We Columbia University students urge you to listen to our voices

We Columbia University students urge you to listen to our voices

Columbia College Student Council:

On Tuesday night, we watched in horror as hundreds of riot police flooded our beloved campus and brutalized our classmates. The next day, students awoke with swollen faces, bruised wrists, and lacerations – all results of inhumane police treatment. The past two weeks have been tumultuous, marked with mass arrests of student demonstrators, an encampment on our lawns, national media attention, and vile acts of hatred. Countless have spoken on our behalf. But by speaking over us, media outlets and politicians have created a distorted narrative – one which unfairly characterizes our community.

Now, it is time to elevate student perspectives, the “us”, rather than the “them”. The traumatic environment and militarization of our campus are not the sole product of ill-intended protestors or reckless non-affiliates as claimed by administrative emails; rather, they are the fault of the senior administration themselves. For months, this crisis has brewed as administrators neglected student and faculty voices. We must be clear: the administration has put our students’ safety at risk and has failed to ensure a conducive learning environment. As student leaders, it is time for our voice to be heard.

The seeds of the NYPD’s 30 April raid on Columbia University were planted nearly six months ago. On 24 October, Columbia’s senior administration unilaterally created an illegitimate university event policy in the aftermath of peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstrations, granting them the power to regulate protests and “‘sole discretion’ to determine sanctions on student organizations and their members”. Thus, senior administration circumvented process and procedure and undermined shared governance, rather than adhere to the rules of university conduct, adopted by our university senate and set out in the university statutes. [Continue reading…]

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