Nov

8

Student-Worker Solidarity And No Red Tape Fined For “Carry That Weight” Cleanup

Written by

NRT protestAccording to a Huffington Post article from November 6, a week after No Red Tape and several other student organizations protested in support of Emma Sulkowicz’s Carry that Weight project, No Red Tape was fined $1,500 for the cleanup of that protest. The cleanup involved Columbia Facilities or Public Safety employees disposing of the mattresses that students placed at the doorstep of PrezBo’s mansion.

Because No Red Tape is not officially recognized by Columbia University, Student-Worker Solidarity reserved the space for the protest on NRT’s behalf. According to George Joseph, an SWS officer, SWS will split the responsibility for the fine with the Facilities fund, but NRT will compensate SWS as well. SWS has been in touch with Event Management staff, notably Ryan Scherr, who stated in an email to SWS that “…the charges for the rally were much less than expected—apx. $500. Some of this will hit the facilities fund, the rest would go to SWS, but overall much less than originally thought!”

Another SWS member, Carmen Velasquez, commented on the fine, saying: “The media coverage seems to have magically changed the fee we were supposed to receive. We thank the administration for reconsidering it (sic) previous estimate that the mattress removal would cost thousands upon thousands of dollars.”

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26 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Was SJP invited to help pay the fine too?

  2. Pretty good news, all things considered?  

    -The protest groups knew the fee (SWS' word, not "fine") was coming.
    (The headline makes it sound like it was a shocking ambush.)

    -The admins revisited their estimate, lowering it to the point SWS thanked them.

    The context of the 'mess' is still there (ie, what No More Red Tape was protesting about in the first place), but nobody should be astonished that leaving lots of stuff lying around on university property makes the university have to pay someone to clean it up.

    Generally speaking, 'well done' to everyone involved, I'd say.

    • Me again  

      -A cursory re-read (this isn't the most skimmable thing ever) points up that University Event Management is picking up at least some of the $500. So we're looking at a 200% decrease and a subsidy.

      -By making sure that the people who had to pick up the literal remains of a symbolic protests get paid for their labor, SWS gets to show (...wait for it...) Student-Worker Solidarity.

      Snippy bit about media magic notwithstanding, this is win-win.

      • lol

        1) why do u take all admin cost estimates at their word? Are you really naive to believe that workers would normally be compensated $50 per mattress moved? The university can make up any cost it wants and then put student groups "in debt" to the point that they are not allowed to do other events. Unfortunately, it takes naive students like you to facilitate this process.

        2) Why do u blame SWS for leaving the mattresses (which u imply is not showing worker "solidarity") when the SWS delegate who agreed to sponsor the event was not told about that part of the plan? That's NRT's fault if anything. Also if you ask a facility worker (which I have), they'll tell you they don't give a shit about moving a mattress or a potted plant--theyre gonna be doing something to fill up their hour.

        I hate when I have to explain how manual labor work to ppl like you... So dumb

    • Shill

      stop shilling! Columbia's not worth it. Get some self respect.

      • Pft  

        ...I can remember the tears in their eyes when they said budget cuts meant they could bribe me only enough to say they didn't actually do anything wrong...

        Seriously, you're talking nonsense, and if a halfhearted accusation of shilling is the best you can do, I think maybe Columbia's "not worth it" for not educating you to be able to do better.

        Sorry, I meant "No, u. lol."

        • Shill  

          If it was so half-hearted why take the time to respond? It's well known that Columbia shills, they have a whole highly paid PR team for christ's sake that troll's articles regarding activism or anything against Columbia. Any competitive corporation needs shills these days to manufacture consent and acceptance and shift opinions. Consider this copy-paste formulaic liberal, enlightenment rationality, uncritical, appropriating, hegemonic, "take it from both sides" (unnghh, rhetoric employed by all you 'contrarians.'

          Let's be real and I'm gonna turn it back on you, Columbia is definitely not worth it given your cookie cutter world view.

