  10. Bwogfail

    Woops. Looks like Spec was right..

    -cc 11

  11. So...

    Did these two guys have something against Spec? What was the play here?

    • I concur  

      Am I missing something here? I feel as though the "why" of this situation hasn't even been brought up. What was the point of creating this fake story with fake documentation and leaking it to Spec? Was it just to get some publicity for CUCR?

  12. Anonymous  

    troll level: republican

    • actually  

      if you've read will prasifka's previous spec statements, he never describes himself as a conservative. more impotantly, knowing him personally, I'd say the better term is "feudalist"

  13. Is it just me

    I am actually really amused by the self-importance the CUCR assigns itself. "We would like media outlets to release all relevant documentation to the public"?

    NO ONE CARES.

  14. Anonymous  

    Can anyone explain what the motivation here was? I can understand them secretly making plans to invite Ahmadinejad and then backtracking once the story leaked that they were planning to do so without the support of the other board members, but leaking the story themselves? Then purposely sending Spec's reporter on a wild goose chase? What's the point of these borderline sociopathic actions?

    • Anonymous  

      They were almost successful in proving that the campus media is fundamentally biased against them - Spec would have looked like total idiots if the whole plot weren't uncovered - and the repercussions for the Republicans would have been, and now are, pretty minor; everyone's suspicions are confirmed, that's all. In all seriousness though, these guys should go on to be quite successful as conservative politicians. Even the spectacular way in which their entire pack of lies came crashing down had a wonderfully Republican feel to it, didn't it? Planting fake secrets in library books? Hoodwinking fresh-faced young reporters? Taking advantage of the goodwill and professional courtesies of your enemies? I am so glad that this is a tempest in a tea pot instead of a real scandal with real people, because this is too much fun to not enjoy.

      • Anonymous  

        I'd congratulate them on a game well-played, but this wasn't even a game well-played! You can't secretly leak a document (notably different than leaking something anonymously), then privately confirm it, then publicly deny it. /Obviously/ the publication in question is going to dig deeper. If Spec reported that "upper leadership" had confirmed it then the blame could ONLY come back to them. They didn't think this through more than one step ahead! Karl Rove would be so disappointed.

      • Seriously though,  

        that's what's gonna happen. This is how conservative politics works. Karl Rove once stole letterhead from his candidate's Democratic opponent and sent out invitations for a sex party. Look at him now.

    • Anonymous  

      Uhh, because they're republicans?

    • Anonymous  

      "The liberal media is making outrageous claims! Rabble rabble rabble..."

  15. only a republican  

    could follow up "shaped the intellectual climate on campus" with "Ann Coulter."

    that's like how i "shaped my abs" by "fasting."

  16. Anonymous  

    deserves credit for the class and grace with which they handled this entire ordeal. They were more or less correct with their reporting, and didn't lower themselves to the level of responding to bwog's childish gloating and taunting (which ended up being completely unfair and incorrect).

    on the other hand, bwog and CUCR are the ones who ended up looking like huge assholes. i think that they owe spec more of an apology than what's been offered so far. spec and yasmin's good reputations were dragged through the mud because of the actions of an incompetent and dishonest political group and this low-class egotistical blog.

    seriously, props to spectator for the way they conducted themselves. and shame on the other two parties.

  17. Anonymous  

    This is so dumb that I'm actually having trouble understanding it.
    My thought process:
    They did what? ... Who did they invite? ... You mean the...bird? The Guy?!? WHY?!? But they didn't really invite him? But they wanted some people to think you did?

    Arghhh MY BRAIN NO GET IT

  18. Prasifka/Prazko:

    You owe Spec, and especially Yasmin, an apology. The incident you hope will be remembered "with a sense of humor" has made a lot of people's lives a living hell over the last week.

  19. cc moderate  

    this was clearly a major mistake on the part of Will and David Paszko. let THEM take the fall for their retarded actions. say what you want about the CUCR but the fact that they were mislead by their leadership reflects poorly on the leadership, not on them. in other words, this could have happened to any organization, by which I mean, two rogue people with some crackpot idea exist everywhere, regardless of ideological side.

    I say the exec board was intentionally misled, they realized that, and there was a clear level of cooperation between cucr, bwog, and spec to get the story straight. for that we should at the very least respect all organizations for trying their damndest to get things right, and hope that the new cucr execs will show a better face for the organization.

    • Anonymous  

      I don't think anybody really thinks the rest of the board is held accountable (unless you think others were secretly in on it too). This is just people projecting contempt for the CUCR as a whole (which has to do with other their past actions, not this one in particular)

    • Anonymous  

      not sure where you're getting the idea that there was tons of cooperation between all parties, unless childish immaturity on bog's part falls into that category.

