Breaking: Two down, four to go

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Two of the hunger strikers, Emilie Rosenblatt, CC ’08, and Bryan Mercer, CC ’07, have decided to cap off the Gatorade for something more substantial. Concessions were made, medical leave threatened, Manhattanville still happening.

For the full release…

Two Columbia University students have ended their hunger strike after eight days. The students, Emilie Rosenblatt, CC ’08, and Bryan Mercer, CC ’07, have been on strike since Wednesday, November 7, in support of demands relating to the way the university deals with race in its curriculum and administration as well as its planned expansion into West Harlem.

The students’ decision was made last night after the Columbia administration offered significant concessions in three of the four areas of concern to students and faculty supporting the strike. However, the administration has yet to address students’ critique of its planned expansion into West Harlem, and the displacement of Harlem residents expected to result. Four other students, Victoria Ruiz, CC ’09, April Simpson, CC ’11, Rich Brown, CC ’10, and Sam Barron, BC ’10, will continue to refrain from eating until the university revises its expansion plans to bring them in line with Harlem community needs, as expressed in Community Board 9’s 197-a plan.

The two students who are ending their fasts made this decision after thorough discussions with the remaining strikers and with other allies. The students will begin eating once more both for medical reasons and as a sign of good faith in response to administrators’ concessions regarding curricular and administrative reform. Emilie and Bryan were warned yesterday that Columbia Health Services officials judged them to be in serious medical danger and that they would be placed on involuntary medical leave for the remainder of the current semester should they refuse to end their strike. The two strikers were prepared to continue regardless, but when further negotiations produced acceptable results, they decided to transition to other methods of struggle.

According to Bryan, “the agreements reached tonight are a true beginning of progress,” which “came about through the mass rallying of students, and show the ability of students to push through their concerns.” Emilie noted that “even though I’ve stepped out of the strike, the struggle continues, and I will continue to be involved in other ways. It’s crucial that we make progress on making the expansion responsible.”

A meeting is scheduled for 4pm today at which students will negotiate with administrators regarding the major outstanding issue, Columbia’s expansion plans. A separate meeting will take place to work out the last details of the positions to which administrators and the coalition of concerned students and faculty and administrators have already agreed in principle. Students and allies will rally at noon on College Walk at the center of campus in support of the remaining demands, and will hold their daily candlelight vigil at 9pm.



  1. fuck  

    you Bryan. Go get a job

  2. Anonymous  

    Hey Manhattanville, you still think students care about you? You've just been sold out and played for chumps. Feel familiar? Of course it does. You got played just like you got played by every other talking head in the past fifty years. Harlem should trust nobody, especially nobody who claims to be fighting the man on their behalf.

    • the hunger strike  

      is continuing...

    • invisible_hand

      hey idiot-
      you know who came to the rally last night and pledged their full support? representatives of the west harlem community.
      you know who screamed "right back at you"? the students last night.
      you know who has never involved himself in the west harlem community? that would be you. don't act like you're the one who really cares for west harlem.

      • Anonymous  

        So what if they did that? They still got sold out and will continue to get sold out until they sell someone else out.

        p.s. Who elected you or any of the people who shouted "right back at you" last night? Good luck speaking for the "community."

    • Think harder  

      The strikers themselves know that Manhattansville is something bigger than they can bite. They can "reform" the Core, but they cannot derail a plan that involves corporate interests, Columbia, the city council, etc.

      Also, it is a general negotiation tactic to overstate your demands.

  3. losers  

    someone please get these kids some pussy

  4. I love  

    you Bryan. Good job.

  5. wtf  

    i love how bwog insists they aren't biased and then uses a title like "Two down, four to go"


  6. the title is ironic

    because there were 4 strikers to begin w/, 2 dropped, and yet 4 still continue. a clever move by the strikers and an even cleverer bwog title is lost upon haters.


  7. style  

    "The students' decision was made last night after the Columbia administration offered significant concessions in three of the four areas of concern to students and faculty supporting the strike."

    Generally, people think using words like "significant" and "incredible" and "substantial" is a mark of poor writing, because it is nondescriptive, nonspecific, and based on the judgment of the writer (in this case an 'unbiased' journalist) rather than letting the reader make a decision.

    Imagine war reporting, where propagandists merely wrote: "significant progress in Iraq!"

  8. Major Cultures  

    Considering the years of the remaining strikers, how many of them have actually taken Major Cultures?

