Thirteen years after the attacks of 9/11, the Columbia University College Republicans have once again set up American flags along the grass on College Walk. The 2,997 flags commemorate the lives lost during 9/11. CUCR was spotted last night setting up the flags early to be present for the entire day.
Bwog is always ready to listen to anyone’s grievances. Wannabe malcontent Britt Fossum attended an impromptu meeting of CUCR that was held in place of the cancelled board meeting. Currently, SGB and CUCR are holding a town hall.
The official Sunday night board meeting of the Columbia University College Republicans was postponed and then cancelled entirely by current President Kate Christensen in the wake of the “sham elections” of last week, allegedly because of threats of physical violence to members of the board. Republicans were so unhappy with the decision to cancel the meeting—which would have been the last meeting of the school year—that several board members and general members wrote up a list of grievances, submitted it to Bwog, and met unofficially to talk through recent events as a gathering of friends. (That means that most of this unofficial meeting was off the record, though several attendees were very willing to make statements about what had occurred.)
Essentially, last night would have been the first meeting of the newly elected board—meaning that none of the current board members have actually been sworn into office. The gathering of CUCR members in Lerner Hall was a mixture of people from the club: members of last year’s board, newly elected board members, and general body members. And they were agitated. Tensions were high among this group and some spoke of an “atmosphere of fear.” They all generally agreed that the recent elections were in violation of the moral spirit of their organization.
In fact, there was so much arguing happening in the meeting itself that a new intruder in the piano lounge could barely be heard: a man who was significantly older than any of the undergraduate students present, who repeatedly threatened one of the male attendees with threats. He claimed that the “FBI was across the street,” and that the student would not be attending Columbia next year after being expelled or imprisoned or worse. Eventually he turned around and left the gathering and few at the gathering seemed too shaken by the interruption. One member mentioned offhand that she had seen him before at the election but that he was not regularly involved with the group. This was confirmed by other attendees who identified the intruder as “Grantham.” The group decided to move to the conference room upstairs.
As our Founding Fathers noted in the Declaration of Independence: Let Facts be submitted to a candid world! That’s what members of CUCR say they are trying to do. But first, here are some other facts:
- Members of CUCR were going to present a list of grievances at the meeting of their board (new and old) regarding last week’s allegedly unfair elections tonight at 10 pm.
- Kate Christensen, current president, postponed the meeting (where new board members are sworn in) two hours before it was supposed to be held.
- Board members then noted the SGB policy that mandates new members be sworn in during the academic year, which a Tuesday or Wednesday meeting, as she had proposed, would violate.
- Meeting was, soon after, a go.
- Meeting was, soon after, postponed again, as the current board claims there have been threats of violence made against the incoming president.
- General members themselves are in an atmosphere of fear, as they worry about repercussions from Columbia, Eyvana is threatening to bring in Fox News (and members allege her family has flown in to New York because of this), and individuals feel their membership is at risk
Below is the list of grievances signed by three members of the Board of Directors and 12 general members. They note that the “conduct of the election was in contravention to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution” and largely reaffirm claims from our original post regarding stacking of voters, unclear eligibility rules, and a rigged questioning period. They call for a new election, “with the restriction of voters having been to two meetings attended throughout the year.”
Signatories note they have heard threats made to critics, and that “the outgoing leadership has worked to ‘shut down’ those who have contacted the board about the conduct of the election.” To the statement by Eyvana Bengochea (incoming president) that accused the original post of being racist and sexist, they claim it “seems to portend ill for future confrontation.”
Did you think that Republicans were all about limiting access for voters and just elections? We’re sure you did, you ultra-liberal, ’68-rioting, Obama-loving, Commie-sympathizing Columbians. CUCR, Columbia University Campus Republicans, is out to prove you wrong, though, as demonstrated by last night’s elections. Bwog has eyes everywhere and one person reports on last night’s meeting:
Update (1:30 pm): See below for Eyvana’s personal statement sent to Bwog, noting that the below is sexist and racist. The CUCR board has stated they will release a joint statement later in the day.
Update (9:25 pm): Another CUCR member claims that at points the outgoing president counted votes by herself, that she interrupted the debate with her own attacks, and that the Executive Director debate was “utter chaos” as debates were cut halfway through due to time constraints.
The CUCR election was run in thoroughly suspect circumstances, to put it mildly.
