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Butler denizens are reporting that hunger striker Aretha Choi, who appeared to be passed out on a couch in 209, has been carried out on a stretcher by about 10 CAVA staffers. A statement from the support team is posted after the jump.

UPDATE, 2:05 AM: Meanwhile, a Bwog tipster reports that about a half an hour ago a group of about 15 students, evidently intoxicated, gathered at the Sundial to hand out a flyer entitled “Why We Act, Why We Eat.” One girl read from the text of the simple Times New Roman sheet of paper, which is reprinted at their blog and after the jump.

UPDATE, Sunday, 12:50 PM: It’s official: there’s now an anti-striker facebook group. GOP treasurer and Hardball commentator Will Nosal has started Don’t Support the Hunger Strikers, currently with nine members and related groups including Chinese Jews for World Domination and Barnard 2011.

UPDATE, Sunday, 2:20 PM: The group seems to have disappeared. Sorry about that.

UPDATE, Sunday, 5:52 PM: The return of the Facebook group (actually not at all the same as the first one, but still).   

“This evening, one hunger striker was admitted to St. Luke’s hospital.  She will not continue the strike for personal medical reasons.

Organizers, other strikers, and supporters are aware that risks to the body are inherent in the action of a hunger strike, and we greatly respect her commitment to doing what she and others feel is a necessary action to demand change at the university. 

Her hunger strike is over, but her commitment to the demands – support for ethnic studies, an ethical expansion, reform of the Core, and an accountable and supportive administration – continues.  We hope that members of the Columbia community who identify with these issues will challenge themselves and others to act for change.”

Why We Act, Why We Eat…

We eat against a group that seems not to care for the well-being of its students or itself. We eat because we feel the urgency of a student voice that is continually marginalizing itself.

We eat because we don’t want these students to resort to dramatic measures. We want Columbia to negotiate a substantive food benefits agreement which serves to mitigate the food displacement created by the university’s policies and addresses food creation, food related environmental problems, and food-university relations.

With luck, Columbia will see the gorging of our bodies as a bellwether of our growing desperation on this campus. It’s a shame that Columbia was not more alarmed when we said our minds, hearts, and spirits were overfed, too.



Recent acts of starvation, in conjunction with people who don’t eat, in conjunction with people who make us nervous. Lastly we act in solidarity with Dining Services, which we consider a partner in the struggle against needless starvation and purposeful under-nutrition.


About as much as the noose at TC’s got to do with anything. It may have something to do with it, but it’s got nothing.


We will not, not continue to eat until these 69 theses are met:

69.A We want dining services to be expanded, physically and responsibly.

69.B We also want ourselves to be expanded, physically and responsibly, by force if necessary.

69.C We want the creation of a Major Foods Department, including the intense study of the historiography and cultural ramifications of nutritionalization. MFD and CUSJ must be granted the ability to make hires autonomously.

69.D Columbia amend its 197-C Proposal to rezone Manhattanville to include the addition of a new McDonald’s Center for Enthusiastic Eating (MCEE)

69.E We demand that Columbia lobby the federal government for less restrictive immigration policies because that would probably make food cheaper.

69.F Finally, we will not stop eating until those who are not eating, eat!


We are not a campus group. We are human foie gras waiting to happen, just like eggs are meat waiting to happen. We demand that these strikers pull the tube from our throats.



  1. Thanks

    for wasting CAVA's time.

  2. wow  

    YO thats scary. This is definitely going to increase the tension. I can't believe they would go to this extent... if more people join that will make this whole thing much more serious.

  3. anonymous

    I didn't realize this, but Aretha actually went to Phillips-Andover Academy. Along with suffering an eating disorder as a teenager.

    Not meant to be inflammatory, but I thought it was worthwhile.

  4. ummm  

    Those demands aren't going to be met. Bollinger has tunnel vision. Yet the strikers seem willing to die for this! I don't understand.

  5. Regardless  

    of your opinions on the legitimacy or rationality of the hunger strikers demands and actions, there is a line that you don't cross. It's called the line of being a ****ing human being. A girl faints and is taken to the hospital and you make fun of her? What the hell is wrong with some of you people? #1 called it a waste of CAVA's time? CAVA's most frequent job is keeping people from choking on their own alcohol-laced vomit. At least Aretha was standing for something and trying to create change, instead of wasting a weekend in an alcoholic haze.

    I don't necessarily agree with the strikers demands, nor do I think that their tactics are advisable. But Aretha and several other strikes are my friends, and that is probably the main reason why seeing anonymous commenters describe her as an "idiot" makes my hands quiver a little bit. Regardless of that, she is a human being, a fellow student, and that is enough to put some of your comments completely out of line. Before you post such spiteful invectives, maybe you should consider for a second whether you would want the same to be said about you, and who else might be reading.

  6. Here we go!

    Now she's a martyr and so all criticism of her behavior now brings into question the moral character of the critic. Guilt Politics!!!!

  7. ok...  

    While I completely disagree with most of what the hunger strikers stand for, you have to admire anyone who is willing to put their life at risk for SOMETHING that they believe in. Even if you yourself think its trivial, if there is nothing that you are willing to die for, then there is no reason to live, as MLK once said. I hope that their belief is genuine and if it is, all the power to them. Just because you spend all of your time complaining on Bwog makes me think that you have no such reason to live. Get out of your dorm room and do something productive in the world. Please.

    • again

      no. passion in a belief or the extent one is willing to sacrifice things to advocate is indicative of nothing regarding the issues merit

      It is intellectually witless to think that a person like gandhi achieved his influence mainly or solely because of hunger strikes as opposed his long movement which spanned the political to economic and which made use of the acute intellectual skills he acquired training as a barrister. Can you imagine if risking one's life for something suddenly became more valorous then thoughtfully trying to advocate in its favor? Imagine all the movements' whose demands came to fruition if all of a sudden they eschewed thoughtful planning in favor of rash manipulative actions.

