Overheard: scraps from the Senate

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Seems like everyone and their mother is issuing statements these days about the Minuteman Protest: distancing, endorsing, calling for blood…and sometimes saying not much at all. While frolicking in the Student Government Office, Bwog ran across one such statement, passed this evening by the Student Affairs Caucus of the University Senate:

paperResolution on Free Speech at Columbia University

WHEREAS, Columbia University and its community has the responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that we all have the ability to express our intellectual freedom within our institution, and

WHEREAS, the Student Body of Columbia University has a right to invite speakers with varied points of view to campus, and it is unaccepatble within our community, to take away someone else’s right to express their opinions and viewpoints, and

WHEREAS, the Student Affairs Caucus represents the entire student body of Columbia University,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Student Affairs Caucus stands behind the principles of free speech on campus, and demands that the Columbia University Community stand firm in our commitment to allow all views to be heard.

Seem toothless? Not as bad as the Dems, who aren’t planning on issuing a statement at all. Chicano Caucus is already on their second, reprinted after the jump.

Statement from the Chicano Caucus, October 8th, 2006 

Chicano Caucus is proud to have organized the protest outside the Roone Arledge Auditorium. Although as an organization, we were not responsible for the protest on stage, we recognize the right of free speech on all sides. We condemn the violence committed against protesters by the Minutemen and their supporters. We have received numerous messages filled with racist and violent threats due to the misrepresentation in the national media of the Chicano Caucus’ involvement. This racist backlash exemplifies the nature of the organization that was brought to our campus, and only validates our initial decision to protest the anti-immigrant Minuteman Project. We will continue to proudly defend our communities. We thank everyone for their support.


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  1. there should  

    be a reign of terror against the stage rushers. this mealy mouthed u.senate bullshit is terribly disappointing given it was established to further civility on campus in the wake of the 68 protests.

    I am sure every official organization will distance itself from the rushing, except perhaps ISO, which I hope security rounds up at their press conference tomorrow. the denials of the other organizations can hardly, however, mask the shameful actions of their members.

  2. bwog?

    Why, exactly, are you expecting a statement from the Dems? Did they bring the speaker in question? Rush the stage? Maybe they're keeping quiet because they've managed to stay above the fray. Just speculating.

  3. SS2  

    I have never even heard of the Student Affairs Caucus, but I am glad to know that they, like everyone else here, support free speech.

  4. yeaa  

    I was being sarcastic, in reference to the fact that if you don't really have anything else to say, you might as well say that you "support free speech," because, well, it sounds nice.

  5. yeaa  

    Although I don't think the protestors actually said that.

  6. Avi Zenilman  

    I didn't write the post above, but the Dems comprise one of of the largest, most powerful, and well-funded political organizations on campus and also supported and mentioned the protest outside beforehand.

    The Minutemen are public--if fringe--players in the immigration debate, which happens to be one of the key issues in the upcoming midterm elections. The Dems' politics tend to reflect and shape the opinions of the student mainstream across ethnic lines.

    I don't think it's unfair to expect some sort of statement, especially considering that Dems President Mike Nadler sent an email to the club mailing list before the protest saying, "Additionally, if you would like to attend the actual speech in addition to the rally, we ask that you do so respectfully and do not attempt to interrupt it or to prevent Mr. Gilchrist from speaking."

    Given the importance of the upcoming midterms and the immigration issue, not to mention the extent of Wednesday's insanity and the Dems' central role in shaping the political values of this campus, it seems peculiar that they nothing to say. I'm sure Bwog isn't the first to think that.

    (I'm also pretty sure we're not the first on the political right, left, or center to juxtapose "Democrats" and "toothless." Saying something is usually an important part of politics.)

  7. also  

    the dems found it appropriate to take a very public stand against ahmadinejad and to send emails about israel. so will they contradict their previously asserted limitation to free speech? or involve themselves in something that is much closer to campus? i don't think that's unfair to ask.

  8. Poweful

    I hope one day the Chicano Caucus makes public the emails they received. Their statement is quite clear. As an organization, they had nothing to do with the protest inside but that really does not matter to all of the ignorant and racist folks that took their time to send them hate mail. We are watching. We support and admire you!

