No Red Tape Protests On Low

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No caption necessary

Trigger warning for discussion of rape and sexual assault.

Tonight, beginning around 8 pm, No Red Tape staged a protest on the Low steps. They projected messages such as “Rape Happens Here” on the facade of Low, and also had members holding large, similarly-messaged signs.

Public Safety officers inside Low, at immediate sight of the projection, hurried down the steps saying, “We need to shut this down.” They asked members of NRT to close the projection until “at least after 9, maybe,” to appease the otherwise acceptable, traditional demonstration by CUMB — playing the fight song — to lead the prospective students exiting Low.

Witnesses on the scene tell us that Public Safety repeatedly tried to get NRT to stop their protest when they moved to hanging signs that read “Columbia Protects Rapists” and “Carry That Weight” across Low Plaza, in lieu of the projections. Public Safety followed the group around the area, and asked them to relocate or stop. One officer addressed a member of NRT, asking, “Why are you doing this tonight?  Who gave you permission to be on Low?” NRT continued their action despite Public Safety’s repeated insistence that they could not — or that they simply should not — demonstrate there.

The projections returned to the Low facade once prospective students had completely cleared the area.

You can find more updates on Bwog’s Twitter.

Update, 11:28 PM: We reached out to NRT member Becca Breslaw to comment on tonight’s events. Breslaw explained NRT consciously chose tonight for their protest as admitted students are currently at Columbia for Days on Campus. The group’s goal was to make these accepted students consider how big this issue is at Columbia before deciding to join the study body, while also bringing awareness to the fact that sexual assault is a prominent issue on other college campuses — regardless of where they choose to attend.

In regards to the protest itself, Breslaw stated that NRT did not break any campus rules tonight. Public Safety officials recognized that they could not stop the students from protesting. However, one unidentified woman actively disrupted the students’ demonstration by standing in front of their projector for approximately half an hour and asking for students’ UNIs for a “report” she was writing. Breslaw said she did not know what relation this woman may have to Columbia or the community.

NRT will also be hosting a Teach-In tomorrow afternoon from 12:00-1:30 PM in 509 Knox Hall. Members of NRT passed out fliers during their demonstration for the event, in order to invite the prospective students. Breslaw noted that the event will be held during the select free time that the prospective students have during their programming. Ultimately, NRT hopes to impart the information they need to become more involved with this cause, should they choose to attend Columbia.

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  1. I don't get it  

    What is the purpose of the protest?? I understood the point last year but this is making no sense to me anymore. Why are they continuing this year??

    • Because  

      abuse, sexual assault, and rape is still happening on our campus and the administration hasn't done anything to stop it or hold rapists accountable. Their solution is to cancel a concert and have people do arts and crafts projects about gender.

      • Ok  

        But what specifically are they looking to see happen? Is this a general protest? Because it honestly feels like it to the average Columbia student who is not involved in NRT. Are they protesting against something SPECIFIC? Don't say oh they protect rapists and rape happens on campus because that's not showing anyone what the point of all of this is.

        • Anonymous

          The idea is to put pressure on the administration by protesting when prospies are around. One of the big reasons for why university administrations are so eager to fudge rape statistics is because if a parent decides to look that sort of thing up, s/he'd be more likely to encourage his/her child to go to a uni with the lowest rape numbers. But by protesting like this, NRT is cutting through that and speaking to the prospective students (and their families) directly.

          • Frustrated with the bullshit  

            I feel like I'm talking to Sarah Palin or something because you really didn't answer the question. SPECIFICALLY what is the issue at hand? Fudging statistics where? In what reports? What is the goal of this entire movement? Because this whole thing seems like continued protestations for no significant change. The majority is no longer on the side of NRT because somehow the organization failed to communicate its goals and honestly looks like a bunch of people making noise for no damn reason.

      • Alicia

        You're talking nonsense. You have been brainwashed. Where are the proofs for any of what you're claiming. Wake up people.

      • Frustrated Survivor  

        Yeah, and NRT's response is to upset survivors who deal with trauma differently than Emma Sulkowicz does. I completely respect that a lot of survivors find strength in speaking out about their experiences but it's not fair to people who don't heal that way to be so absolutely in-your-face about this. Would people constantly bring up traumatic experiences to people with other kinds of PTSD?

        • Jackie

          Thank you for saying that. I've been diagnosed with PTSD due to sexual assault and I can't STAND how every single time I turn around I have to see the words rape and assault. Does ANYONE see the irony in this? I have gone into panic attacks at being inundated with literally countless triggers. Thanks so much NRT. Really appreciate it. I've gotten to the point of disliking mattresses.

