Nov

28

A-Hinks Responds To Claims Made By Occupy CU

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Barnard Dean Avis Hinkson has released the following email to Barnard students commenting on last week’s Occupy CU congregation at Barnard. She writes that, “Barnard Public Safety did not lock down the campus or attempt to prevent the assembly from taking place.” This contradicts claims made by Occupy CU that a “lockdown” took place at Barnard Hall. A-Hinks’ full message below:

Dear members of the Barnard Community,

Last week, an Occupy Columbia University general assembly took place on Barnard’s campus. Contrary to some reports in the campus media, Barnard Public Safety did not lock down the campus or attempt to prevent the assembly from taking place.

For all anticipated gatherings where the number of participants is high, unknown, and/or may involve a significant number of non-members of the Barnard and Columbia community, Public Safety must take certain basic precautions, preparing for any and all who may choose to attend. Had the group contacted Barnard’s Events Management office to register the event and provide details about the anticipated participants, the College gladly would have worked with them to provide an adequate space.

When Occupy Columbia arrived on campus last Tuesday evening, Director of Public Safety Dianna Pennetti tried to identify the group’s leaders and accommodate their needs. They were not prevented from gathering on the steps of Barnard Hall but rather chose to move indoors to the lower level of the Diana Center due to the rain. Director Pennetti asked only that they not block access to walkways or entrances.

As an academic community with a long history of activism, the College places the highest value on freedom of speech and assembly and fully supports the right to peacefully protest and spur the healthy exchange of ideas. We do however also have the responsibility to maintain order on our campus and to allow other members of the community to go about their daily business safely and without undue interruption.

For future gatherings, we urge all organizers to register with Events Management and to become familiar with the College’s rules for the maintenance of public order:

http://barnard.edu/general-counsel/policiesandprocedures/maintenance-of-public-order.

Although I am unable to attend their next general assembly, I have reached out to the organizers of Occupy Columbia and offered to meet at a future date. I hope and anticipate that this leads to an open and productive dialogue.

Respectfully,

Avis Hinkson
Dean of the College

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30 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    I can't believe I napped through this whole thing...

  2. Anonymous  

    Bwog, nothing on printatcu.com yet? Best thing since countdown clocks on broadway

    • Anonymous  

      Bwog doesn't like spam. They only promote things once they're already popular. Bwog doesn't respond to emails. Bwog won't do anything about this website even though I personally think you're awesome for making this :)

  3. Revisionist history  

    It's funny because it's not true. We urge YOU to take a job at Liberty University, DeVry, or perhaps UC-Davis where you're allowed to flagrantly impair free thought on campus like that.

  4. Anonymous  

    funny how this link wasn't working earlier...
    Anyway... was the campus not blocked off only to CUID holders? Can A-hinks really say this if the campus was actually on lockdown? It seems like Barnard very much overreacted

  5. Anonymous  

    I had no idea the GA was even happening and I was randomly approached in the Diana and asked by a Public Safety officer "What are you doing here?" I'm a fucking student here, thanks. It sounds to me like the administration isn't even going to admit the intensity of their reaction, let alone respond to the criticism of it.

  6. Attendee of the GA  

    While indeed our relocation to the Diana was due to weather, I must also add that entrance to Barnard Hall was explicitly denied. I tried to walk in to understand the situation before moving to the Diana, and was greeted with a "You can't come in here!" The entrance of the Diana was also monitored. A group of less than 8 students were the first to arrive in the Diana, and were questioned immediately with "Why are you here?"

    The claim that we were "not prevented from gathering on the steps of Barnard Hall" seems a bit facetious. I would also call the hostility more than a commitment to "maintain order."

  7. Anonymous

    Had the group contacted Barnard’s Events Management office to register the event and provide details about the anticipated participants, the College gladly would have worked with them to provide an adequate space.

    It's not an event. It's students coming together to talk. The whole idea of free assembly is that YOU DON'T NEED TO ASK FOR PERMISSION. This is our fundamental right! WAKE UP PEOPLE! It doesn't "seem" like a big deal to anyone; why? Because no one got hurt? Then do you say not unless violence rears its ugly head on this this campus will you become interested in what's going on here?

    GA meeting is tomorrow.
    facebook.com/occupyCU

    • Anonymous  

      the OccupyCU Facebook page "likes" just about every movement. i'm all about the core of the Occupy movement, but the page is really alienating for people who don't want to take that whole package.

      get back to the basics, or OccupyCU isn't going to get support from plenty of students who would otherwise agree with it.

    • Anonymous  

      also, Barnard is still private property, so assembly isn't exactly a right... think about that...

      • that may not  

        be true. i am fairly certain the main columbia campus is one of new york’s largest privately owned public spaces, though that may not be true. if it is, it is possible that is the case with barnard as well
        also link says at very beginning that school recognizes “rights of freedom of speech and assembly”… so yes, it is a right.

    • ok but...  

      Yes students should be able to freely assemble without university approval+surveillance. But this is also an issue of respect for other student groups. One reason (the main reason I hope) that the Events Management departments exist is to make sure that student groups don't all try to use the same spaces at the same time. Student groups reserve space (ie, College Walk, Lerner ramps, etc) through these departments to make sure they have the opportunity to host their events on campus without worrying another group might show up on the same day as well. OccupyCU, I get that you want/deserve the right to free speech on campus, but I hope you are aware that all other student groups do as well.

