What Hannity and Colmes shouted down

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Eva Fortes, C ’09, is the woman of the hour–along with Monique Dols, she took on Hannity and Colmes on very short notice. The bad news? They didn’t let the girls tell their story. The good news? Bwog interviewed Fortes–who started the anti-Minutemen facebook group and penned an article in today’s Spec–shortly before she went on national TV. You’ll be able to see the video online soon, and Bwog will post YouTubes of both that show and tonight’s O’Reilly Factor in the morning (we get tired too). Meanwhile, here’s Eva’s story, unspun and edited only a little bit.

evaWere you involved in the inside protest?

I got the heads up that it was going to happen, and about the desire to have a protest, And so, the minute we were sure, we had a meeting, and that was very much just people shouting out ideas, we’re going to protest, in what manner are we going to protest? At that meeting, we decided that we were going to have an outside protest, and to have as many people as possible come. We wanted to have also a protest outside Lerner, but I think Columbia didn’t give us the space.

As far as people going inside, we decided that those who wanted to go in and actually listen could go in. I really wanted to hear what he had to say, and ask him good questions at the end. And then we decided we should have some consolidating color, we would all just have white t-shirts. And then we discussed, should we protest inside? We weren’t sure there would be a question and answer, and we had a couple of people type up a question sheet to hand out to people as they were going in, so if there were a question and answer, we would be prepared with actual and difficult questions. The other plan, if we weren’t allowed to ask questions–we didn’t outlaw heckling, heckling was alright–was to, at the very end of Gilchrist’s speech, when the applause starts, we were going to stand up and turn around, and that was the extent of it.

When I got to the protest yesterday, it was going really well. I went in and sat down. I saw Karina [Garcia] there, and I asked her, hey, things have changed since that initial meeting, what are we going to do? And she said, we’re not going to do anything, at all. And I said, are we even going to be standing up and turning around at the end of the speech, and she said no no no, just sit, because they’re allowing question and answer. Throughout the speech, people were heckling, I was heckling. I think he should have ignored a lot more of the heckling than he actually did. When the students came out with the banner, I was surprised, and when people rushed the stage, I had no idea what was going on. I and the friend I had come with were the only ones to stay seated. I was honestly really frightened and embarrassed. One of the girls who was holding the poster said hey, they’re going to go after the people who rushed the stage, so let’s have a meeting of all those who rushed the stage. I went with them because I felt implicated in the thing already because my name was on the facebook group and I was going to write the spec article.

They were still under the auspices of this had been a kind of spontaneous thing. I helped draft the statement, and then I went home, and I was still confused about what had happened and how I felt about it. When I wrote the article, I was trying to focus on the issues at hand. Unfortunately, what this has turned into is a huge fiasco about the right to free speech, instead of the issues of immigration.

So I wrote the article. Last night, I got a call saying it was planned. The banner thing and running up to the stage was planned, and that was the first I had heard of that. Those who ran to the front of the stage had been told that people would come out with a banner and they should go up and support them. The thing that has been eating my conscience has been that in the meeting after what happened, the main thing we talked about was, they’re going to try to turn us against each other, we can’t break off into different sections, which I totally support. That’s my main critique about the left in general always, that the left turns against itself, whereas the right sticks together.

I think that 4 or 5 people actually knew about it, and I think the rest of the people who rushed forward, it was a moment of solidarity. The fact that it was somewhat planned, and they didn’t tell me about it, especially since they knew that I’m already implicated in it, my name is up there, I was really taken aback that they didn’t pull me in on that. Had I known about it, I would have at least objected, and if that had not been heard, I would have stayed outside with the protest on the sidewalk. It’s unfortunate that this is kind of a small faction that chose to do that, because as much as I disagree with what Gilchrist stood for, and what the minutemen do, I still think that he should have been allowed to speak. The other view is, yeah, he can speak, but we can speak over him, which is the way they’ve been presenting it. Legally, that’s true. Individual people aren’t bound to recognize the free speech of others, it’s institutions who are bound to do so. But by running forward to the stage, even though we had no intention to make it violent, at all—the only violence came from the minutemen—even so, the act of rushing the stage is such a threatening act, especially when there’s so many people, and you don’t know what they’re going to do. I just still can’t believe they did it.

