No Red Tape Planning Graduation Solidarity Demonstration

Written by

Not here, not anywhere

no red tapeNo Red Tape is asking graduates to attach a piece of red tape to their graduation caps in solidarity with the ongoing struggle to improve the policies and culture around sexual assault at Columbia.

Read on for their letter to graduates, and information about how to get the red tape (bolding by Bwog):

To the graduating students of Columbia’s Class of 2014,

This week, we celebrate all that we have accomplished at this University — and all we have endured. As you may know, this semester, students have demanded that the University take several important steps to reform a woefully inadequate set of services, policies, and procedures dealing with sexual violence that students face on campus.

Although we have been promised some reforms, there has been no significant change to our level of community safety, to the pain and trauma survivors must endure when they see their perpetrators on campus, to the rape culture that pervades this school.

As we prepare to walk across our stages and accept our diplomas, we cannot forget that the responses we’ve gotten remain insufficient and inadequate. The longer we wait for these changes to come about, the more our fellow students remains vulnerable to assault. It is our responsibility to leave a lasting mark on the community we have been a part of for several years.

We ask that you join us this week in an act of solidarity with survivors (your friends and peers), faculty who have shown support for this very important issue, and for the community members who have been hard at work at reforming campus life. By placing a piece of red tape on your cap (ideally parallel to the right side), you will demonstrate and signal to the University that you do not accept your degree lightly, that you understand the culture that they have been complicit in perpetuating, and that you will not stand for it, and that you demand justice and support for all survivors, even as a graduate of this institution.

Sexual violence, and all violence, should not be tolerated. By coming together this week, we will use our voices to assert that it will not be tolerated within these gates. Join us in this act of solidarity and support.


Your fellow 2014 graduates

P.S. Rolls of red tape will be passed around at the ceremonies for the four undergraduate schools (BC, CC, GS, and SEAS), as well as at University Commencement on Wednesday, May 21. If you would like to be a distributor, please contact (860) 371-8717 and/or (307) 277-0024. or show up at any of the distribution locations.

Red Tape Distribution Locations for Students & Faculty:
Baccalaureate Service (All Schools) – Sunday, May 18, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m at (Sundial) (Baccalaureate begins at 9 a.m – St. Paul’s)

Barnard College Commencement – Sunday, May 18, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Outside of Barnard 115th St. Gates. (Commencement Begins at 2:30 p.m. at Radio City).

School of General Studies Class Day – Monday, May 19, 7:30 – 9 a.m. Outside of Lerner Hall/Broadway Entrance (Class Day begins at 9 a.m.)

School of Engineering and Applied Science – Monday, May 19, 3:30 – 5 p.m. – Outside of Lerner Hall/Broadway Entrance (Class Day begins at 5 p.m.)

Columbia College Class Day – Tuesday, May 20, 8 – 9:30 a.m Outside of Lerner Hall/Broadway Entrance (Class Day begins at 9:30 a.m.)

University Commencement (All Schools) – Wednesday, May 21. 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
3 Locations for Red Tape Distribution. 1) 115th and Broadway/Earl Hall Gates. 2) 120th & Broadway. 3) 120th and Amsterdam.

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  1. g(tb)^2  

    "the largest distributor of red tape on campus," indeed

  2. senior

    I think instead of bothering the administration with red tape we should red rum them

  3. dawg  

    ruff ruff ruff!!! ruff!! ruf!

  4. John Bwog  

    red tape -> red graduation -> red wedding -> rains of castamere -> the lannisters send their regards

  5. Anonymous

    I don't disagree with their overall message, but this is just annoying honestly

    • Anonymous

      then don't put red tape on your cap, if you're graduating, and you think it's annoying. It's not like they're disrupting by rioting the graduation ceremonies.

      • GS '14  

        I'm conflicted. I support NRT but I don't want to look like I "stand for [rape]" lest I wear red tape during the hard-earned graduation I pictured.

        GS did something similar two years back where a number of people wrote their student debt (a violent act in its own right) on their mortar boards, I think? I don't think it's categorically inappropriate...but the GS thing had more to do with graduation than this.

        • Anonymous  

          I'm not doing it... but that's the idea. you either wear it or are for rape.

          • Anonymous

            Where in the statement does it say "If you don't wear it, you support rape?" Sounds like a stretch. This is supposed to be to show a little support for rape survivors, not to punish anyone who decides not to wear red tape. Sorry, but it's not about you. It's about the survivors who will be graduating.

          • Anonymous  

            To the anon asking where in the statement..."By placing a piece of red tape on your cap (ideally parallel to the right side), you will demonstrate and signal to the University ... that you will not stand for [rape]." Implication being that if you're in a sea of red caps and don't have it, well then clearly I'm a target for sanctimony (more support for "it's not about you" than my own comment). Show some respect for people who have survived terrible things that weren't rape.

          • Anonymous

            Lol first of all, you rephrased that to fit your interpretation. The full statement is way more nuanced than that: "you do NOT ACCEPT YOUR DEGREE LIGHTLY, that you understand THE CULTURE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN COMPLICIT IN PERPETUATING, and that you will not stand for it, and that you DEMAND JUSTICE AND SUPPORT FOR ALL SURVIVORS."

            That is wayyyy different than "You demonstrate you don't want rape — AND IF YOU DON'T WEAR THE RED TAPE, BOOOO WE'RE GOING TO RAT YOU OUT."

            You're taking something that's trying to take a positive statement for supporters and "spin" this into "they're going to marginalize us if we don't put red tape!" Again, it's really not about you. No one's going to marginalize you because you don't wear red tape.

  6. Anonymous

    This is dumb.