      Being willing to die for something doesn't mean the most effective way to achieve it is to die for it. Furthermore, just throwing out a quote by a man who admittedly did amazing things doesn't suddenly sanctify the thought behind it. While youre life may be based upon single minded postivist political issues, not everyone feels that way, and even if they do it doesn't imply that in the larger scheme of society's collective morality their view is full or merit, deserves to be seriously considered or should be lauded.

      Hunger strikes have been used for causes ranging from asking terrorists to be freed to some of the current madrid bombers who believe they've recieved jail sentences which are too long. A hunger strike should not inspire any type of admiration as an act itself.

      And its incredibly patronizing and arrogant first to try to claim that you're only follow MLK and Gandhi's footsteps, then claim that dissenters 'spend all their time complaining on bwog' and they they can't get out of their dorm room and 'do something productive'. That stuff infuriates me---i regularly volunteer for an organization in the city, work, study, tutor when i go back home and during the past two summers I've worked with ngo's (i've also found columbia students on average volunteer far more than their ivy league/collegiate peers). If i decide to go to law school, i'll try to probably work in human rights law but that's only if i decide to not work directly with a non profit. However, in you're view, demonizing/castigating an opponent of these sacred hunger strikers automatically makes them an inferior human being. Before you exhort youre colleagues to do something meaningful, truly take a minute and avoid impulses, and think about how large a set of actions doing something 'meaningful' can subsume.

      • Joe  

        thank you for the essay and your resume

        • awesome

          so on one hand you ask people to address the arguments themselves thoughtfully and then you're rebuttal is 'you don't know jackshit' and 'thanks for the essay' respectively. I can see why people find your cause to be so credible.

          By the way, I tried to make my 'resume' as vague as possible--i know people could care less what my particular interests are--but the point was to try to show that all the claims that opponents are shallow and heartless are baseless and simply about creating charicatures

      • Bravo  

        Very well written, especially in light of others' insensitivity. And are you being sarcastic Joe? #24 rightfully listed his extracurricular activities as well as his long term goals in order to defend himself in advance against accusations that he's some spoiled brat at Columbia who's not interested at all in the improvement of his society. (Actually, #16 already made this prejudiced claim.)

        And Joe, is your use of the term "essay" sarcastic as well? #24 should be applauded for actually elaborating upon his thoughts rather than limiting his statement to something short, terse, and insensitive like "Kill yourself, strikers." Instead, he writes a well organized post, and he's being criticized for being verbose? Come on.

        Again, Nice job, #24.

  8. anon

    I'm sure you were all very put-together individuals when you were 14. Fuck off. Get well soon Aretha and thanks for your dedication. Hang in there and ignore these bastards.

    • A shame  

      It's a shame that other kids are getting hurt just so that Mercer can play out his Ethnic Studies agenda, something he's been agitating for years now, and is making a last push for before he graduates.
      I really believe that other strikers are sincere in their efforts, but have been pushed into this by Mercer, who has realized that the noose incident presents the perfect opportunity to carry his agenda out before graduating.

  9. about

    "about" 10 cava staffers? i think it was more like 3, unfortunately enough for bwog's deep love of sensationalism

  10. Ethnic Studies  

    Why do they want Ethnic Studies? Why do they want it now?

    • jamie  

      Quotes from the report compiled by CU and BC students last year in the section "what is ethnic studies?":

      Ethnic Studies takes as a founding premise that race is a social construction. This is essential because it paints responsibility back onto the race problem… But understanding that race is constructed begs questions: constructed by whom, how, why, and to what effect? It is exactly these questions that Ethnic Studies works through. In doing so it sees a racial future that is in the making and therefore full of potential.

      Ethnic Studies presents a paradigm shift in which power and the processes of racialization are analyzed through the perspectives and framework of people of color. Without those perspectives, U.S. history becomes woefully inadequate for a critical understanding of our society, what it is built upon, and how it continues to function in ways that perpetuate inequality and oppression. Thus, the history of people of color is not just “their” history, but a history of and for all of us. Furthermore, these multiple histories express ways in which people of color have constructed their own identity through their own struggles and social movements and in relation to marginalized groups rather than accepting what is imposed above.

      Privileged tellings of U.S. history forget how processes of racialization contribute to American success.

      I encourage you to read the full report here:
      there is a pdf link on this page and a summary of the report.

      why not? understanding race as a social construct and the way racialization and power have worked in the past and continue to work now gives us a basis from which we can begin to face a world riddled with racism and power politics. to change we must first understand.

  11. strong

    i think that aretha, whether or not you support her in the strike, should be acknowledged for speaking out publicly about her past eating disorder. that is a really hard thing to do, and its admirable that she did it. please don't bring that past experience in as something that limits the possiblities of her actions.

  12. jamie  

    For the record, Aretha said in her statement that she is not hunger striking to be a martyr for a cause, but because she believes in change for the better.

    If you disagree with the tactics but believe in the cause, or empathize with students who feel marginalized on campus, I ask that you consider what concrete ways you can engage these issues and, if you see fit, push for change as well. This was Aretha's choice, but we all have choices to make on our own as to how we engage with the world - starting right here on campus.

  13. focus  

    I have not been involved in the organization of the strike or the drafting of the demands, but some of the comments posted above not only lack sensitivity but any semblance of decency. The personal lives of the strikers are private, and using them to discredit their demands is a base, base tactic. Disagreeing with their cause is not something to be ashamed of, but it is their CAUSE that must be addressed.

    They strike not for personal attention but because they think that it is a time for drastic measures to be taken. WHAT MATTERS IS THE DEMANDS THEY WANT TO BE MET. Whether you agree with their means or not is irrelevant.