    • At most

      Assuming she is on top of her shit, one.

      In fact, she would also be the only striker to have taken ANY of the core except for first semester lit hum. Which is notoriously marginalizing to anyone not from Ancient Greece.

      • yup

        as a non ancient greek, I felt scathed by the gaze of the oppressor during first semester lit hum. I move all incoming columbia freshmen from sparta and mycenae be forced to take anti-oppression training. also, there is clearly no discussion of imperialist arrogance in works like thucydides, or of the anthropological gaze on the other in herodotus, so they should be removed.

  9. Well

    Once the two remaining original ones get close to being done, they can bring in new people. the hunger strike can continue forever!

  10. opposition  

    as an ancient greek, i believe that herodotus an thucydides should remain because of their extremely progressive historiological approach. perhaps we should cut out that fluffernutter boccacio and throw in another play of aristophanes.

  11. Fuck West Harlem  

    What community exactly? What the fuck has the local community done for us? Us giving a shit about West Harlem is more than they would ever do for us.

  12. What the fuck

    I can't believe the hunger strikers actually fucking won.

  13. "large numbers"?

    4 people is large numbers?

  14. Bethmann-Hollweg  

    So most of the strikers are First and Second Year students who haven't even completed The Core yet?

    This just gets better, and better, and better.

    As Jesus Christ once wrote, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

  15. uhhh  

    why the fuck is someone who GRADUATED doing the hunger strike? GTFO.

  16. again  

    not to belabor the point in a different thread, but for those of us (me) who thought the administration would do better than validating radical tactics and an obtuse manifesto of vague demands, now's your chance to make it clear what a mistake this is.

    there's a silent, respectful demonstration TONIGHT at 8:30 at ALMA MATER.

    whether you disagree with the outcome, the tactics, the administration's willingness to endorse the tactics, or any combination, please come.

    it'll be a good opportunity to talk with others about it. I hear several different groups and individuals are starting to talk about short- and long-term actions that we can take to get the administration to realize what a mistake it was to give a hunger strike legitimate standing.

  17. hmm...

    the majority of posters on bwog are usually opposed to everything

  18. coogan

    I have a question: if all the demands EXCEPT expansion are met, do people feel as though substantial changes have been made?

    I think the accomplishments last night are very impressive, but they were academic issues. Allowing more committees with students and $50 million in the scheme of Bollinger's grand $6 billion endowment drive seem manageable.

    Expansion brings a much more complex set of variables to deal with: the city, the planners and the architect Renzo Piano, for example. If the demonstrators can achieve something with expansion, I think it will be huge.

  19. Brains  

    Thank you for having them.

    Just as a small point, is anyone else unconvinced by the argument that $50 million is a lot of money and shouldn't be spent on Core reform? Didn't athletics just get $100 million to... you know... whatever?

    Just saying.

    • Sorry  

      In response to #32

    • umm  

      50 million bucks would be well spent in Financial aid--it would cover the cost of full tuition for 1,000 students. all of them could even be minorities! and spending money on athletics creates better athletics programs which helps to strengthen our alumni base. camraderie helps. and a lot of our athletes are minorities so funding athletics helps minorities, too, fucktard.

      • Okay but  

        100 million bucks would cover TWO THOUSAND STUDENTS. HOMG!

        But you know, you're right. You know what doesn't strengthen our alumni base? Providing resources to minority students by way of expanding OMA. That shit sucks.

  20. NO...  

    If you used the 50 million bucks as a perpetuity that constantly yielded 10% interest, or 5 million dollars, it would yield five million bucks a year. Considering that 50,000 bucks covers one student every year, this interest would be able to fund the tuitions of 100 students every year into the future (assuming that all of these students received 100%).

    Considering that each undergrad goes to school for four years, the $50 million would be able to fully fund 25 new students each year (or a little over 2% of the class).

  21. green  

    Just coincidence that the two students who dropped out of the strike were threatened with leave last night? And what kind of bullshit strike lasts only until you're in medical danger? At least that first girl actually passed out before she dropped.

    This whole stunt has been a fucking joke and regardless of their demands, has significantly tarnished the ideals of legitimate protest.

    I'm sure this'll be a real perk on your resume for some shitty do-nothing NGO. Enjoy a couple more years of fruitless causes before you have an Ayn Rand epiphany, denounce your liberal guilt, and join a conservative think tank. One struggle!

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