What’s up next

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daltonWednesday was a big day. Thursday, though, might be even bigger: striker kids (whom this UCLA student thinks are great) have scheduled a rally at the Sundial at noon in preparation for their final negotiations. While it seems that the three academic components have been largely straightened out, expansion has yet to be settled–and the hunger strikers have promised to go on hungering until those demands are in the bag. At a meeting this afternoon, the strike negotiation team presented six demands to Executive VP Maxine Griffith, who said responded with variations on “no,” “we’re working on it,” and “I’ll get back to you on that.” The negotiators’ points, which will be presented again at a meeting toda at 4:00 PM in the IRC, are posted after the jump. 

Meanwhile, about 650 people aren’t OK with that. Leaders of the anti-striker movement have called a “silent gathering” for tomorrow at 8:30 PM at Alma Mater (too late?) to protest the administration’s concessions.

Pictured is Professor Dennis Dalton, who hasn’t eaten since last Thursday, speechifying on the Sundial at the rally tonight. He told the assembled students, as quiet as if the steps were seats in a lecture hall, all about the successful movement for divestment from South Africa in 1985. “Again and again the students have been right,” he said, over his 39 year tenure at the University. “We have a tradition here at Columbia, and that tradition has to be upheld, and that tradition is to nonviolently protest injustice on this campus.”  The movement has a granddad!

Finally, since we didn’t mention it earlier today, SGA’s statement on the strike is also posted after the jump, in Bwog’s third edition of the Hunger Strike Primary Source reader.


Point 1 Columbia has a responsibility, as stated in the EIS, to mitigate the impact caused by the proposed actions. The body with which the university has committed to negotiating with is the West Harlem Local Development Corporation. However, the university has also reached agreements with other entities on issues of community benefits, most recently and prominently Borough President Scott Stringer, who has a representative on the LDC body. We demand that the University commit to, in writing and on the record, negotiating community benefits exclusively with the LDC, excluding any separate agreements with individual politicians, including but not limited to those politicians represented on the LDC.

Point 2  The agreement reached with Borough President Stringer is problematic on many levels. First, demand a clarification on what exactly is proposed. Is it a loan or a grant? When does the money get transferred and how does that happen?

Secondly, with an estimate of $200,000 per creation of each affordable unit, this would create 100 units in an area with 5,035 people living in unsubsidized housing. This is an extremely low floor in negotiating an anti-displacement program with the LDC, especially given the cost and potential profit of the project. The students demand that a far more significant commitment to affordable housing be a part of any agreement with the LDC and that Columbia come to the board with a number that mitigates the full effect of its project.

Point 3 Columbia has pledged officially to relocated the tenants living under the TIL program to equivalent housing. This is a positive step. We demand that any relocation occur as a result of direct agreement with the tenant affected and not through an agreement of property transfer with any city agency or outside entity.

Point 4  Columbia needs to take eminent domain off the table for the commercial property-owners in the area and reach agreements with them on an individual basis, even if that implies that they are to stay there in a revised development scenario.

Point 5  Using funding specifically earmarked for the expansion plans or fundraised independently of existing efforts, Columbia should develop and financially empower those parts of the university that provide community programming. The university should provide resources for the development of new programs in the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Double Discovery Center, Community Impact and other university institutions that would provide services for both students and community members.

Point 6  Columbia is one of the foremost educational institutions in the country and the world. As part of its expansion, we feel that the university has a responsibility to the community it is effecting, not merely to its own constituency. This responsibility is profound and goes beyond the Secondary School proposal. Students demand that local students be granted access to Columbia resources, including libraries and course auditing privileges. We also call for a scholarship admission program for CB9 residents, and for a comprehensive educational complex that would serve the community’s needs, including not only K-12 education but also an infant and pre-K school, a health clinic, and an adult education service. This should be funded directly by the university. The university’s resources are vast and can be shared more broadly.