    Have you even read the demands? Go to

    • great

      so you can claim opponents are lazy, privileged and racist students which you cull from their personal life but nobody can question the strikers motivations?

      And there is no way their demands are what should be considered because the campus at large has no say in it. They are directly holding negotiations with the ADMINISTRATION, no the campus. How hard it is that to get in your head. You don't want to discuss this in a forum of your students because the majority of them disagree with your demands. You want people to read over these demands and then begrudgingly support them. Otherwise why go over the heads of the students and strike in front of low and ask for direct negotiations with administrators. It is a farce and disgusting that you're still continuing this guilt trip and spectacle as people call you out for the tactic.

      Whether you agree with their means in irrelevant? That is such a dangerous statement that I don't know how to respond. If a bunch of crazed supremicists at liberty university suddenly went on a hunger strike in order to force the administration to create a code of conduct asking to reinstitute a ban on interracial dating, should i be forced to accept that farce of a set of demands at face value too?

      Prove to us that you actually care about students input and not just those who may eventually be willing to be your allies and then they'll come to the table. This isnt' 1968--you can't create a spectacle which the majority disagrees with an then try to rewrite history to make youreselves the victors. The campus is too intelligent to fall for that.

  14. When I said

    It's a waste of CAVA's time, I meant to say that it is a waste just like it is a waste when they have to go pump some asshole's stomach after a night of binge drinking. Same kinds of people. I too wish my psychological issues could be used to effect change in this University. Maybe if I go and bitch in a tent outside Hamilton, Bollinger will make every Friday CHOCOLATEY GOODNESS DAY.

    • I'm just talking  

      about a little thing called tact and restraint. That's all. Think about using it every once and a while please, as you once again took a cheap shot at her for a previous medical condition. Nice job.

      • I have

        a lot of sympathy for sick people. Working in medicine for 7 years kind of requires that, you know? However, I have zero sympathy for people who become sick intentionally or through their own blind ignorance, despite knowing the associated risks.

        • fyi

          there's no cure for cancer.

        • M-2  

          Maybe a career change is overdue for you, as you lack the most basic of compassion necessary for medicine. I cannot boast of a 7 year experience in the field, but I do realize that people often do things that are detrimental to their health. What happened to Aretha cannot be categorized as ignorant, even if her actions are volitional. Given the choice, I would gladly CAVA your so-called 'ignorant' hunger strikers over those silly drunkies, who probably knew full well the effects of EtOH but were stupid enough to be caught by Public Safety.

          • EtOH?

            oooh looks like someone took orgo. I have plenty of compassion for people who truly deserve it. However, I do not have the blind, indiscriminate compassion for all the morons in this world, which you seem to think is necessary for a career in medicine. If God forbid one of your close relatives suffered a heart attack, I wonder what sorts of words you would have for the college girl who decided not to eat and cost your relative precious minutes or even seconds in the ER. And don't get me started on the binge-drinking imbeciles that roam this campus.

          • yo sucka  

            did you learn how to suck balls in your 7 years of medical experience? and you learn EtOH basic science classes... i fuckin tear orgo up by the way

  15. stopped reading  

    jeez reading post #24 is like trying to read Aristotle...

  16. stopped reading  

    I actually found Joe's post quite entertaining.

    Again, Nice job, Joe.

  17. 18:  

    Joe, if you don't have anything meaningful to contribute to the discussion, fuck off.

    I have had conversations with Mercer who approached a student group I'm in to solicit our support to empower Ethnic Studies in 2005, although 'Ethnic Studies' per se has existed since 95-96. But his personal whims should not be conflated with the Noose incident and lumped together with unrelated demands.

    Btw, by claiming that the core and the inadequacy of Ethnic Studies at CU contribute to an environment of hatred, and lumping it together with the noose incident, he is indirectly suggesting that a Columbia undergrad put the noose outside a TC professor's door, and vandalized a SIPA bathroom.

  18. whatever

    i'm out. I have a paper to do.

    Either way--i'd feel a lot better if these strikers asked the administration for say a one/two class mandatory seminar discussing the issues as opposed to just a rigid set of demands. The university should be about debate, not about blind capitulation

  19. People  

    on this blog make me sick. Hunger strikes are nonviolent forms of protest; the strikers are hurting only themselves. Why is it such a personal offense to most of you?

    I think their strike is ill-conceived and will inevitably fail. As pointless as it may be, I can't help but admire the courage of their convictions.

    • not really  

      actually the hunger strikers aren't only hurting themselves. What about the patients in St. Luke's who will have to wait a little longer while doctors give medical care to someone who choose to put themselves in that position. Actually it really is incredibly selfish to starve yourself and then expect to be nursed back to health. Also the real cost of an overnight stay in a hospital plus the tests they are probably running is at least $1000. Insurance will pay for most of it, but what a waste of time and money for something that could have been avoid by, um, eating. Obviously I hope Aretha is doing well but clearly it is disingenuous or at the very least naive to say that no one else is affected by this hunger strike.

  20. wait  

    is she in danger? if so, poor her.

    if you tell me she's basically okay, i'll unleash my cruel wit.

  21. I was just thinking

    this strike would be so much more effective if instead of eating disorders, one of them had a medical history of incontinence. think about it.

  22. question  

    Does anyone else think it's interesting that almost all of the strikers are girls? And that almost all of the negotiators are boys? I just gives me the impression that they're reinforcing gender stereotypes.

  23. hah  

    they probably just want an excuse to lose weight

  24. hmm  

    what does the fact that there's no cure for cancer yet have to do with anything? its not medicine's job to fix people up despite whatever abuse they put their bodies through. and as far as i'm aware, not many people have tried giving themselves cancer

  25. this  

    is very sad. i hope she's ok. i disagree with their demands, but OBVIOUSLY i can't wish her harm. these couple people enjoy/wish her harm must be the same losers that put up nooses and swastikas.