The room was quite packed—at least sixty people were there. Several members noted that weekly attendance was, at best, half of that. Many said that they had never seen “half the people at the meetings.” One conservative estimate held that perhaps 20% had never been seen at any sort of event during the semester, another 20% had never attended a meeting, and an additional 20% certainly hadn’t attended any that semester, if that year. “A lot of new faces, and a lot of very old faces,” one member said. Again and again, the refrain was “I have never seen these people before.”
A bit of backstory: It had been announced, as per the statements of several board members (see the full list), that voting would be restricted to those who have attended two or more meetings this year—”Parties and co-sponsored events with other groups do not count” read an email on Monday sent by the Director of Communications, and a similarly-worded email was sent out on April 22. The constitution—see Section V, Article I—entitles anyone who has attended two “events” (including parties, which is a very liberal interpretation of that clause), to vote. The president (and who would become the president-elect) pointed out in last night’s meeting that the emails violated the constitution. Some members questioned why she had allowed the emails to go out without saying anything at the time, because, per the constitution, she is “Responsible for CUCR’s adherence to Constitution and Operations Manual.” They imply that she allowed her favored candidates to bring in voters, while others who were not aware that the constitution contradicted the emails could not do so.
Columbia University College Republicans (CUCR) and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) came together (to the same room number) Wednesday evening for a heated discussion of U.S. drug policy. We sent our cannabis correspondent to sniff around.
There isn’t a much better way to start a meeting than brownies, even if they aren’t special. (From CUCR’s email about the meeting: “We promise there won’t be any drugs in the brownies. Unless you consider chocolate, eggs, flour, and/or love drugs. In which case there will be drugs in the brownies.) No, I can tell you, there were no drugs in the brownies.
After the drugless brownie frenzy died down, CUCR and SSDP members took their seats. The conversation got rolling when mediator Jamie Boothe, CC ’15, called on an SSDP member. Preemptively on the defensive, the SSDP member made a general case for decriminalization, citing reasons like the inevitability of drug use and the benefits of regulating the market.
Then the conversation took a confused turn. A Republican asked, “Heroin and cocaine are illegal, yes?”
After this minor issue was set straight, the next several speakers established that the crowd was largely in support of decriminalizing at least some types of drugs, while a small but vocal minority opposed decriminalization altogether.
A few speakers used Prohibition as an example of the ineffectiveness of banning substances. One Republican went so far as to assert that our current drug policy is unconstitutional because, unlike Prohibition, it is not supported by constitutional amendment.
Other speakers brought up a myriad of good points: decriminalization would allow the government to tax drugs for revenue, people would be more likely to seek help for addiction, and we could impose more regulations and oversight on the industry. If all of those points came from CUCR, no wonder their party is having such an identity crisis.
Columbia University College Republicans are having their annual, world famous, absolutely FREE barbecue celebrating Columbus Day. No need to be a part of the GOP to enjoy some free Dinosaur barbecue, so head on over to Van Am Quad from 1-2 PM. All are welcome
unless you’re some kind of liberal vegetarian pantywaist.
Not a bad way to go via ShutterStock
As the school year starts, you will be inundated with student groups asking you to leave your fields to flower and join them. Before you go signing up for every listserv under the sun, we wanted to provide you with a brief rundown on the cafeteria of Columbia–those student groups that make the most buzz on campus and that you really should know about. If we missed your group or said something you don’t like, scream at us in the comments.
CUPAL is a collaborative head group for performing arts groups on campus. They run shit. We’ll let them explain the functions of CMTS, BTE, KCST, Latenite, Orchesis, NOMADS, CU Players, and CUWE.
Student Wellness Project is a highly debated newish group all about promoting student wellness, mostly in terms of decreasing student stress. You might get a free snack or pat on the back from them during finals. Sometimes they try to push through some resolutions, though the impact has not been well analyzed yet.
Student-Worker Solidarity (SWS) likes to yell about things, a lot. In all seriousness, they support workers in Morningside Heights for decent rights and stuff.
After seeing Bill Kristol’s talk at the J-School, Adam Shapiro reached out via email with a few questions. Kristol was kind enough to respond and has some great words of advice:
Bwog: What’s an unpopular political opinion of yours that turned out to be right?
Kristol: That we should send more troops to Iraq (argued from 2003-2006, against both the Bush Administration and the left), and then, in 2007, that the surge (when the Bush administration finally did it) could and would succeed.
B: What’s an opinion you were once sure of that that turned out to be wrong?
K: That political correctness, academic trendiness and intellectual close-mindedness at universities couldn’t get any worse. It’s managed to do so for three decades.
