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CUCR Drama Stretches Into Reading Week

Pretty much CUCR Right Now

Pretty much CUCR right Now

Bwog is always ready to listen to anyone’s grievances. Wannabe malcontent Britt Fossum attended an impromptu meeting of CUCR that was held in place of the cancelled board meeting. Currently, SGB and CUCR are holding a town hall.

The official Sunday night board meeting of the Columbia University College Republicans was postponed and then cancelled entirely by current President Kate Christensen in the wake of the “sham elections” of last week, allegedly because of threats of physical violence to members of the board. Republicans were so unhappy with the decision to cancel the meeting—which would have been the last meeting of the school year—that several board members and general members wrote up a list of grievances, submitted it to Bwog, and met unofficially to talk through recent events as a gathering of friends. (That means that most of this unofficial meeting was off the record, though several attendees were very willing to make statements about what had occurred.)

***

Essentially, last night would have been the first meeting of the newly elected board—meaning that none of the current board members have actually been sworn into office. The gathering of CUCR members in Lerner Hall was a mixture of people from the club: members of last year’s board, newly elected board members, and general body members. And they were agitated. Tensions were high among this group and some spoke of an “atmosphere of fear.” They all generally agreed that the recent elections were in violation of the moral spirit of their organization.

In fact, there was so much arguing happening in the meeting itself that a new intruder in the piano lounge could barely be heard: a man who was significantly older than any of the undergraduate students present, who repeatedly threatened one of the male attendees with threats. He claimed that the “FBI was across the street,” and that the student would not be attending Columbia next year after being expelled or imprisoned or worse. Eventually he turned around and left the gathering and few at the gathering seemed too shaken by the interruption. One member mentioned offhand that she had seen him before at the election but that he was not regularly involved with the group. This was confirmed by other attendees who identified the intruder as “Grantham.” The group decided to move to the conference room upstairs.

***

The group of CUCR members last night was having trouble deciding on anything, which was not helped by the addition of a significant press presence. What had probably been planned as a calm discussion of a course of action quickly devolved into a shouting match. One club member, Victoria Fernandez Grande, continually emphasized the fact that they should try to push for discussion before the end of the school year. She noted that the group needed to clearly state what their grievances were and to discuss them during an additional general body meeting, during reading week if necessary.

Up until this point, the board had only been meeting with one or two people at a time to speak about the events, and Victoria was not pleased with how the individual meetings were going, others adding that it introduced the chance for dissidents to be intimidated. She continued saying, “Deliberately or not there has been no communication between them and us. We need to have communication…the point is what are we going to do—not what they have done.”

***

More club members came during the course of the night. The conversation spiraled back into rants about whether or not there actually had been threats of violence against Eyvana. Many members were hostile to the presence of the media. Frequently cited was the the public “leakage” of their original document to Bwog. Members who were in support of the submitting of the petition to the media emphasized that it was only in reaction to the cancellation of the board meeting. Kyle Dontoh, incoming Director of Finance, was willing to go on record at the event and was supportive of allowing the press to cover what he referred to as the “Silenced Majority.”

As the meeting’s energy flagged, students contemplated the legitimacy of the current board members if their efforts to make changes failed. Victoria again voiced her opinion on Eyvana Bengochea’s statement to Bwog: “The fact that she did that means that she is not capable of leading this club.” This sentiment was echoed by another CUCR member who wished to remain anonymous who chimed in saying, “Someone who wrote that statement is not fit to lead this club.”

People left awkwardly, with Spectator taking photographs of several club members. However, two of the CUCR dissidents present at the Lerner Hall meeting were  later seen deep in discussion with Eyvana Bengochea and members of the board in Furnald Lounge. Later that night, members of the club asked Bwog to remove a previously posted list of the signatories of the list of grievances and repeatedly asked for moderation of names in the comments. This seemed a touch melodramatic as the list of names had been sent directly to members of the CUCR board and there was no clear reason for why the names should be made unavailable to the general public. Tonight, SGB and CUCR held a Town Hall to discuss the legitimacy of the elections, though notably not to actually do anything about the situation other than to talk over each other some more.

Bwog doesn’t listen to “the man,” Bwog is “the man” via ShutterStock.

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25 Comments

  • squinting reader who gave up says:

    @squinting reader who gave up shorter paragraphs, please

    1. sterling says:

      @sterling This week, the national basketball association made a resounding statement encapsulating what contemporary America is all about. The NBA punished Donald Sterling, owner of the clippers, for life after Sterling uttered a series of racially insensitive statements. I am appalled to find such bigotry, racism, and sexism infiltrating both the organization that I care deeply about, CUCR, and the Columbia Community.

      Today unable to accept the fact that a Hispanic woman was elected president, a group of unknown students have veiled themselves behind a mask of anonymity, to launch attacks at myself and other female members of the Columbia Community. In a truly deplorable move, one college, Kate Christiansen [sic] was even referred to with highly sexualized adjectives, including the implicit statement that because she was a woman, with quote “gorgeous hair” she “swooned” the men into helping a master conspiracy unfold.