Dear Barnard Students,
In light of the strike currently going on at Columbia, the SGA writes today to inform students that the SGA is committed to addressing issues of ethnic diversity, curricular shortcomings, and necessary institutional reform on our campus. These goals have been part of SGA‘s 2007-2008 agenda since the beginning of the semester.  To address these issues, the SGA held a Town Hall on this subject in October, attended by Barnard College and Columbia University students, faculty, and administrators. All present expressed and stressed the need for additional steps to be taken to ensure that all Barnard students graduate having had the opportunity to intellectually engage with these issues.  The SGA is thus committed to reviewing and assessing necessary curricular changes.  Additionally, the SGA is calling for an Ethnic Studies major at Barnard, and the provisions to be set up for the eventual creation of a center.
The SGA also recognizes that the demands being made of the Columbia administration affect Barnard students. The SGA acknowledges that many members of the Barnard community, students, faculty and departments, have been active in the strike and in response to the strike, both voicing support and dissent.  Although the strike is addressed specifically to the Columbia University administration, the SGA supports the call for changes that will improve the academic opportunities and quality of education that Barnard students receive.  Moreover, the SGA officially calls for various curricular and institutional changes at Barnard College that are in a similar vein.  The SGA expresses its support for the following:
1.The SGA calls for the Committee on Instruction to move forward on the creation of an Ethnic Studies major. Towards this end, the SGA would like to see a thriving, well-funded and administered Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER) at Columbia that can support an influx of Barnard majors. In the long term, the SGA supports the creation of a center at Barnard dedicated to the study of racial and ethnic power dynamics, similar to the Barnard Center for Research on Women.
2. The SGA calls for the incorporation of discussion of racial and ethnic formation into the 9 Ways of Knowing.  For the short term, the SGA plans to facilitate the creation of a more diverse First-Year English reading list.  In the long term, the SGA supports the Committee on Instruction in reviewing how to better incorporate these issues into the 9 Ways of Knowing, particularly looking at the Social Analysis, Cultures in Comparison, and Reason and Value requirements.
3. The SGA calls for the appointment of a Provost for Diversity. Many of our sister schools, as well as many Ivy League universities, have such an office.  A Provost for Diversity will work closely with the deans and the President of the College to ensure fair hiring, tenure, and curricular practices.
4. The SGA calls for better communication and more collaboration between the Office for Multicultural Affairs at Barnard and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Columbia.
The SGA continually seeks student input, concerns and support on all of these initiatives and hopes that Barnard students feel empowered to work with the SGA.  While institutional reform does take time, student voices are heard and ideas are supported by the administration through the SGA.  The above mentioned goals are also part of discussions being held by Barnard faculty and administrators.  The SGA does recognize the need for immediate and tangible examples of progress.  From the SGA student representatives on the Committee on Instruction to all of the participants at our Town Hall, Barnard students have been actively engaged with this debate all semester.  Please be encouraged to join your fellow students in these discussions by contacting or by attending our weekly Representative Council meetings, held every Monday at 7:45pm in the North Tower.
Yours Truly,
The Student Government Association of Barnard College


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  1. nitpicker  

    the Daily Bruin is actually the UCLA paper, not Brown's.

  2. anti-strike

    PLACE: Alma Mater
    TIME: 8:30 PM
    EVENT: a silent gathering against the hunger strike.

    whether you object to the resolution, the methods of the strikers, the capitulation of the administration to such methods, or any other reasons you might have to this disappointing turn of events, please come out and show your support in silence.

    then begin networking to take the next steps against this lunacy.

  3. Alum

    Some of the things the strikers want (like the health clinic and adult education programs for CB9 residents) are reasonable, but most aren't. Even as to the reasonable goals, the tactics being employed are not reasonable at all. It is one thing to say Columbia should do something but quite another to demand it and to make threats if those demands are not met.

    Columbia should not substantially alter its development plans except as part of an agreement with the community. It should not even seriously consider doing so as part of the ill-advised negotiation with these striking students.

    If Columbia appeases this group, how long will it be before another makes its own demands? Even negotiating beyond a relatively modest level sends the wrong signal and invites more such abuse in the future.

  4. lolrus

    "Final negotiations"


    Dammit, this makes it sound like a hostage situation.

  5. lolrus

    Shit, shit, shit.

