They’re Congregating!

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A group of anti-Manhattanville expansion-ists and pro-hunger strike-ists are on Low steps right now, giving brief speeches, wielding signs, and listing things that are “not for sale” (“our homes,” “our businesses,” and especially “our love”)–along the lines of every Manhattanville protest in recent memory. They’re about to head over to PrezBo’s house, after which they’ll return to the center of campus to rally again. Hurry!  The Rude Mechanical Orchestra  is warming up!

Negotiations, meanwhile, are at something of a standstill. After a meeting with Quigley, Brinkley, Nair, Colombo, and Dirks at the IRC went from public to private in the span of twenty minutes, Bwog was not able to attend the first round on Friday afternoon.  But, there’s a roundup here (and an account by an anonymous hunger striker, curiously posted by “b. mercer”). The second round is tentatively scheduled for Monday, we hear. We’ll keep you posted once things start heating up.

More photos after the jump.

 The hunger strikers, three nights in, are looking good so far.


Coalition to Preserve Community leader Tom DeMott was there, as always. State Senator Bill Perkins and Councilman Tony Avella were also supposed to show up. Bryan Mercer delivered the most rousing speech, garnering appreciative huzzahs and drum beats, with a monologue about his place as a student of color at Columbia. He also reiterated the strikers’ position: “We are not eating until our demands are met or we’re in the hospital!”










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  1. Fools  

    Can't wait to tear down their crappy excuse for a neighborhood so that the University can improve it tremendously. The fewer protesters at this school, the better.

  2. Meteorologist  

    Stop Hurricane Columbia! Join Tropical Storm Manhattanville Outrage!

  3. morons

    kill yourself. oh wait...

  4. why are  

    the Mirabal sisters relevant at all?

  5. ecm  

    ha ha! these scum are hilarious! it always makes me feel better to look down upon people, and i really can look down upon these people. complete fucking losers!

  6. Mirabal sisters  

    Killed by U.S-backed dictator Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. Vague connection, if you think that Columbia's administration is equivalent to the U.S. government.

    I'm also tired of all the protesters on this campus. But I have to give props to the hunger strikers: their means are nonviolent and hurt no one but themselves; their demands, while probably to expansive to be effective, are all to some extent under the power of the administration to change. This presents a welcome contrast to people marching for "peace" in Iraq, for instance.

  7. why the fuck  

    do these kids get to meet with administration? who are they? we didnt vote for these people to go for this; mercer's blasting brinkley's "paternalism" and yet, who's really being patronizing here?

  8. Frauds  

    I was wondering how they managed to raise 500+ signatures. The vast majority of the signatories AREN'T COLUMBIANS!! So essentially, between the 5-15 of them, they've invited all their friends to their fb group, and made them sign the petition! I really fucking hope the University doesn't cave into any of their fucking demands, the cheats. That's just low

    • Worse yet

      Have you seen what some of the petition signers are saying?

      Barbara Pacheco, City College 1969:

      "Corporate tentacles have reached into our schools - Columbia University's President and Board of Directors must step down immediately as they continue to pursue profit over people with their obvious, uncoveted racism, classism in a diverse community, city and country. They have had a long legacy of these misdeeds uncluding displacement of thousands of families through the years. Kick out all of these predators and bigots who do not believe in freedom of speech, tolerance or the right to protest. As heads of a learning institution they are unfit to continue and should resign in disgrace. There will be a day they will be held accountable for all the misery they have inflicted on innocent community residents, and on the ethnic minorities they have unabashedly spewed their hatred, intolerance and bigotry."

      Really? No really? Could you BE any more vague? It sounds like she has absolutely no clue about what is going on at this school (not surprising since she, um, never went here and hasn't been in college for over three decades) and just decided to pick the most broad, sweepingly general terms she could find so that whatever the oppression turned out to be, she could just call it "oppression" and still be right.

  9. the protesters  

    are like little kids throwing a tantrum by holding their breaths until they get what they want

    • hmm  

      1) i've seen that comment on bwog before. creative.

      2) maybe if the little kids could last and suffer for weeks.

