no red tape

No Red Tape

Robert Hornsby, Associate VP of Media Relations of Columbia, sent out the following university statement regarding No Red Tape at Days on Campus this past weekend. He notes Columbia’s commitment to “protecting the rights of all in our community to express their views,” but that, more practically, No Red Tape was blocking an entryway and not staying at their designated tables. Emphasis ours:

Freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration are core university values and claiming an “altercation” does not accurately describe what happened here. Briefly, these are the relevant facts: The Office of Undergraduate Admissions attempted to accommodate student protesters seeking to distribute information at a student activities fair organized for prospective students and their families and attended by approximately 500 invited guests and 300 leaders of registered student groups. Given the number of people there who were seeking to circulate freely, we asked—in accordance with standard practice—that all 100 student groups make themselves available for conversation at assigned tables. The students who have now expressed concern about their treatment originally were standing at an entryway to the fair, blocking the entryway. Despite not being registered for the event, they were offered the opportunity to distribute their materials and talk to guests at the table of a registered student group that some were connected to. While some of these students accepted the offer and were able to distribute their material at the table, others declined and were asked to move to a different building entryway that was less congested, where they distributed fliers and talked to the invited guests without restriction or incident. Columbia remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting the rights of all in our community to express their views.