Campus Activists Create “Disorientation Guide”

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disorientation guideVarious student activist groups have created a “Disorientation Guide” for Columbia University to inform new students about activist and left-wing issues surrounding the university.

The guide, which can be viewed here, was made by “student activists committed to supporting a culture of dissent and politicization on Columbia’s campus” with contributions from members of groups such as Student Worker Solidarity, No Red Tape, and Columbia Prison Divest.

Similar guides have been created in 2000 and 2002. The 2014 guide includes more about history than the previous guides, several perspectives on the core curriculum, and warnings about “corporate feminism.” The 2014 guides takes a more oppositional approach to the Columbia administration and bureaucracy, warning that “Administrators are not your friends…ever…” and “[s]enators, student councilors are frivolous, their only power comes from an agitated student body.”

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  1. Anonymous

    And I thought I was going to have to actually buy toilet paper this week. Thanks left-wing activists!

  2. disappointed

    it's incredibly disappointing to see important activist groups on campus (No Red Tape and SWS stand out, but others as well) ally themselves with the drivel that comes out of groups like SJP and ISO. Our campus community needs to come together to fight against sexual assault and discrimination and fight for ethical dealings at Columbia. Including SJP and their anti-semitic activism ("who, us?? we don't hate jews, only the zionist menace!" seriously, shut up) in this booklet only serves to divide our community.

    also, whomever is capable of creating the confrontational idiocy on page 10 ("Smiles and Lies") clearly doesnt understand how to get things done on this campus.

  3. Just saying  

    Should the admins fund student groups that base themselves in fervent and unconditional opposition to the administration? I'm all for free speech, but the admins shouldn't be funding their self-proclaimed foes.

  4. Oh hell no  

    "Barnumbia" will not, I repeat, will not become a thing. It's Columbia University and the closely-affiliated yet independent Barnard College. Get the fuck over it already.

  5. BSGS

    I've never taken the time to have a list of all of the annoying/ wrong/ silly/ whining clubs/ groups on campus. Thanks unempirical nonsense sayers!

  6. Arsene Wenger /Fuck Off Sanogo/ edition  

    TL;DR - Freshman please join us activists and be cool and edgy

  7. Anonymous

    wow, this is bad lol

  8. Get an editor

    Regardless of whether or not you agree with the opinions expressed in this document, you can't deny that the whole thing is riddled with typos, cut-off text, eye-cramping formating, and tons of other unprofessional errors. Maybe the administration would be more likely to take us seriously if we stopped using "American Typewriter" font.

  9. Anonymous  

    what total trash

  10. Anonymous  

    Does the section of the disorientation guide inviting students to LIBERATE! themselves by joining a hiking club strike anyone else as hilariously out of place?

  11. Anonymous

    This is actually terrorism, Having terrorist threats against the university until you get your way is bullying and terrorism. If you don't like Columbia, please go to another school. Easy. Why come to Columbia and bully people? 99% of us like it and appreciate it here.

  12. CC 2015

    The tone of this, especially the "Smiles and Lies" section is horrifying.

    I would not disagree that the administration is often slow in response, clunky, and overly complicated but what this document aims to do is not the correct away to affect change.

    Instead of creating a destructive, combative, and overall unhelpful document aimed at creating drama over an institution that you choose to attend, why don't you help make productive differences in your community? Create something positive at Columbia, whether that be a new tradition, a new event, or new program. Otherwise, support the existing communities that work hard to help students, befriend and mentor those that feel neglected/alone.

  13. Drool

    Love how Columbia kids take themselves sooo seriously like they actually matter

  14. Anonymous

    I actually think this year's was worse than the past. Note the section on administrators (still titled "Smiles and Lies" from 2002).

    "The Art of War (with your administration):

    1.Always find out who has the final say, and deal only with
    him/her. Sometimes decisions are made by the President,
    sometimes by lower-level administrators, but it is important to
    research who has the real power and not let administrators pass
    the buck to the president, or let the president send you to useless
    meetings with powerless people. They will try.