  20. My guess

    Is that this is some sort of revenge for Spec covering the report that CUCR was going to invite Gilchrest back, which was probably leaked accidentally. Gilchrest probably backed out (given his ridiculous statements on the Spec websIte comments. These two took it personally and decided to try and damage Spec by reporting false information. And they would've got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling reporters!

  21. Anonymous  

    Tyler Trumbach, the next great figure head of an already fantastic organization.

  22. Anonymous  

    Quoting Henry Kissinger, how appropriate.

  23. ...  

    but wait... what if the rabbit hole goes deeper? what if prasifka and paszko are actually plants, working undercover for the sds on a secret mission to paint the cucr kids as dishonest? and what if the sds was actually funded by andrew breitbart, in an effort to promote the idea of liberal hegemony in higher education to drive more pageviews to his blogs? and what if breitbart got his money from george soros, who is putting up a smokescreen to hide the fact that he and shel silverstein were behind 9/11, and the whole thing was just a plot to collect on the insurance money. and what if the insurers were ...

  24. Anonymous  

    I didn't know Glenn Beck lived on campus and trolled Bwog!

  25. Historian

    Join us on wikicu and help us document this so that this may never happen again.

  26. Anonymous  

    gonna make some real class politicians someday. cant wait for them to lead the country.

  27. Anonymous

    Was there a 1% chance of Ahmadinejad actually considering a visit?

    Of course not. He came in 2007 and it caused a huge scandal.

  28. I think it's safe to say  

    that Spec just got a new reader. Not that you lost one, Bwog - I just think that Spec has proved it deserves a lot more respect than people give it & its authors on this campus.

    • Anonymous

      Hahah I hope you enjoy reading about community boards and athletes.

      This episode shows that some didn't do anything terribly wrong, but not that they are particularly good at what they do. I'm going back from "boo" to "meh"

  29. Anonymous  

    They really REALLY owe that poor freshman girl who wrote the first article an apology.

  30. Anonymous

    My hat's off to Yasmin.

  31. former SGB member

    I knew Prasifka was a psychopath that day he came into our meeting asking us to recognise his retarded EDMUND BURKE society, then proceeded to insult Muslims in front of all of us (including two muslim sgb members). I would feel bad for CUCR right now but I doubt the apple falls far from the tree...

    • And yet...  

      SGB approved the Edmund Burke Society. Why is that?

      • former SGB member

        I forget the exact reasoning...he was denied initially but then came back the next year and to be honest i think it was a combination of just being tired of him and a liberal interpretation of rules (for example, there are plenty of activist groups under SGB that may be offensive depending on your point of view).

    • Anonymous  

      If you have any concerns about the future leadership of CUCR, you're invited you to their town hall meeting next Wednesday at 8pm. Location TBD.

  32. Anonymous  

    He started the Edmund Burke Club (Society?) at Columbia two years ago.

    I don't think you say he's not a conservative - Edmund Burke is the classical definition of a conservative!

  33. A favor for me bwog

    Can you interview an expect on public relations and get their take on how this whole mess can be cleaned up by all parties. I would love to see what a professional has to say. I'm sure someone studies that here.

  34. A dad

    As a parent, it grieves me to see so much time and goodwill wasted by cynical and misguided ambitions. Our nation needs journalistic integrity more than ever; this type of episode sends us further down the toilet.

  35. William and David

    For real, all laughing at you aside, If you need someone to talk to and are feeling like harming yourself please contact these people https://www.imalive.org/

  36. Redeant et Aurea Regna

    So true. Will indubitably mourns the day when his progenitors fell to the advances of industrialization and their serfs became urbanites.

    • Redeant et Aurea Regna

      in response to whoever defined Will's political views as "Feudalist"

      • lol  

        redeant et aurea regna doesn't really mean anything. ("redeant aurea regna" could mean "let the golden reign return," and "redeant aurea et regna" could be a mildly funny bilingual pun ("let the reign and the rein return"). I'm assuming this is a reference to Virgil's eclogues, though, in which case the line ought to be "redeunt saturnia regna" - the reign of saturn returns - which signifies the return of a primordially conservative, fundamentally agricultural golden age, and, for those of you who don't know - was (is?) the motto of the Edmund Burke Society, for obvious reasons.

