Apr

4

SHOCC on Campus

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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.

85 Comments

  1. not a racist

    I would never commit a hate crime in my life, but these people would have me believe that we all would as a result of the lack of "anti-oppression training" and the choice of books on the core syllabus.



    they will impose these over my dead body!

  2. not about imposing

    It's about creating an atmosphere where people do not have to be afraid of encountering racism if they are a minority student or of heterosexism if they are openly gay. These types of things persist at this university in part because of a lack of concern of empowering minority students.

  3. not shocced

    do you want tolerance or "empowerment"? they're two different things.



    anyway, I would be more supportive of an effort to "create an atmosphere" if it didn't involve tearing down columbia's traditions and subjecting people to lectures about how they should think (anti-oppression training). that's not how a liberal society works. and yes, I'd rather risk a couple messages that are offensive to a couple people scrawled on a whiteboard every few months than sacrifice free speech and thought.

  4. whiny

    I'm amazed that these punks are still prattling on about the affirmative action bake sale, years later! Because opposition to affirmative action is racist? I think these kids need to get a grip and move on with their lives. Clearly they aren't taking enough credits if they have time to protest every day.

  5. j.s. mill

    shocc's revelation is that "free speech can be offensive" -yes it can! and everyone is offended by something someone else considers harmless. that's the way freedom works. let's not throw it overboard in favor of a tyrrany of shocc's revolutionary vanguard and its re-education camps.

  6. concerned realist

    I admire what their mission is, but is it *really* possible to eradicate racism from any and all forums and situations?



    I've had plenty of offensive things scrawled on my whiteboard over the years. I think people should grow a thicker skin rather than running to the administration, and to act like the adults that technically we all are.

  7. Todd

    I'm offended by SHOCC... send them to the re-education center immediately. Honestly though, its one of those goofy kiddy things. Harmless and amusing in a "aww isnt that sweet kind of way".

  8. el cynic

    rainbows and unicorns and children holding hands around the world etc.

  9. forreal

    the most obnoxious demand is the one about the core. by far the most meritless texts are the 8 feminist manifestos we read in CC...as if mary wollstonecraft stands up to plato, kant, and nietzsche. on the same note, BC, SEAS, and grad members of the p.c. police better recuse themselves from this discussion

  10. Q.R.

    Whining about the Core is pretty outmoded... two or three stupid "hate crimes" don't mean shit around here. I've had worse things written on my door (and for no reason, as I'm a straight white guy) and no fuss was raised. Nor should there have been. Isolated graffiti and the fact that a Western university has an oh-so-slight bias toward Western culture don't inspire me to rally, sorry... limits on my free speech might.



    Campus activism is grasping at straws. Can't say I blame it.

  11. Lano

    SEAS kids have to take core classes too...

  12. get real

    Look people, this is New York City. This is the real world. Deal with it, like everyone else.

  13. straight white man

    and luckily i can think outside myself and realize that hate crimes will not end until groups like SHOCC come around and force the university to deal with them. the core needs to change, i can't imagine how alienating it is to hear that western history is only white people and then to have my CC prof. only call on me when we read "Souls of Black Folks." this is new york city, deal with the fact that there are people different than you, stop writing stupid shit on people's walls, start realizing that you aren't in lily white new england anymore and your culture is not the only important one to learn about!

  14. 6 hate crimes in a year?

    and you guys are still not concerned? i hardly think this is "grasping at straws" but then again, i guess it all depends on where you are sitting... sounds like too many of you are just talking to yourselves, so much for it being "new york city," when you're not even thinking about who lives here.

    • ohreally

      Six REPORTED hate crimes. To that we can add bricks thrown out of frat windows, vicious harassment of a Jewish kid walking down Broadway, various Turks telling Armenians they wish the job had been finished more thoroughly, Taiwanese being run out of the faculty, etc., etc.



      I'm not sure I agree with SHOCC, but there's a real problem of intolerance here; it's not good for the university's long-term goals or for our short-term welfare.

  15. haha

    "safe spaces"? is this real life, or are we playing capture-the-flag?