Are there others who think the same way you do?

Oh yeah. Most of the protesters don’t agree with the rush of the stage, especially those who stood outside. A lot of people feel that it was a huge misrepresentation of our beliefs, as individuals, as protesters, as believers in free speech. I can see why they wanted to make a bigger point, since just sitting there isn’t getting anything done, but I just don’t think that was a good way to go about it.

Have you thought about getting your own speaker?

If we do get a speaker who’s not really controversial, because we don’t want to get a counterspeaker for the Republicans to protest, it would be to invite someone what everyone can kind of agree with what they’re saying. The republicans have a reputation for just inviting people who incite these kinds of things. We know it’s what they want, but at the same time, it had to happen. Those who rushed the stage were taking the sentiment to an extreme, so they were still representing us, but in another way. Because in any political debate like this, you’re going to have a spectrum, just like there are members of the College Republicans who absolutely do not agree with the fact that Gilchrist was even invited here.

What was the mood in the meeting afterwards?

The mood in the meeting afterwards started out as one of remorse. Remorse, and anger at the attacks. It seemed to me like there was an air of students being defensive about what they had done. There was a lot of, we have to stand together on this, we’re not sorry for what we did, but we have to explain why we did it.   

– Interview by Lydia DePillis

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  1. eva fortes  

    is a disgrace to columbia. i hope somebody protests every meal she eats.

  2. this girl...  

    she was stupid enough to protest jim gilchrist's first ammendment rights, she's stupid enough to go on hannity to defend her righteousness. no surprises here.

  3. this is actually  

    the most fascinating piece of seen so far on the issue.

  4. I was  

    thoroughly inspired by Eva and Monique's response to Hannity tonight. They made me proud to be a Columbia student.

  5. ugh


    • wirc  

      Thank God someone carries their pocket constitution around. That said, it is important to respect the individual rights of people and not impose on their rights to speak when invited and sanctioned by the university in an effort to support academic and intellectual freedom. Mob rule is generally a bad thing, and I'm reasonably certain that a few chaps, namely de Tocqueville and Mill, would have a few words to say about this. Eva Fortes is possibly the best protester on campus for her policies and her ability to argue cogently.

    • columbia is  

      a private property and its students are private citizens. protest her on campus. and that's a joke wirc. eva fortes is a disgrace to this institution

      • wirc  

        Kindly please read the article again, and then go ahead and follow her around with a sign opposing opposition to opposition to immigration. I will bring signs in opposition. Then, I think we'll have a Mexican standoff in the good old spaghetti western tradition, just without guns. Also, the protest Eva organized was not on Columbia's property.

    • Ron Lewenberg

      It is entirely true that Columbia is not limited by the First Ammendment.

      However, Columbia does claim to be an institution of higher learning open to debate and free discourse. Anything less is hypocracy, a betrayal of the institution, and a fraud perpetrated on all students.

  6. Rational Republican  

    While Chris has made some caustic comments, the really jarring comments came from Bill O'Reilly recently:

    "OK, no spin: Columbia University is a disgrace. It is not interested in free speech or learning, it is a place of indoctrination. Let us call it the 'University of Havana, North.'"


    "And places that allow these hooligans free reign, like Columbia University must be held to account. Alumni should stop all donations to Columbia."

    The real question here is: why don't we invite O'Reilly to speak here? This can obviously end in one of a few ways:

    1) he doesn't come to speak, which would be a victory for us as we reaffirm our position as open while he proves himself as a cowardice

    2) he comes to speak, which would, if handled properly, open a channel of communication and prove us open.