    2.Never meet with an administrator without first building a
    group of students who support your goals. Find some way to
    display this: a petition, lots
    of students at a meeting with
    administrators, or students
    wearing a symbol of support.
    And never attend a meeting
    with less than three students.

    3. Know your
    administrator. A closet
    liberal? Pull his heart strings.
    An evil bastard? Keep
    detailed notes of all things he
    says. Play administrators off
    of each other. Make them
    seem like the brilliant ones
    for coming up with your
    idea. Find out who has the
    president’s ear.

    4. Beware of “death by
    committee.” After ignoring
    you, they may decide to
    “study” the issue with administrators, faculty, and a token
    student rep—maybe even you. Sometimes there is no way
    around a committee, but always give it firm deadlines and keep
    up the pressure, or all it will do is issue an inconclusive report.
    Demand that all committee meetings be open to the public.

    5.Have clear, short demands.

    6.Remember, Columbia is one of the few universities with a
    Senate in which there are student Senators. They are your reps
    and often take their jobs seriously, and they actually have some
    power. As the Senate’s decisions are often listened to, this is a
    process you may want to get involved with. However, beware
    rule 4.

    Now go out there and win!"

    Actually useful, unlike this drivel.

    • bc14

      ^ That is actually pretty good. May I add an impromptu #7:

      Whatever you're fighting for, make sure you have freshpeople onboard. Most students are already in their junior/senior years when they decide to challenge a serious problem on campus. I'm not saying that there's a conspiracy, but it's extremely common for admins to indulge said students for 1-2 years until they graduate, and then drop the issue entirely. This is why so many of the time, students dig into archives/institutional memory and find repeated failed cycles of the same movement reoccurring every several years or so. Institutionalize the activism in some form, and pass on knowledge/tools/memories.

  15. Hmmm  

    You mean like creating a fall welcome Bacch concert aimed at promoting positive change on our campus including increased education about sexual assault and bystander intervention. We tried that...

  16. Binfinite

    "We chose not to name individuals for the sake of solidarity."

    when you cloak yourself as the vox populi, you don't even have to take responsibility for your words and actions.

  17. anti-leftist student

    Reaction: *silence*

  18. LOLOL

    If leftist want to shoot themselves in the foot, I have no problem getting out of the way.

  19. Sage Alumnus

    Dear Columbians,

    It appears not much has changed since I was in your shoes compalining
    about the University. My advice to you is:

    Enjoy your time as an undergraduate and be respectful of your
    fellow man.

    Discussion is sharing of ideas, but argument is sharing of

    Bon Vie!!

  20. Anonymous

    Scanning the list of comments to the recent publication of the 'Disorientation Guide', I have yet to find a single reference to any of the issues, arguments, or figures produced in the text itself. Instead, this anonymous peer review has decided to focus solely on deriding the character of the authors involved, labeling them everything from "nazi sympathizers", "subhumans" (a term canonized by the Nazis themselves, today most commonly used to describe Palestinians and their supporters), and "terrorists", even going so far as to say that they do not merit the constitutional right to free speech. But this comes as no surprise. Such energetic character assassination (and such disregard for substantive criticism) is typical of countless regimes, polities, and institutions throughout history whose isolation renders them helplessly panicked and agitated when dealing with matters they do not understand. Your defensiveness is a symptom of your ignorance, your incapacity to grasp the nature of problems foreign to your own thinking, either because of your social privilege, or because of your unwillingness to confront the actual causes of injustice (or both). Frankly, I doubt that any of the creators of this anonymous sophistry have even the most basic tools necessary to comprehend the complexity of modern history and current affairs, let alone to interpret it empirically. Yet have no fear! After all, I am a socialist, I am a pro-palestinian, born to a family of anti-zionist holocaust survivors (misguided folk, naturally), and I spend more time studying history, science, and politics than I do currying favors for financiers or raping women in frat houses - so, for the love of God, before you take anything I have to say seriously, remember: all that comes out of my mind is degenerate "drivel", and misinformed "nonsense". It's alarming how closely your language resembles that of the House Un-american Activities Committee (HUAC), or COINTELPRO documents, for that matter. Don't feel ashamed if you don't know what these terms mean. Go look them up! There's the first step towards self-education, dear reader - the thirst for knowledge.