    A few kids throw a hissy fit, and now everyone's going to eventually have to take major cultures as a seminar?

    And FFS, mandatory anti-oppression training...this is a university, not a playschool.

    Watch this: one of the strikers will become serious ill and his or her parents will file a lawsuit against Columbia. Force them all to take medical leave...for both physical and mental reasons.

    Enough is enough. I am tired of their little shit fits, and every other student who is actually here to learn should be likewise.

  6. why silent?  

    anti-strike people, go do something actually productive with your time.

    or at the very least, engage in dialogue with people who support the demands instead of being silent.

    • We are only silent  

      in the figurative sense. We oppose the strike for different reasons and first demand an appropriate, democratic discourse.

    • well

      there has been engagement in dialogue with strike supporters--if you look at their facebook group there is quite a lively discussion going on there, some of which are asshole posts, but some of which are legitimate questions that i KNOW strike supporters have seen. and not answered (or perhaps they are unable to answer?)

      i don't understand why they keep telling us to talk at the tents instead of posting their answers in a public forum where EVERYONE can see them. first of all this just seems like a skirting tactic to me. secondly, not all people affected by this brouhaha are around on campus, and there are at least some of us who would love to see some answers to the questions instead of being exhorted every day to come see the strikers in a tent.

  7. alum

    At what point do Quigley and the admissions office start feeling heat for letting in these rabble-rousers? Something must be done about the admissions office if they keep taking kids who obviously hate the school and haven't done their research about what the Core Curriculum is and is meant to accomplish. Why do we keep accepting kids who do not want to be at Columbia, but rather CCNY?

  8. Perplexed

    Why is SGA advocating for expansion of ethnic studies. It is a sham, non-disciplinary major that fails to adequately meet Columbia's academic standard. It's rather embarrassing when such proposals are backed blindly by an organization that fears repercussions from a zealous bloc of students.

  9. Yess!!!  

    Everyone against the strike should come to Alma Mater! That way we know who these racist fuckers are.

  10. Oh and  

    bring the pointy hoods and crosses.

  11. celeste  

    This disconnected, ridiculous, and bizarre movement makes me so embarrassed for Columbia. But, it does highlight a large reason of why I dropped my MEALAC major: the more minority groups continue to play the victim card, the less I want to listen to their demands. I think that the hunger strikers truly highlight this: because they've somehow been adversely affected by the university, they can opt out of negotiations and hold their breath until the administration makes the move. It's sick. And futhermore, what do Barnard students have to do with this strike--THEY DON'T EVEN TAKE CORE CLASSES. When students who don't go to CU protest a CU policy, it makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Don't be fooled, I'm quite a liberal person, but these sorts of antics only push me to the more conservative side. Come on, when I start believing what Chris Kulawik says you know that this whole deal has gone too far.

    Hunger strikers, get a a life.

    • word  

      we've been learning about the holocaust and the civil rights movement and lots of other stuff since we were in elementary school. i very much doubt that a class that teaches "don't be racist" will be effective just because it will be poorly taught and a waste of time at college.

      maybe i'll go on a shower strike until world peace and alternative energy are solved.

  12. wtf  

    "ethnic studies major"?? does that sound degrading to anyone else?

  13. Exactly...  

    Please, by all means, decry everyone opposed to a screaming group of students racists. Devalue your credibility, already tarnished by your attempt at imposing your own views on the rest of the Columbia community, even more by refusing the accept that their opposition might actually be based in reason.

    For example, if the Core and lack of an ethnic studies department are such an issue, why did you come to Columbia, and why are you continuing on your path to graduating with a Columbia University diploma? And since you didn't do your research on this, perhaps this wasn't made obvious to you when you came to New York City, New York, USA, North America, Western Hemisphere, and finally Earth, but while indeed the world continues to shrink and the ability to comminucate across cultural lines does become more and more important, we are a part of and exist in a Western society. Perhaps if we know more about how and why we are as we are, we can then begin to understand someone else. And just maybe this works; Columbia has a long history of alumni in positions that successfully navigate those boundries everyday.

