Oct

10

328 Professors Officially in Support of Occupy Wall Street

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This weekend, we published a preliminary petition declaring the support of Columbia and Barnard faculty for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The petition has been officially released today on behalf of the Faculty Action Committee with 328 over 350 signatures (and no repetitions this time), by Professor Paige West. You can read the full press release that accompanies the petition, which includes a statement from former Provost Johnathon Cole, by following the link at the bottom of the post.

Many observers have expressed a desire to understand who these protesters are, rather than simply sympathizing with their frustration. Two recent Columbia grads, Victor Suarez, CC’11 and Laura LaPerche, CC’10 made a short documentary, ‘More Than One Demand’ to tackle just that question. It examines the multifaceted messages of the protesters, by asking individuals to explain the meaning of their signs. The doc even includes one of our own! From 2:06-2:41 Columbia Philosophy Professor John Collins describes the inclusiveness of the protests as “a stroke of genius.” The New Yorker recently published a list of some of the signs held up at a recent march, which simply presents the spectrum of opinion.


NY, October 10, 2011. – Today faculty from Columbia University released a petition signed by over 300 professors expressing their support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Signatories to the petition come from across the faculty of Columbia University and Barnard College. In their petition, the professors join the Occupy Wall Street movement in condemning the growth of economic, social, and political inequalities. According to the petition, claims that the movement lacks focus are inaccurate and ignore the many important issues that the Occupy Wall Street movement has raised.

“I understand the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement clearly,” said Columbia professor and former University provost, Jonathan R. Cole. “The movement speaks to the growing economic inequalities in our society: 1 percent of the population holds almost 40 percent of the nation’s wealth; as inequality has increased taxes on the wealthy have plunged; often wealth rather than merit determines who receives educational opportunities; and millions of citizens have lost their homes while those on Wall Street, who are responsible for much of the economic crisis, are rewarded rather than punished.”

Many professors expressed admiration for the movement’s ability to refocus public debate to include discussion of equality and economic justice. “While my generation of scholars focused on the important issues of civil rights and women’s rights, it has been said we did not do enough to draw attention to the growth in economic inequality. There’s just enough truth in this for me to be very moved in a personal way that so many people from all walks of life, old and young, are uniting now around a platform of basic economic fairness,” said Bruce Robbins, the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities. Professor Hamid Dabashi said, “We owe it to the generations of students we have taught to oppose the systematic erosion of the common good, of the inalienable rights to a decent healthcare, to public education, and to a dignified life.”

The professors also believe that the movement provides an opportunity to address these issues with students. “As a law professor, I feel a particular responsibility in speaking out in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests,” said Katherine Franke, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. “Lawyers have played no small role in providing legal cover for the overreaching and irresponsibility undertaken on Wall Street. My hope is that Columbia Law School will see these protests as an opportunity to remind our students that legal ethics require that lawyers be bound to represent not only private, but also larger societal, interests.”

The full petition can be seen at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/faculty_action_committee/signatures

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56 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    petition link doesn't work. remove period at the end.

  2. two of our own!  

    The girl making a sign at 2:53 is CC'15!

  3. Hahaha

    The so-called "Faculty Action Committee" is the same gang of insane leftists that tried to oust Bollinger in 2007 for being rude to Ahmadinejad.

    http : // www. nationalreview.com/phi-beta-cons/43298/more-columbias-faculty-action-committee

  4. Anonymous  

    What they don't seem to realize, however, is that the whole point of a protest is to have a demand that can be met so that you can go home.

    What they have is a platform, lofty goals of reform across many industries and sectors of government. When you have a platform, you start a political party, you run a candidate, you raise money, shake hands, get elected. Then you are in a position to enact the kind of long term change that #occupywallstreet wants.

    Whose attention are they trying to get? It's not like the big corporations are going to self regulate. They need to organize, run a candidate, and propose solutions instead of just pointing out the problem.

  5. have  

    A little patience! political change doesnt happen overnight, or in three weeks, or by one organization or protest. This is a launching pad, and a place for those with ideas to come together to discuss and refine them. This is a beginning, and a powerful one, judging by the support and reactions it has gotten

  6. Anonymous  

    By November, they're going to publish a list of demands. We'll see if that happens/if they're of any import.