    Thus, why don't we invite Mr. O'Reilly to speak? If we really are intolerant, deprave liberal fascists, this would be the best venue.

  7. What about  

    some video? Pretty please?

  8. To the person

    who asked for O'Reilly to be invited, he will be. Stay tuned for details.

  9. I posted this

    in another thread but thought maybe it was more appropriate here.

    To the Chicano members caucus seem to forget is that the illegal immigrants are not the victims. You keep blaming the 3000 deaths in the desert, which I might add are all tragic, on the minutemen. They havent killed one person. You fail to put the blame where it rightfully belongs, on the government of Mexico.

    First and foremost in this arguement is the fact that they are coming here illegally. Mexico currently has the highest visa quota of any country with regards to legal immigration. Legal immigrants are wonderful addition to our society, to our country and to our culture. What on earth possesses you to believe that anyone from Mexico should be allowed to emigrate to the United States without regards for our laws. This is the main contention that most in America have with illegal immigration, the fact that it is illegal. Our laws are flaunted, our school are taxed, and these new illegal immigrants come here with expectations that previous generations of immigrants, legal immigrants, never harbored.

    The problem stems from the government in Mexico which fails to provide a system which accounts for all of its people. Mexico has more than enough natural resources and industry to support its people, and to have a flourishing economy, but rampant corruption (which is a staple of life and in many cases the only way to get things done, unfortunately) incalculable inefficiency, and stubborness all leads to the poverty which exists.

    Solve this problem and then we wont have a problem with illegal immigration, we wont have people dying in the desert, and wont be having this discussion any more.

    Again, the question I pose to this group is, why are the inordinate amount of visas that are granted to Mexican citizens each year not enough.

    By the way, I think I know something of which I speak, I lived in Mexico City for a number of years. This I say before you go off on your this person is a racist rant. A person can have an opinion that is contrary to yours without being a racist, can believe that illegal immigration is just that illegal and should be stopped, especially in light of the fact that we have a large number of people coming from Mexico who went through the process, waited their time and came here the legal way without being xenophobic.

    The worst part is that most illegal immigrants are nice people, just trying to make a living that their government doesnt allow them to and would prefer to stay in their own country if the opportunity presented itself.

    One last question, why can the US baseball team or soccer team go to play a game against a hispanic team in Los Angeles and have urine and batteries and glass throw at them and the national anthem booed, when they are playing in their own country. Dont you think this does a lot to incur the wrath of the public and push sentiment against those perpetrating the act.

    • alright

      So why do people immigrate illegally? Is it because risking their lives to cross the desert or mountains is easier than filling out visa paperwork?

      Despite the large quota, it's insufficient. Waiting your time is not an option when your kids are living in squalor with nothing to eat. They risk their lives in the desert or they spend their life savings to be smuggled, but in both cases this is not done simply to avoid the legal process.

      The US has liberalized its trade policy as well as opened up capital flows, yet there is one more integral part of a market economy that is still limited, and that is labor. The fact is there is an overwhelming demand for jobs by immigrants, and there is a corresponding supply of jobs for them. Politicians complain about America's decline in competitiveness with the emergence of cheap labor in East Asia but these same polticians are a major factor in this equation when they deny a multitude of people their desire to work. They deny these people the ability to work at all, and the jobs have nowhere to go but overseas.

  10. Anonymous

    After veiwing the two crazed crusaders from Columbia on Hannity and Colmes, it is abundantly clear that admission to prestigious univeristies is apparently based on factors other than prior academic acheivement. Their shrill call to arms, especially in the case of the hysterical Monique Dols,brushes aside such frivolous notions as freedom of speech and civility and courtesy as intregal componets of rational discouse. After enduring their diatribe, I think the sage words of Confucious were written just for these two ladies..."It is wise to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and thereby remove all doubt."

    • agreed

      But Confucius never said that... it is attributed to a number of people including Mark Twain and there's a similar variation by Abraham Lincoln.