      3) it's funny. i've seen a ton of nastiness on bwog comments. (including "kill yourself", classy.) when i hung out by the tents for an hour, i heard a couple of shouts. but not one of these people who are apparently so angry at the strikers has stopped to talk or argue. it's a really weird kind of virulent apathy - extremely hostile but extremely lazy and/or cowardly. it's depressing.

      • The reason  

        that people are not holding counter-protests is because they have more productive things to do than huddle around in a tent all day and then sit in front of Christmas lights at night. We--meaning the vast majority of Columbia students who are opposed to this childish hunger strike--would rather go to class, study, and do a host of other meaningful things rather than protest a bunch of idiots.
        Come to the library right now; it is packed.

        Here's hoping that the Columbia administration does not give in to a single demand. If the administration does crack, it will only provide the incentive for more ill-conceived hunger strikes in the future.

      • A whole HOUR  

        That is a gross generalization to say that because no-one stopped by in the hour you were there to debate and make their grievances heard no-one IS. I myself am wholeheartedly opposed to everything about this strike and I had an hour long conversation with one of them(I'm not sure if it is a striker or just someone who is part of the movement but not actually on hunger strike). This conversation only served to re-inforce my belief that this protest is misguided in the extreme, that those behind it cannot defend their position when directly challenged with certain arguments and not in the slightest part representative of the entire community. I was however grateful to the person for taking the time to talk to me, and I'm glad I took that time too.

        • ok then  

          to #25: congrats. i appreciate your taking the time, i really do. the fact remains that a large number of people, and i suspect a signicantly largER number of people, instead just leave anonymous bwog comments or shout random shit while walking quickly past. their apparent anger remains totally mismatched with their lack of effort, in an i think indefensible way, whether or not there also exist people who disagree with the strikers and are less enragedly apathetic about it.

          to #26: you're being intolerant if you're posting comments like "kill yourself!" or "these scum are hilarious! ... complete fucking losers!". you may or may not be doing so, but some obviously are. it's hard to see how hunger striking, even with a 'holier than thou attitude', can be meaningfully described as 'intolerant'. as for 'preaching'... it's always been true that power concedes nothing without a demand. if you don't force the university to pay attention to you by some kind of dramatic action, they'll defer you in an endless series of vacuous meetings until you graduate and they can stop worrying about you.

  10. why  

    are some of these strikers such terrible writers? that post borders on incoherent. on the basis of prose alone, i'm embarrassed to claim some of these people as my fellow students.

  11. ok, though  

    i was more suggesting that you actually grow the balls to go and say something to the hunger strikers' faces and sit and wait for a reply, rather than posting anonymously on the internet. but counter-protesting would also be more respectable than this. if you just dont care that much, why are you so offended that others do? and if you really think it would be a disaster if columbia caved, why don't you do something to stop that from happening?

  12. HAH

    "We are not eating until our demands are met or we're in the hospital!"
    WEAK. That's like a Buddhist monk saying "I will burn myself until someone pulls out a fire extinguisher." WEAK.

  13. wondering  

    who are the strikers?

  14. cc '08er

    is there an anti-striker petition out there? if not, could someone (not me - i'm too personally close to some of the strikers) please make one? these kids are foolish.

    if anyone does make one, please stay away from vague and meaningless rhetoric. :)

  15. 34-14, Cornell

    The library's really packed today, Saturday, at 2:59 in the afternoon? I would've figured people were taking a break from the studies for another week or so (heck, I am) after midterms. Unless people are still midterming or have some giant papers due next week.

    That's a bit surprising.

  16. Britain  

    So you're suggesting we, as students here, go to class, study in the library, get drunk, and make no attempt to analyze our own society? Not a very productive or stimulating life.

  17. ugh

    Why do they have have these big shindigs the day the temperature drops to 20 below frostbite? Seriously...last semester's big anti-war rally was cold enough to serve hot coffee on the rocks and was more reminiscent of March of the Penguins than the Million Man March. The Weather Channel. Do you watch it?