  7. $$

    no nobel prize winner this year at columbia because we promote capitalism instead of academic scholarship. our professors and dean advertised widely about the grants they got, but

  8. Anonymous

    Keep in mind that a larger chunk of revenue for CU comes not from student tuition but from Alumni donations. Which alumni do you suppose contribute the most to CU? Its not the Teach for America kids, the self-proclaimed artists, the Pulitzer prize winning novelist or even the Nobel Prize winning physicists. Its the bankers, the evil, greedy creatures who have turned the country into a Hobbesian chaos where the weak are slaughtered.

    Before you go out there and support the parade (that's right, parade), take a long look at the school and at yourself. Would we be able to pay the salary we pay to our world-class professors without donations from Wall Street? Would we be able to afford to keep our lawns green and our steps clean? Would YOU be here without the financial aid given to you using donations from bankers?

    Before you go out and protest, use reason and trace the problem to its foundations. Why does CU have 4-5 economic majors, a business school and an undergraduate finance major? Would it still have these if there was no need for Alumni bankers to donate?

    Would you still be here telling all your friends that you go to the 4th best school in the US and the school with the second lowest admissions rate?

    Think before you parade. Just my 2 cents.

    • Anon

      What are you getting at, exactly? While I don't believe you're truly suggesting that because Columbia is bankrolled by Wall Street, students should be compliant with their banker overlords, it sure seems that way...

      • Anonymous

        Take an example. A student on full financial aid goes to the great parade. The fact that the student is at Columbia at all, the fact that the student has a roof over his or her head and that he or she is eating at the dining halls indicate that part of his or her college experience is funded by bankers. To protest and then to continue using funds from Wall Street is hypocritical to say the least. It's like complaining that your parents are poor while pocketing their weekly allowance.

        If you really want to stand up for your beliefs, drop out. Show that you would rather starve and be uneducated than to use Wall Street's money. Do not affiliate yourself with CU which is an institution built with dirty money. Anything subpar to that is simply hypocritical.

        I am not arguing for or against the protest. I'm saying the one at Columbia is unfounded and largely hypocritical. Just a parade.

        • Anonymous  

          It's not hypocritical at all. The sheer amount of student debt in this place, and in our generation, is enough to cause a black hole through its metaphorical mass. When income inequality is so pronounced, when people can't find jobs, when the American social welfare net is a bad joke, and when there is not political will to improve the situation, then we all have a responsibility to engage democratically through protest. The fact that we have been privileged enough to go here in the first place is the reason we should all go down to Wall Street, not the reason why we shouldn't.

          • Anonymous

            Columbia College and SEAS Financial Aid programs guarantee that all students graduate with $ 0 debt.

            I am guessing you are either a masters student or some variation of the sort or you are saying there is student debt when you know it's a lie.

            Again, if you really want to be a part of the parade, don't affiliate yourself with an institution built on dirty money. Post on facebook, don't post on BWOG.

          • Not quite a guarantee

            Students who aren't poor enough to get financial aid but not rich enough to shell out $50k+ per year take out loans.

          • Anonymous

            And guess where the loans are coming from?

            The big bad banks.

            one source or another, students get funded to go here by bankers.

          • Anonymous  

            right, that's exactly the problem, students are protesting the fact that they rely on banks for their education, and that education is completely defined by this system. you aren't discrediting them at all, even if you are trying to.

            everyone who protests any system at all is connected to that very system. That doesn't make it hypocritical.

          • Anonymous

            So the students are now protesting their reliance on banks for their education? I'm really sorry, maybe all the posters on BWOG have PHDs in political science or something. I just don't seem to follow what the protest is about...at all. I watched the video 3 more times just for you and I did not see a single sign that is about students being too reliant on banks for their education.

            If criticizing the very system that pays for your own tuition is not hypocrisy, I don't know what in the world is...the fact that students are super proud of CU for its low admissions rates, high rankings, need-based financial aid, cheap Manhattan housing, second most number of nobel laureates, perfectly groomed lawns, and vast superiority to our neighbors around the street makes those who protest hypocritical. All these things are in one way or another funded by bankers. If you are going to protest, you should then be ashamed of being apart of CU and I don't think that is going to be happening anytime soon.

            So, first tell me what the protest is about, wall street salaries or student reliance on banks. Next let me know when you hear of a protestor drop out of CU. I will then apologize for calling him or her a hypocrite.