  16. citizen

    99% of the people here agree that scrawling slurs on people's doors is lame.



    i don't like having propaganda shouted at me, regardless of whether or not i agree with it. and besides, there's nothing that bollinger could ever do to prevent drunk kids from doing lame shit. certainly the fact that the spec has run like 6 cover stories about this group in the past week is only fueling this fire

  17. definitions

    On a most fundamental level, SHOCC's definition of "hate crime" is insanely broad. I sympathize with parts of their complaints, but I can't associate myself with a group who's understanding of their central term of contention is so distorted.



    And that's that. If SHOCC is confused as to why they're not receiving as much support as they think they should, maybe they should look at their own articulation of their agenda.

  18. Core Curriculum

    SHOCC's understanding of the Core's two pillars, LitHum and CC, is entirely wrongheaded. They say it's unacceptably Eurocentric, but -- duh! -- it's intentionally and rightfully centered on Europe, since Western Civ developed, as a historical fact, out of predominantly European ideas and art, whose creaters were predominantly the elites in that society, who -- due to their oppression of other contingents -- were predominantly white men.



    The Core is a *reflection* of this historical fact, NOT an endorsement of that state of affairs. Why is this so difficult for everyone to understand? If you want to understand the roots and development of Western Civ through its philosophy and art, you're inescapably going to have to read predominantly the works of white men. Doing that learning is not oppressive -- it's about understanding what civilization has historically developed. Everyone, irrespective of race, gender, etc., benefits from that. And the only way you can change the course of Western Civ is if you understand what it has consisted of up until now.

  19. Todd

    Just for the record, *I* didn't take anything back. Damn identity thiefs. No doubt the work of SHOCC. Off to the re-education center with ye!

  20. Optimus Prime

    Down with transphobia!

  21. Q.R.

    That's true. And "Straight white man" isn't me... also, I'm not actually writing shit on anyone's walls. Nor would I ever. Nor am I a racist, or a homophobe, or anything else. "Lily white New England" my ass.



    If you want to call dumb drunk shit like this a "hate crime", then hate crimes aren't going to end on campus no matter what you do. Security cameras on the inside of bathroom stalls, or what?

  22. yo

    "I've had worse things written on my door (and for no reason, as I'm a straight white guy) and no fuss was raised."

    well that's the thing, isn't it? you're not directly targeted

  23. yo mama

    i think shocc's problem is that their demands are too broad. they'll get one group of students concerned about hate crimes, one that wants to reform the core, one that supports anti-oppression training (which is quite possibly the weirdest of their demands). i see how they're related, though. maybe if we weren't taught in cc and lithum that everything worthwhile was thought & written by white men, people would hesitate to yell slurs or hold offensive bakesales.



    in the end, it seems we would all benefit from having more diversity in our readings and a greater awareness of multiculturalism. but i'm not sure if shocc's presenting that in a productive way...

  24. realist

    honestly, are people at columbia that ignorant to think that the core is the be all and end all of thought? at the very least, there is major cultures (and I know, that is VERY least, but certainly no one is thinking "everything worthwhile was thought & written by white men"



    anyway these shocc punks should listen to people who know what they've been talking about (like prof. debary) who have wanted to EXTEND the core for years, not tear down CC and Lit Hum.



    for the record, I know people on shocc who think african civ is an awful, awful idea of a class but think that inserting fanon and the epic of sonjiata keita somewhere between kant and freud will make it less likely that some drunken frat kid will write something stupid on someone's little whiteboard. what?

  25. boildown

    how to dismiss shocc's demands:

    1. the core does not make people racist any more so than other classes which try to come to grips with the society in which we live. america, the west, and much of the world, for various reasons, were shaped by these ideas and not by those of confucius or some postcolonial thinker.

    2. "safe space" is an exclusionary and discriminatory concept.

    3. "anti oppression training" is almost too vague to refute, but it would probably involve a lot of propagandistic lecturing which would make the university feel unsafe for free expression.

  26. re: Yo

    That's fair. But whose door were the EC stuff written on? That hasn't been released as far as I've seen, other than to tell us that it's the /floor/ the head of Queer Alliance lives on. It doesn't really sound targeted. As far as we've been told, that is.