  26. i would hope  

    that after a quarter of a million in tuition, we will learn more educated ways of reaching our goals than a three year old's

  27. mmm food  

    this thread made me go on google and find pro-ana sites which say things like... When you have the urge to eat, go out and do something! Exercise! Paint your nails! etc.

    Eeegh creepy.

    I dunno dude. Not eating isn't really something to be valued. Though I guess being underweight can be AWESOME, since you can then wear anything and look fine. Of course, eventually you will have to eat or get treatment or die. But these things will be dealt with when they have to be.

    Bulimia, too. Bad. Bad, bad bad. ....

  28. why hasn't

    anyone taken a poll, that is, a physical poll of cu students, to see if the overwhelmingly anti-strike attitudes of the bwog posters is representative of student feeling in real life?

    would address a frequent accusation that these students don't speak for the undergrad student body as a whole

  29. strikers

    I for one, agree with those who think that these strikers seem very foolish, and that many of their demands are poorly thought out. But their are genuine grievances underpinning their incoherent protestations.

  30. well i think,  

    meow meow meow meow meow.

  31. st.lukes:  

    i was in st.lukes once. they have gamecube there... and zelda.. it was tight

  32. ChristianJones

    yo this shit is illin crazy son. dat chik or other chik wan some 'ethnic studies" all u hos gotta do is come up to 135 en X and get they shine on. yo fo reals tho we gonna take bak what ours. we be comin fo ya lil bitchs ah ah! ah ah RAAAAAOOOUUUGHHFF RAAAAOOUUGGGHH wach yo backs aint no buildings gonna protect ya now!

  33. familiar shit  

    previous post is vaguely familiar to something i read last year... i think i know where it came from

  34. OnlyInAmerica  

    The basic problem with this strike is its premise. Does anyone (other than the ethnic studies kids who seem to organize all of these events as a hobby) actually think that two random hate crimes on campus suddenly made the whole university a breeding ground of racism that the university must quickly act against? I don't and no one I personally know does. The reality is that the campus didn't change overnight. There is no logic to support that and these strikers haven't even attempted to explain, yet they are acting as if the majority of the student body agreed.

    Ultimately this is the most sanctimonious waste of time on campus. Whatever "oppression" the under-funding of ethnic studies or the text selection in CC brings upon these students pales in comparison to the millions globally literally waging wars to feed themselves. These strikers feel no qualm about wearing nice clothes or purchasing commodities built through the exploited labor of millions globally. Yet, if one does not support this lame attempt at grabbing more privelege (to what end? who knows) you are implicitly a hate-mongering racist. This is a *sick* joke. The campus should mobilize against them.

  35. Logically speaking  

    So, yeah, the counter-strike's demands are ridiculous - but then again, when you really think about that, are the demands of the hunger strike any better? Do they really have any chance of accomplishing them? And would it be fair if they did? These are very broad and complex issues that we need to address as a community, and trying to push through changes relating to them using a hunger strike is juvenile and inappropriate. While the strikers' dedication to their cause is indeed laudable, it's worth considering that maybe the cause itself isn't. Sometimes, the best way to deal with an issue isn't the most radical, and something tells me that this is one of those times...

    Personally, I'm not planning on going on an eating binge until the end of the hunger strike, but I also have no respect (or support) to offer to the cause of the hunger strikers. If you want to improve things the way you claim you want to do, act like adults and get it done - don't just throw a temper tantrum in the middle of campus and expect to get your way unquestioningly. All that does is make me (and who knows how many other students and faculty members) respect you - and therefore the causes you stand for - a lot less. (Yes, this throws the respect you earned from your determination right out the window, and then some.) Yeah, that list of counter-demands is pretty ridiculous, but they have one thing right: in striking, the strikers are marginalizing the student voices. They're showing that they're not willing to sit down and discuss alternatives and opposing viewpoints like civilized people; instead, they're representing all of us as being all-or-nothing two-year-olds who want to get their way no matter what. That makes me a lot less willing to work with you, and a lot more inclined to just ignore what's happening on campus. This is a shame, because as the strikers' pamphlet says, these issues have been around for a while, and it is time for a change.

    As to that change... I suggest taking your issues one at a time, for starters, and fleshing them out individually, saying precisely what's wrong and precisely what you propose doing to fix it, along with why your changes are good ideas. Once you've done that, we'll talk.

    And P.S., to the poster claiming that the counter-strike was insensitive - yeah, it kind of was. But then again, look at the times of the posts. Maybe they just didn't know. I'm wiling to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  36. Racism  

    should be expressed. Better to discuss freely than just keep telling people to Shut Up because it's taboo to discuss why people are expressing themselves in such ways. Not only is it personal, it is also political expression, and it should be engaged with, not painted over.

  37. Pierre  

    Long live the eaters! Down with the falsifying starvers! Vive le nourriture, haute et basse!

  38. Truth

    et's all be blunt here. The campus should not be held hostage by a bunch of bruts looking to impose their views on the rest of us. The reality is that the majority of these people have had enough personal experience in ethnicity to make any additional courses in ethnic studies meaningless (in an educational sense) to them. These classes would be meant for the "benefit" of suburbanites like myself who they assume to be ignorant and insensitive to the situations of others. And though I agree that I have been brought up in a different way than someone of Asian or Latino decent (urban or suburban alike), and therefore would not be privy to all of the realities of their lives and cultures, It does not mean that I run around with my ears shut and my eye closed to people I do not know assuming that mine is the only way or that people different that me should be dealt with differently. That these people have chosen a hunger strike as the means to their ends reveals their ignorance and insensitivity to the greater world around them.

