May

9

“Fix Columbia” Petition Calls For Administrative Action

Written by

Several student leaders, all student government representatives, have put together a petition for administrative leaders to take action on last Sunday’s hate crime and its fallout, including the controversy over certain CU football players’ Twitter accounts.

You can access the petition here. Its creators are encouraging everyone to share their vote and possible solutions. The writers of the petition “urge the administration to seriously investigate and evaluate what factors led to the events and postings that have disturbed the Columbia community this week,” and ultimately call for a commission to be formed by members of administration to assess the “systems of accountability” within the CU football team and Athletics at large:

An independent commission should be formed as soon as possible by the offices of the President and Provost to investigate whether or not systems of accountability for situations like this exist in the University, and how these systems, if they do exist, failed in the case of the Athletics Department and the football program.

According to the petition, the commission should issue a public report of their findings by July 31. The petition makes a particular point to address the inconsistent administrative response to past controversies, and the overall lack of transparency within both the Athletics department and administration in general.

The co-writers are: David Fine, CC ‘13, Outgoing Chair, Student Governing Board; Karishma Habbu, CC ‘13, Outgoing President, Columbia College Student Council; JungHee Hyun, BC ’13, Outgoing President, Student Government Association; Saketh Kalathur, CC ‘13, Outgoing President, Activities Board at Columbia; Tim Qin, SEAS ‘13, Outgoing President, Engineering Student Council; and Jennifer Wisdom, GS ‘13 – Outgoing President, General Studies Student Council.

Update, 5/10, 12pm: The authors of the petition have written in to explain that they changed the wording of the petition to better explain their stance.  Their explanations after the jump.

UPDATE — 11:00 AM, 5/10/13: The petition has been changed to better reflect the original intention of the co-writers. We apologize to any student athletes who felt that this petition unfairly targeted them. The URL and some language has been changed. We believe that no student should be punished by the Office of Judicial Affairs for non-threatening speech on campus, even if that speech is offensive or reprehensible. Rather we are advocating for transparent mechanisms on the administrative level that would re-evaluate a student athlete’s status as an athlete and official representative of the University if those student athletes are found to have issued public statements or acted in violation to the conduct that the Athletics Department and University expects of them. While we believe that the substance of this plan remains unchanged, any student who wishes to retract their name from the petition may email [email protected] with their information, and their name will be removed promptly.

UPDATE — 1:33 AM, 5/10/13: After receiving feedback from the community regarding student privacy, the co-writers have decided to edit Item #7. We have also clarified that we do not tolerate any form of bigotry, including Islamophobia. We believe the overall sentiment of this plan for action remains unchanged.  Those with concerns may email [email protected]

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66 Comments

  1. bwog  

    quit jerkin it

  2. Anonymous  

    Great statement that calls for rationale and balanced action

  3. Hey

    one of the tweets was also Islamophobic. can we Muslims get some damn recognition.

  4. CC Alum

    Where is the "sign" button on this petition? No wonder no one has signed!

  5. Heisenberg  

    While I am by no mean a fan of the football team, Columbia students are entitled to post whatever they want on their twitter feed, as racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic, Islamaphobic, typo littered as they please. On the other hand, they should expel Chad Washington.

    • Anonymous

      unfortunately yes, but when they are posted on accounts that are followed by the official athletics twitter that is an issue.

      • Heisenberg  

        I mean obviously the buck has to stop somewhere but is it the players faults that administrators follow them? America has freedom of speech, no matter how stupid your speech is or who listens to it. Also, about the coaches following it, a lot of the tweets were before these students were admitted to Columbia, especially if you look at the freshman tweeting, and it is unclear when the coaches started following it. So while I will no longer be attending football games, everyone is entitled to their own speech (except Republicans).

        • Fermi  

          They're representatives of Columbia University just as much as any student who is a part of student council or a leader of a club, and should be held accountable as such. The fact that they were publicly tweeted at and followed by the official CU Football twitter just underscores this.

          • Anonymous

            Agree. By signing to play, they are accountable to uphold the standards of Columbia and the NCAA. There is some past precedent of the NCAA forcing athletes to remove tweets -- this is more related to recruiting, and isn't necessarily right, but an example that shows that when they are part of organized college sports, there are restrictions even on things like twitter.

          • Wholly Crap!

            It Enrico Fermi on Bwog!?! You have not visited Columbia for several decades which is ashame because I am like your biggest fan. The guys in Pupin are never gonna believe this!

        • CC 15  

          Wholeheartedly agree that everyone is entitled to freedom of speech. We can't regulate what other people think, even if we disagree with it.