  27. hmmm

    i would say...

    1. the west & america are not the world. we DO NEED more classes that focus on thinkers outside of the western tradition. and the opposition to african civ is not that it's not cc, but that the way the class is run is also from a eurocentric perspective!!

    2. why is safe space exclusionary & discriminatory? against white men, you mean? the 21st century victim? anyhow, white men ARE included in shocc, in safe spaces, etc.

    3. this is from the shocc website and i think it helps clarify what they mean by anti-oppression training (i.e. getting beyond platitudes of diversity):



    II. We demand institutionalized, mandatory, full day training on issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, power and privilege for all incoming students, faculty, and public safety; and that the training focus on anti-oppression, rather than sensitivity and diversity; as well as significant student representation and control in the planning and implementation of the trainings.

  28. re: yo mama

    We're not "taught in cc and lithum that everything worthwhile was thought & written by white men." We learn and read firsthand the texts that have been, as historical fact, central and foundational in Western civilization, influencing its development. From that perspective -- which is, crucially, the key one, guiding the composition of the curriculum -- the texts are uncontroversially important. That's why they're worthwhile and worth understanding.



    There's a paucity of non-white, non-male writers in that curriculum because, historically, those other groups have been oppressed and denied education and a voice. Not because Columbia professors drafting the curriculum think that non-white, non-male people are worthless. The lack of diversity is a reflection of the shortcomings of Western society in history, and rather than deny this fact, it should be confronted. To artificially insert works on the basis of a the different criterion of greater diversity, rather than historical influence and importance, in fact, distorts Western civilization.



    LitHum and CC's curriculum do a fine job of accomplishing their goal: to give an overview of key works of literature and philosophy in the history of Western civilization.



    Maybe it's not the selection of works in the course that needs to change, but rather how teachers and students talk about them.

  29. maybe

    the demand really is (or should be) to make the core reflect world history and not just western history?



    also: perhaps the demand for anti-oppression training is an attempt to do just what you said: change how students and teachers are approaching those texts.

  30. re: hmmm

    um, if safe spaces include white people, what are they? just arbitrary zones in which it's hoped nothing undesirable goes down? they don't seem to serve any real function.



    and the description of "anti-oppression training" not only just defines itself as "anti-oppression training" (which is only expanded on insofar as it is "not sensitivity or diversity") but clearly states that this will be some kind of session meant to make it clear that only certain ideas are acceptable.



    free speech doesn't just mean nice free speech.

  31. plato

    there are degrees of relevancy, though. kant is more important for anyone learning, living, and acting in a western context than neo-confucian political tracts, and most of us will be those living and working in western contexts. hence why these texts are taught in the CORE, and those who desire to branch out may do so- to EALAC, MEALAC, or whatever.

  32. hmmm

    white people aren't excluded from safe spaces!! it's very important that white people and people of color work together to fight racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. another defintion from the shocc website:



    A space that embraces individual difference, sustains inclusion, and cultivates a campus that is free from bias. A safe space is an avenue in which faculty, staff, and students can help achieve these goals. A safe space serves students through advocacy, community building, and education.

  33. re: maybe

    You pose the more pertinent question (western vs. world history), but even then that's clearly not what SHOCC and most people who criticize the Core want. If it was, then their first demand would be to add in East Asian philosophy -- but it isn't: it's to add in more works by a woman or a black person, which are, yes, notable, but not monumentally important, within the context of the purpose of the course.

  34. um

    isn't it quite condescending to assume that CC students aren't astute enough not to take away from the core syllabus that the basis of all necessary knowledge is the product of dead white males?



    I think people go into cc knowing this actually, but even if they don't, certainly, as columbia students, don't need "shocc knows best" to enlighten them.

  35. safe spaces

    okay, let's say I'm a racist. I walk into a safe space and start insulting and offending people. concept shot to shit.