  39. Truth2

    I think the point of Ethnic Studies would be, rather than soap-box didacticism, more like the comp lit department in that it would focus on ethnicity through different means, such as history, literature, philosophy, languages, etc. It would explore the How of ethnicity, rather than take ethnicities for granted and use them to further political incentives. After all, this is academia we are considering...

  40. someone eating a lot  

    the counter group did exactly what I was thinking of doing with a few friends

    well done!

  41. dialogue  

    one of the main demands regarding the core is actually just for more student input, more representation beyond the token two students currently on the core committee. the core changes being the demand that would actually affect the wider student body. and the strikers' supporters have repeatedly asked people to come talk to them, either in their statements or in bwog comments. but don't let that stop you from accusing the strikers of only talking the administration!

  42. i hope  

    all of this makes it into the next varsity show!


  43. i am ashamed  

    of my peers for being so childish and resorting to such ridiculous 'counter-movements.' it's disrespectful and i challenge those fifteen students to escape their privileged, sheltered bubbles and read more about this movement and see how the demands apply to them. the strike is a culmination of DECADES of campaigns for ethnic studies, reform of academics, against gentrification, etc... this is the culmination into something public, something that students like those who react negatively or succumb to apathy can't ignore, just like they do to every panel, etc. the demands listed in the hunger strike are something we should all unite on-- #71 is right in pointing out that these demands arent as ridiculous as so many think, so read the literature before you react. these are demands that effect us all, so inform yourselves and make educated decisions, especially acting by doing something so childish and pussy.

    college campuses used to be the center of action, of working against oppressive machines and really fighting/standing up what you stand for! what a shame everyone's so apathetic, motivated so much by $$$ etc...

    • Excuse you?

      Wait so, before when all the people on this site were saying meant things about the idiocy of the hunger strike, strike-supporters were admonishing them for being "cowardly" and not going up to the hunger strikers and saying something right to their face.

      Now a group of students finally do exactly that, an even in an extremely smart and funny and well-thought-out way, and now you're admonishing them for
      "doing something childish and pussy"?

      What, are you just mad that they uncovered the hunger-strike for the absolute load of bollocks it is, using the exact language of the hunger-strikers themselves?

      Oh and on that note, before you accuse anyone of not reading "the literature" and having no knowledge of the demands of the strikers, realize that the counter-strike was actually parodying the exact language of the hunger strikers' blog, meaning they must have read it.

      And lastly, before you admonish the counter-strikers for not being able to "excape their privileged, sheltered bubbles," realize that both they and the original hunger-strikers go to the same school. Oh wait, did you assume that all 15 of the hunger strikers were white and therefore couldn't possibly have ever experienced the "oppressive conditions" that led the original five hunger-strikers to do what they're doing? Would that be because you have mentally made a divide between the strikers and counter-strikers that tells you that anyone fighting against "bigotry and oppression" on this campus must be a minority student, and anyone fighting against the sheer idiocy of this made-for-the-media spectacle must be white?

      You know what's really shame? The fact that the 15 kids who came up with the counter-strike demands may have been INTOXICATED, and yet they're list of demands doesn't sound any more ridiculous than that of the original strikers.

      • hear, hear!

        i couldn't have said it better myself. bravo/brava!

        to #73--you do realize how intolerant, ignorant and close-minded you sound, right? open your eyes--there ARE many people on campus who have not led privileged and sheltered lives, and who have already read the strikers' demands, and STILL don't agree with what they're doing and what they're asking for. you on the other hand just come off as a self-righteous hypocrite.

      • Commenter #75

        Oops! Just read over this and realized there are about ten dumb spelling and grammar mistakes and a couple of typos in it.

        Apologies. When I wrote it I hadn't yet had my morning coffee, and what's more, I was enraged.

      • i really  

        dont think the counterprotesters stuff is funny at all. they've just basically taken the old blog and done a search-and-replace on 'hunger striking' and replaced it with 'eating'. it doesn't make any sense or require any cleverness. a good parody goes after the ideas, not the language. am i the only one?

      • The counter-strikers  

        Were not at all intoxicated. Funny, isn't it?

      • Was There

        I saw the counter-protesters, and in their defense, they did not seem intoxicated, nor were they all white.

        • Commenter #75

          In my defense, my description of the 15 counter-strikers as "intoxicated" came from Bwog's own reporting (see their post above), and the presumption that they were all white came from another commenter before me.

  44. those guys rock  

    whoever those "counter protesters" were, I am so glad someone actually got up there and made made fun of these jerks in visible manner.

  45. why  

    would anyone want to add on to an already overstuffed core? i would feel terrible for future students. columbia's just gonna get rid of all majors and have all required classes.

  46. good  

    From facebook it looks like Aretha Choi went to private school, and I'm just going to assume that she's never set foot in Harlem prior to college. Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to take from a girl with a sheltered upper-class background that GENTRIFICATION IS TERRIBLE! You really want to help people? Start eating and start volunteering. These grandiose schemes achieve very little besides upping the hunger-strikers' self-esteem.

    I'm glad she got CAVA'd. I hope the rest of them do too. Their temper tantrum is not going to change the western canon. This is a really sick call for attention in which too many people are indulging them.

    Counter-protesters- rock on.

    That being said, I'm not eating until Joy Luck Club is in Lit Hum!

  47. uhh  

    No 73 reeks of nick serpe

    • Nick Serpe  

      I don't know if I've used the word "pussy" since, I don't know, I was 12 years old? But really, I am impressed by your ability to make an assumption in so unbeholden a manner. Kudos!

  48. oh dear  

    The counter strike is a sad sign that not only have the hunger strikers just not done their job, but they've made large groups of people indifferent to some very important issues. The concept of the protest has been cheapened. If the hunger strikers had specified realistic demands, and approached this with a more reasoned stance, we could all be engaged in meaningful dialogue by now.

