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Rage Against the ROTC

Update, 3:36 pm: Protesters claimed  “The NYPD was going to arrest them,” so they’re now at the base of the steps. According to one tipster, they’re “making a lot of random noise.” One male is yelling noises—not words—into a microphone. A female has a cello.

Remember those anti-ROTC protesters? They’re back! About 20 people are currently gathered outside the Law School to protest what they call the “farcical display of democracy by the Senate Task Force on Military Engagement.” Upset that Columbia has decided to invite Naval ROTC back to campus, they’re expressing their frustration and rage by banging drums, making noise, and chanting catchy slogans like “They say ROT-C. We say democracy!”

Protest outside the Law School

Anti-ROTC Protest


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  • alum says:

    @alum i wish I could have been there! goob job guys! keep the fight alive :)

    1. Not necessarily says:

      @Not necessarily ROTC people aren’t regular enlisted troops right? They are being trained to be officers, indoctrinated with the policy of the US gov’t. The people we should be proud of are the ones who selflessly put their lives in danger to support our country regardless of policy, not those who sell their souls for free education.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Is this ironic? I can’t tell

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous You clearly haven’t even the slightest understanding of military and how the officer and enlisted corps works. Please refrain from making foolish, uneducated statements about an institution that you have only interacted with via Hollywood and the National Guard/Reservist weekend warriors who patrol Penn Station.

  • Anthropology Disappointment says:

    @Anthropology Disappointment These people are a constant disappointment to those of us who thought Columbia was a place of education and enlightenment. Shame on you Anthropology Dept.

    ROTC Cadets = Troops
    Anti-ROTC = Anti-Troops

    If you have a problem with the policies of the US Government, then take it to the Executive and Legislative branches of the government. Our HEROES deserve great, highly educated leaders. We need ROTC.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Not all soldiers are heroes. True story.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Not all soldiers are villains either.

        I’m pro-ROTC, not because I’m pro-troupes, pro-war, or whatever, but because I have a serious problem with how fucked up it is to outright refuse education/access to students that actually WANT and QUALIFY to come here because, what, we don’t agree with their politics and ideologies? You have problem with the gvmt, but you’re taking it out on potential students.

        “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with them in a class with me” Stfu, you useless, spoiled hippies.

        1. wait but says:

          @wait but we wouldn’t (have) refuse(d) education or access to any students. columbia just wouldn’t (have) be(en) a venue for pursuing one of their “policies/ideologies” in particular.

        2. Not Quite says:

          @Not Quite Columbia’s Financial Aid can cover the demonstrated need of anyone who is admitted. We don’t need ROTC for that.

          As for people who would make their college choice specifically because of the presence or lack thereof of an ROTC program on campus, I personally think that your college decision should be based on more than that. To say no to any place, ever if you want to there and are accepted because of one program is shallow.

          All that said, I support ROTC because it brings Columbia down from its often-too-high Ivory Tower and will, I think, help bridge the gaps that lead to so much misunderstanding and misplaced hatred in this country.

          1. umm not quite says:

            @umm not quite columbia covers 100% of DEMONSTRATED financial aid – there are plenty of middle class students like myself who have to take out crushing loans because parents cannot afford to pay the rest of the bill. saying that it is “shallow” to consider the presence of ROTC on campus stinks of elitism and privilege – you clearly do not understand how financial aid works on this campus.

            you also insinuate that a passionate desire to serve one’s country is somehow unimportant. this is shameful, and it is people like you that give this place a bad rap. so what if someone chooses a college because of its ROTC program? it’s not up to you to judge others. we all have our private reasons for our decisions. don’t marginalize mine.

          2. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous If we weren’t spending billions and billions of dollars on the military, perhaps we’d have some money to give sufficient financial aid to people who want to study here without having to enlist in the ROTC. Unless you think poor people belong in the military anyway, the way to make Columbia accessible to students who can’t pay tuition is to increase national and institutional financial aid by decreasing military spending. Then those who want to join the ROTC can go and do that in Fordham, and those who don’t can still get their education without being forced to serve.

          3. umm not quite says:

            @umm not quite well, when you have the ear of the president and are able to cut billions in defense spending and send it toward education, let me know. for now, the ROTC is a viable institution for paying columbia tuition.

          4. Anon says:

            @Anon Why is it OK to you for people to join the ROTC in Fordham? They all end up in the same place. I guess you just don’t like military folks around you?