    • lucha y lucha

      "...abundantly clear that admission to prestigious univeristies is apparently based on factors other than prior academic acheivement..."

      And what would those factors be, John? Stop hiding behind your poor attempts of being clever. Spell it out -- I want you to step from behind your misguided appropriation of Eastern philosophy and hear your classist, racist reasoning to unfold for our dear bwog readers.

      • Anonymous

        My apologies to Abe Lincoln for what I had attributed to Eastern philosophy. The "racist reasoning" millions of citizens of this country as well as myself have regarding this issue is quite simply that potential immigrants to our country abide by the laws we have in place to gain entry and subsequent citizenship in the orderly manner prescribed by law. Ironically, your pathetic and very tired mantra that one is a racist for professing this belief, speaks volumes as to who is an actual racist. As your moniker implies, you’ll probably find it an exercise in futility “wrestling” with reason, right lucha?

  11. I said it once

    and I'll say it again, bravo eva. She seems to be the only person with any real perspective.

  12. humored  

    haha what do ya know. more false information from the reactionary right. just like the arabic writing on the banner denied the holocaust. but I suppose it's safe to assume that any arabic writing or speech is going to be hate towards jews......... r...a...c...i...s..t.........

  13. yeah right  

    you dumbasses expect anyone to come after this. you are violent bigoted ingrates who've shown you don't want to hear other people.

    game over. you're not deserving of good speakers

  14. kazzy

    IT IS ILLEGAL FOR A REASON! we can only have so many immigrants in this nation because we can only provide for a certain amount of people. illegal immigrants are overcrowding los angeles schools and hospitals. i'm from la and i've experienced it firsthand. after sitting in an er for over two hours and wondering why many of the hispanics who came after me (mind you this wasn't the case with the non-hispanics who arrived after me) were being given medical help before i was, i asked a nurse and she said that they're illegal, so they're covered by the government, and a payment for their treatment is certain, while payment by a private citizen is not. what a disgusting situation. we cannot afford to have illegal immigrants benefiting off our efforts, and they shouldn't be allowed here!

  15. kazzy

    ...i'm not a true conservative. i'm a facist, that's what.

  16. Gregor

    It's amazing to me that "freedom of speech" to Monique Dols means ... the right to PREVENT others from speaking. To suggest that she wasn't allowed to talk on either of the two Fox News shows is simply a lie. She was allowed to give her opinion, which she then chose to lie, and then she continued to interupt not only the other guest, but the hosts! She is extremely arrogant and obnoxious and has no interest in free speech unless it is her own.

  17. Matt Woodard

    I challenge any one of those protestors to openup their home and bank account to care for these illegal aliens. These are not "Undocumneted workers", they are ILLEGAL aliens. Being "undocumented" means you left your home without your license, not that you have illegaly entered a sovereign nation!
    If opposing unchecked illegal immigration means you are a racist, then give me my white sheet! You young college kids are not as smart as you think you are, millions of us have gotten our degrees before you even stepped foot on a campus, yet we are racist for opposing illegal immigration? Give me a break.
    To say that these people come to do jobs that we Amercians will not is a sham as well. You can't win a reasonable debate of logic on the issue so the only recourse you have is to act like Nazis yourselves and storm the stage to drown out any view opposing your own, however misguided they may be.
    From what I have seen this group was doing nothing more than trying to intimidate, and I must say it has backfired. Now take you bong and go back to your dorm and read some more Chomsky you ill informed hypocrites!

  18. David

    Eve Fortes is an arrogant, snippy little spoiled brat who doesn't know the confines of decency. Talking over other people in the nsame of free speech is the oxymoronic and moronic.

    You idiot, Eva. You are a disgrace to Columbia and the women.

  19. Jason

    I want to know a few things. What is it that the minutemet do that is so bad? What proof do any of the leftist protesters have that the minutemen have done anything wrong?

    For the records, I don't care what collor you are, everyone is racist.

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