Oct

12

The Daily Minute

Written by

In which Bwog gives you a digest of the crazy crazy fallout of the events of October 4th.

Item # 1: Columbia students recieved PrezBo’s latest statement on the Minutemen protest earlier today. But you couldn’t tell really, since he never said “Minutemen” or “protest”–although Bwog thinks that’s what he meant by “disruption.” 

Item # 2: The Engineering Student Council and Student Governing Board have gotten in on the statement game, too, reprinted after the jump. That leaves the Democrats and the Equestrian Team as the only ones still silent.


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Item # 3: The College Republicans are mad. They’re mad because people are mad at them–and this after they took their profiles down from the GOP site because of hate mail. According to Kulawik, the CRs submitted the list of outside RSVPs to their Shoebat event after registration closed at 5:00 PM on Tuesday. Chaplain Davis told informed the group yesterday afternoon, eight hours before the event, that their 115-person guest list (composed mostly of local Republicans, Shoebat’s friends, and people who responded to conservative blog plugs) had been cut down to five, which the CRs argued back up to 20. Midafternoon, e-mails went out to the confirmed RSVPs–some on the bus from as far away as Boston and Pennsylvania–saying that they were no longer invited. 

“If wanted to bring my parents that evening, the University chaplain would not let them in,” grumbled Kulawik. “It was one of the most unprofessional things I’d ever seen.”

Columbia Public Affairs, in a statement released to Bwog at 11:15 this morning, tells it like this: “Wednesday at midday University officials communicated to the student groups that it was unreasonable to present a guest list of some 115 non-CUID holders not known by students for an event that was proposed and approved as a Columbia student event. As it has done on previous occasions, including the Norman Finkelstein lecture last year, University officials limited the number of outside guests to a reasonable number — in this case to 20.

Nevertheless, of the 20 names on the final list presented to the University, only six actually showed up for the event. Additionally, speakers showed up with other guests who never appeared on any list presented to the University. Approximately a half-dozen non-CUID holders were not permitted to enter.”

According to a Bwog source, the adminsitration tried to pull a similar thing last year at the Finkelstein event, but gave in when the speaker threatened to cancel, and ultimately about 180 non-CUID holders were admitted. Practical? Maybe. Incompetent? You be the judge.

Thanks to Maryam Parhizkar for the photo.

– LBD

Speech, Protest, and the Minuteman Protest – Statement by SGB 

The Student Governing Board of Earl Hall was founded in response to the student protests of 1968. As a result, we at the SGB feel a special need to speak out regarding the events of last week, which culminated in the shutting down of the event featuring Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist. The SGB is responsible for overseeing all

political, religious, and activist groups at Columbia, and therefore understands the essential value of freedom of speech in campus dialogue.

It is not our desire to place blame on any of the actors in the situation, but to encourage the student community to adhere to the basic tenets of free speech.  Regardless of the possible repugnance or error of their views, any speaker invited by a student group has the right to speak, be heard, and deliver her or his perspective.

Likewise, students have the right to express their dissent vigorously through various forms of protest.

Fundamentally unacceptable to the core values of free speech is physical violence.  Regardless of the possible causes of that violence, we condemn any violent action taken by any person at last week’s event.  As we move forward, it is essential for us as a community to commit to these principles of free speech, open dialogue, and protest when we engage in future debates and dialogues.

Statement by Engineering Student Council

The Engineering Student Council (ESC) is disheartened by the series of events that occurred at the “Minuteman Forum” on Wednesday, October 4th, 2006.  It is our position that all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ideology, including guests of the University invited by any individual or group, should be treated with respect and be allowed to openly express their ideas.  We maintain that freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas are values at the very core of this University and nation.  Non-violent protest is a valuable and important method of expressing our disagreement with others and we support every student’s right to such protest.  However, at no point should the exercise of one’s rights silence another.

 

The ESC does not wish to lay blame on any individual or group for the violence that erupted at the “Minuteman Forum” before the University’s investigation is complete.  We do, however, extend our sympathy to those caught in the fighting.  Under no circumstance should a difficult or trying situation be met with anything less than respect.  That Wednesday’s event disintegrated into violence is a striking reminder of the paramount importance of freedom of speech, especially at times when our own views differ starkly from others’.

 

Students of this University cannot allow irresponsible acts of civil disobedience that promote the rights of one over another.  The ESC is disturbed that any students of this University, no matter how few in number, would take part in abridging the right to free speech that this institution grants to all its members.  The actions that were taken have permanently damaged the University’s reputation as a bastion of free speech and intellectual discourse.  We believe that every student is responsible for maintaining an environment that protects and encourages freedom of expression.

 

The ESC is committed to upholding the principles of free speech throughout the University.  We are dedicated to restarting the discussion about the importance of free speech at and beyond the University level.