  36. re: maybe

    The baffling thing is that people criticizing the Core genuinely seem to reject the value of the very *purpose* of the Core: they think merely learning about the ideas/art that has shaped western civ -- our society -- is oppressive. It's not: it's worthwhile education and the first step to changing our present and future society

  37. bollinger

    why shocc will never succeed in changing the core:

    1. most columbia students tacitly support the core, as it's a major aspect of the curriculum, and they probably would not have attended unless they thought it would be valuable to go through the hassle.

    2. people like those on shocc probably aren't going to become the high-rolling movers and shakers like those who make up the board of trustees, who make the ultimate decisions about the makeup of the core. the board of trustees has very rarely ever made any changes, the last being the addition of wollstonecraft et al when women were admitted in 1983. even then there was considerable dissention.

    • re: bollinger

      The trustees do not make the Core or change it. The Committee on the Core and the various heads of each section (CC, etc.) do...just fyi.



      And, while I think the SHOCC demands could be articulated more clearly in their shortened form, I think ppl. would benefit from engaging them about them since, from what I've heard from SHOCC people, the views on this post are not reflective of their view of/proposed changes to the Core.



      We should educate ourselves then dialogue.

      • The entire world

        Please stop using "dialogue" as a verb. "Dialogue" was meant to be a noun, that's why we made words like "talk" so short and easy to write. So they would be used.

        • on dialogue

          Actually, dialogue is different from 'talking'...which is why people differentiate b/t the two...free yourself from the limits of vocabulary that have been handed down to you...please; it's painful, and dangerous, to conflate the two

          • re: on dialogue

            Oh, for God's sake. I can use half-dollar words perfectly well, but I'd rather express my thoughts clearly, rather than say "conflate" every time I get a chance. But thanks for pointing out my intellectual inferiority.



            Maybe we shouldn't have the Core at all, if most of what it teaches seems to be how to speak like an academic and make yourself sound out of touch.

  38. re: safe spaces

    Yes, the question remains: what are safe spaces? Some mystical utopia? A concrete institution in a concrete building? A circle people create at predetermined times/locations, as SHOCC is doing in their protest?

  39. re: safe spaces

    An actual space? Just a state of mind?

  40. re: um

    do you prefer "the columbia administration knows best"? i think people believe what they've been taught -- or what they haven't been taught. i left high school having read three books by women and two by black people, all of which were taught essentially as tokenism. that didn't make me a racist or a misogynist, but it certainly led to some pretty messed up ideas about what these groups had achieved -- or even COULD achieve. and if you haven't heard someone on campus say, "i don't like women writers" or "going above 125th st is dangerous" (i.e. to a majority non-white neighborhood) at least a couple times, well, you haven't been listening.

  41. core

    one of the greatest things about the core is its degree of complexity. one can't emerge from cc and say "this is how westerners think". if it were to be converted into a multicivilisational course, however, or even one involving equally represented "perspectives" of different women and genders (god help us if we displace aristotle for whatever transgender intellectual the core office is forced to find), we would most likely think in terms of overgeneralizations- this is what women think, blacks, islamic civ, etc.



    knowing that western civ is complex allows one to apply that to other contexts, hence you will not emerge thinking groups are objectifiable.

  42. re: re um

    what makes you able to think outside the core box but not other columbia students? how have you managed to "see the light"? do you think you're just inherently better? as you've stated, you received an education overflowing with white male writers both in high school and in your core experience here...you don't seem the "worse" for it.

  43. re:re:re um

    i think i AM the worse for it in that i spent so much time only aware of really one perspective -- and acting on that. and i still feel like i deal with issues of trying to figure out why i believe certain things or act in certain ways: if it's only because i haven't been exposed to alternatives.



    i did eventually encounter other perspectives, yes, but it was purely coincidental and certainly wasn't through the core. seems to me that a diversity of thought should be central to an education, not supplementary to it. and if people want to decide, well, eff that, i STILL think women are inherently worse writers than men, well, that's their choice and they can pursue other courses that fit more with their interests. but it's important that they at least make that choice for themselves, you know?

  44. re: um

    Well, then we can create a new additional course for the Core on alternative perspectives, but LitHum and CC are already doing what they're supposed to do, which is more than enough for one course (there's so much in it already, we're already forced to give only cursory looks at certain key works).