        • Anon

          Ah, I see. Yes, one can't have it both ways. Attempting to do so will inevitably make one a hypocrite, indeed; however, is a Columbia student protesting truly representative of having one's cake and eating it too? Columbia loves Wall Street's money! Its influence on our experience here is perhaps greater than we will ever know and few protesting students would take issue with that because the methods by which the money was obtained is not what's being taken to task. Occupy Wall Street is not an anti-banker movement insomuch as it is a manifestation of resentment born from Wall Street's lack of accountability.

          In your example, some aspects of the student's experience are indeed funded by bankers, but failure to perform as they should means the student not only loses the scholarship, but is likely kicked out of school--the student is held accountable. Students who attend the "great parade" aren't there for the purpose of destroying those bankers, they merely want them to play by the same rules as everyone else. Failure to perform should induce penalties not flaunt the bankers' cartes blanches--it's only fair.

          Therefore, from the protesting student's perspective, a compromise must move in one of two directions: either students operate with a similar kind of immunity as banks while benefiting from their funds (in which case we'd be perfect hypocrites) or there is some kind of reform on the banks' end.

          • Anonymous

            First, lets address the inaccuracies in your post:
            Students do not get kicked out of CU because of their failure to perform. All financial aid is need-based and not scholarships as you put them. Unless you fail Columbia or engage in criminal activity, you will not be kicked out. In this case, being kicked out has nothing to do with revoking financial aid. Please, it really would help if whoever are posting these are actually Columbia students.

            Now, lets assume that the financial aid is actually a scholarship, meaning that certain academic performance benchmarks must be kept to maintain the scholarship. There is absolutely no need on the part of the bankers to be equals to the students receiving the aid in terms of immunity to having their source of funds (financial aid in the case of students, high salaries in the case of bankers) revoked. To argue that they should be equals is to say that students should believe that their financial aid is rightfully obtained. This is an attitude of entitlement that is ignorant, unthankful and naive.

            Second point, you mention the movement is not about the high salaries but about accountability. Accountability to who? You? Let me remind you that Wall Street is not a government agency. Lloyd and Vikram aren't elected into office by US citizens. They are public companies accountable to shareholders. If you want corporate accountability to the masses, go ask Facebook to pay all its users who spend countless hours on FB, making it more and more valuable. Go ask the automotive industry which took just as much a bailout as Citi to consult the public before it produces any new cars.

            Lets sum it up. Don't feel entitled to anything. Students on financial aid aren't entitled to it. American public isn't entitled to accountability from a non-government company.

          • Anon

            Yeah, you're right! Financial aid != scholarships. I withdraw the statement about it being taken away. But, we still agree that students who "fail Columbia" will get kicked out, right? Perhaps you misunderstood?...but that's what I meant by failing to perform (i.e. "fail Columbia" == failing to perform at Columbia). So we can agree here that students are held accountable, correct? Moving on...

            Right again! Bankers and students never needed to be equals. Not only do they provide the financial aid for the students, they "rightfully" obtain the funds to do so. But did they rightfully obtain the bailout funds? Were they somehow much more entitled to those funds than students are to financial aid? The moment they got those bailout funds you could say they got their own financial aid. Except in their case, it's more akin to a student doing poorly in high school and then receiving full financial aid straight into Columbia. You would expect the high school student to be punished with the harsh reality that their high school performance was simply too poor to gain admittance to Columbia, and consequently, all that financial aid, right? Which brings us to...

            Accountability. In this case, accountability to me, and you, as members of the same capilist society. Wall Street needs to be held liable for failing to perform in a capitalist market as a capatalist entity, and failing spectacularly. When such entities fail, they are punished. They are not given huge checks: they either go out of business or reform occurs that ensures such a failure can't happen again. Such reform has not occured with big banking. Go have a look at the automotive industry you mentioned. You think nothing has changed over there?...:-)

            I'm glad you took the time to respond with some reasonable counterpoints. It's nice to have a healthy dialogue about these complex issues without it devolving, though I resent you implying I'm not a Columbia student, lol.

          • Anonymous

            Apologies for doubting your cherished Columbia student status. (btw, Barnard doesn't count in case you are from Barnard)

            Let me address a few things. First of all, please note the intricate difference between my argument and the much simpler argument taken by those opposed to the protests. Never in any of my posts have I taken a position against the protests. All I am saying is that the one going on at Columbia is largely unfounded and hypocritical for the reasons I have mentioned.