          • Anonymous  

            You can't just say "it's well known" and then restate your claim. That's not how arguments work. I can say "it's well known I earn a million bucks," but that doesn't make it true. Let's see some cold, hard facts demonstrating that Columbia pays people to shill. Using your standard of proof, we might as well assume you were paid to shill against Columbia by NYU or something.

  3. ww

    does the theory of intersectionality apply to cleaning up stupid demonstrations?

    come on, this is stupid. they made a mess, hard-working columbia facilities staff had to clean it up, someone has to pay the piper.

    stupid radicals.

  4. curious

    SWS should pay the fine for a few reasons. A. they stand for worker solidarity, but workers had to clean up their mess due to the mattresses left around campus. B. if you make a mess, you clean up after yourself, no exceptions.

    I support the rally but it needed to be done in the proper framework; no one is above the law.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. Worker Solidarity couldn't care less that their messes and demonstrations are cleaned up by hard workin Columbia maintenance workers. They leave a mess for others to clean.

      • copy/paste

        1) why do u take all admin cost estimates at their word? Are you really naive to believe that workers would normally be compensated $50 per mattress moved? The university can make up any cost it wants and then put student groups "in debt" to the point that they are not allowed to do other events. Unfortunately, it takes naive students like you to facilitate this process.

        2) Why do u blame SWS for leaving the mattresses (which u imply is not showing worker "solidarity") when the SWS delegate who agreed to sponsor the event was not told about that part of the plan? That's NRT's fault if anything.

        3) If you ask a facility worker about this(which I have), they'll tell you they don't give a shit about moving a mattress or a potted plant--theyre gonna be doing something to fill up their hour anyway. Its not making more or less work for them. Do you really think their contracts say they have to complete a certain number of tasks before they leave each day? Jesus... how cynical can u be to pit workers' rights against student safety? bc clearly you don't know what your talking about

        PS also I hate when I have to explain how manual labor work to ppl like you... So dumb

        • curious

          SWS was regardless the ones that registered the event and are therefore responsible for its cleanup. Would it have killed them to have one member stay behind and make sure that the mattresses were cleaned up?

          As a result, it was their responsibility to clean up, and they are culpable for any fine. The fines are in place to a. compensate the workers and b. deter any other groups from not cleaning up as well.

          Also, congratulations, you talked to one worker. That's not representative, and just because they don't mind cleaning up doesn't mean that they should be picking up 50 pound mattresses that you carelessly leave behind. They're not your slaves.

          Check yourself.

  5. Who the fuck  

    is Carmen Velasquez

  6. Anonymous

    I am glad that when student protestors destroy campus property, they will be held responsible for the damage and clean up. This is a good thing.

  7. Anonymous

    Another story relayed wrong and blown out of proportion by HuffPost. They must not do any research before they post.

  8. Anonymous  

    I loved that show.

  9. Justice

    George Joseph writing under a fake name. And culturally appropriating Latina identity

  10. I can't stand NRT

    Their actions make me nervous and have literally ruined my desire to stay at Columbia. They bring so much unhappiness to so many. Our social life sucks thanks to them.

    • NRT's focus  

      is on date-rape. Naturally, they're against it.

      If your social life sucks because someone opposes date-rape, little hint: The problem isn't them.

      • Anonymous  

        You assume that the only reason why someone would be uncomfortable around NRT is if they're a rapist. Clearly you are not a survivor of sexual assault, or else you would see how obviously triggering it is to hear about this shit all the time.

  11. To NRT focus

    That's what it comes down to these days for people like you - we all have to agree, as if we have no brain of our own. If we don't agree, then you attack, insult. And.... that's why I'm against NRT, because of people like you who represent it, and who suck as human beings. YOU ruined my Columbia experience!

    • That easy?  

      Takes most people the better part of a life to get here, and one random forum post 'ruined your Columbia experience'? Pathetic.

      If you were actually a Columbia student in the first place, I'd file you as a crybaby of the first order. But you're not, so I'm not. Back to your bridge, troll.

  12. Monkey man

    Fuck, what about Columbia's Ape Culture?

    I don't see anyone complaining about THAT.

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