  49. mike

    that is HILARIOUS! columbia needs more people like this group who are willing to stand up to such hard-nose protesters.. some idiots are holding a hunger strike as though they are POWs. i commend the "students for eating" for finding humor in the situation.. they sure made me laugh.. keep up the good work guys!

  50. Maybe  

    Has anyone thought that the hunger strikers actually know that all of their demands won't be met? Anyone thought about the idea that they're asking for something kinda big so they can get a small chunk of that? I believe Mercer is smart enough to know that Columbia isn't going to just stop expanding, but I bet all the hunger strikers would like them to expand with a little more caution.

    Maybe? Maybe you're not giving them any credit for being able to form a thought?

  51. Anonymous  

    I just want it to be known that I support all non-violent protests. The crazier the better. But eventually these fine fellows and ladies should speak to the administration. Or else it's kind of self-defeating and dumb.

  52. pretty dumb tactic

    that backfired, if you ask me. if they had streamlined their demands and asked for columbia to expand with a little more caution, as you put it, i bet there would be a lot more students willing to back them. as it is, their sweeping demands have polarized the campus and driven away people who might have otherwise supported them.

    look at it this way: in every political debate this country has ever seen, whether it is abortion, slavery or gay rights, there are small groups of people who strongly oppose and strongly support the cause. neither side is likely to change its mind, no matter what their opponents say. the biggest struggle and the best way to "win", then, is to gain the loyalty and support of the "moderates"--the large group of people in between who may not have strong opinions about the matter, but who can be swayed to either side. the hunger strikers at columbia, in asking for quick, extreme solutions, have pushed away more of the "moderates" than they could have persuaded. if what you say was indeed their plan, then it sounds like it didn't work out well at all for them.

  53. btw

    post 87 was a response to post 85

  54. People are...  

    ...taking this far to seriously. I'll content myself with sitting back and watching the drama unfold, amused. Like a thug eating an apple and watching chumps fight.

  55. i think  

    chris kulawik should hunger strike until the university creates the rupert murdoch center for television journalism excellence. that would be awesome!

    • thank you

      for raising an important point. the university doesn' t just "create" centers. there needs to be money for it. something these strikes don't want to bother with.

      I never thought I'd ever see myself saying this, but seriously get a fucking job already. you are not stuck in a slum unable to get out. you're in the ivy league. you have opportunities open to you unlike ever before. In fact, many of the strikers are minority students, and corporate america is clamoring for talented minority professionals. Whether that demand is disingenuous is irrelevant. Take the damn job, work the system, and when you're a corporate honcho, you can endow all the money you want on CSER and OMA and attach as many strings as you like.

      But that takes hard work, ambition, and time. Clearly you're more interested in "the struggle." And while I respect the people who actually are in the trenches for social justice- you hunger strikers are not among those people.

      The 60's are over. Why don't the activists on this campus realize that? Why do they so desperately cling to some misguided notion of direct action?

      • well  

        while some of their causes are real issues that should be seriously considered. i think that it's really sad to see how shoddy their plan is. if they spent half as much effort on producing a real plan for change as they've spent on planning their strike, there might be a fighting chance they might get something... (i'm also disappointed that they seem to demand methods and not outcomes, but nevermind that for now)

        i guess college is about learning what works. i only hope the university doesn't cave so that they may be taught what doesn't work.

        seriously, columbia graduates should be able to write 50 page documents that can embarass the administration into action. if you have an undeniably good plan that has broad support and you still get ignored by the administration THEN maybe consider these types of tactics. but this is ridiculous, it's the nuclear option without even having a seed argument.

        it all amounts to hastily writing a shoddy document and camping on the green? lame.

  56. In addition

    You reminded me of another important point. Regardless of whether these people grow up, get jobs that them a lot of money, and then use some of it to endow chairs in an Ethnic Studies department or sponsor a change in the core, or whether they actually think they can get the university to do these things for them with a hunger-strike, they won't be around when the changes take place (a department or core class can't be created instantaneously, it would have to take years of planning).

    Most people who campaign for changes to the curriculum or for new departments do so because there are subjects they are passionately interested in and wish they themselves could have learned more about as part of their education. These strikers don't want an ethnic studies department or a core class on "racialization and colonialism" because it is a subject that they are interested in/passionate about. They want it so that everyone else on campus now and in years to come--all those whom they feel are so horribly intolerant and uneducated--will be forced to learn about these things, in which they had no interest in the first place.

    The real question is, is there a precedent for this kind of thing? Are there high school students all over the country just dying to go to a top university so that they ca major in Ethnic Studies? Because it is the high school (and middle school and grade school) students who are going to be the beneficiaries (or unwilling victims) of any change that is made as a result of this hunger-strike, not the Columbia students who are here now.

  57. the demands  

    let's assume that the University agreed to meet them. There is no way that Columbia would do it in time for these people to not die of starvation first. Are you guys forgetting how long it took CU to enact the new pass/fail policy?

  58. Hunger

    Striking for social justive in Uggs boots + designer jeans + North Face clothes. Ah, Columbia Hypocrisy at its best. And all of you who said they should go get a job and enact change after they've succeeded -- people like them don't need jobs; they need attention. Lots and lots of attention. Because regardless of what they're (not) accomplishing, as long as there's a media circus, they feel like they're special.

  59. bwog  

    please link to the anti-hunger strike FB group.

  60. Strikeidiot  

    Why are Barnard girls striking about the Columbia Core? you don't even have to go through the Core? Why do they even think they can represent the Columbia College Undergrad population? Isn't it kinda silly?