  45. re: um

    It might be easier to enage with SHOCC if one didn't feel like their criticism of the Core were merely kneejerk, rather than considered and thought-through. It says something that Bwog discussion comments are more nuanced than the large amount of material SHOCC has produced to articulate their point-of-view.

  46. yeah

    maybe a better solution would be to fix major cultures, which was intended to bring more diversity to the core anyway, right?



    if you had lithum and cc as western history and then genuine alternative perspectives in other required classes that were equally extensive, that would be ideal.



    of course, then you'd have to spend all your time as an undergrad completing the core...

  47. nebulous

    SHOCC's demands are pretty nebulous. Their definition of "safe space", for example:



    "A space that embraces individual difference, sustains inclusion, and cultivates a campus that is free from bias. A safe space is an avenue in which faculty, staff, and students can help achieve these goals. A safe space serves students through advocacy, community building, and education."



    What the hell does that mean? English, please, not post-wtf babble. The nebulosity alone may deter their getting from the administration what they want.

  48. prof william de bary

    de bary suggested in 1988 that the core be extended by requiring both asian hums (east asia + mideast/india) be taken in the junior year. I think this is more practicable and worthy of fighting for than anything shocc has proposed.

  49. core

    Maybe it'd be a good idea to replace one of the major cultures classes with a LitHum/CC-type class devoted to non-Western works. It's very, very important that we learn the foundational works of Western society, but at the same time, it's hard to think outside of that box if you're not exposed to anything non-Western.

    • maybe not

      You're kinda illustrating what's so hard about this. If anything, it would be worse if there was a class for "Western" and an aquivalent one for "non-Western" thought. I'm with de Bary.



      It would be silly to belittle (and it's sad that many people don't know) how much minorities contributed to the history of the United States. But doing away with Kant or Nietzsche and replacing him with some "representative" agent of this or that minority group (as defined by whom?) is not the way to go.

  50. OT

    and so, in respect of my ontological totality - the ability for me to determine my self as a human being that comes in to relationship with other human beings - i would first like to intervene in this conversation by stating it is not conversation at all. maybe kids sitting behind a screen and stating their privileged class and social position in order to validate themselves over the very real world problems of other people is called conversation by some. i however, consider it pure competition with some false ideal of the individual, the private, and a grotesque conception of the morally good.



    their is a conditioning within many places, especially the space of this campus and other elite institutions like it, to not listen to anything that validates its existence as a pedigree. honestly i do not expect these institutions to critically examine themselves and their reproduction of oppression (even when they espouse rhetoric to the contrary). fundamentally these spaces are built on ideas that are not accepting of me, and so i will always keep my distance. these spaces are built on a belief that anything that doesn’t pull toward the center of some coliseum like battle of lions that we often call democracy is anarchy, a belief that any challenge to the norm is delusional, and the denial that oppression breeds the seeds of its own destruction, the oppressed.



    these beliefs create a culture of exclusion precisely to remain uncritical to the genealogies, histories and foundations of its privileges over others. the realization of my existence pins on not sitting by idly while these oppressions are inflicted against me. instead, it is positioning myself within a history of struggle - because everything wasn’t equal after the civil rights movement (read up on history if you want to know, or better yet, stop looking at people as ahistorical actors in controlling their own destinies when profit is based on their exploitation). instead, it is maintaining my right to protest rather than sacrificing it to the hands of an institution. instead it is realizing that my life is connected to others, and my understanding of them- as well as the converse – their recognition and understanding of me (rather than subjecting me to traditions that have excluded me before and exclude me today) is the only thing that makes valuable joy in my life possible.



    and at the end of all this, it is bigger than this campus. maybe a few students are upset because this ‘community’ that prepares us to take up a future of shaping the lives of others, whether it be policy, economics, the sciences, the arts, literature, could refuse changes that make it easier to listen to other peoples experiences. changes that make it easier to listen to experiences that rest on the ‘margins’ (but really, if this is the center i question my willingness of being a part) because those people can’t speak up. changes that make it easier to listen because one realizes how easy it is to silence others. so maybe the changes wont hold weight here. sad that this is one of the few spaces that can take a stance of not reproducing the silencing of others, but is unwilling. telling, but sad.



    and so i also realizes that such changes are not in everyone’s interest. to include voices on the margins would allow the very thing that could critique your position in to your center. such small changes in structure open up the possibility for greater change in peoples personal interactions and how they live out their lives. some change is sacrifice, all change brings difference. I recognize Your position. and I hope You see my position is a reaction to yours (I have other people to build with). I see the way You wish history to unfold, but Hegel had it wrong, the natives are world historical figures, because they are remembered.



