The Daily Minute
Written by Bwog Staff
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.
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.
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.