    • Alumni

      You all are at an Ivy League school, and have the best chance to make change for the better on a global scale by excelling through school and gaining leadership positions with actual power. Not by protesting like outdated hippies, which simply shows lack of complex organized action and an ability to understand the complexities of the modern world.

      And no, gathering in a mob and getting 100 people to sign a piece of paper is not complex organized action; running a billion-dollar corporation or mitigating the needs of millions at once as a political leader is complex organized action.

      I assume some applied to Columbia since they were the liberal or sole minority at their high school, but you are really taking your only true opportunity for widespread change and throwing it in the garbage by spending all of your time waving signs and shouting. Yes, protest will achieve change one times in a million, but change is achieved by those in power the other 999,999 times.

  21. Pre-Med  

    While it was an interesting read with some good points (and others that I personally disagreed with), I still have one big question.

    Why the hate on doctors and other professions?!

    "Maybe you're right on track to get that job as an investment banker, consultant, tech entrepreneur, doctor, or whatever other position has been described for you as "success" or maybe you've already decided that's not what success looks like"

    I speak only for myself, but I want to be a doctor to help people, particularly those who historically have not had access to the highest quality of health care.

    I know from speaking with my friends, they want to use their more "traditional" career paths to make the world better. Whether it is the future tech entrepreneur who wants to work on modernizing the energy grid so we can better utilize alternative energies, the consultant that wants to advise non-profits on how to leverage government and private sector resources so they can scale up, or the finance kid (yes the finance kid) that wants to manage microloans or microinsurance to empower those in the developing world.

    There are lots of people who are working for the social good, trying to make this world a better place. Activists do not have a monopoly on it and negatively categorizing those who want to take more traditional routes is simply self-defeating.

    • This is a good point  

      Thank you!

    • Anonymous  

      I think the idea of this isn't to say that the people going into these fields are terrible, but to say that there are other definitions of success. Many people become doctors because their parents want them to. That's not to devalue the importance of doctors, and I know many pre-meds who are great people. However, the point here is that students should make sure that the fields that they go into are what they really want to do, and that they're not just doing it because they want to be "successful."

  22. Leftist  

    I'm a self-identified Leftist and I think this guide is try-hard, contrived, pseudo-intellectual hipster garbage. Vile writing, combative and circular rhetoric, and a general malaise/obsession with negativity pervades the thing. Don't waste your time, folks.

  23. Anonymous

    If you take time to actually fight to defend a narcissist, they will demean you for being distracted from adoring their hind.

  24. Really?

    Every one of those groups (including No Red Tape - shame on them for basically becoming the sex wing of the campus socialists) was willing to call out capitalism as "abusive"? Seriously catch a boat to Cuba - you will be much happier there.

    • Anonymous  

      "The sex wing of the campus socialists"

      dafuq does that even mean

      And also, the entire purpose of the guide is to bring together radical leftist groups on campus, so of course there is a disdain for capitalism. Join CUCR or the Dems if you like capitalism.


    you have clearly never actually dealt with the administration, been victims of assault, been under occupation, or had your cushy Columbia life challenged at all...

  26. Probably lol

    No Red Tape and Co. will chant and picket about "MY pussy, MY decision" outside of the frat houses during the big parties (til they get a keg dumped on them from the upper floor windows).

  27. Fuck Jim McShane  

    Support the young black men who were violently taken from their neighborhoods this summer. Let that fascist Jim McShane and his cronies know that they do not speak for the Columbia Community! Free our brothers, no justice, no peace!

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