  7. NRT Member

    Factual clarification: This is not specifically coming from NRT as a group. Red tape has been a symbol of anti-rape culture college groups for like 2 decades, and this

    Also, they are not PROTESTING--this implies that they are disrupting the events in some way, which they are not. They are just showing solidarity.

  8. afsd

    If you support rape where green tape on your hat, I know I will be

  9. Another NRT member

    I just want to reiterate, as another member of No Red Tape, that the action taken at Barnard today was NOT done by our organization, as the headline says. It was done by individuals acting on their own behalf.

  10. Didn't get the email  

    Why u no include SEAS in this discussion. Not a single MechE I've talked to have gotten this email.

  11. Analysis

    It seems to me that two new narratives are emerging:

    (1) Because rape (in whatever form) is so horrifying and so terrible, and because the chances of false reporting are so low given the inherent barriers against people reporting -- therefore, we should continue to hold a lower standard of proof. A small number of innocent peoples' lives ruined is an acceptable price to pay as long as the the broader interests of justice and society are served given the heinousness of rape.

    (2) Because rape (in whatever form) is so horrifying and so terrible, the only way to deal with it is an extremist combination of a kangaroo court a la the biased Columbia adjudication process and vigilante mob justice a la No Red Tape. If you disagree with this in any way, you are a rape apologist and no better than a rapist yourself.

    We've seen this before. The response in years past is perfectly apropos for the situation now: "Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

  12. Anonymous  

    I'd always told myself that Bwog commenters were not at all representative of the student body, and now, upon graduating, I'm finally fully convinced of that, just comparing the portion of people who eagerly participated in the demonstration upon hearing about it to the portion of Bwog commenters who are so upset about it.

  13. I didn't  

    ...get this email. Are they like...sending them selectively?

  14. Member of NRT

    As a member of NRT I just want to inform you guys that newsletters have been sent to the parents of all men who have been privately accused of engaging in sexual misconduct. We feel that many of the men who have availed themselves of the privilege of raping the young women at this great institution should explain their conduct to their mother. Sure you can shut out our voices but when your own mother tells you that you are a rapist maybe you'll finally listen.

  15. Kat (NRT Board Member)

    As a member of NRT I just want to inform you guys that newsletters have been sent to the parents of all men who have been privately accused of engaging in sexual misconduct. We feel that many of the men who have availed themselves of the privilege of raping the young women at this great institution should explain their conduct to their mother. Sure you can shut out our voices but when your own mother tells you that you are a rapist maybe you'll finally listen.

    • Anonymus

      Some, if not all of these men are actually innocent, and I would be very careful with assuming the opposite. Don't get caught up in your own activism hysteria. They are empowered now to fight back. READ: (Press Release) - May 19, 2014 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2014): With so much attention focused on the alleged failures of many universities to forcefully prosecute male students accused of date rape and sexual assault, the problem of universities whose judicial proceedings are unfair to the accused, and/or are overzealous because of pressure from female students or otherwise, have been largely overlooked.

      But now a new judicial ruling gives those wrongly convicted a powerful new weapon - they can sue the university, the employees who participated in the proceedings, and even the accused herself in federal court for substantial monetary damages and other remedies, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who was twice called a “radical feminist.”

      After a school tribunal at Saint Joseph's University found a male student to have committed sexual assault arising out of an incident of allegedly consensual sexual intercourse, he took legal action, says Banzhaf, who has been successful in over 100 sex discrimination proceedings.

      The federal court held that he was entitled to sue the private university under the state's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, and that he could also sue the university, university employees, and the female complainant for defamation (slander), with the court holding that their accusatory statements about him were not legally privileged.

      Interestingly, the court said that he could also sue the female complainant for intentionally interfering with his contractual relations with the school; an important ruling, suggests Banzhaf, because for such an intentional tort he can seek much higher punitive damages in addition to general damages. Also, the court ruled that the mere fact that the tribunal found that the male student had committed the wrongful act complained of was not conclusive as to his guilt or innocence, and did not shield the female complainant from this type of legal liability.

      Several additional claims by the plaintiff were not accepted by the court on the basis of the complaint which had been filed, but the court said that the male student was not precluded from bringing up these claims again, provided they were properly pleaded.

      These claims included, said Banzhaf: breach of contract, violation of Title IX (discrimination against him by the school on the basis of his gender), negligence, making public statements which place him in a false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress (which might also warrant punitive damages).

      "Female university students in 'he said, she said' rape and sexual assault cases, who were dissatisfied with the way the school handled the situation, are increasingly seeking legal remedies.

      But now men who feel that the pendulum has swung too far, or that they were not treated fairly in school judicial proceedings, suddenly also have powerful legal weapons on their side.

      Also, says Banzhaf, it is likely that some attorneys will take these cases on a contingency fee basis, so that both rich and poor students can go after both the universities and any women who improperly accuse them. Female students, knowing that they may have to repeat their allegations under oath in open court, may think carefully before bringing any unfounded charges, he predicts.

  16. Anonymous

    To the NRT lynch mob - Seriously, you guys need to calm down. You don't want to be on the wrong side of this very important issue while thinking that you're doing everything right. Real victims of sexual violence need help and justice - not by unfounded accusations but before the court. There are way too many false accusations, way too many, to think that we can just assume that based on one list and names scribbled on bathroom doors that we can shame these young men to death. Way too many women went public with their accusations and even gave details of how they were attacked, just to admit months later that all that was fabricated. This is not helping real victims. Get the facts right

  17. To KAT - NRT

    You sent a newsletter to the parents - Really, you are that irrational? What gives you the right to do that? You think that if Columbia found some "responsible of sexual misconduct", means that they are actually guilty of rape? You are fucking idiots and have crossed the line. False accusations are a serious criminal offense, and you've just committed it - and put it all in your "newsletter". Ho, ho, ho!

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