SHOCC on Campus
Written by Bwog Staff
Tomorrow, Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus will hold a rally on Low Plaza at 2 p.m. SHOCC’s full press release is after the jump.
Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus
WHAT: Rally to protest hate crimes and lack of administrative response
WHEN: Wednesday April 5 at 2:00pm
WHERE: Low Plaza, enter 116 th and Broadway
Columbia students will rally on Wednesday April 5, 2006 against institutional racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. Six hate crimes on Columbia University’s campus within the 2005-2006 academic year have spurred many students to say “enough is enough.” Recent incidents have included racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic graffiti in public spaces and student dorms. Students who are part of a wealthy literary society threw a bottle and yelled homophobic slurs at a student passing by on his way to his dorm.
Diversity on Columbia’s campus is not a new issue. In 2004, there were three incidents that took place on campus including a cartoon in the Federalist paper, an anti-affirmative action bake sale, While students protested and won the creation of an Office of Multicultural Affairs for undergraduates, President Lee C. Bollinger made no substantive commitments to systematically address bias and inequality university-wide. This year, when students organized under the banner of Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus (SHOCC), it took more than three months for President Bollinger to meet with them.
SHOCC and allied student organizations held town halls and speak outs that led to the formulation of eight demands addressing issues of hate and institutional oppression. The demands include policies to report, document and publicize hate incidents; increased diversity training for students, staff and faculty; a central administration office dedicated to student diversity issues; changes in the Core Curriculum to address Eurocentric bias; and creation of more safe spaces on campus for students of color and other marginalized groups.
When students met with President Bollinger, he provided only empty rhetoric and referred students to lower level administrators. Yet students have been meeting with various administrators throughout the university since 2004 and see a lack of action. Students are asking for the president as well as other administrators to be proactive in their commitment and vision of a university that truly values diversity as a “core value.”
Columbia College junior Daphne Rubin-Vega of SHOCC said, “Hundreds of students have mobilized to show their outrage that hate crimes can happen on our campus and the administration can’t get its act together to respond.”
This week, SHOCC is spreading the word by encouraging all of its members and its supporters to wear black as a show of solidarity with the movement, to pass out flyers, leaflets, and pamphlets to educate those who are disconnected from the campus happenings. There will be other publicity campaign efforts like “dorm-storms,” where students will go door to door inside university dormitories passing out literature and asking people if they would be interested in both learning more and being apart of the effort. Students will also form a “Safe Space Circle” on Tuesday, April 4 to educate the campus about the history of SHOCC’s demands. These activities will lead to a mass rally on Wednesday, the day that President Bollinger is expected to return from Asia.
What is a Hate Crime?
Hate crimes include any and all forms of speech, writing, literature, or expression that stereotypes, marginalizes, denigrates, and isolates an individual or group based on an aspect of his or her identity. Hate crimes challenge an individual or group’s sense of self, safety, and belonging within their community. Hate crimes on campus deny the safe space to which all members of a university are entitled. Hate crimes on campus make Columbia a dangerous place to be.
Background on 2004 Racist Incidents
In 2004, a cartoon in the Federalist paper (Columbia funded/supported publication) named “Blackey Fun Whitey” that parodied Black History/Heritage Month and stereotyped blacks as “cheap labor.” The affirmative action bake sale, which was part of a wave of such displays across the country sold the price of goods based on sex, gender, and perceived level of “oppression.” The Columbia Marching Band flyers such as those saying “Said: 0, Yahweh: 1” to commemorate the death of a Palestinian professor in the Middle East Asian Languages and Culture department Edward Said, put into direct opposition several communities with long histories of cultural, societal, and lifestyle misunderstanding. Black students led a mobilization to decry these acts by holding a week-long silent protest on the steps of Low Library in which hundreds of students dressed in black in a show of solidarity. In 2006, as in 2004, students will not tolerate acts of hatred and are mobilizing for lasting change.