    At the end of the day though, after the rants that i know your own life doesn’t give you the experience to relate to (which may be why people are asking for a change in how spaces are formed, housing for students and the core alike – we only know experiences outside of our own through dialogue) i do at least hope that you see yourself for who you are. realize your own ontological totality. i just question if some experiences will necessarily lead to hatred (of self and others) if they refuses listening.

    • well

      first, have you considered at all whether you have defined yourself as an other inasmuch as you believe others perhaps have? your perspective would be entirely different were you to think of yourself as a full participant in society as currently constructed. your inability to do so, I imagine, cannot merely have been compromised by a handful of isolated incidents. this is a self-imagined product of "identity politics" as much as anything else.



      second, even if there were such a reified other crying out for expression, it doesn't seem as if existing avenues within the structure of the liberal university (and democracy) have been exhausted for you. you describe democracy as a "coliseum lion fight" but seem to couch the rhetoric of "training" in a more benign euphemism- "listening". it denies that what you're seeking is to impart perspectives on individuals, not have them engage in a dialectic in which perspectives are aired and merge. the very fact that shocc has received so much attention over the last week is an indication that such concerns are voiceable in the public forum and do not need recourse to illiberal policies you would have the administration impose. at least politically, antiliberal pessimism has not proven popular, neither on this campus nor in the country as a whole. the cold war era, however, provides numerous examples of how illiberality in the name of equality has been monstrously misapplied. the "false moral" of the individual is one which emanates from experience, whereas what you propose is the consequence of a philosophical discourse the tangible end of which typically amounts to draconian dictation.

    • citizen

      i can't really see how puritanical groups that stand with their trigger on the finger 24 hours a day waiting to denounce something that somebody said or did as offensive do anything to contribute to a "dialogue" here.



      it seems like the position groups like shocc shoot for is the elevation of a certain point of view and the fervent shouting-down of everything else.



      why do you think that this discussion is taking place on an anonymous comment board?

      • joining up

        ...because people aren't willing to ask questions or engage in a real dialogue...they just shoot their ideas down defensively...THAT is why this discussion is taking place on an anonymous comment board.



        Sad...and I've seen them around all week and haven't seen them yelling at anyone...they're not the Spartacus Youth Club, or whatever they're called...in fact, the messages on this board have made me kind of want to join SHOCC...I think the knee-jerk/status quo ish on this page shows why a lot of what they're advocating for is necessary...so thanks for that I guess.

      • joining up

        ...because people aren't willing to ask questions or engage in a real dialogue...they just shoot their ideas down defensively...THAT is why this discussion is taking place on an anonymous comment board.



        Sad...and I've seen them around all week and haven't seen them yelling at anyone...they're not the Spartacus Youth Club, or whatever they're called...in fact, the messages on this board have made me kind of want to join SHOCC...I think the knee-jerk/status quo ish on this page shows why a lot of what they're advocating for is necessary...so thanks for that I guess.

  51. Good God

    Of course homophobia and racism need to be protested. But of all the places in America, Columbia? Of all the eight-square-block-areas in the giant redneck United States, you feel the need to lash out at a place that won't let in the military because they discriminate and calls an entire campus summit for some marker graffiti?



    It's myopic. There are better places to do this. Charter a bus.

    • yo mama

      i think the idea is that these things don't occur in a vacuum. for example, maybe if more people had to take anti-oppression training, they would educate themselves more about the expansion in manhattanville and what that will mean for the area. or they will try to get jobs with companies that don't support racist/sexist/homophobic/etc policies. columbia students have power in society -- now and in the future. perhaps the theory is: let's make sure they know how to use that power wisely and not just for their own benefit, in support of the (flawed) system that's already in place.