    • too bad  

      the main members of their group were actually storming the stage while they're president clapped them on

      I also love how all the student senator's mentioned in the spec article essentially came out against free speech and have no problem opressing political minorities. Tiffany Davis and Danielle Wolfe should be ashamed of themselves as everybody who disagrees w/them apparently brings 'hate' to campus. Nice way of using your power to make conservatives or repubicans feel even more uncomfortable then they already did.

      On top of that Marcus Johnson has spent the entire time afterwards spouting rovian conspiracy theories about kulawik and has cared more about attacking figuredhead than condemning anything. He's probably the saddest of them all.

  9. You are

    the same idiot that starts your comments on the title. I could sit and read you all day until your face went blue but you have nothing smart or interesting to say...It is not an issue of free speech but of idiocy. You know about sad and pathetic. I am sure. Every time you open your mouth here you are getting dick-slapped. Must like it you come back for more...

  10. Draft #4  

    Hey, Bwog:

    In case you missed one of the original drafts lying on the floor of the meeting room, I got it for you:

    WHEREAS we can all agree that we like ice cream, free pizza, smiling children and ponies,

    WHEREAS now that the Yankees have been eliminated from the post-season, every New Yorker and their mother who was standing on the sidelines is going to be rooting for the Mets,

    WHEREAS I want to get out of this Senate meeting to go get laid,

    BE IT RESOLVED that we like ice cream, free pizza, smiling children, sex, ponies, and the Mets, though not necessarily in that order, or at the same time.

    The U. Senate

  11. hey  

    wheres my quickspec bwog?

  12. Provocateur

    From spectator "[Kulawik] said Minuteman speaker Marvin Stewart told him he "felt threatened [when students came onstage], and that's when he reached for his pepper spray.""

    The dude walks around with pepper spray because they are really confident of the power of their arguments...These people are just vile and violent racist provocateurs.

    • blaming the victim  

      just quit repeating the same thing over and over troll. I'm sure the fact that a dozen plus crazed protestors storming through the barricade and the fact that its pretty normal behavior for those that seek to thoughtlessly label the minutemen as 'racist' or 'violent' is the reason he had the pepper spray. who knows when one of you unhinged nuts decides to actually physically attack as opposed to just violenty destroy things and supress speech

  13. FreeSpeech

    If these people wanted a debate, give them a debate. Let them defend their views 2 vs. 2 against people who oppose them. I bet you they would not dare...even if it is a debate with two undergraduates...because ultimately the minutement are cowards and the event made that abundantly clear.

    • cowards  

      yes. the minutemen are cowards. They were shouted down by a group of protestors who far outnumbered them becuase they decided to columbia to give a speech and field what they knew were tough questions. Instead the heroic protestors, who nearly tripled the minutemen's number charged and trampled barricades and silenced all dissenters on the stage. Real bravery.

      The people who were instigators of this chaos don't get to decide the ground rules for all acceptable debate. Act like adults, listen to a speech, ask tough questions, then hold debates w/students afterwards. Dont surpress free speech, be violent, and then have an arrogant sense of smugness when you've only hurt your own side. Tell me, who's getting the positive national attention now (and its not just fox news, bloomberg, the ny times, la time, upi, and the ap have all made columbia liberals look like they did something wrong)

  14. DEBATE!??  


    they stand at the border with guns and you think they want to debate?

    • debate  

      they sit on property of people on the border who let them because their property is continually destroyed by illegals and they surveil and report trespassing by illegals. Dont try to just invoke the word gun and think you can slander them. They are doing the nation a service where the government is largely failing

    • Ron

      Have you ever asked why they have guns?

      It is not to shoot illegals. Not one, I repeat not one incident has been reported despite ACLU harassment.

      The Mexican border is a dangerous place. Smugglers are armed and shot on civilians and US Border Patrol alike. The Mexican Army, or at least corrupt elements providing escort for drug smugglers have shot at US Border Patrol.
      Much of this terriroy is wild and contains dangerous animals including rattlesnakes and Gila monsters.
      The Minutemen have been shot at. They have not been shooting.

      We you and the other current students at Columbia the least bit interested, you could find this out.
      Instaed you rely on propganda, close you eyes, and excuse thuggish behaviour by peers.

      Grow up.