  37. Break News!! Break News!!

    Hello. I am wealthy former Russian oil magnate, who had privilege to make huge fortune in lifetime. But recently doctors have diagnosed me with terminal health condition. I am now giving all of my assets away before I expire, and I need your help. I have very large sum of monies in US bank, but I need person with US passport to go to bank and pick it up and to send by mail. Will offer 2 million dollars US to anyone who is willing to give me necessary quantities of postage stamps. PLEASE FORWARD to COLUMBIA SPECTATOR.

  38. Anonymous  

    republicans.

  39. typical  

    republicans.

  40. Anonymous  

    "This was a messy situation for all involved. Spec’s initial story was incorrect—CUCR did not plan to invite Ahmadinejad—but their reporting was sound."

    Just wanted to know if Bwog was for real on this one.

    If the president of an organization says that they want to invite Ahmadinejad I think it's fair to say that CUCR did have plans to do so. Obviously an individual is not going to invite Ahmadinejad to Columbia, it has to be through a group. And he was speaking as the president of CUCR.

    I know it sucks to be wrong after you had your totally immature gloatfest but you guys sure spent a lot of time saying Spec should correct itself when in reality you were wrong and you still are. Take a page from your own book and admit it.

    • A guy who knows things  

      The board never had any intention of bringing a terrorist supporter to campus. He met outside the organization and circumvented the Executive Board's authority. That is why the Board asked for Will to tender his resignation.

      If you have any questions for the new Executive Board, please feel free to bring them to the town hall meeting on Wednesday at 8pm in a location TBD.

  41. Um  

    What I take away from this:
    Spec seems gullible; Bwog seems trigger-happy.
    -shrug- 99 problems.
    (Bring on the downboats.)

  42. Anonymous  

    Geert Wilders was a great event? Hate mongers. Glad to see you go.

  43. Anonymous

    Prasifka/Prazko 2012

  44. Anonymous  

    Well, I guess now that Qaddafi, Osama and Hussein are outta the question, Ahmadinejad is in high demand.

  45. Ahmadinejad

    Uggh... C'mon, you guys - I already bought my ticket!

  46. bwog  

    you should cover Prasifka and his blogs (if they are indeed his). the creating different characters on them that fight with each other. he seems insane.

  47. BREAKING NEWS  

    Although Ahmadinejad may not be coming to campus, an anonymous hipster has informed us Puppy Cops are set to make a special cameo instead!

  48. Anonymous  

    This whole situation shows why Columbia needs both Bwog and Spec. They serve very different purposes. Spec followed the journalism rulebook to a tee, but what they reported wasn't the full story. Bwog is not a news source in the same way Spec is; they brought up and ran with the fact that this letter to Ahmadinejad was clearly fishy. Both relied on sources that, to the best of their knowledge, were completely trustworthy, and had both not been involved, the scheming assholes in charge of CUCR might not have been shown for what they were.

  49. Dendrologist Jones  

    I prefer a luscious white oak.

  50. I, for one

    Can't wait till orgo night, it's going to be really funny.

  51. Anonymous  

    All these people squabbling about Bwog this and Spec that are missing the point. CUCR is clearly full of a bunch of two-faced lunatics. I hope nobody ever lets these two assholes forget about this.

  52. Anonymous

    Where are the ethics and honestly of people today?

  53. Viva la Spec!

    At least Bwog (kind of) admitted that they acted like jerks!

  54. Anonymous

    uhuh. Spec technically played by the rules; having said that, the fake email was so fuckin fake, they should have employed their common sense.

  55. More evidence  

    of the Republican party imploding at virtually every corner

  56. CS major

    It also looks like you were trying to reply and couldn't. Doing anything hierarchical in SQL is a drag, so I'm not surprised Bwog didn't get it exactly right. They're probably doing adjacency lists which require a bunch of self joins equal to comment depth and suck to update because you have to go up the whole tree and work at like three different levels when things get dropped -- if Bwog's curious, nested sets are the way to go. Although if you're not doing something custom in the DB and just extending the base Wordpress threading you're entirely fucked.

  57. ladies and gents  

    the future dick cheney's of our country!

  58. Anonymous  

    tyler trumbach is the master of slipping in when little squeenies make a fuss

    let furnald 3 be a lesson to all : beware trumbach's rise to power!!

  59. Anonymous

    cool story bro

  60. Anonymous  

    ouch. someone is getting rejected and vengeful.

  61. Anonymous

    BWOG KILLED BREITBART

  62. Anonymous  

    How is this comment staying at the bottom? What witchcraft is this?!?

  63. Anonymous  

    It may have been orphaned.

  64. Anonymous  

    if the thing you were responding to was deleted, your comment drops to the bottom of the page for all eternity

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