 

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11 Comments

  1. Interesting.  

    I know the bwog so desperately wants to be in that New Republic/Slate genre of 'Democrats hip enough to hate Democrats', but at this point two separate statements by the College Democrats leadership have been published in the Spectator on the Minutemen disruption - one on the protesters' behavior by Public Affairs Director Jacob Taber and President Mike Nadler, and one on the Republicans' behavior by Speakers Coordinator Elyse Ross and Activist Council chair Stephen Cox. It's getting ridiculous.

    • Avi Zenilman  

      This IS a good op-ed in the Spec from two sophomores on dems:
      http://media.www.columbiaspectator.com/media/storage/paper865/news/2006/10/12/Opinion/Eliminating.Extremism-2345589.shtml?sourcedomain=www.columbiaspectator.com&MIIHost=media.collegepublisher.com

      To comment #5: we linked to the Spec story. We link to them every day!

      To interesting: The dems have not sent anything out to their body about the protest. Only Jacob Taber wrote something, not Nadler. It's still odd that they--the most powerful political group of campus which represents the Columbia liberal mainstream--has not weighed in. Especially when the Minutemen represent a part of the political spectrum that they would like to pushed as far to the fringe as humanly possible.

      I would actually say that Taber--in his focus on bashing the protestors--is engaging in TNR-style liberal bashing. If the Dems' board sends out the Cox and Ross op-ed to the Dems body, or actually issues something unified, and we still criticize, then we'll be engaging in narcissistic criticism but not now.

      • Still interesting  

        That's a rather bizarre after-the-fact ratioanlization - nowhere in the mention of the statements made by "those who occupied the stage," Republicans, or anyone else was there a single stated condition of "and incidentally, this was sent out to their membership." We're discussing those groups whose leadership have distributed statements with the intent to play a role in the campus debate, not who filled out which form, and if submitting public essays to the Columbia Spectator fails to reach that criterion, I'm not quite sure how would one would satisfy the bwog's standards. Taber, by his own admission, submitted his on behalf of the group having Nadler's explicit collaboration, and, again, by these point yet another two Dems officers have submitted statements on the disruption. As for somehow failing to be "unified," I don't see how there's a conflict between both condemning the protesters and the Republicans.

      • confused  

        so the criterion for issuing a statement is that its sent out to an email list, as opposed to being published in the spec, where it would reach more poeple than are likely to read dems' emails?

        that seems kinda odd... but then again, how likely is avi to admit that either he or bwog's reporting was wrong or misguided about something

      • Jacob Taber

        A few things - one, Nadler did collaborate with me on the Letter to the Editor I submitted (although, to be fair, he wasn't credited in the Spec, and so we can't assume that the campus would know that).

        Second, while I am not myself a New Republic reader (more an Atlantic Monthly man myself), I am fairly sure that I was not democrat-bashing, or liberal-bashing for that matter. I merely expressed concern that the protesters' very important message was being obscured by their less than constructive means of protest. I believe that free speech is for all, and especially for those who dissent from the status quo, and if supporting a free exchange of ideas constitutes liberal bashing...well, let's just hope for the sake of this campus's intellectual credibility that it doesn't.

        Finally, every group to issue a 'formal statement' so far has either played an active role in the event and accompanyinig protests, or has been a student government agency. The Democrats, while certainly (and proudly) the largest political group on campus, cannot claim to speak for the student body in the same way that SGB or the University Senate can. I can't believe that our body was waiting with baited breath for the word from on high so that they might know how to react to the events of last Wednesday. They've read, and watched, and discussed, and reacted along with the rest of us, and that's just fine. We as a board have said our peace and contributed to the conversation; now we're working actively to move on and restore civil debate on this campus.

  2. Horses  

    Is this Equestrain Team a bunch of racist, facist, Nazi, KKK, vigilante thugs? All evidence indicates this is so.

    I'm ready to stand up for the rights of the voicless Columbia students who have yet to hear a statement from the Equestrian team, are you? We need to acknowledge that not releasing an official statement is always based on priviledge; we need to stand against priviledge.


    P.S. Isn't the president of the Socialists a white male? Was he elected? Isn't that racist? Doesn't that make them Fascists? Vigilantes? KKK?

  3. account  

    an account from somebody inside the shoebat event http://dailyinfidel.blogspot.com/2006/10/report-inside-shoebat-event-at.html

    biased but interesting for those who weren't there

  4. or...  

    you could have linked to the spec story, which already reported pretty much everything you had to say about the event last night and why people were kept out - i know you guys try to compete, which is cool, but isn't the point of a good blog to link to multiple other news sources?

  5. hmmm  

    Avi,
    So the dems are engaging in TNR style bashing of the protestors now? Weren't you embarrassed by the protestor's violence a few days ago? What's changed now? Did you discover that your previous position wasn't snark-chic enough? Do tell!

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