      • reasonable

        Dude, what is unclear to you is that most students support the manhattanville expansion. That will mean more space for everything on campus, as well as increase the stature of columbia. Its not racist to bulldoze empty factory buildings and crackdens. As an impoverished area adjacent to campus, it in fact gives columbia a great place to move to. Manhattanville is not beautiful, or really historic. It deserves to get gentrified and beautified. Second, no amount of anti-oppression training will change their minds. If they've ever taken the walk to fairway, or dino bbq, they'll agree that whole area could do with a bit of modernization. Anti-oppression training is something that I know i will personally never attend. What companies support racist/sexist/homophobic policies in your opinion? Wal-mart, cause its just evil? And do you really think columbia students not working at a place will change it one bit? Get your head out of the sand, recognize you're surrounded by the most liberal tolerant people that exist. If you're not happy with this group, and think they need anti-oppression training, just wait till you get to the real world.

        • yo mama

          most students support the manhattanville expansion because they're totally uninformed about what it would mean for the harlem community. tenants would be displaced, massive gentrification would occur displacing MORE residents, people of color would be forced out of the area they've inhabited for generations to make space for rich, predominantly white college students. the idea that morningside heights is somehow more "beautiful" than manhattanville is incredibly classist and even racist: are immaculate starbucks more aesthetically pleasing to you than old low-income housing? shall we move ollies and the gap to manhattanville and enlighten them to the joys of privilege?

          • Plus

            Manhattanville isn't where people live. We're talking about, what, 80 people displaced, as even the most liberal estimates put it? It's mostly industrial land, car shops, etc. It's a kneejerk reaction to claim we're destroying a neighborhood. As someone who spends a lot of time in Harlem, Manhattanville is not exactly the vibrant center of the world. It's an empty, rat-infested void under the highway.

          • citizen

            harlem is getting gentrified regardless of what columbia does, for better or for worse.



            gentrification does a lot of damage to communities, no doubt, but to demand cessation of the process isn't reasonable... people should be able to live wherever they want, and businesses should be able to set up shop wherever there is a storefront for sale.



            eminent domain is another issue, but don't think that if by some miracle the expansion does not happen, these residents will not eventually be forced out.

          • quiqui

            I came across a semi-satirical article in the New Yorker written in 1925 (!) complaining about how Columbia was taking over Morningside Heights and how within a decade all the environs would be populated by milquetoast spinster Teacher's College girls... my point is, gentrification and Columbia-fication of the neighborhood has been anticipated for over 80 years.

  52. paul s.

    I woke up this morning to seven e-mails from this group. I'm not certain how I wound up on their listserv(s), but seven e-mails between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. is a bit excessive, in my opinion.



    I'd certainly hope they de-radicalise within the next day or two. Even the Cyrus mailing system cannot tolerate such abuse.

  53. Anti-oppression training

    I think that many people here are misunderstanding what the purpose of anti-oppression training is. I do agree that the abbreviated forms of SHOCC's demands may be unclear about it and that "training" is not really the right word to describe it, but the Anti-oppression training is not meant to impose ideas on people at all. It's about creating a space for dialogue and introducing new ideas to people. At the very least, it would be forcing you to simply think and talk about issues of power and privelege in society with other students for one day a year. The reason "Anti-oppression" is used is because diversity training often is just a conversation about how we are all different and should be tolerant of and celebrate our rainbow spectrum. Anti-oppression is meant to ask students to think about how power, privelege and oppression are connected to theirs and others identities. Fundamentally it's about having real conversations with people about ideas that you may not have thought about before (although you may have thought about them a lot). SHOCC isn't forcing anyone to think anything, and with Anti-oppression training specifically is trying to get the University to recognize that an important conversation is being left out of our educational experience. In that sense having to have a conversation about oppression seems to not be that different from being forced to read Kant and talk about him, except for maybe less reading.