          The problem in this case arises from the fact that the Athletics team ostensibly represents our student body in some circles. Would you feel the same way about the preservation of freedom of speech if Dean Valentini was making racist tweets? I suspect you would want him removed from his position, because those views wouldn't be in accordance with the principles of the university.

          We are all entitled to freedom of speech, but we have to accept that when we begin to represent institutions, we must also adhere to their values in the public sphere.

          Let these kids send all the racist emails among themselves that they want. Indeed, as soon as they leave the football team and stop receiving a whole bunch of our student life fee, let them join in on racist/homophobic parades.

          As long as they are flying the Columbia flag on the field though, they have to regulate what they display in public.

    • Anonymous  

      How bout we wait to make judgement on an ALLEGED crime based solely on hearsay. I know there is a video camera in mcbain, I know the incident is on tape, so how bout we chill out for a sec before we know what actually happened

      • Mexican CC'14 Dude  

        You're asking Columbians to be reasonable about an issue involving racism, homophobia, and the football team... at the SAME TIME.

        Think about what you're saying.

  6. ;)

    Aren't there any reclusive or introverted student council members?

    #homophones

  7. you student government idiots  

    will have your legacy, one of an even more fractured and divided Columbia.

  8. anonymous  

    Don't people realize that the reason the university hasn't taken official action is because of a policy that could save an innocent person. When the law is involved, columbia doesn't seek action unless the student is proven guilty, that way if they are exonerated of their crimes, the innocent don't get expelled. Chill the fuck out everybody. I'm also not saying that this kid is innocent, but if we get rid of that policy and fight it, future students who weren't implicated in crimes they have been charged for won't get expelled.

  9. Anonymous

    If the Head Coach followed any one of those Twitter accounts, then he should tender his resignation.

  10. CC '15  

    This petition is valid and rational. Everything else is, to be perfectly honest, ridiculous on the part of the student body. When nothing is going on, you are content to pretty much ignore the existence of our athletics program except to scoff at it. However, as soon as something like this happens, you are so quick to crash the gates in your effort to say "I told you so! Look at them, they're horrible!" As an athlete, seeing the comments written about us turns my stomach. To those of you who write the articles about how athletes do not belong here, who bemoan the lowered admissions standards as 'despicable', and ask the student-athlete body "what the fuck are you doing here?" I must ask you a question: do you actually know any athletes beyond the cursory? Have you gotten to know them besides just living on their floor, or seeing them in passing? Have you spoken to them about their college decision, and what motivated them to come here? Have you asked them about their prospects for the future, and what they hope to accomplish off the field? Yes, these actions by these young men are despicable in every way, shape, and form; but, they are not the actions of the Columbia University student-athlete body. If you feel that these racist and homophobic tweets from a core of 15 or so people represent the personalities of the 700 young men and women that comprise the student-athlete population at Columbia, I encourage you to put aside your judgements and actually talk to an athlete. If you would like to condemn the entire football team, fine. Go ahead. But do not write us all off.
    You may think that I am biased because I am an athlete myself. I can assure you, I am not. I know what these football players did was horrible, and I believe they should face serious consequences. It casts an awful light on our athletics program as a whole, something I think that myself, my teammates, and the rest of the teams do not deserve at all. In every circle, you will see someone and think "how on earth did you get in here?" Please keep in mind, that is not confined to those of us who wear jerseys with Columbia emblazoned on the fronts. Some of the people I have shared a locker room with are awe-inspiring with their hopes for the future, and those people are the reason I am writing this. We do not deserve this stigma, because we are every bit as talented and intelligent as you are. Sure, maybe we can kick a ball father than we can calculate derivatives, but that doesn't mean we don't work hard and achieve excellent results in our classes just as you do.
    Take a walk in our shoes, cleats, wear our swim caps, whatever. Respect that the majority of us not only dedicate our minds tirelessly to our studies, but also place incredible physical demand upon our bodies to upholding the prestige of Columbia in the athletics domain. I respect the work it takes to maintain a 4.0 GPA, I wish more than anything I could do that. For those of you who are able to, you are incredible. Please respect that even though I don't always make Dean's List, player of the week is an honor in itself to me, and do not look down upon the achievements we make just because they're another realm.
    I know we don't win a lot, but by God, we are trying. In regards to the homophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism...I speak for myself, my teammates, and my fellow athletes when I say: we are not all like this. There are incredible people in our athletics program, don't let them get lost in the wake of clashes like this. Have patience in our progress towards victory, have faith in our morality, and with a little respect and understanding, I think the "Dodge Divide" could be a thing of the past.