      This is slanderous and defamation, not just to me, but to women everywhere who have fought too much in the last century to see this level of hatred at such a welcoming school like Columbia.

      The hate-filled and cowardly article only has one true statement in it: “that there’s a new president in town, and her name is Eyvana Bengochea”. She is the daughter of two Cuban immigrants, a cheerleader and vice president of the Columbia College Student Ambassadors. The Rest of the article is filled with faulty logic, such as equating high voter turnout with corruption. Under their viewpoint President Obama’s last two elections must have been shammed and a fraud as well, because African American voters arrived in higher voter turnout then ever in American History.

      Even worse, they ignored to mention that an official Columbia faculty sponsor oversaw the election, as did the student governing board, both of which ensure that all electoral regulations are followed.

      The rest of the piece goes on to make slanderous claims, none of which have any substantive evidence and are further undermined by the refusal of a single person to claim them as their own. That is why I invite those who are disgruntled and harbor sexist or racist intentions to meet with me face to face in a public setting and bring forth their grievances with the election so it can be arbitrated in an open, transparent and honest manner. I have nothing to hide. I have the truth on my side.

  • a person says:

    @a person “repeatedly threatened one of the male attendees with threats”

    sounds threatening.

  • jones says:

    @jones this is terribly written

  • But wait says:

    @But wait If there was a guy making those threats, that would reflect very poorly upon Eyvana and co.

    1. no says:

      @no tonight the Spec representative at the meeting clarified the serious threat last night that caused third party intervention was against the current board

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous That is incorrect. The claimed threat of violence by the board is still unsubstantiated. Miles Grantham, who had asked pointed and somewhat threatening questions of Bobtom Flynn during the election, was the one who showed up in Lerner and made threats against the convening members of the General Body. Additionally Eyvana has threatened the group, in individual meetings, with bringing in politicians, media, and other powerful people (along with labeling the entire group sexist and racist – also unsubstantiated claims).

  • Uh says:

    @Uh Did CUCR ask all campus media to remove the list of names? Why did Bwog take it down but Spec’s article in Spectrum still have their names?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous the dissenters sent the statement to bwog with their names on it, and bwog posted it as such.

      then the dissenters asked bwog to remove their names, and sent the statement to spectrum without names.

      bwog took down the names and spectrum pulled them from the google cache of bwog’s post.

  • dead horse says:

    @dead horse ow! dammit bwog, stop!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous His name is Miles Grantham.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous And by the way, Grantham directly threatened and yelled at the dissident members of CUCR, yet for some reason Eyvana is the one who felt threatened.

      1. Anon says:

        @Anon Did it ever occur to you that the CUCR board might have been looking out for the safety of the people who revolted and not their own safety? Just a thought!

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Of course it occurred to me. Yet at the town hall meeting last night (on Monday), Kate specifically said that she called Public Safety and other various administrative bodies because *Eyvana* felt threatened and freaked out. Another current board member, Toby, also said that it was the dissident CUCR members’ own fault for attending the meeting despite the threat, even though Kate and Toby never told anybody about the threat until afterward and canceled the meeting without explanation. This caused a lot of confusion and members thought there were two threats being discussed as none of this makes any sense. Why would Eyvana feel threatened when she literally was not threatened? And why were the dissident CUCR members painted as the bad guys when they were the ones actually threatened? No sense makes much.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous As a diehard socialist:
    AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA
    *deep breath*
    AAAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAA

    1. lol says:

      @lol If only the Republicans could match the discipline and unity seen in the Socialist Party. Who did you guys nominate for president two years ago?

  • wait says:

    @wait The question is, how do you go to Columbia and write such long, convoluted and poorly worded sentences
    Then again it’s Bwog…

  • Victoria Fernandez Grande says:

    @Victoria Fernandez Grande I would like to point out that my actual statement was “Deliberately OR NOT there has been no communication between them and us”.

    The “or not” part was not included in the article.

  • anon says:

    @anon it seems to be there… either way, i don’t see how that would be so important.

  • Oh please says:

    @Oh please Bring in Fox News Evyana. I’m sure they’ll side with you about how racist and sexist the rest of the group is even though they never said a single racist or sexist thing when they argued against your victory. You won’t do it because you’re game will be up, not because you’re forgiving anybody, but nobody is fooled.

    Can we see screenshots of the threats of violence that were sent out? Please send the relevant evidence to the police so that we can figure out who did this. Violence is unacceptable, and I wholeheartedly support throwing anybody who threatened violence in jail. Just please publish those screenshots and get the police to come in so that we can all see the light. Everyone, from the CUCR board to Meg Lanker-Simons will want the truth to be heard and the real perpetrator to be captured.

    Thanks.

  • lol says:

    @lol who cares

    its a club

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous seriously guys I have no clue what is happening

  • Demetry James says:

    @Demetry James Greg Jennings caught dat shit, prolly the last play of the game. FUCK YOU GUMBY!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can someone summarize this CUCR controversy for me? These articles are long.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The nazi McCarthyist heritage manifested in YAF purges has reappeared as the praetorian misdeed of corporate governance and fractuous Republican divisions.

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