            IMHO this is just blatant NIMBYism. Instead of protesting the fact that the government forces us all to give money to pay for wars, you are protesting students who may want to go into the military for various reasons to help pay for college and who may have complex geopolitical viewpoints. Members of the military who are against frivolous military actions are important.

          5. why ROTC says:

            @why ROTC Students who want to go into ROTC so they can lead soldiers – soldiers and soldier’s families who depend on good leaders – are important, too.

          6. Former Perspective Student says:

            @Former Perspective Student Exactly. I am a high school junior who has outstanding scores, grades, classes, and extracurriculars. I also ardently wish to be an Infantry officer. I fell in love with Columbia; however, this intolerant farce demonstrated by a few (a small minority indeed) has led me to search for other places. Princeton has had an Army program for nearly 30 years. In no way, shape, or form has this presence corroded the academic integrity of the institution. Harvard has had a much more receptive atmosphere towards ROTC cadets in the past. I have no doubt that Harvard and Princeton will produce future Powells and Petraeuses.

          7. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous “I personally think that your college decision should be based on more than that”
            Anyone see a problem there?

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I may not support the war, but I support our troops. There is a difference.

  • honestly says:

    @honestly it sounds like they’re all having a really good time. perhaps something more solemn like a hunger strike would have been a more effective way to communicate (sincere?) dissatisfaction.

    1. I want to know says:

      @I want to know aside from banging a drum to try and keep ROTC away from this campus, what are people doing to actually fix the problems they see ingrained in the military? Avoiding something doesn’t make it better.

      1. Devil's Law Clerk says:

        @Devil's Law Clerk When’s the fun in that when you can just wear a paisley skirt from Forever 21, grow patchy facial hair and bitch about the Man?

        Anyone remember that 2-person “beat poetry” session at the open mike of the last ROTC meeting? Just, wtf.

        Argue with me, challenge me, prove me the fuck wrong when I am, but at least show some hint that you have a clue what you’re talking about and that you’re not just a walking cliche desperately looking for a cause.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous i meant to up vote this, not down vote. I apologize. You are completely right. These people are just acting like 3 year olds. I’m sure they have a real argument, but they sure as hell aren’t enabling people to learn about it.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous if you want to learn about it, ask.

          sometimes voices don’t get heard unless they’re raised around here.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous yes when we sat down on college walk we were no longer actively marching or protesting ROTC for a bit (we did lay out our claims on posters for a large part of the day, and many passersby stopped to look and take photos, we also distributed flyers explaining our claims), however our music-making was another form of protest, creating fun, raising the quality of our own lives and using our shared public space, creating a community. We met lots of parents and children, and other people who came to play with us, and the reason they came to play with us was because they agreed with what we were doing and we were having fun. One mother who’s children played music with us and made posters said she appreciated what we were doing because it was more fun and thoughtful than an evening in times square — we Acted in protest of our society’s status quo — Look at how much fun we had for free and for a good cause — look at how much fun people are going to have (some of them throwing up) listening to Snoop Dogg make louder music —- Racist, Sexist, music. And SO much money goes into Bacchanal — whereas that money could go to helping bring students to Columbia — if that’s what you’re interested, you could start a demonstration / petition to the administration to use its funds to help low income students and not to fund a day of expensive sexist and racist consumer-obsessed fun — Meant To Distract Us from the facts of corporate war in Iraq and Afghanistan and here at home (check out how much corporations paid in taxes this year, and how many tax benefits and tax refunds they got) and Meant to Distract Us from The Power We Have!

      We are not trying to stop low income students from getting an education, we are protesting the De Facto socioeconomic Draft, as well as the United States of America’s Imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya (and it’s imperialist support of dictators in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and more) and if you want to serve your country, Do Teach For America, join the Peace Corps (and spread a good image of US citizens around the world), work with your community to make your lives better, there are lots of things we can do to constructively serve our country. The army is not currently serving our country, it is serving the multi-national corporations that use our military to rake in record profits — Which they do not pay an adequate amount of taxes on! Check GE, BoA, BP, etc. now check Your Taxes. How is that serving your country? At the same time this system and its participants destroys the environment we need to survive. Get with it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous look at these skinny hippie ass bitches

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Why are they marching near college walk now?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Protesting ROTC is not a discrimination but rather a fight for equal tolerance of every student… ROTC is favoring soldiers over other students, when all should be, like now with GS and other veteran programs, included and equal.
    GO JOIN THE PROTESTS!!!!!! This has nothing to do with hippies, it has to do with the freedom of your university

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous do you even know what rotc is?