    • CC'16  

      What you say is absolutely true. I admire all the athletes for their hardwork. Hell, some of the smartest kids in my classes and the most innovative in my clubs and organizations are athletes. Haha and some of the dumbest people I met here are not athletes. I can see how it may seem this petition is attacking all of athletics.
      However that is not what the Asian American Alliance (or this petition) is trying to do. I don't see how a logical human being could see this event and then immediately assume all student athletes here are like that. If they are then f them.
      I hope that this is not the image that at least the Asian American Alliance's statement is giving. When I read it, I didn't get that feeling at all.

      • Anonymous  

        It isn't, it's the 300+ comments on the other articles about this issue that have changed it from 10 football players to every athlete at this school.

    • Anonymous  

      All about your comment until I read " If you would like to condemn the entire football team, fine. Go ahead. But do not write us all off." I'm not a football player or an athlete, but that just sounds like your just trying to separate yourself from the issue when 95% of the football team didn't do anything wrong and most likely share the sentiment of your message.

      • CC'15  

        You are right an I agree, I did not mean that as a way to separate myself from the issue and hang them out to dry. I was saying it as an address to the majority because of the amount of comments I've seen that state the behavior of the 10 players as characteristic of the football team. Not a personal opinion or suggestion at all.

  11. Anonymous  

    Wait, we have student leaders?

  12. Teachable moment  

    Under one roof should be expanded to a series of mandatory (and I mean actually mandatory, basically a p/d/f class with no work) seminars over the course of freshman year which explore current discourses on things like homophobia, racism, religious-based agression, etc. No reading, no forcing a liberal agenda down peoples throats, just an honest conversation about how to be a member of this diverse community. Call it "How not to be a dick".

    You can't suspend these kids, you just can't. Saying "that's gay" on twitter when you're 17 shouldn't ruin someone's life.

    What you can do is explain to people who come from families and regions with distinctly different values how to engage in a debate without isolating ones self into cliques and throwing people against walls.

    • yes but  

      a class is not going to be more effective than under1roof. The people who hold these biased beliefs will not be convinced will simply consider the class to be a joke.

  13. Oh gosh  

    The last thing we need is another (ineffective) CU commission

  14. Anonymous  

    It sounds like this petition is literally trying to discover why someone may make jokes that stereotype others. Not only is this ridiculous to attempt, it is not possible to eradicate such thoughts. Furthermore, all of these students have the freedom to express themselves, and YES that includes the freedom to express themselves in sometimes offensive ways.

    Have any of you bobbed your head to music by Jay Z? Kanye? A$AP Rocky? Eminem?

    Have any of you laughed during a Dave Chappelle, Daniel Tosh, or Chris Rock stand up routine?

    The political correctness has gone way too far.

    • Anonymous

      How dare you compare these tweets to Chris Rock. Chris Rock uses humour to expose the underlying irrationality and hatred behind such stereotypes. He uses stereotypes to subvert them, not for the sake of propagation.

      • Anonymous  

        Some Chris Rock quotes:

        "There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments."

        “You cannot win in a fight against women, cause men have a need to make sense.”

        And then of course the I hate niggas thing on youtube.

        (I'm sure I could find more but I think I made my point.)

  15. Anonymous

    everyone needs to go read pete mangurians blog and read his statement on the current situation

  16. Privacy  

    I agree that these comments are unacceptable and action should be taken where appropriate but this part of the petition is a violation of privacy :

    "The commission should have overriding authority to interview any faculty member or student athlete pertinent to the investigation. They should have access to any evidence pertaining to the investigation, including but not limited to emails, social media postings, and any other written or oral evidence."

    Yes, Columbia owns your .edu address and can choose to do what they want with it, but your private social media, personal email, etc. is yours and just because you tweet something inappropriate, doesn't mean Columbia can dig through all your stuff. People at Columbia want to stand against encroachment of internet privacy like CISPA, SOPA, etc. but when it comes to a witch hunt, all the sudden toss that stance away.

  17. Anonymous  

    Who cares? So what they posted tweets about asian and gay people? Do you not have the right to tweet or say whatever you want? You people are a bunch of liberal idiots with too much time on your hands

  18. Anonymous

    Why are only outgoing, graduating "leaders" authoring this? Quite interesting that they won't be around for the anti-community-building fallout (like more online insults, nastiness, and antagonism) for instigating something like this.

  19. Anonymous  

    Sterotypes are generally true--just putting that out there

    • Caught

      Track button suggests that you are not only agreeing with yourself, but positing the same opinipn over and over again, while trying to pass it off as some kind of collective sentiment.

  20. we do all this because  

    we take pleasure in the football team's suffering.

  21. Voice of Reason  

    Can't tell whats more racist...
    Calling the NYPD on an angry black man because of offensive words with no physical violence
    or
    In a dispute between 2 drunk people one says some racial slurs.