B: Thoughts on Columbia University College Republicans endorsing marriage equality? Should more Republicans follow their lead?
K: People should make up their own minds on this, and not be shaped by bigotry on the one hand or intimidated by political correctness on the other.
B: Thoughts on Froscanity?
K: The worst thing about “daring” academics is how stupid and unimaginative their stunts are.
B: During your lecture, you said it is a particularly “fun time to be young”. What’s your idea of having fun in college?
K: I don’t think 20-year olds will or should take advice on “fun” things to do from me. But–to return to a theme–nor should they slavishly follow peer pressure, or the conventional wisdom that dominates the often very small and cramped world of today’s colleges. There are more ways to have fun and to live a satisfying life than than are dreamt of by academic liberals.
Update, 2/14 11:45pm: CUCR confirms that, in fact, not all of the Ivy League school groups have agreed to sign on to the statement, despite what both political sides at Columbia were told from UPenn. CUCR President Tyler Trumbach asserts that CUCR and CUDems still stand by their own joint statement and hope that the remaining Ivy groups will follow their lead. Frankly we hope the same of our fellow Ivies and are proud of CUCR and the Dems of standing by their statement.
The Republican and Democrat student groups from each of the Ivies have come together to make the following joint statement in support of marriage equality:
“We, the College Democrats and College Republicans chapters of the Ivy League, endorse marriage equality and challenge our nation’s leaders to join us in defense of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.”
While short in words, it has a strong and important message. From Columbia, CUCR and CUDems say:
“The Columbia Democrats and Columbia University College Republicans are pleased to endorse marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. We
join with all of the College Democrats and College Republicans chapters of the Ivy League inurge our nation’s leaders to move forward on an issue too important to be held hostage by party politics. Our generation overwhelmingly supports marriage equality, and we look forward to a future of bipartisan cooperation in ensuring equality for all Americans.”
Tom Callander, CUCR Director of Finance, says this effort comes in the midst of the group discussing the feature of the organization and their beliefs. It was a near unanimous decision on the board to join in–they wanted to best represent the views of the general body that they serve, a majority of whom are in support of marriage equality. CUCR and the Dems met up earlier this week to write their statement.
Janine Balekdjian, CUDems Pres, explains that the initiative was spearheaded by the UPenn Democrats and Republicans, who decided to reach out to the other Ivies after coming together themselves. On the CU Dems decision to join in, Janine says, “of course it’s a no-brainer. I mean we’ve supported marriage equality for way before I’ve even been at Columbia.”
Callander hopes that the force of both sides in the Ivy League will help sway the debates. The way he sees it, there are no downsides to the statement; “worst case scenario, it’ll be ignored.” Balekdjian believes that on campus it won’t have much impact–as she sees it, most Columbians already support gay marriage–but she’s hoping the mass joint statement will make people across the country know that young people are in favor of marriage equality, regardless of political affiliation, “and that this doesn’t have to be a partisan issue–this is about love and human rights.”
To that end, we’d like to make a similar no-brainer statement and say Bwog endorses marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples and we hope to see significant changes made very soon to right the current discriminations.
Before heading downtown to tell FoxNews that Columbia loves Hannity, Herman Cain spoke in Low last night at the invitation of the College Republicans. He gave what seemed to be his standard hour-long speech outlining what he perceives to be a time of crises in America, including an “economic crisis,” an “illegal immigration crisis,” a “moral crisis” and another kind or two. After sketching out an America in which small businesses are smothered by a really long tax code, Cain posited that the economic crisis, at least, could be solved with his 9-9-9 tax plan.
The audience was definitely less friendly than the one his “Solutions Revolution” tour generally encounters; several times, Cain faltered after having expected applause at a certain line and meeting a dead room. For pretty much the entire speech, the CU Dems were talking loudly, laughing, and fake-coughing. Several of his canned lines which probably meet with approval elsewhere in the country (e.g. on taxes, “If ten percent is good enough for God, nine is good enough for the government!) fell flat on their face in Low. Nevertheless, he kept his cool, and maintained a powerful delivery. For a politician whose candidacy was pretty much a joke, he was very charismatic and likeable as a speaker. Maybe that’s just what politicians do.
The structure of his speech was simple: we have problems, they are caused by high taxes, we should have lower taxes, now I’ll take questions. Since he was late, the promised #CainAtColumbia Twitter questions were largely ignored, and all but one came from a CUCR board member. Only, “What is your favorite pizza topping?” made it through, to which Cain boisterously returned, “Favorite pizza topping..sss? Sss? The all-meat combo! No anchovies! Pepperoni, bacon, sausage, ham, ‘burger meat!”
