Four Columbia students have announced an immediate hunger strike, posting a list of impossible-to-measure benchmarks that must be met by the university before these anonymous people will once again begin making their brave trips to the dining hall. At issue is, uh, everything about the school, more or less, but especially the recent business with nooses and Nazis.
We demand that Columbia expand ethically, support Ethnic Studies, reform the Core Curriculum, and improve administrative support for students of color, students of faith, and LGBTQ students:
Because our cause is multi-faceted, our demands call for change on all levels and ask for a spectrum of responsibility:
We don't just want new programs or changes and improvements to existing programs. We want lasting changes in the power dynamics between the university, its students, and its community.
- a more systematic response to hate crimes from Public Safety
- a more collaborative expansion effort from the administration
- a revision of the Core that encourages critical engagement with issues of racism and colonialism
- more resources and support for the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER), the Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS), and the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA).
Yes! Until the university completes a community-wide pilot program exploring the best possible responses to acts of hate on its campus and fundamentally changes the power dynamics of its decision-making process these students will not eat.
To be fair, some of their demands—like asking that the school maybe not annex Manhattanville—are quite reasonable but the whole anonymity thing makes it all seem kinda abstract, doesn't it? How can you tell the ones sacrificing for a better tomorrow from the ones who just spent all their money on Adderall and can only afford Cup Noodles until Winter Break?
Update: An anonymous Columbia source sent us a couple corrections!
1. There are five students, not four. 2. The students are not anonymous. They came forward this afternoon when the strike had an official kick-off. However, the importance is not in who is doing the strike, but instead in why and how and how they are being supported by their fellow students.
We apologize to the five not-anonymous hunger strikers. Their names are all mentioned in the Spectator's story on the strike. Vice President for Arts and Sciences Nick Dirks is already giving in to their demands!