            Because this is my only argument, I have no response to what you say about bankers getting "financial aid" despite their lack of "merit". This is completely unrelated to my issue of hypocrisy. Lets return to the hypocrisy argument.

            financial aid from bankers + protest against bankers = hypocrisy
            bailout from tax payers + no protest against tax payers = no hypocrisy
            If you want to draw the parallel between students and bankers, this is the parallelism you should draw to address my argument. Bankers got their "financial aid" from tax payers and they are thankful of it. Columbia students got financial aid from bankers and they are protesting against the same bankers.

            Okay, so you want to adopt a capitalist view. Sure, I agree that the government shouldn't have bailed-out the banks (and in the process let the country go to hell). If that's the view, you need to see it through to all aspects of the economy. Please don't tell me in that case that you still expect the government to impose some bill to limit salaries on wall street. Consumers themselves should, through their consumption, determine which businesses thrive and which ones go bankrupt. The consumer of investment banks are large corporations who need to raise capital. If the capitalist view is adopted, those corporations are the ones who should be through their choices protesting against wall street salaries. What's a bunch of students (most of which have never filed a taxes, thus not having contributed to the bailouts anyway) doing?

            All in all, students have never contributed to the bailout, never been customers of the banks, most of whom doesn't even know what an investment bank does (besides the 2 sentence description of the "Shadow Banking" system described in Principles of Economics) should not be risking arrest to parade.

            The irrationality, crowd-mentality absolutely amazes me.

          • Anon

            Heh, cherished student status. I was merely pointing out that, contrary to your implication, I am a Columbia student. These subtle barbs aren't bad though, if useless. To think, you'd try to bait me with the classic CU vs. Barnard fight, lol. I've seen enough of that on bwog, and didn't expect to find it here (in your response anyways). Moving on...

            "...much simpler argument taken by those opposed to the protests." Unfortunately, this is a perfect example of asymetric insight. As an aside, please note that there is no simple side. All sides, in actuality, are equally as complex. As a result of your asymetric evaluation, I'm already sure that you're sure you're right, and I'm fine with that. Despite how it may seem, my aim is not really to persuade, but I am interested in what you perceive to be hypocrisy.

            Now, let's look at this first equation: financial aid from bankers + protest against bankers = hypocrisy. So from your rather rigid perspective, because a student receives financial aid from big banking, the student forfeits any right to speak out against Wall Street in any way? Well that sounds like a good way to completely silence an educated populace. Fortunately, hypocrisy is not so rigid a formula. It's only hypocrisy if the student is protesting against the business of banking or any of their activities that actually stimulate the banks as a means of standard operating procedure, which have traditionally supported CU. As I suggested earlier, a lot of the frustration on Main Street comes from the actual bail out. A bail out from the government has little to do with the privatized gains Wall Street was making before and after they got tied up in the perverse mortgage mess. So why can't students stand in solidarity against these bailouts without being labeled hypocrites? The money earned in the past is not the crux of the problem, it's the money that was taken in support of a failing system. Big banking played a risky game and made tons of money--fine--but in the end they lost...and yet lose barely anything while Main Street suffers.

            Occupy Wall Street is just the result of mounting frustration over the feeling of helplessness. The average person does not sit on the board of a large corporation which is able to exert its disdain with Wall Street. You know who does sit on those boards? Some of the same titans you see in Wall Street. Big business and big banking are so far removed from the average person that they that they almost look alike. It seems hard for you to imagine what a bunch of students have invested in this seeing as how they "have never contributed to the bailout, never been customers of the banks, most of whom doesn’t even know what an investment bank does." But consider the non-students who support the protest to whom this does not apply? They were once students, right? So then it's not hard to imagine that in a few years we will be the abused Main Streeters. Believe it or not, a lot of those suffering non-students are also the parents and relatives of CU students. So why is it so difficult to fathom why
            CU students are invested in this? Why wait? Why not start now? Why not start somewhere?

            I would actually expect your final sentence from a number of Columbia students. It's the kind of thing you hear from people who want to be aware of their intelligence, but ignorant of their lack of wisdom. I, too, used to think like this. I'm sure you're sure that you see with greater rationale--with more clarity than the protesters' "crowd mentality." So certain in your position are you that these protesters are reduced to little more than [insert noun] and hypocrites before your insight. You can hear similar things on any side of any argument. Eh, It's human nature, but actually, the perspectives and rationale of most involved on all sides of the argument are so equally complex and so equally poignant that only in distant retrospect can I hope you see your own naivete (of which I'm sure you're sure you have very little).