  8. Idk guys  

    A-Hinks response seems pretty rational to me (truly not a snarky or sarcastic comment)

  9. mind blown  

    well guess what, dean hinkson? actions speak louder than words. also, words speak louder than words. as a student who was on campus that night, here is what happened and here is why everything you spell out in this email is a lie:

    1) You have never dispatched public safety and/or the NYPD to any other unregistered campus event. They happen all the time and surely you've encountered them before without calling in the police and the entire school safety force. Clearly you were giving this event singular treatment.

    2) NYPD was at the gate keeping non-CUID holders from coming in and public safety was trolling the campus asking to see those same IDs. that's a lockdown (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lockdown).
    also, public safety used the word "lockdown" in saying to all students trying to get in, including random students going to the gym, "Barnard Hall is locked down. It is on lockdown."

    3) it was not the students' choice to move. public safety escorted them off the main area citing that demonstrations and meetings are not allowed to take place there.

    4) It is not your "responsibility to [. . .] allow other members of the community to go about their daily business safely and without undue interruption"— if so, you would not have been questioning random students around campus, and if so, you would have allowed *food delivery people* into campus to deliver food that students on campus had ordered (see point 1). Don't put the "disturbing the peace" thing onto the students who were going to the assembly. That's not fair.

    5) No, you do not place highest value on freedom of speech, or you would not have stood in the Diana basement with the, ahem, communications director monitoring the speech that was taking place on the other side of the wall.

    6) Your claim of wanting to "attend the general assembly" seems at odds with your actions... Unless your position on how to deal with the assemblers changed, you were the ones who chose to stay outside and not come in, even as the event was open to everyone and students kept asking you, politely, to please come in and talk honestly with the group (see point 4) ). Why are you telling the student body now you want to come to the meetings? Because you got publicly called out on it?

    be as evasive as you want, Barnard, but the truth will always prevail.

  10. dude

    A-Hinks' reputation is decreasing EXPONENTIALLY in the Barnard community. In any doubt, deny any responsibility<--motto

    • Anonymous  

      And it's a shame. I've heard her speak a few times since she became dean and not only is she very warm and down to earth, but also inspirational. Although I believe it's true that she hasn't conveyed these good qualities in her e-mails, I'm sad to see her demonized by those who are displeased with the decisions of the administration.

  11. a river in Africa  

    now wait a minute. 1) it was public safety who used the word "lockdown," not the Occupy people. they said "barnard hall is locked down/on lockdown." that's how the buzz about a lockdown STARTED. also there were invited visitors (such as delivery people) not being allowed on campus, which is a lockdown.
    there is also no mention of the NYPD in the Rules for Maintenance of Public Order: lockdown.

    2) Barnard procedure is hardly to call in the NYPD, let alone any public safety guards on or off-campus, to investigate unregistered events. there are unregistered events all the time and no one says anything. stop making this a bureaucratic issue to put the blame on the students for your reaction.

    3) the group was prevented from gathering on the steps of Barnard Hall. Public safety maintained that gatherings were not allowed in front of Barnard Hall.

    4) standing outside a group gathering space and monitoring what's being said along with the Barnard communications director (not to mention more public safety) indicates a lack of respect for free speech.

    5) it was not the group who was precluding "other members of the community to go about their daily business [. . .] without undue interruption." it was you, approaching random students idling around campus and preventing food delivery people from entering campus to deliver food to students on campus who had ordered it. that sounds to me like undue interruption on your part, not the group's.

    6) if that's how you feel about wanting to join in the group meeting, why didn't you join it then when you were right there? you had every sincere invitation to come in and talk with us as people. did you change your mind?

    7) it was dumb of you to give that link, as the group is not in violation of any of the rules.

    i find the claims of this email highly ironic in discussions of administrative accountability.

    P.S. ^ Anonymous, don't accuse your peers who never had any reason to be suspicious of Dean Hinkson of "demonizing" her. she has demonized herself by knowingly instituting harmful policies in manipulative and secretive ways.

  12. that may not  

    be true. i am fairly certain the main columbia campus is one of new york's largest privately owned public spaces, though that may not be true. if it is, it is possible that is the case with barnard as well

    also link says at very beginning that school recognizes "rights of freedom of speech and assembly"... so yes, it is a right.

  13. Anonymous  

    just because the school calls it a right doesn't mean there are no strings attached. the school seems to believe that it's our right to receive mail, but that doesn't mean it's not a frustrating, bureaucratic process.

    likewise, we have voting rights. that doesn't mean we can vote the way we want to vote. we still have to go through the paperwork. it's a right, but there are still rules.

  14. Anonymous

    They should occupy CU, to annoy the professulas who rob them blind trying to make them commy nutty organizers and grant grubbing researchers instead of teaching them useful skills that create jobs!

  15. Anonymous  

    OccupyCU is not a student group, so they are unable to reserve space.

  16. Anonymous

    Rupp knew how to curb a riot - he just asked for ID at the door. All the commy nutty organizers from green leach pillage couldn't get in.

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