The Columbia Olympics: Protesters

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Welcome to the Columbia Olympics. Through this series, Bwog hopes to prepare you for at least some of the events that you will participate in at Columbia. Unlike the real Olympics, no one’s too young, too old, too juiced, or too angry to participate. Since everything must be judged, though, we have included gold medal outcomes at the end of each post.

Protesters. While college students worldwide in general have long been associated with protesting, no school is more famous for its protesters than Columbia. Throughout the last century, many of the biggest stories have centered around protests, or at least the controversies being protested. Many of you have probably dealt with relatives or neighbors who only know Columbia as “that crazy school with all those building takeovers,” and then you have to explain to them over Thanksgiving dinner that you really like the school, and then they say that they wouldn’t go there, and the whole conversation that was going so well gets all awkward. Not that that happened to us…

Anyways, Bwog wants to help by explaining some basic facts about protesting and dealing with protesters. Use the comments to add your own advice.


  • Don’t be discouraged by cynics. Even protests that look like they’re going nowhere can quickly receive large concessions.
  • Going to school in New York helps greatly in getting media attention for your protest. Somebody will be interested.
  • Remember when waving signs or soliciting signatures that you’re also hassling those who agree with you. They just have class right now.
  • Getting attention means being clever, not over-the-top. Students ignore tables and provocations in equal amounts.
  • The following are not valid gauges of public opinion: Facebook groups, protest sizes, resumes of protest speakers, and Bwog comments.
  • Free food is always a good bribe.


  • Don’t try to argue. Seriously, you’re not going to make a group move, and you’ll just be creating a shouting match. Channel the energy into organizing your own counter-protest if you feel strongly enough — it makes great theater.
  • The “don’t argue” advice goes double for anything related to Israel or Palestine.
  • The following are not valid gauges of public opinion: Facebook groups, protest sizes, resumes of protest speakers, and Bwog comments.
  • If you didn’t want people from off-campus joining student protests (or coming to campus with their own outside protests), you should’ve attended school in a city nobody wants to spend their free time in.
  • The best way to avoid being approached is to keep your head down and your iPod on.
  • Take the free food. 

Gold Medal Outcome (accidentally absent the first time we posted): For protesters, getting in a gallery (see image #7). For non-protesters, winning your floor’s game of “protest lingo bingo.” All Bwog needed last game was “No Justice, No Peace.”

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  1. zoidberg

    what's the gold medal outcome for this one? it seems to not be here.

  2. met event

    the met event was on point and amazing tonight!!!! Columbia and the Arts Initiative did an amazing job!!!!!!

  3. worried

    about the freshman 15? Make your protest a hunger strike and kill two birds with one stone.

  4. alumnus

    the best protests are the ones where the protesters get skulled by cops with billy clubs and go to jail.

  5. ...

    okay, i just watched that senior golden olympics video... that's awesome!

  6. the way

    undermine the protest if you're against it, by setting up next to it and advocating its position to the most extreme point you can think of (the colbert theory)

  7. anthony kelley

    protests are good for getting columns in the spec.

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