  22. This is retarded  

    How do you just generalize a petition just for athletes as if the rest of the student body hasn't ever done anything wrong? Thats a form a prejudice itself. You all act like athletes are enemies. Thats fucking retarded. Do you know how much money athletics brings to a university? Do you know how smart some of these individuals are and how much they later donate when they make it big time in whatever job they pursue? Also, you don't even know the whole story yet. Why would someone do something just for fucks sake? This guy on the football team isn't an asshole. Nobody's out to get you just because they play a varsity sport. Just because he is bigger and taller than someone doesn't mean HE couldn't have been provoked to do whatever they claim "he did." Get over your jealousy of people and focus on yourselves. I'm not saying what he did was right (if he in fact was 100% out of line) but you, the student body, like always take things way out of proportion to an extreme that is unheard of. The head coach of the football team was a NFL coach, you must be out of your mind to think that he supports the behavior you claim that "all athletes" have. Get your head out of your ass and worry about yourself. Go to the library and blow off steam just like we do on the fields/courts. This is a big fucking joke. This petition is a clear example of why this school is a joke, not because of a "supposedly" less than violent (probably provoked) action and clearly tweets that are jokes. Have you ever watched television in your lives? Maybe get out of the library and watch some standup comedy for once because theres no difference between the acceptability of that with 90% of the twitter/social media accounts in this world where people post things to get attention and laughs.

    • um

      the fact that you decided to title your post as "this is retarded" invalidates the already asinine and just straight up stupid claims you are making. "why would someone do something just for fucks sake?" if you honestly cannot fathom the answer to that maybe YOU should be the one to go to the library -for once. it seems you might be the one to actually benefit from that..

      • I am in the library dipshit  

        "This is retarded" means that this whole incident blowing up like this is terrible for the University regardless if Chad and the football team are out of line. Incidents like this happen every week with students that aren't athletes. Have you never seen a fight before in a bar? Have you not ever seen a verbal fight between two columbia students that aren't athletes. You people create/look for scandals left and right to scrutinize athletes due to the mere fact that you are jealous.

        • um

          haha YES you figured it out! i am so jealous of someone who still thinks it's acceptable to throw the word "retarded" around like we are 10 years old. and you seem to be forgetting this incident has blown itself up thanks to the actions of your fellow (i'm assuming..) teammates who oh so eloquently tweet homophobic and antisemitic "jokes."

          • again you are an idiot  

            I'm not on the football team nor do I play a sport. People are making this into a way bigger deal than it is. It almost leads me to believe that you guys are racist. How many fights happen at this school? The answer is a lot due to the concentrated population, etc. How come nobody ever mentions those fights? Free speech is all around us. Have you never seen the twitters of 90% of the people on this planet nor? Have you ever watched stand up comedy? (Same concept). You are jealous and hateful probably due to the fact that guys like Chad (student athletes in general) who work hard on the field and off the field, but have a GPA that is lower than yours, will get a better job than you due to the fact that (a) their social skills are higher (b) they know how to be a team player (c) have connections with an alumni network that you otherwise don't have (d) have to balance way more than you and (e) are generally more widely liked and accepted than you. Get over it. Stop wining like a bitch and trying to get your fellow students in trouble for something that was a misunderstanding/fight. Nobody is hateful of different races. If anything he is African American and has to put up with 100 times more racial slurs than you or that Asian kid. So shut your mouth and go about your daily life. Worry about things you can control instead of going out of your way to try and get your radical thoughts put into place. I don't know if you are aware of this or not, but you aren't going to implement this stupid petition nor are you going to shut down the Athletics department. Stop wasting your time trying to desperately hurt someone else who you don't even know. You don't even know the events that happened that night due to the fact that you weren't there. Therefore, once again shut your god damn mouth. What goes around comes around. You have no power over it.

  23. Anonymous  

    Honestly, not constructive.

  24. Anon  

    Why wasn't a SAAC representative on this petition? Were they asked to join in or be involved in it in some way? Shouldn't a student leader representative of athletics be involved since it is geared towards ATHLETICS?

  25. Liberal Asian-American  

    I will not be signing this petition.

    I'm not going to stand against my fellow students' right to free speech. I may not like it. I may find it hurtful. I may be offended...

    But there's no way in Hell I would try to deprive of them of their right to free speech.

    • Anonymous  

      The right to free speech is from the government. Columbia has every right to protect their reputation by not tolerating representatives of their university (students, athletes, administrators, professors) by condemning or punishing inappropriate speech. A student's position at Columbia is a contract just as a professor's is.
      You can call anyone any slur you want. That's you're right as an American, but Columbia can and should send you packing if you use racist/homophobic language to attack university members.

  26. You know what?  

    You are ruining these kids' life.

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