          • Anonymous

            Ok, thank you for taking the time to comment on my own way of thinking. As a sophomore I am sure I still have a lot to learn both in terms of rationality and in terms of the attitude I bring to debates. Lets return the debate back to the issue though.

            You argue three things:
            1. rigidity of my equations
            2. high salaries in conjunction with bailout
            3. students should be able to protest even while being funded by bankers

            First, not quite sure how being rigid in my argument takes away from the truth and logic of it. Unless you can come up with a rational counterargument, my simple, "rigid" model stands. If you really want to overthrow it, undermine my assumptions themselves not stand back and say generalities like "oh, they are just too rigid". The Pythagorean theorem is rigid but I don't see people protesting it. Oh, you might say, that's math and this is a social issue. Even in social science, models built in economics and politics are challenged with reason, not general statements. This is exactly the attitude of the Columbia protestor but sadly, an overdose of general, emotion-packed accusations do not work nearly as well as a specific argument based on rational.

            Second, you say that the protest is about getting high salaries while on bailout and to focus on now, not the past. Well take a look at this (http://projects.propublica.org/bailout/list). Citi, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, etc have ALL repaid the bailout in full. The federal government, the taxpayers, made more than 21 billion dollars from the banks. The single largest entity still with debt is Fannie Mae, a government agency that gave out mortgages to the average American family. So if you really want to focus on the now, what makes you think banks are still accountable to pay low salaries. They have managed to repay the bailout in full with significant interest and pay their workers the salaries they deserve. The bailout was the single string holding the banks accountable. With it paid, no one, and definitely not Columbia students who receive money from Wall Street, is justified in a protest. They are not shareholders, they are not a part of the supply chain, they are not customers. Unless you can justify that the banks are STILL connected to the American public in a benefactor-beneficiary relationship, no on who has looked at the data is justified in protesting. Oh that's right, I guess reading about numbers on a website is not nearly as "chic" as holding a sign on Wall Street and getting filmed in a video.

            Third, students have parents who contributed to bailout. Lets assume we still want to dwell in the past, thus neglecting the argument above. You think the parents didn't benefit from the banks? Ask them how they were able to afford the 5000 sq ft country house on a $5000 down payment. Ask them how they were able to afford that fourth weekend car. Ask them how they afforded that vacation to Fiji. Truth is, the most fundamental tumor, the cancer that is in our economy is the greed of the consumers, the parents, the desire to live beyond our means. That greed is as prevalent amongst bankers as it is amongst the American people. Only difference is, the consumers who fundamentally started this got paid 21 billion in interest payments from banks while the bankers took significant salary cuts already and are humiliated publicly. Is that reasonable?

            If you are going to wear a cardboard sign around your neck, if you believe you want to stand up for something, check the numbers, check the models, check the logic. If you don't you end up looking like a fool, protesting to end a bailout that has been ended a couple months ago, protesting to stop greed while it is within the average american as much as it is in Wall Street, doing all of this and then going back to enjoy the amenities provided by the bandkers whom he just irrationally protested against.

            If that is not chaos, if that is not prejudice, if that is not crowd-mentality, please explain to me what is. Address the arguments please.

          • Anon

            Rigidity with regard to any equation/model is fine, assuming the equation/model is correct. When an equation/model is determined to be incorrect, then (if it is not replaced alltogether) it is expanded upon--in a sense I would say it becomes less rigid than its previous incarnation, but that's just semantics. My point to you is this: I believe your very notion of hypocrisy here is wrong. A CU student's protest is not (necessarily) an automatic act of hypocrisy, and to say so is wrong. I addressed this above: "It’s only hypocrisy if the student is protesting against the business of banking or any of their activities that actually stimulate the banks as a means of Standard Operating Procedure, which have traditionally supported CU." The bailout was not a means of SOP and certainly not an event that could/should be expected. So again I ask why student's can't protest the bailouts without being hypocrites? Answer this.

