On Wednesday, February 21, the undergraduate student councils announced that the normal operations of annual event Glass House Rocks will be canceled.

This year, Glass House Rocks (GHR) will no longer feature student performances, according to a statement posted to the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) Instagram. The announcement follows a statement written collectively by student dance groups Ijoya, Onyx, Raw Elementz, and Sabor, all of whom withdrew from the event due to “firm solidarity with the Palestine Liberation Movement.” This is the first time Glass House Rocks performances have been suspended since 2021, when the event was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions. 

In their statement Wednesday afternoon, the aforementioned dance groups declared their decision not to perform as a form of boycotting Columbia-Barnard events, as called upon by Columbia University Apartheid Divest. The decision was also a response to the groups’ “roles as student-led dance groups who are impacted by acts against Palestine and Columbia-Barnard’s integral role in them.” 

“We will not be tokens for Columbia’s community, nor will we be complicit in their affairs,” the joint dance team statement read, citing the University’s “invest[ment] in genocide” and “fail[ure] to call for a ceasefire.” It denounced the University’s “target[ing of] minority students for exercising their right to stand against this oppression,” calling on the community to also boycott GHR. “Attending University events like GHR makes you complicit in the advancement of genocide,” the statement read. 

An hour after the dance groups released the announcement on Instagram, the student councils confirmed that “a majority of the groups that are normally showcased at Glass House Rocks have opted to not perform this year.” CCSC and the other three undergraduate student councils—Columbia Engineering Student Council (ESC), General Studies Student Council (GSSC), and Barnard College’s Student Government Association (SGA)—chose to cancel all GHR performances in favor of “advocat[ing] for student voices, protect[ing] student expression, and best serv[ing] student life.” 

The student councils acknowledged the choice to perform as a form of expression. They further recognized “that this is a time of grief, due to the current crisis in Palestine,” and stated that students may not want to celebrate as a result. The student councils affirmed that the decision to cancel normal GHR operations was made to align with their purpose of representing student values. “Freedom of speech has been repeatedly threatened on campus this year,” the statement read, “and we have actively worked to safeguard students’ right to protest and express their views.” The statement concluded by declaring that the student councils will “continue fighting for students’ safety and right to express themselves on our campus.” 

Despite the cancellation of student performances, Glass House Rocks will still feature merchandise and food “so as not to waste the student money that had already been spent.” The student council announcement expressed that they “hope that this will not be seen as counter to student protest and voice, as that is not [their] intention.” 

Glass House Rocks via Bwog Archives