          • anon tour guide  

            That's how I felt when NRT ambushed my campus tour last year. They had no trigger warning when they shoved fliers about rape and sexual assault into the faces of the mostly junior, 16 and 17 year old, high schoolers.

      • Honestly ready to graduate  

        Your comment is the definition of rhetorical cherry picking of facts...what do you think it takes to staff a 24/7 survivor hotline and crisis center on both sides of broadway? You make it sound like there has been no start to create progress on this issue of sexual assault on Columbias campus but there have been steps taken, perhaps some less successful than others, but I can honestly name more initiatives jump started by the administration we're all supposed to hate than reasons why NRT is still protesting. At this point you're no longer "educating the prospies" and "promoting awareness" (bullshit catchphrases), but just clamoring about low steps for no substantial reason.

        If you're going to demonstrate, do it with some clear and well communicated purpose!

  2. Anonymous  

    I get why they're protesting during Days on Campus, but I hate that they did

  3. How

    How are they powering the projector if this isn't a sanctioned event?

  4. anon  

    I get why they are protesting during Days on Campus, but I hate that they did

  5. yes  

    this is amazing. days on campus is a lie

  6. Anonymous  

    Columbia protects rapists in the same way that it protects due process.

  7. Anonymous  

    Rape happens everywhere, not just here. I understand NRT's goal with this, but turning what is supposed to be a joyous and exciting time for admitted students into something that is potentially MASSIVELY triggering to prospective students who might be survivors of rape is not the answer to getting administration to take sexual assault more seriously-- this "protest" can do nothing but harm. I have been on NRT's side for the most part up until this point, but I am so, so against this. :/

  8. Oh come on

    Why did they keep trying to hang up signs when public safety was telling them to do it another time? If public safety is letting you know you have zero right to be protesting there, don't just fucking up and move ten feet and re-hang your signs, that's just intentionally being a bunch of cunts. Public safety doesn't want to deal with your childish antics. Besides, it's not like it's at all difficult to protest at Columbia without breaking a bunch of rules.

  9. Shameful

    It is shameful on how disrespectful NRT is to others around them. Yes, they may have a right to express their opinions. But, they do not have a right to interfere with the right of others who chose not to listen. Nor do they have a right, in my judgment, to interfere with scheduled events. While I don't imagine that NRT understands, it is offensive to purposely disrupt pre-scheduled activities. It is also obnoxious. As far as I'm concerned, every NRT person who interferes with the rights of others should be disciplined and suspended.

    • Hahaha what?  

      "Yes, they may have a right to express their opinions. But, they do not have a right to interfere with the right of others who chose not to listen." Okay, dude.

      • Anonymous

        Bro, that makes perfect sense. People should be allowed their free speech, to say whatever they want that is legally appropriate. But, just as they can say whatever they want to, I can choose not to listen to their rambling.

  10. Anonymous

    I so disagree with this. Is this really a productive way to protest? It's very unclear what NRT is even trying to accomplish. Is it just to piss administrators off? Very unclear to me, and seems super detrimental to our entire community.

  11. Pragmatist  

    First the info session interruption, and now this. Can we stop making prospective student events the battleground on which this war for accountability is waged?

    As someone who legitimately does believe in more transparency in adjudication of rape cases and in increasing the resources available for rape victims on campus, I simply do not see how this helps the cause. These actions tend to - from the response I saw to the info session incident - shift the discussion from solutions for sexual assault issues to a discussion about the merits of radical activism.

    Moreover, they come across (where traditional protests do not) as publicity stunts designed by NRT to monopolize the 'voice' of assault survivors on campus, despite the fact that even amongst survivors there are differences in opinion about how to proceed. Measured, rational debate and discussion would, in my opinion, empower more individuals to have a say in this discussion.

    Moreover, NRT activists are blatantly using high schoolers as props in a debate that is being had between NRT and the administration. NRT will claim that they are attempting to 'educate' these students, and honestly, I think that the flyers that NRT handed out at the info sessions succeeded in that. If NRT had set up a table outside of Roone Arledge instead of interrupting the info session, I would have commended their handing out of those flyers.

    I think it is a stretch, however, to say that shouting at prospies and their families (or more accurately, shouting at the administration through the prospies) is a useful or appropriate form of education. What do these students learn from a projection on Low that says 'RAPE HAPPENS HERE'? Rape unfortunately happens on every campus, and I doubt those high schoolers are naive enough not to know that. So frankly, I don't think anything of value was relayed to the prospies by NRT tonight.