            Yes, yes, I am well aware the banks have repaid the bailout. I'm glad you brought that up. It's something I'd definitely point out if you were instead an ardent supporter of OWS. It certainly seems reasonable to say something along the lines of "With it paid, no one...is justified in a protest." But, again, that makes light of a rather complex issue. For many people, repayment is not the point. You think people are upset about the bailouts just because they are under the impression that the public never recouped the money? No...

            Look at what the bailout represents: It tells big banking that they can get away with abusing the public with no punishment and actually rewards foolish behavior; it tells Main Street that big banking is invulnerable and shouldn't suffer as they have.

            Look at how the bailout funds were used: They were used to further consolidate the banking industry and salary Bonuses Constituted ~10% of the Bailout.

            Look at the perverse nature of the bailout's agreement and terms: Banks were given no-strings-attached money with ridiculously soft terms (in some cases, even beneficial terms); They wanted minimized oversight as to what was done with our money, and they got it; as if terms weren't soft enough, banks even altered the terms of the agreement as they were repaying (what other enitity can unilaterally alter a government contract?!).

            And those problems only flirt with one of the BIG problems: Main Street sees the bailout funds as utterly wasted. It may have achieved a financial return, but did nearly nothing to create a more sustainable banking system. It did nothing in the way of systemic risk and probably made effective financial reform legislation even more difficult. But I guess all of these problems are inconsequential because they paid us back, right? We should celebrate and forget fixing anything! Afterall, we got our own money back...!

            Whether the act of the bailout itself is justifiable or not and regardless of the "well they paid it all back, with interest!" argument, people are pissed for good reason, especially when you compare Wall Street with Main Street (another BIG problem). Speaking of which...

            Now, I agree with you: Main St. has its fair share of responsibility in this mess. The greed does indeed fall on both sides. The problem is that only one side experiences the repercussions. Main Street loses that "5000 sq ft country house" and its livelihood while the banks and bankers are given a financial reprieve. The "chic" phrase for this phenomenon, I believe, is known as privatized gains and socialized losses. I do believe I can understand how you might have come to hold your perspective, and though there is seldom a "right" and/or "wrong," to believe that "no one who has looked at the data is justified in protesting" is wrong.

            Also, as a quick note, I'm not sure how I ever gave you the impression that I was in favor of banks having to "pay low salaries" or anything of the sort, but I've never hinted at that and have never been particularly interested discussing it (though this is the second time you have seemed to imply that I am in favor of it).

            For the record, I'm not for or against the OWS movement as of yet, merely open to their grievances. Similarly, I am open to Wall Street's rebuttals as well; however, the most important thing here is not necessarily understanding a particular side, but not callously disregarding any side, as you appear to do at times.

    • Ummm  

      Maybe we shouldn't have to be in a position where we have to rely on cash got in such a societally detrimental fashion> We all know Wall St. isn't actually creating any wealth. Similarly, it's not a fair critcism of Obama to say that he took money from Wall St. to get elected. It's not his fault that he's required to raise such ridiculous sums to get elected.

      • Anonymous

        How do you suppose we get the $340 000 000 we normally get from alumni (who are mostly bankers) ? [see 2010 financial statement of CU] I'll tell you right now, aspiring Picassos and Teach for America kids aren't going to be the ones filling that hole.

        Maybe we'll get it from the government in grants (another big source of funding)? Not likely since our government is already insolvent. And trust me there are more protests for that coming...

        Maybe higher tuition? More protests for sure (See CUNY).

        Whatever we do to get money, there will be protests. People living in a democracy need to distinguish the difference between freedom of speech and purely being self-centered. Recognize the problem, alternatives. Be the solution, not the problem.

        I'm not even going to comment on your Obama statement... You can figure that out yourself

        • Anonymous  

          You're failing to see the forest through the trees here bud.

          Yes, I'm sure Columbia gets a lot in contributions from Wall St people. The reason that we get such large contributions is because they make so much money. The protestors think that they're making of such money is unjustified and that the wealth Wall St. is absorbing is hurting the finances of other segments of society. If Wall St. wasn't constituted as it currently is, perhaps those other segments might be able to give more to Columbia/afford more in tuition.

          Obama is the same way. If he wants to improve America/attack campaign finance rules, he has to get elected President. To get elected president, he has to raise money. What about that is hard to understand? It's less than ideal, but the system has given him little choice. (Whether or not he's done enough to fight this is another matter)

          • Anonymous

            The idea that if Wall Street stops paying high salaries, other sectors can get rich and give back to CU is an unfounded assumption. This is not 5th grade science class where you just mix random liquids and see what happens. The entire country depends on it. Show me the model you built to justify your claim.