    Another example. Acts of racism should be condemmed. Completely agree with you. But to think that the administration, at a place were adults with free wills come to study, can completely control the student body is abusrd. Moreover, to think the administration has done too little despite that huge handicap is even more absurd. The admninstrators have openly rebuked the offenders and launched investigations with the help of NYPD. They have already folded to the demands of sensitivity training, which from my understanding is essentially politically correct training. No, if anyone should be held responsible for those despicable crimes, it should be those who committed them. Maybe then the administration could be released of baby sitting duty and do something more useful.

    Unfortunately, while I would like to continue to write out reasoned responses to your incoherent and disjointed platform, I like my Columbia education, a lot actually, and I have a midterm to take.

  14. wirc  

    I'm OK with those Manhattanville demands, except for the rejection of eminent domain and the demand that CSER get more money or "community programming." That's BS

    Now why couldn't they have stated demand and built up a strong consensus? And why have I have been able to get a SCEGer to support something like this before?

  15. what is  

    wrong with everyone - people who are against the hunger strikers are going to protest the administration?? you don't protest the administration conceding to requests, you protest the strikers tactics. Everyone needs to stop blaming the administration when it's the students causing all the problems!

    • no one  

      is protesting the administration. we are trying to communicate with them that the large numbers of us do not agree with the hunger strike, and furthermore, we think it absurd that these few individuals should decide where columbia's limited resources are going.

    • well  

      that's the real substance of it. you protest the tactics of the strikers, and the administration's capitulation to them on these issues.

      as for #23, whether these things were 'in the pipeline' doesn't excuse the validation of a tactic like this for some over-vague, nearly-incoherent manifesto, nor should the administration have allowed it to be portrayed as a 'victory' for them.

      lots of people want change on campus. many people would like to see an increased role for OMA. real dialogue and peaceful protest are good ways to get that done. not camping out and starving until

      hunger strikers: want to know why it seemed like bollinger wasn't listening to you? your manifesto was so full of holes and reasoning that it took starving yourselves to get anyone to take you seriously.

      now we have barnard students and alums that won't go away dictating how the Core is taught, and it sets a precedent so that five-ten years from now, when this $50 "culture seminar" debuts, there can be another hunger strike, because it lumps "other" thought into one convenient seminar taught by grad students while the four semesters of western literature and philosophy are offered alongside it.

      I didn't protest because I never thought they'd cave. last time I ever put my faith in this administration standing up for principle.

  16. Can anyone

    Document the timeline of these negotiations. From what I can understand the majority of what was offered to the strikers last night was what the admin offered to them right off the bat, and things that had been in the pipeline for a long time. I know that the student councils had been working with the admin on making MC a seminar for a while, why are these people getting credit for others' work? Why are they making it seem last night that the admin caved to them? For that matter, why is the admin allowing it to be portrayed that way, when it is just not the case? They threatened to stop the protest, and the strikers knew they were beaten, so rather than admit defeat they now triumphantly accept terms that were dismissed earlier....furthermore, how freaking closed off from view from the entire student body this entire thing has been allowed them to do this. The entire thing is a disgrace and a sham, and if they keep going with it, I hope they are removed from campus.

  17. I dont mean that

    In fact, I completely agree with you. I was merely saying that in ADDITION to being angry about all the things you mentioned, that the strikers are getting credit for something they didn't pilot, and a concession that would not have been possible without there already having been a substantial about of work on it ALSO angers me. There's a lot of anger in general.

  18. bedbug  

    Point 6 Columbia is one of the foremost educational institutions in the country and the world. As part of its expansion, we feel that the university has a responsibility to the community it is effecting, not merely to its own constituency. This responsibility is profound and goes beyond the Secondary School proposal. Students demand that local students be granted access to Columbia resources, including libraries and course auditing privileges. We also call for a scholarship admission program for CB9 residents, and for a comprehensive educational complex that would serve the community's needs, including not only K-12 education but also an infant and pre-K school, a health clinic, and an adult education service. This should be funded directly by the university. The university's resources are vast and can be shared more broadly.

    this sounds great, but i wonder if they realize that this would only accelerate gentrification?

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