    And certainly the prospies are not being included in the conversation. And more importantly, they did not choose to have this conversation on this night. What is supposed to be a special night for many of these students who are (hopefully) ecstatic to be admitted has been dampened by a discussion that they were probably not prepared to have. Perhaps it is a good thing to force individuals into this conversation - as Columbia attempted to do this semester with the mandatory and poorly implemented (I definitely agree with NRT on this one) education sessions - but not every time and every place is the right one.

    However, all of that assumes that NRT pulled this stunt primarily to educate prospies, and I think I'm being generous with that assumption. NRT's main focus tonight was likely to use prospies as a tool in a larger against the administration; and I believe it is misguided (to put it mildly - a stronger word might be straight-up 'wrong' or 'selfish') to use the prospies's relationship with this school as a political tool.

    • Agree  

      "Can we stop making prospective student events the battleground on which this war for accountability is waged?"

      This is a fantastic articulation of my problem with this. Honestly, I wouldn't have a problem if they did it at any other time, but I think doing it now is just inappropriate, but manipulative.

    • CC19

      This post is phenomenal. I believe that Columbia is failing in many ways, that survivors are in many ways being ignored, that more needs to be done ... but I also agree with your post. Well done.

  12. Anonymous

    There is a more effective way of delivering this message to current and prospective students that does not sensationalize or terrorize individuals. This tactic is just crude and unprofessional, and ironically I believe that this event only diminishes their ability to achieve the end goal.

  13. PREZBO'S PU$$Y

    Ok, Columbia does not have "rape problem" - to say that rape happens here more than elsewhere. Columbia's administration has a problem with how it handles rapists/survivors. It's wrong, disrespectful, and triggering to do this in front of prospective students. Every school has its problems, encourage the next generation to come to Columbia and be part of the solution rather than trying to drive them away.

  14. Anonymous

    Obviously I believe this message should get out to all prospies, but this tactic is just RUDE. I feel very upset and angered that NRT feels justified in triggering and diminishing the happiness of prospective students on a (normally) joyous occasion. SHAME ON NRT.

  15. Oh, look at that  

    Most of the comments branding NRT as "shameful," "rude," "intrusive," etc. and taking a stand on behalf of the "triggered" students and prospies are from IP addresses that are non-Columbian. Surprise.

    • Columbia Student  

      I'm a columbia student and I agree with these comments. This was not the place and time for this kind of protest. As a survivor walking past this tonight I felt very triggered. I don't need that when I'm trying to do final projects.

      • Frustrated Survivor  

        Barnard student here, was raped by someone who was not a Columbia student. I find this incredibly triggering and I almost feel like my own experience is delegitimized because it didn't happen here. I agree that the judicial system is horrific in dealing with survivors but I've found other resources and my fellow students to be incredibly helpful, and I wish I'd had it when I was 16 and didn't know how to deal with what I'd gone through.

        • Anonymous  

          Another Barnard student, who was also raped off-campus. I feel really frustrated with NRT-- I was trying to walk home and it's so visceral, so unbelievable to be ambushed with RAPE HAPPENS HERE, which is something that I try to forget every single day. I really feel let down by an organization that's worked very hard to empower me as a survivor. I understand the reasoning behind NOT telling anyone that it was happening, but, like... it was so alienating for me, as a member of the population they're trying to protect. Am I a member of that population, because my assault happened beyond the gates? I don't know. Is their organization designed to protect, or is designed for action? Again, I don't know. I wish I did.

    • Confused

      Is it actually possible for you to know that?

      • Anonymous  

        Yeah, there is a crown next to the names of the people writing from a Columbia IP address. You don't have one, meaning you didn't write your comment from campus, but contrary to what the person you responded to said most of the other comments on this article have crowns.

    • Anonymous  

      Um, no they're not? I see a few, but these comments definitely don't look like the typical MRA trolls coming from outside Columbia, and most of the comments speaking against this protest actually do have the crown. For the record, I'm a Barnard senior who has supported a number of other campus efforts to raise awareness of administration's treatment of sexual assault, and I think this particular protest is in extremely poor taste. The really long comment above said it perfectly-- NRT is using the prospective students as tools to get at the administration rather than actually trying to include them in the conversation, and in the process they could potentially be doing a lot of collateral damage while making little actual impact on how assault cases are handled.

    • PREZBO'S PU$$Y

      Alum, '14 - definitely not a troll.

  16. anon  

    I may not agree with their methods, but shit I am so impressed by that projection. Like damn that looks perfect.

  17. wtf  

    NRT: self-righteous, attention-seeking bullies who actively try to ruin fun events on campus with this nonsense

  18. what's next

    I do believe the rape actually happened, but if even NYPD can't prove it, I doubt the school would dismiss anyone just because of the protests. But what Columbians got was the cancelation of bacchanals and orgo night could not step into Barnard anymore. What's the next Columbia tradition that's going to die because the protests?