    Seriously, stop trying to be heroes. Have a plan and discuss with the administration. I don't see what they have done terribly wrong to warrant a strike? Maybe the strike group can enlighten us with some examples of the administration being apathetic...

  61. the Barnard

    girls are not striking about the Core. They would be the ones striking about the lack of an African Studies or the Manhattansville expansion.

    Ironically, if we were to implement full, substantive equality, Barnard should not exist. Barnard's purpose for founding is arguably outdated, especially since Columbia College has more women than men.

  62. Andy WarLOL

    Your 15 minutes are up.

  63. A REMINDER  


    • Thanks for his #  

      I'll let him know that he should in fact listen to Columbia students (the majority of whom do not support the strikers' ridiculous demands). Have fun starving yourselves idiots.

  64. idiots  

    These students are an embarrassment to the Columbia student body. Once again, the world is laughing at us. It seems the only way we think we can get things done is by drawing attention to ourselves for doing really juvenile things.

    These idiots should all do us a favor and go back to class and stop whining. Yes the world is imperfect and yes something needs to be done about it, but refusing to eat until something is done? Come on. Grow up already.

  65. Nina

    I have some questions for these hunger strikers:

    1) Can you provide me with any kind of data about how much support there is on campus for your demands? If not, have you taken any measures to try and get this kind of information? Do you believe that your views are representative of the student body? If not, please justify to me why you feel that you all have the right to enforce your vision of Columbia on others, and what gives you the right to negotiate with the administration on factors that will affect everyone, or is this simply a case of you knowing what is best for us, and we should listen for our own good?

    2) Regarding your demands on the Core: can you give me any more information about your vision of what this class would be? What kind of texts would be read? What measures would you take to ensure that this class did not further marginalise others by not including their culture and history in this, as I am assuming this class could not be all encompassing of the entire history of colonialism and racism. What would be the criteria for picking texts? Furthermore, why do you feel that this class should be mandatory, when there are many classes on colonialism and ethnic studies out there. Why do you feel that this is a more important class that one on, say, womens studies, or on the current political situation in the Middle East, or more specifically a class which explores the Israel/Palenstine issue? If you hunger strike until this class is create, what is to stop someone doing the same thing next week until their class gets added to the core? What should the limits of this be?

    2.5) Someone I was talking to the other day said that more texts needed to be added to the CC syllabus addressing race and colonialism: Which texts do you suggest removing in order to make room for this? Why should Colonialism more emphasis than any one issue? There is only one book that addresses communism, yet the Cold war affected a great many people. Do you not think that adding another text would be disproportionate? Do you think that a more sensible request would not be to ask that Fanon is made a required rather than an option text?

    3) Regarding your demand that there are more student voices and seats on the core committees, how do you think this selection process should work? How would YOU make sure it was fair and representative. If it IS fair and representative, and the majority of voices still do not share your vision of the core, what would you do?

    4) Regarding your demands that the ethnic studies department be given more resources and can hire many more faculty, can you please justify why you think that the university's limited resources should be directed in this way? By this I mean that Columbia has limited funds, and thus unfortunately putting its funds towards the Center for Ethnic Studies will mean that there will be less money that can be spent on other Centers in a similar situation. Can you give me any data on GENERAL student interest in the ethnic studies department? Can you show that more students would benefit from this than from directing this money towards, say, the Center for Women and Gender Studies, or The Center for Human Rights? If there is more student interest in these other areas, surely the money should go there?

    5) Regarding the following demand: Interested Ethnic Studies majors collectively, shown through a vote, must be given 1 or 2 votes (depending on committee size) which will be delivered by the current student positions on all hiring committees for junior and senior faculty to increase student presence and determination of CSER's direction.

    Is there any precedent for this in any other Columbia departments? Should this be something that is enacted across the board, or just in the Ethnic studies area? Why or why not?

    I really genuinely would be interested if any of those involve in the strike could answer any of these questions for me please.

    • Grateful  

      Thank you for doing what I was about to do. And brava (I'm assuming 'Nina' means that you are in fact female) for doing it so well.

      The demands of the strikers are full of gaps. All these things should have been addressed by them BEFORE they went off and started striking. And to the person who said that the strikers are asking people to come talk to them - that's not the type of discussion I'm thinking of. I see discussion in this case as more of a forum or open debate, something larger than a two-minute conversation on South Lawn.

      Once you can answer these questions for me, then maybe I'll consider respecting you. Until then, I see you as juvenile, spoiled brats who are giving the university a bad name. Lay off - you're not going to get anywhere with this.

    • M. R.

      Agreed with the posed questioned.

    • wow

      You spent more time coming up with those questions than the strikers did in preparing their demands.
      They're very good questions.
      I can't wait to hear answers. And real ones, not Ahmadinejad ones.

    • you just

      gave me an intellectual hard-on bigger than when I learned the theory of relativity. Bravo.

    • thanks nina

      for a brief interjection of logic into this morass of rhetoric

    • McLovin

      Nina is both smart AND pretty.

      Nice one. The Spec ought to run these. A little more effective arena for public dialogue than the minimally-attended and poorly-advertised (sorry, the half-dozen flyers that go up don't cut it) town halls.

  66. Also

    I want to know how these students did on the SATs or whatever equivalent tests they may have taken in order to be considered for admission. I also want to know how much actual tuition the strikers are paying. In other words, what sort of academic dues have been paid en route to their arrival upon the pedestal they've provided themselves with via this demonstration and, how much money are they paying into Columbia for them to be so outspoken about what Columbia spends its money on.

    Until these questions are answered, I counter all of the pro-strike posters who classify anti-strikers as rich, entitled brats by classifying the strikers as little more than ungrateful brats who are only here thanks to the very system they claim to be fighting against.

    Prove me wrong.