      1. ahaha says:

        @ahaha I laughed hard when I read this..but seriously, do you?

    2. Oh for fuck's sake says:

      @Oh for fuck's sake “Protesting ROTC is not a discrimination but rather a fight for equal tolerance of every student… ”

      You’re IVY LEAGUE-EDUCATED. You have access to Wikipedia, at the very least. That’s just an objectively nonsensical thing to say, regardless of where you fall on the debate.

      Shape on, son.

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous what is this i don’t even

  • john says:

    @john haha anonymous has no clue what rotc is

  • entertained passerby says:

    @entertained passerby Wait, what? – I thought they were celebrating ROTC, not protesting it. The tunes were really catchy and upbeat. Thanks, anyway.

    1. entertained passerby says:

      @entertained passerby Boring traditional military marching bands can learn a lot from the cool musicians who protest the military. Columbia ROTC cadets (aka future generals): pay attention.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous When I passed by College Walk, the protestors were rolling around on the ground, hitting bins with stick, and wailing. Until I read this, I didn’t even realize it was a protest I had witnessed. In fact, I thought it was very similar to an experimental music show I went to in high school, during which all of the band members were on acid, one was wearing underwear and chewing dollar bills, and another was hitting the microphone between rounds of screeching noises.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous *Protesters, before anyone else corrects me.

  • Prezbo says:

    @Prezbo I ROTC’d your mom last night

  • CC'13 says:

    @CC'13 it was funnier last time they did it, when it looked like they were protesting camille’s.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous ew. i know what that is;

  • protester? says:

    @protester? I HARDLY KNOW ‘ER!

  • did anybody else says:

    @did anybody else notice when those private school girls were dancing to the beat of their ridiculous drum. now that was funny

  • omg says:

    @omg i thought they were some of the christians on campus cuz they asked if i had anything to pray for today. get your harassment techniques together, anti-rotc folks.
    also, writhing around the steps looking like you showed up too early for snoop does not an effective protest make.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous HIPPIE CENTRAL.

    except there are only like ten of them…

    also, there’s a little kid there. i hate when people involve little kids in politics…

    1. entertained passerby says:

      @entertained passerby If its parents involving their child in anti-ROTC shenanigans, they’ve pretty much guaranteed their kid is joining the military. Hello! Children rebel against their parents’ dogma. Many soldiers come from hippy families. Otoh, lots of hippies are from military families so it balances out.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I laughed at the tag \LOUD NOISES,\ but what’s not funny is how ineffective this protest is. I’m not taking a stance on ROTC, but I can’t help thinking about the many other, more effective ways these protesters could have spent their Friday. Composing letters to newspapers? Raising awareness on campus with words and posters rather than unrelated noise?
    I appreciate your passion, but really guys, I walked by a homeless man after seeing you all bang on drums and everything was put into perspective.

  • don't mean to sound ignorant... says:

    @don't mean to sound ignorant... but i legit thought “cool story, bro” when i walked by college walk…did not realize they were protesting

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous dont be a douche like these hippie freaks. support our troops. forget ROTC support the troops that fight for our right to say whatever we want. and if these hippie/hipsters/freakshows wanna use their 1st amendment right to free speech well ill use my 2nd amendment right to bare arms

    1. senior solution says:

      @senior solution why don’t you state explicitly what you mean by your “second amendment right”… and state your name?

  • I'm pretty sure says:

    @I'm pretty sure these kids saw a picture of the 60s and were like oh let’s do that. But since they’re too cool for any kind of real enthusiasm it’s more like oh let’s kind of do that but mostly smoke and look disenchanted.

  • CC14 says:

    @CC14 There were three kids under the age of five when I went by the protest. You gotta be a pretty fucked up parent to do that.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can someone explain to me how anti-ROTC = democracy? Aren’t democrats supposed to be more tolerant? I don’t see how bringing ROTC back violates anyone’s rights or freedoms…

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Not to mention the whole bit about the poll actually indicating a majority of the campus is ok with ROTC. Not sure how ten people thrashing on drums is supposed to say otherwise…

  • Just a quick reminder says:

    @Just a quick reminder Democracy is about voting right?

    Didn’t we have a vote about this… and didn’t it pass?
    I’m all for protesting, but please don’t call this an affront against democracy when ROTC was democratically elected to come back.
    You have so many other issues, real or not, that you can take with ROTC. You just look like fools when you chant for Democracy.