  19. Area 51  

    Damn, there were like 6 people out there protesting. Shows the real following this movement has. Nice alienation NRT.

  20. NYU Lyfe  

    At least the prospies can see how much you fuckers hate your NRT group

    Violets '19!!!!

  21. Freedom of Speech

    Yes, let's treat the Prospies like children and shield them from all the real shit that goes on here at Columbia. Let's give them a tamed version of Columbia to choose from. Let's give them the kind of university that the college brochure promises. Let's not let them see any of the activism that goes on on this campus, or any public demonstrations, or any other elements that make up some of the essential parts of college life here (Bacchanal anyone?). You may not agree with NRT's demonstration or the timing of it, but the constant control of space by this administration goes directly against the proud American traditions of activism and free speech on university campuses across the country.

  22. Alicia

    NRT people must live in some twisted parallel universe.

  23. Frustrated Survivor  

    I know that their intentions are good, but HOW does NRT not realize that plastering RAPE all over campus is triggering for a lot of survivors? Every time the NRT protests start I enter a downward mental spiral because I don't deal with my trauma through exposure. NRT, fuck you for stunting my healing process over and over again.

    • Sorry,

      I don't mean to be nitpicking, but can we use the word "traumatizing" instead of "triggering?" I think it conveys the emotion better, and "triggering" is a recent coinage that seems as though intended to make something that is part of the familiar human experience sound almost alien.

      • Frustrated Survivor  

        I think "triggering" refers to reminding me of a trauma and "traumatizing" refers to an event that in and of itself is traumatizing. But I think groups like NRT have definitely stripped it of its meaning through overuse.

    • Their intentions are not good

      As I said in my previous post, they live in some weird, twisted parallel universe. The idea rape is all around them has taken over their lives. Rudolph-Star is manipulating every one of those girls into following her. She has had a taste of what it means being in the papers, on TV, she wants to "lead", even if it's a group of 4-5 people. I know that the NRT group has lost some of their followers. Maybe it's because this is starting to cross the line of what real activism means, and it's turning into serious bullying.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree with you. As a fellow survivor, I'm so caught between my anger and frustration of Columbia's messy handling of sexual assault for the past couple years and my intense disapproval of this protest. NRT's display tonight just seems so much more like an impulsive, radical "fuck you" to Columbia rather than a protest that might actually make some meaningful change or at least spread awareness about the core issue Columbia has with its sexual assault judiciary process.

  24. hmmm

    No red tape sounds more like no due process to me.

  25. Anonymous  

    These girls need MRS degrees.

  26. hmm

    I can't imagine that this protest will not deter at least some prospectives from choosing Columbia. Hearing that "Columbia has a rape problem" must scare at least some people, whether true or not. (Which is tragic if, as I strongly believe, it is not true).

  27. CC'14 Still Trolling

    *student* body not *study* body

  28. Anonymous

    no matter your (probably boring and/or wrong) opinion on NRT/this protest, we should be examining the reaction of public safety and the administration in the context of the upcoming Rules change going through the USenate right now. What could the punishment for this type of thing potentially be?

  29. Stuart  

    A better headline: Students Project Their Own Uselessness Onto Columbia

  30. Confused first year  

    I am seriously just looking for clarification.

    What exactly does NRT expect from Columbia's administration? To they have a mission statement or platform that outlines actual changes that Colbia can implant in reality? All I saw thus far was slogans, some good some bad and some worse. But besides crying that we have a rape culture and that our administration is not doing enough, what do they expect?

    From what I heard and saw first hand in a personal encounter, they do a pretty good job in trying to give both sides the benefit of doubt - something that clearly has to be in place - what could they do better? Most rape cases are 'she said he said' and besides blindly excepting the victims word (somethng that would be a terrible injustice) what can they do?

    Take Emma's case for example. It is now clear that he had a strong argument as well. And why nothing disproved her claim, so was his claim, with strong evidence to his word (at the time that she definitely played around with statements to news reporters that turned out not 100% accurate. In what right does she, or NRT still ask Columbia to expel him? Why is he automatically wrong in the eyes of some people.

    A confused first year, with sadly a lot of life experience in that matter.

    • Confused senior

      Seriously, can someone from NRT answer this? Post your list of reforms/demands right here? Maybe if you put that online instead of planning teach-ins that no one has time for, people would believe that you're trying to do something that's actually productive.