  18. supporter  

    The negativity expressed in the previous statements makes me feel ashamed to be a part of this university. I feel uncomfortably surrounded by people whom I should feel proud to call my peers, but who instead have made me feel alienated and disappointed. This intolerant cruelty and ignorance can grow into life-consuming hate--the kind that only destroys and never builds. To the hunger-strikers: you have already accomplished something magical by uniting students and inciting conversation. The mass of kids out at the tents at night, and the rallies and vigils and meetings have brought together a variety of student groups, and we are proud to stand in solidarity with this new, and ever-growing group, unnamed and united, to show that we understand that this situation affects each one of us. For every insult you receive, one of us is here to express our admiration for your courage and dedication. You have strength of character and passion and it is you who will be changing and improving this world everyday for the rest of your lives, through positive and kind means. Don't give up. Remain with your eyes open and continue building a place that will accommodate knowledge and people and positivity. You are the students who care for this university and want to make it as wonderful as it can be. More knowledge, a better education, a more complete view of the past and the present. I feel that the future is safe in your hands. And for everybody that criticizes and condemns, know that this will not stop. This is the beginning of action, and from this root, enormous, powerful things will grow. Prepare yourselves. There are many beautiful things to come, and they will frighten away your rotten, negative attitudes, and disrupt your lives until you cannot help but reflect and look around. There will be too much to see for you to keep your eyes closed.

    • i for one  

      am sick of the protesters preaching like they've seen all. They go on and on about how they know exactly what is right and who is in the wrong.

      "This intolerant cruelty and ignorance can grow into life-consuming hate--the kind that only destroys and never builds."

      WFT!!!!! I probably know more about the Manhattanville expansion and Core than most of the strikers. Am I really that ignorant because I don't see anything wrong with expansion or the classes I took? Am I being intolerant by disagreeing with a minority opinion? The only people being intolerant here are there strikers who tout their holier than thou attitude. I would like to talk with some of the strikers to see why they believe the university is going down the wrong track, but I'm not going to until they stop preaching. (or at least take down those ridiculous Christmas lights)

  19. god, bwog  

    Bill Perkins and tony avela were there. get your facts straight

  20. cool

    hey 25, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. i am a supporter, and i don't mind people not supporting, i just find it upsetting when people don't take the time to hear us out.

  21. you know,  

    how they brought in the scale to check their weights? aren't they supposed to strike until demands are met or until they die?

  22. ummm  

    Isn't one of the strikers a Barnard student? You don't even take the Core, GTFO.

  23. this is such

    BULLSHIT. this isn't badass.. you want me to pay attention, pull a Thich Quang Duc.

  24. EAL  

    So how much longer until one of the hunger strikers sets themselves on fire? It is pretty cold out..

  25. amy millan

    when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

  26. i wonder  

    if the strikers have considered the possibility (and i think high probability) that their stunt is just annoying and somewhat alienating and will only result in some sort of mildly conservative backlash (probably to manifest in the form of, as we've seen, apathy and mockery)?

    in the end, they'll only consolidate the core and make it easier for the university to slide past (minor) student opposition to manhattanvile.

  27. Clarification  

    yeah but only one or two barnard students get to take CC and Lit Hum, which are the core classes in question. I also doubt many get to take Music or Art hum, and I know that none take Frontiers or University Writing.

  28. yeah...

    I love all the Stop Eminent Domain abuse signs long after Columbia announced formally they would not ask the city to use Eminent Domain to acquire buildings. Ho-kay, guys. Way to stay up-to-date.

  29. Opportunism  

    People seemed to have missed the fact that the strikers have used the noose incident as a pretext to force the university into complying with an unrelated agenda. The Ethnic Studies, Core Curricula, etc. stuff has been on Brian Mercer's agenda for a while, and he seems to have picked up on the noose incidents to start a fire out of nothing and make one last push for it before he graduates. Frankly, it's low.

    I feel bad for Prezbo, and I hope the fake-petition (a majority of signatories don't go to Columbia) doesn't make them concede to do something the vast majority of students do not support.

  30. get it straight

    Wow. The Bwog really sucks.

    The snark is one thing, but the inaccuracy is just infuriating.

    The community members at the rally EXPLICITLY STATED that they are not anti-expansion...something like, "We would like to clear up the misconception that we are anti-expansion. We want Columbia to expand, but we want them to expand in an accountable way."

    Don't bother 'reporting' anything if you aren't going to pay any attention to the facts.

    No, really, the Bwog SUCKS.

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