Then he recited the lyrics to that song from Pokemon: The Movie 2000, which is a thing he does.
To the editors at Bwog and Spec:
The Columbia University College Republicans are excited to announce that former presidential candidate Herman Cain has graciously accepted our invitation to speak at Columbia this semester! After several months of negotiations, we have secured Mr. Cain to speak at 7:00pm on Tuesday, April 10th in Low Rotunda. As per university policy, Mr. Cain will not be endorsing any political party or candidate; however, we have requested that he speak about his tax reform plan, his reflections on the Republican presidential primary, and his experiences as a black conservative in America.
We would especially like to thank the Young Americans for Freedom for their generous financial and organizational support for this event. We would also like to thank the Columbia Political Union for their cosponsorship.
Tickets will be available through the TIC on Monday. Seats are available for free for anyone with a CUID, but hurry — space is limited! Also starting on Monday, tickets can be reserved online at http://www.cuarts.com/calendar/view/type/4/event_id/13364.
The Columbia University College Republicans Executive Board
In attendance at the CUCR Town Hall, where all the juicy details surrounding the
biggest second-biggest outrage to hit Columbia in a fortnight are being dished out right now—are four participants, including two press people. The free Pepsi and Lays won’t consume themselves, Columbia!
UPDATE from our reporter at the scene, 8:37 pm: “A couple (tipsy?) Dems showed up. Barnard-Obama came up. For no apparent reason, it was momentarily unpleasant and confusing.”
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.
Update, 4 pm: Spec’s EIC and Managing Editor have posted a statement addressing the disconnect between the information in their story “CUCR plans to invite Ahmadinejad to campus” and the response from CUCR. They write, “Before we included that information, [CUCR] group leadership said that the documents were authentic, though the intention behind their statements is now unclear.” Read the full Spec statement here.
In an email to Spec last night, former CUCR President Lauren Salz said she “would be extremely surprised” if the invitation CUCR allegedly sent to Ahmadinejad turned out to be real, in response to their article, “CUCR plans to invite Ahmadinejad to campus.” This email echoes CUCR’s statement yesterday, which was also in reponse to the same headline. Salz was concerned with the financial claims made by the supposed invitation from CUCR, writing that “we never promise money or speak about finances with potential speakers until they have expressed a willingness to come.” A screenshot of her email to the story’s reporter can be found below.
Salz confirmed with Bwog that the opinion she provided to Spec was misrepresented in Spec’s follow-up article published yesterday. Salz was cited as falsely yielding support for Spec’s allegation that CUCR plans to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia. Spec initially stated that “Former CUCR President Lauren Salz, BC ’11, confirmed that the draft matched CUCR’s template for writing invitation letters.” Since the original publication of that article, mention of Salz has been removed.
Spec has not yet published a correction or any acknowledgement of the update. Update: Earlier this afternoon, Spec posted the correction, “A previous version of this story erroneously included a quote from Lauren Salz, BC ’11. Spectator regrets the errors.”
The Columbia University College Republicans have released a new statement unequivocally denying claims that the organization was in the process of inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on campus. Notably, this letter has been signed by every CUCR board member.
Yesterday, we responded to the Spectator headline, “CUCR plans to invite Ahmadinejad to campus” with a statement from the club denying any plans or intent to extend said invitation. Spec cited documents including an alleged cost breakdown of the proposal, and a “leaked” invitation to the president which can be found here. Bwog was also a recipient of the supposed invitation on February 14, but instead confirmed it to be false with CUCR upon receipt.
Without further ado, the newest statement from CUCR:
To the Editors of Spectator and Bwog:
The Columbia University College Republicans, as a united Executive Board, would like to take this opportunity to make clear once and for all that our organization has NO intention of inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to campus, and we have never intended to do so. At no meeting has Ahmadinejad been floated as a potential speaker; at no meeting has Ahmadinejad been discussed on our board’s agenda; and at no meeting has any vote been taken on the possibility, realistic or otherwise, of inviting Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia University.
In the effort of clearing up some facts about current news coverage: CUCR has no connections to private donors in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. We do not believe that President Ahmadinejad’s appearance would foster a constructive conversation about the role of religion in government. The board does not think that the president’s visit would help bring about a two-state solution in Palestine.
In that vein, CUCR would again request that the Spectator remove or amend its coverage of this issue in the interest of journalistic integrity.
The Executive Board of the Columbia University College Republicans