      • Nothing to be confused about  

        I guess they do not answer because they are not really interested in dialogue. The image that I got from them is that they want to protest, as any rational solution will not include just inditing the perpetrator without a thorough investigation. It really looks like this is what NRT wants. When someone claims that they were raped, we should believe them (and I am okay with that), and at the same time not believe the other side at all (a terrible idea).

  31. SEAS '17  

    Idiots. Just idiots. They just stooped down to Javale McGee's level: having "A thought process problem".

  32. anon

    The "unidentified woman" is a grad student and GHD who responded to complaints from students/survivors who felt very uncomfortable with the message that NRT was sending. She was standing up for her students. So please Sejal take down your obnoxious Facebook post when this woman was protecting survivors more than you

  33. Anonymous  

    I just don't get how NRT can't see that their actually just making Columbia an even more hostile environment.

  34. Anonymous

    Columbia needs to arrest these studentsanad throw them in jail. They are breaking the law. They are a disgrace to the community.

  35. Anonymous

    They better not ruin graduation for everybody who has worked so hard.I hope they increase security. How incredibly selfish. Terrorizing and harrassing the university and students is not productive and is a crime.

    • cc 14

      I really liked the red tape on hats at graduation last year. A subtle, hopefully non-triggering reminder of the university's on-going struggle to properly support victims. It fucks up all their glossy photo ops without distracting from the achievements of everyone graduating.

  36. Graduating senior

    It's itonic that this article has a "trigger" warning in order to maintain sensitivity towards students who have had to experience sexual violence, yet te very organization formed to protect those same students had the audacity to splay "RAPE HAPPENS HERE" in a large and imposing format, literally FORCING people to see. Hmmmmm. What a severe lack of judgment, sensitivity, and common sense. Whoever agreed to do this needs immediate therapy and sensitivity training. Sexual assault survivors cannot thrive in an environment like this. And directed to a bunch of high schoolers?? Whom NRT knows nothing about?? There could have been young people there who are still traumatized by recent assault or sexual abuse. Shame on NRT, they've become an embarrassment and a group of bullies.

  37. Anonymous  

    The school has a problem - like every other school in the nation. Right now you have a bunch of very confused high school kids wondering what's going on in the Columbia community. They're wondering why someone would take a very difficult and sensitive subject, like sexual assault, and practically bludgeon them over the head with a message like "RAPE HAPPENS HERE". That's a message with as much nuance and tact as a brick to the face. It reminds me of EVERY MORNING I WAKE UP AND OPEN PALM SLAM A VHS INTO THE SLOT. IT’S CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK AND RIGHT THEN AND THERE I START DOING THE MOVES ALONGSIDE WITH THE MAIN CHARACTER, RIDDICK. I DO EVERY MOVE AND I DO EVERY MOVE HARD. MAKIN WHOOSHING SOUNDS WHEN I SLAM DOWN SOME NECRO BASTARDS OR EVEN WHEN I MESS UP TECHNIQUE. NOT MANY CAN SAY THEY ESCAPED THE GALAXYS MOST DANGEROUS PRISON. I CAN. I SAY IT AND I SAY IT OUTLOUD EVERYDAY TO PEOPLE IN MY COLLEGE CLASS AND ALL THEY DO IS PROVE PEOPLE IN COLLEGE CLASS CAN STILL BE IMMATURE JEKRS. AND IVE LEARNED ALL THE LINES AND IVE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE MYSELF AND MY APARTMENT LESS LONELY BY SHOUTING EM ALL. 2 HOURS INCLUDING WIND DOWN EVERY MORNIng

  38. wtf  

    Why would the prospies want to join a school that these people also attend? I can't help but ask myself the same question.

  39. wtf  

    They should change their group name to PG (Pussy Guards)

  40. okaybut

    lunch happens here too why is no one talking about that?

  41. Peithologian

    I am enjoying all aspects of this morality play thoroughly.

  42. CC '18  

    The NRT protesters at that event were mainly Barnard students (for example, the protester quoted in this article). In fact, the majority of NRT is Barnard. Why do Barnard students think they are in a position to disrupt the admissions events of CC/SEAS or sabotage Columbia school spirit, schools they were neither admitted to nor attend?? Protest at your own school.

  43. anon  

    People on butler 6 just tried to hang a protest banner from the window. I removed the banner and I urge that people protest the right way.

  44. whatever

    Politics is not about people's personal feelings. I am so disgusted by how low the bar is at a place where supposedly "smart" people go. Stop using personal discomfort or whatnot as an argument against NRT's political move. Not a coulumbia student and fucking grateful to not be one.

  45. Anonymous  

    "Not caption necessary"

    Bwog fail

  46. alum

    Does Emma still carry that mattress around?

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