  54. anon

    I hope that part of this rigorous assault on discrimination, people will finally realise that affirmative action must be abolished. Maybe not today or this year, but sometime in the next decade or so. Affirmative action is racial preference, and racial preference discrimination. I think I speak for the silent (overwhelmingly liberal) minority in saying that the bake sale was a bad idea, but it had a point. Affirmative action has to go sooner or later.

  55. David Denby

    Here's the problem with the core: far too many 18 year olds thrust into CC straight from their little prep school bubbles to the bubble of Morningside Heights are simply too immature and thick-headed to grasp the complexities of western civilization without bringing upon themselves the question of the foreign other. Since this so-called other isn't force-fed down their throats, unlike the backbone of western civ, they demand it added to counterbalance already misguided views. These students would be best served if they quit their whining and started experiencing a world beyond the euphemistic gates, rather than attempting to alter the backbone of the core curriculum. If they don’t like it, there are plenty of other schools out there to stroke their egos.

  56. Breaking News

    Just in! The entire Barnard College student body claims inferiority to Columbia College, files numerous hate crime reports and vows to abstain until the mental abuse stops. A Barnard student who asked not to be identified said that she overheard some Columbia first-years discussing a similar tactic during reading week last December. Further, she said that the core sucks, does little more than voice the concerns of 'dead white males' and must be abolished, while admitting she had never heard of Homer before, other than from the Simpsons.

  57. transophobia

    I know this has already been asked...but what the heck is "transophobia"?

  58. Silent Majority?

    Thank god there are still kids out there who don't want to be bossed around by glorified hall monitors. Groups such as this are the most oppressive force on campus. It is increasingly disheartening to me how much certain groups of students want to control and coerce their peers. The concept of hate speech is one of the greatest threats right now to the basic freedom of expression and thought that should be an unalienable right... especially in a supposed place of higher learning! I don't understand why these kids want to sit and be placated, want to cram their opinions and beliefs into the mouths of every student so they can hear it parroted back at them. There is nothing subversive, liberal, new, or important about what they are doing: these kids are pale attempts at imitating their parents who actually had real shit to protest about. Clearly, I'm not the only one discouraged by the oppressive spirit of fake liberalism on this campus, so how come none of us rational ones ever seem to speak up in class, or write editorials for the paper, or hold our own sit-ins and write up our own lists of demands?

    • sad :(

      I feel like SHOCC is comprised by some of the only really forward thinking 'leftists' I have come across...the majority of Columbia, I think, is made up of fake liberals...I definitely wouldn't insult SHOCC members by calling them liberals...they're, hopefully, much more than that.

  59. quiqui

    Also, does anyone know what they want to add to the Core? The Core could use help, but anything I've ever read complaining about it usually just moans about dead white men, etc., and how stupid we are because we read them, rather than offering ideas for alternate or additional texts.

    • intrigued

      In one of the discussion circles they set up on Wednesday, I heard a lot of talk about the Core...it's a pretty detailed plan...some of it's just asking for changes to the way things are decided about the core (mostly, more student input), and other has to do w/ curricular issues...you should attend one of their teach ins or something and ask about it, cuz it's pretty right on (the part I heard, anyway). Plus, they were saying they were totally open to more students getting involved, voicing their own ideas about the Core, and their own proposals for changing it. I'm glad they did their rally the way they did because I probably wouldn't have heard/listened otherwise.

  60. joey crack

    I have an idea. You should all go back to the suburbs. It's so easy to talk about racism and diversity. Try getting robbed every day outside school for your skin color. Or getting your car vandalized when you pass through certain neighborhoods for business.

  61. anon

    agreed. get ya asses back to the burbs. all of you. long live the old nyc, where kids like you could walk your prissy behinds on 42nd street that is now an urban disneyland, without getting the clothes taken right off your back. long live the old nyc. GET BACK TO THE BURBS. living in new york dont make you urban and a new yorker. face it. youre from the suburbs. leave people alone here.

    • Oh, please  

      Everyone knows who you are, you jackass, and your opinion doesn't mean shit. Nobody has much say in where they're raised, and if you think being born here makes you intrinsically superior, you're an idiot. 'Nuff said.

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