  15. the instigators  

    of the chaos were the people that responded with violence to the peaceful protesters.

  16. Nomination

    yes, i agree with you #27. the minutemen deserve the nobel peace price. they are protecting us against the evil brown people that come here to hurt us and our way of life. i mean we even have some of these people at columbia. how dare they come to our school and expect to be respected.

    • good snark  

      unfortunately snark and arguing straw doesn't stand as a resonable argument. What's charming about your post is also that you assume all 'brown people' have the same views as you and that you feel that no one who disagree w/you should come to this school and be respected, even if they're a student here. Perhaps we need an office of republican affairs and safe spaces for them

  17. Dangerous

    Read the spactator on the threats received by the students. "One message read, "Here's to hoping that you and yours are slain by someone in the U.S. illegally. That would be the ultimate poetic justice.""

    No threats were reported against the republicans. Says a lot about who really believes in free speech intis country, doesn't it?

  18. Anonymous

    While the protesters call the Minutmen Nazis, history recalls that Hitler used the very same tactics used by the protesters to disrupt his political opposition.

    I challenge anyone in this blog to identify one specific case when a Minutemen member initiated an attack on an illegal alien or an advocacy group member. On the other hand, the media has documented numerous cases where advocacy group members have attacked Minutement.

    The accusations of racism from Minutemen and reports of attacks on illegal aliens are propaganda lies from advocacy groups who have only weak arguments for their case. Lying was another tactic used by Hitler and his last resort for advocating from a weak position, and why not, they worked spectacularly in his rise to power. Hispanic advocacy groups, and their leaders, many of whom are racial power (Chicano Power) advocates like Hitler, have apparently learned their lessons in the value of propaganda well, and from one of the most successful and brutal dictators in history at that.

    If Columbia dares, I challenge it to offer the Minutemen a second chance to defend its position by requesting a return visit, this time with better security.

  19. Jacob Taber

    Below you'll find the Dems' initial response, as coauthored by myself and Mike Nadler, and published in last Friday's Spec (adjacent to the only statement thusfar proferred by CR):

    In Favor of Peaceful Protest:
    Both Sides Lost at Minutemen Speech

    To the Editor:

    I am appalled by the blatant disrespect demonstrated at the Minutemen speech Wednesday night, by both the audience and the speakers. The speakers and hosts of the event should not have incited an already agitated crowd. This does not, however, excuse the disruption of the event by extremists, nor the resulting outbreak of physical violence.

    I value the right to dissent, but political debate at Columbia has deteriorated to the point that speakers can routinely expect to be met with reactionary protests. While peaceful dissent with the goal of expanding a debate to raise awareness about all sides of an issue is always welcome, we cannot and must not shout down those we fear may be offensive.

    The very core of a liberal education is based on a free exchange of ideas, and it is only by hearing the opinions of those with whom we disagree that we are able to clarify and articulate our own set of values. By refusing to allow Jim Gilchrist to speak, both sides lost out. Gilchrist and the College Republicans were robbed of their basic right to express themselves freely. Their opponents, in turn, threw away an opportunity to shed public light on the thinly-veiled racism inherent in the Minutemen's ideology.

    Had the Minutemen been allowed to speak, I have no doubt that they would have proven their ignorance and bigotry entirely on their own. Campus opposition to the Minutemen should and could have been made clear via a campaign of education and awareness. Instead, concerned students chose to serve as Chris Kulawik's seat fillers, willing participants in his bid to stir up controversy. By violently pre-empting Gilchrist's speech, the protesters didn't drown out his message—they amplified it.

    Columbians must recognize that free speech is for everyone, not just those whose opinions we happen to endorse. By all means protest speakers and issues. Voice your dissent, but do so peacefully and respectfully. Take the time to listen to the other side. Violence, intolerance, and disrespect are in no one's best interest.


    • Horace Ruimpole

      I suggest that most of your knowledge about the Minutemen comes from the rantings of campus Hispanic advocacy groups. I challenge you to write an essay or point paper using known facts or policies written by Minutemen that would expose them as ignorant or bigotted. Frankly, with the emotions on campas running so strong against them, I'm surprised that you haven't exposed them in writing already. Do you have really have the courage to do this, even if the truth should contradict the position of the campus Hispanic advocacy groups. I think not.

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