We have received a tip containing both a press release by the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC) in response to alleged bias on the ABC board as well as the funding allocations for the next year.
The press release expresses that “recent allegations that cultural organizations governed by the Activities Board at Columbia (specifically in the Black, Latinx, and Native American category) are treated unfairly or differently than other organizations was and continues to be very serious.” The ABC held a forum to address such concerns, where “many community members attended and expressed larger structural concerns as well as possible solutions.”
Consequently, the ABC released a list of “concrete measures” and “conversations opened up.”
The concrete measures include:
- Sensitivity training for the entire board
- Opening up seats in the board room for cultural advocates
- Adjusting the Activities Board at Columbia’s informal and official decision frameworks to increase the focus on cultural activity
- Instituting more concrete and transparent constitutional examination
Conversations opened up (including proposals which require constitutional changes) include:
- Separation of the Black, Latinx, and Native American category into 3 distinct categories with one representative for each (requires constitutional change)
- Creation of a cultural cosponsorship fund
- Increased group agency over category placement
- Discretionary fundings for representatives
The press release further relates allocation decisions and data for cultural and non-cultural groups, concluding that “Based on this information, there appears to be little evidence of any bias with regards to cultural organizations in terms of decisions reached and passed by the Activities Board at Columbia.”
In response to accusations of bias “within the ABC boardroom,” the press release states “these examples were misrepresented or taken out of context.” Regardless, the ABC recognizes “that the organization of the board room has made it difficult to bring up concerns” and is working “to combat this issue and ensure that the boardroom is a safe place for people to voice concerns or uncomfortability.”
The allocation release from the ABC includes decisions on funding of clubs under the “Black, Latino, and Native American” umbrella. Each club’s budget either remained the same or increased, with explanations for budget changes and disagreements included in the “notes” section.
We have included the pdfs of both documents at the bottom of this post.