  67. not a striker  

    i doubt the strikers are reading bwog comments. these are good questions (well, except for the one about SAT scores, which is silly and snobby), but would be more likely to get a response if asked in person.

    there were a whole series of town halls over the last few months, in reaction to the hate crimes and in follow-ups, at which hundreds of students discussed these demands. though these town halls were flyered for widely, they didn't get huge publicity and may not have been representative of the student body as a whole. nevertheless, the strikers didnt just sit down with each other and make this shit up one day. it would be great if this discussion could have taken place before the strike - but attempts were made, and the thing that's got people's attention is the strike itself, no?

  68. Discourse  

    The problem with this strike is the same problem that Ethnic Studies has. Ethnic Studies rarely tries to attempt any kind of reasoned analysis that can be argued with or against. Instead it relies on relaying people's emotions in regards to oppression they felt at some point in their lives. Despite the emphasis on using the "discourse" buzzword this actually completely kills all discourse. If you try to bring someone's personal "oppression" into context or some kind of wider scope then "you just don't get it" or, worse, are a full-blown racist for not accepting someone's subjective viewpoint. This strike is doing the same thing. These dimwits don't have the rationale to actually argue for their viewpoints so instead they attempt to guilt trip the administration into doing their bidding. If they really want student support then they *need* to face the myriad critcisms that Ethnic Studies faces and that all academic fields must rigourously respond to. If not and they succeed, then this University is truly driving itself to irrelevance.

  69. :) (  

    i feel sorry for everyone responsible for the "why we eat" flyer. anyone who is happy and stable would not bother taking that much time and effort to openly criticize and attack people. clearly these people must have some personal issues to make themselves do something so bitter (and, might i add, not clever at all)... i personally can't get 100% behind the strike itself but i wouldn't go to such great lengths nor resort to childish mockery to express my disagreement

  70. Aga  

    I have created a "We Do Not Support the Hunger Strikers" group on facebook - please join to show what the rest of Columbia thinks.

  71. uh bwog?  

    maybe the original facebook group did disappear and reappear, but the one you link to is not it. as far as i know, will's group is still there, and you should link to it. its much funnier, and pretty reasonable. unless of course, a reasonable, humorous proposal from a republican (gasp!) is a concept you're more comfortable denying...

  72. Aga  

    The comment above is correct - my group is an entirely separate, Columbia-based group.

  73. will nosal fan  

    1) Hardball is on MSNBC & Chris Matthews is pretty liberal.

    2) The original "Don't Support the Hunger Strikers" group still exists here:

  74. Its better

    To have a Columbia specific one. The support the strikers one is problematic because while there are 1000 people in it, how many are actually affiliate with the school? At least if the anti one is just Columbia, its a much better gauge of support/lack thereof in the school itself

  75. we dont need  

    any more ethnic studies classes. there are hundreds of other humanities classes that will give you an a for very little, touchy feely work (from a humanities major). really, more ethnic studies classes will only serve the douchey sector of cc that doesnt actually do any work but expects kudos from shitty essays regurgitated from something you heard on npr three years ago. and to people who are against gentrification- how often do you get off campus and into harlem? rich bitches.

  76. Wolfgang Gottgeist

    In this our Age of the Inter-Subjective Global Clusterfuck Apocalypse, the definition of "disgusting ignorance" is the voiced opinion of anyone who disagrees with you for reasons outside of your subjective understanding. Listen to the Bamboo; a hunger strike is not by its nature a remarkable feat of courage and universal love, it is the political activism equivalent of an Emo kid who cuts himself daily and keeps a record of his "progress" on youtube, sending the URLs to his ex-girlfriend with a list of demands she must concede to, or he'll continue cutting himself indefinitely. CC to everyone in his address book, of course. All that, and the self-righteous presumption that God is with him on this one.

    Ghandi used this method effectively, yes. I'd like to remind the hunger strikers that Ghandi was a genius with a much broader range of popular influence than anyone on this campus. I am writing, does this make my creative output equally worthy of respect as that of Tolstoy, Goethe, and Shakespeare? I would be flattered to hear such praise, but I'm also not a deluded narcissist. Yes, that's right. If you think self-inflicted injury for change is intrinsically noble and makes you a better person by virtue of your demands of an establishment which is only a good one if it caves to your passive-aggressive overtures, perhaps some healthy introspection is called for.

    Make Love, not Guilt Slumber Party.

  77. alum

    these people are idiots and won't get anything accomplished. Not to mention they're just pulling this stunt for the notoriety....I wouldn't be surprised if this end up on their resumes or is just fodder for future job interviews. Absolutely silly! Oh, and the effects of hunger are no reason to end your hunger strike.

  78. woah  

    Bwog's bias is pretty clear here. Will Nosal was never on "Fox." The link you put up is to MSNBC's Hardball. Big difference.

    Oh, but let me get it straight... because he's Republican he can only go on Fox.

  79. why dont  

    they protest for something more important, like better toilet paper

  80. Mr C

    The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause. The mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one. J.D. Salinger

  81. The bigger problem

    We SEAS kids are only required to take half the Core. Therefore, if you mandate additional Core requirements on ethnic issues -- which surely cannot fit into just one course -- you will require us to become racist merely by virtue of going on SSOL and registering for a course on Black culture vs. Latino or Asian or Arabic or some other culture. How dare you force me to choose which culture I shall learn not to oppress (depress? un-oppress? im-opress? English majors, help me out on this one)?!

  82. spelling

    Here's something directly from the Columbia College website: "The major and concentration in Comparative Ethnic Studies is offered through the Centor for the Study of Ethnicity and Race." I'm not kidding.

  83. Nina advocate

    The 5 questions posed above (post# 110) still have not been addressed. Any sense of self-possessed legitimacy that the supporters may have is eroding and will only continue to diminish until the questions can be answered in full.

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