  • oops says:

    @oops bwog, i think you wrote the caption wrong on the last picture…

    pretty sure you meant to write “Anti-ROTC party”

  • Van Owen says:

    @Van Owen At least we know that some people aren’t too concerned about their finals. It must be nice to be an anthropology major.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous you guys are kinda mean. maybe they care about something maybe they don’t maybe they were having a good time maybe they weren’t, maybe they are delusional, maybe they are not, but they weren’t being malicious like you all, anyway. they didn’t do anything mean. and btw the kids weren’t the kids of the protestors. they were the kids of parents who saw them and some of the kids themselves wondered over and wanted to beat the drums. what shouldve they done? said, “fuck off kid, this is my drum”? or let the kids play the instruments too?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous oh and they mostly weren’t anthro majors.

  • LT says:

    @LT Do these protesters have enough courage to go up to a soldier and tell them they should not have a chance to both attend Columbia and become a commissioned offier? I think not. Columbia is a wonderful educational institution and will produce some of the most well rounded and highly educated naval officers in the world. Embrace this opportunity to attend class with future defenders of freedom for they are the reason these demonstrators have the constitutional right to protest.


    1. LT says:

      @LT *officer

      1. Leftist says:

        @Leftist I think these protestors have the courage to do anything. Being anti-ROTC in the current school environment requires a lot of conviction and willingness to stand up for your beliefs. So whatever you think about those beliefs, don’t call them dumb and don’t call them cowards.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous We study art history, comparative literature, middle eastern studies, political science, ethnic studies, sustainable development, sociology and anthropology–among other fields I cannot recall.

    Why are the majority of these postings so aggressive? Must alternative uses of space and sound be so categorically condemned? Must our protest conform to other models of protests?

    We will talk with you.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous seriously, come on over and talk with us in person, bwog discussions nice but we’d love to talk in person, Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Whether you are for it, or against it, ROTC IS coming to Columbia. Yes, Bollinger decided this before any votes were taken (there’s money involved- what did we expect ?). Move beyond this point- it is what it is. Now it may be time to start thinking strategically about how we can all be a part of the process of ensuring that the way in which ROTC integrates into OUR campus is according to OUR communal standards. This will require ALOT of dialogue and breaking down these pro-anti barriers. We are still one Columbia Community- we were one pre ROTC, we need to ensure that we are one with ROTC. This will be the difficult part and this will require far more energy than protests, townhalls, and aggressive comments on Bwog. But we can do it, just gotta put our back into it (as a wise man once said).

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Have you resigned yourself to live under a dictator–be he the president of a university or not? No institution, not even a university, will make the military less violent. It is a machine of violence and will remain that way. Students should not have to kill others, or in anyway facilitate the murder of others in order to attend university. Perhaps the Pell grants and other educational programs should be supported were federal funding for the military diminished. It was not until after the Second World War that the U.S. maintained a massive military force in peacetime. If we returned to this pre WWII model, culture could flourish in many ways that have since been impeded in structural, systemic ways. A resignation to allow militarization of our private university system will in the long term entail a more militaristic culture among educated U.S. elites–those individuals who in time will be specifically responsible for deciding whether or not to lead a country to war. The return of ROTC will have significant implications for both the current and future shape of our society.

  • GS 13' says:

    @GS 13' The pro-anti debate is truly dead. We need to come together, right now, and affect the decisions being made about how that integration is going to happen. We need our future leaders in the military to be highly educated; that way the decisions they make mirror the values of society.

    Let us be not concerned then about current US foreign policy, “imperialism,” and war. This issue with ROTC is about the future, the future of America and the future of Columbia. We must create a system at Columbia which retains our high standards and values while educating the men and women who will be in leadership positions in our military.

    We need to come together as one community.

  • for not against says:

    @for not against we weren’t “protesting” in the purely oppositional sense of the word that you throw on it. Sure, we had signs that said we don’t want ROTC back here. More importantly, we’re against the foreign wars; ROTC is one relatively distant, but very symbolic, arm that represents them. It seems like it’s time for a new anti-war (not anti-military) movement in this country given the absurd spending policies of US government among other things.

    Even more than that, though, it’s important and constructive to tear through the shallow layers of reality every now and then. To reject the expectations given to us and given by us. We’re for creativity and exuberance and hope. Sorry we confused you

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