            Assuming your rash claim is correct, Columbia would still see a sharp fall in revenues. Truth of the matter is, your holy Alma Matter is sleeping with the bankers. She gets her billion dollar campus, her food, her everything from those lousy bankers. What a gold digger right? If other industries thrive in place of the financial industry, it'll take decades before Alma manages to get herself another sugar daddy. In the mean time, there will be tuition hikes, increased rent, larger class sizes. Then all of these smart kids would get out their cardboard and markets again...

  9. Anonymous  

    what is happening at wall street right now is beautiful.

  10. Anonymous

    Why the communists took over China? Because they have the majority support of the poor people. Most people (99%) were very poor with some land lords (1%) controlling the farmlands. The situation was quite similar to our situation now. In the Chinese revolution, the corrupted government was overthrown and these land lords were killed or escaped to Taiwan. Their properties were confiscated by the communist government and "returned" to the poor people.

    Without us realizing the Wall Street Occupation, we are actually repeating the 1949 Chinese Communist Revolution?

  11. F. Member

    Oh we should be ever so grateful for the pittance tossed our way by the bankers should we? They might take away the lovely little cage they've built for their bright kids.

    Hell no. They can give a lot more to education than they do, and giving them a little fright may just inspire that.

    This is not a protest action alone. It is a *movement,* and its key demand is that more people join it and channel their frustration into mass action. If you don't understand that, you aren't supposed to until it's too late for you to stop it.

  12. Anonymous

    "they can give a lot more to education than they do"

    Someone sounds more greedy than... never mind.

    Is your plan to change the "unfair" system? Or is it just to get more out of them. You realize that if they stop making 7 figures, they won't be giving back at all...

    The people's frustration is over the unfair system and not that the bankers aren't giving back enough to education. You are exactly the kind of parader I was referring to, one who has failed to recognized the principles on which the so called "movement" is based on. And I don't blame you because the "movement" is not very clear at all what it wants. Some want to get more out of the bankers by way of taxes, donations, etc. Some want to cut their salaries to begin with. Hard to be a movement if the members don't even know the principles.

    Like I said, parade, not protest and definitely not movement...

  13. Anonymous  

    How many professors are there in total at Columbia?

    I'd like to know a percentage that support OWS.

  14. Anonymous

    David Rosner/ David K. Rosner = on that list 2x

  15. Pablo Picasso

    I will be crushed if Pablo Piccato is not an art history professor.

  16. Anonymous  

    so disappointing

  17. Being an Adjunct Prof.  

    Is Slave Labor

  18. Anonymous  

    look these are some great/cute slogans but in the end what are these protesters really protesting. this video did not explain that

  19. haters gon' hate

    this was a beautiful documentary. i love the prof who talked about how the vagueness of the demands is an integral part of the protest. it would be silly to try to distill such complex problems into one simply, easily reconcilable problem when THERE ARE SO MANY FUCKED UP THINGS happening - the wall street bail out could have funded the US's welfare programs for a year. there is nothing trite or twee about embracing our country's history of free speech to protest current problems in society.

    also, compared to a lot of the things our generation likes to do (get wasted, play video games, facebook) i don't think protesting can be considered a waste of time.

    • Anonymous  

      Why bailout? Mortgage instruments were bankrupting the banks. Why did these come about? People who are protesting wanting to live beyond their means. Listen, the only reason the banks needed the bailout was their possession of "toxic" mortgages which were the result of people looking to buy homes they really can't afford. Go to wall street and ask the protestors how many of them have mortgages. Then ask them what their salaries are. I bet at least a quarter of them are on a mortgage, thus fueling the demand for the toxic instruments.

      Trashing the bankers for a far more fundamental problem of human greed associated with the American populous in general is scapegoating. And sure it is definitely easier to put tremendous blame on a few rather than blame ourselves. But, please, before you put your opinion (something I at least consider valuable) online for the world to see, please check your emotions and really evaluate the evidence.

      I embrace free speech. But not all speech is rational or valuable speech. Go ahead and protest all you want. People in Washington and around the world see right through the meaninglessness and vagueness of the parade. Go home.

  20. Anonymous  

    You should launch a petition for students, just to get an idea.

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