Columbia Disorientation Guide 2002

Item

Current View

Title

Columbia Disorientation Guide 2002

Date

2002

Place

New York, NY

extracted text

DISORIENTATION GUIDE

Columbia Student
Solidarity Network
2002-2003

This guide is brought to you by the Columbia Student Solidarity
Network (CSSN). Our goal is to create a stronger activist community at Columbia by increasing communication between different
groups as well as hosting educational events (and kick-ass parties). We also plan direct actions to make our demands heard. To
this end, we operate a monitored listserv for announcements and an
open one for discussion. We also provide advice on how to start new
groups, make existing ones more effective, and how to plan campaigns. Email cssn-steer@columbia.edu for direct questions or email
majordomo@columbia.edu with "subscribe cssn" in the body of the
message to join our announce listserv. Also, check out our website,
which features many links and a campus calendar.
We are proud to present a few of the viewpoints that comprise our
diverse community.

www.columbia.edu/cu/cssn
The DisGuide Contributors:
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Anne Eller
Ben Dubin-Thaler
Chrissy Fiorentini
Elizabeth “LZA” Dwoskin
Ginger S. Gentile
Jessica Eisen
Jon Levine
Lauren Schwartz
Liz Capone-Newton
Mario Lugay
Merlin Chowkwanyun
Mike Castleman
Nate Treadwell
Simon Moshenberg
Thanks to Tom Tomorrow
Special thanks to the Rev. Bill Starr!

Look for these upcoming events!
While not all contributors may agree with every word
Activist Career
written, we all stand behind the Guide as a whole.
Night
Tech Skills Workshop
Direct Action Training
Potlucks
Anti-Racism Training
Beer drinking in secluded basements
Surveillance Camera Tours
Radical Cheerleading Training
And anything you want to see happen!

Up Against The Wall, Motherfucker! ................... 4 *
The Columbia Student Strike of 1968
The New McCarthyism .............................. 5
Civil Liberties in a Post-9/11 America
Lies and Smiles ................... 6
Your Administration
Timeline of Campus Activism ................... 6
“Dangerous” Neighborhoods ..................... 7
Urban Legends Your RA Told You
The Folks Who Brought You The Weekend ..................... 8
Questions (and Answers) about Unions
X-Ray Astronomy On Strike! ................................ 9
Academic Labor and the Struggle to Unionize
What is a Sweatshop? ..................... 10
Our Education: Up in Smoke! ................... 11 *
The “War on Drugs” on campus and off
A Hands-On Lesson in Colonialism ...................... 12
The State of Pan-African Studies At Barnard
When and Where We Enter ....................... 13
The Struggle for Ethnic Studies at Columbia
Ethical Consumption ...................... 14
Ethical Investment .............. 15
Columbia’s Other Bank ................. 15
The Bethex Credit Union
All Activists Aren’t Crazy .......................... 16
Destroying Some Common Stereotypes
This Modern World ............................................................ 16
The Columbia Administration Guide to Union Busting
How To Be a Radical and Work Within the System.................... 17
Electoral Politics
Finding Your Niche On The Left............... 17
Ginger Explains It All
Red Tape Won’t Cover Up Rape ....................................... 18
Lessons From the Struggle for a Sexual Misconduct Policy
Resources for Activists ................... 19
The Police and You ......................... 20
Where To Eat .............................................................................................. 21 *
Vegetarian Dining In “Morningside Heights” and New York City
The Blacklist............................................................ 22
The Groups of Columbia Student Solidarity Network
When Class Is Cancelled Because It’s “Too Hot” ............ web only *
The Lack of Academic Integrity at Columbia
* Starred articles have been condensed and are available in their original, longer form on our website, http://
www.columbia.edu/cu/cssn/disguide/

Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker!
The Columbia Student Strike of 1968
In 1968, just like today, Columbia was heavily involved in weapons research for the Department of Defense. In 1968,
just like today, Columbia practiced racist development policies in the Harlem community. In 1968, two student groups
led an uprising that changed the history of America. Today, it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind
blows...
For years, social disillusionment and institutional disenchantment had simmered on campus and off; the war in
Vietnam began to bring popular hostility towards all forms of authority to a boil. Civil rights activists were beginning to
move towards Black Power. Relations between the University and the Harlem community were strained to the point of
breaking over the construction of a private University gymnasium on public land in Morningside Park; this tension was
exacerbated by the assassination of King and the ensuing riots in Harlem.
On April 23, 1968, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Student Afro-American Society (SAS) united for
the first time to occupy the gym construction site. The University called in the 26th Precinct of the NYPD to forcibly
remove them, so students marched back to Hamilton and occupied it, taking Dean Coleman as a hostage. The SAS
members were far more serious and better trained than the SDS members, so the next morning they evicted all of the
white students from Hamilton; SDS marched over to Low Library and took over President Kirk’s offices. Over the next
week, students and supporters also occupied Avery, Fayerweather and Mathematics. The strikers were supported by
hundreds of students who rallied in front of the occupied buildings, running supplies and press releases back and forth;
they were opposed by a handful of athletes and alumni who called themselves the “Majority Coalition.” Finally, in the
early morning hours of April 30, President Kirk instructed the NYPD to invade the occupied buildings and remove the
students by force. The police rioted: 712 were arrested and 148 were injured in the police violence; 372 complaints of
police brutality were filed. Most of those arrested and injured were not in the occupied buildings, but were just students
on South Lawn who had come to watch. Some students evacuated from the buildings were made to walk by a line of
police officers while being beaten by each one; others were
dragged head-first down marble stairs.
On May 6, Kirk unsuccessfully attempted to reopen the
University as most students and many faculty members boycotted
their classes. An alternative “Liberation School” was established
on South Lawn, with classes about the Cuban Revolution and the
history of Native Americans taught in a truly collaborative
method. Students put on guerilla theater pieces; the Grateful Dead
played a free concert. The strike lasted until Friday, May 17, when
community activists, with the help of student strike leaders, seized
a Columbia-owned low-income apartment building slated for
demolition. Within hours, police cleared the building and arrested
117 people, including 56 students. On May 21, nearly 300 students
protesting disciplinary action against strike leaders again occupied
Hamilton Hall; the administration again called in the NYPD and
The Rev. Bill Starr marries a couple in Fayerweather they rioted again. Forty-seven student bystanders were arrested,
and 68 people were reported injured, including 17 police.
during the strike.
The last action that spring came on June 4, graduation day.
Several hundred graduating seniors walked out of the ceremonies
and held a counter-commencement on Low Plaza. With this peaceful symbolic gesture, the tumultuous spring semester
of 1968 came to a close. Over the course of the never-to-be-forgotten six weeks, 1,100 were arrested at Columbia. Hundreds
of arrested students went home for the summer facing suspension or expulsion, not knowing if they would be allowed to
return. Others took their experiences to Chicago, for the Democratic Convention of 1968. Some formed the Weathermen,
a guerilla organization committed to ending American imperialism by force. The legacy of 1968 on campus is the formation
of the University Senate, a more democratic governing body – and of a campus security department that is committed to
using espionage to stifle student protest movements before they erupt and that maintains still closer ties to the 26th
Precinct of the NYPD. They said it could never happen at Columbia, but it happened at Columbia. They say it could
never happen again at Columbia...

Come watch actual footage of the 1968 strike, eat free food, and learn about
contemporary campus activism. See back cover for details.
4

The New McCarthyism
Civil Liberties in a Post-9/11 America
American citizens are living in fear. Since the attacks of September 11th 2001, many Americans have put the safety of
themselves and their loved ones as priority number one. They may fear future acts of violence perpetrated on American soil,
nuclear or biological warfare, or terrorist enemies overseas. But what most Americans aren't afraid of-but perhaps should be-is
the oppression of their own government.
The acts of violence committed against the United States on September 11th have been used to promote a conservative
agenda that infringes upon Americans' civil liberties by eliminating the checks and balances that Americans have relied on to
protect constitutional freedoms. According to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU's Washington National Office, "The
USA Patriot Act gives law enforcement agencies nationwide extraordinary new powers unchecked by meaningful judicial
review." Our country's leaders use fear to garner the support of the American
public for unconstitutional legislation. Free speech is being stifled, and
those who would speak out against the actions of our government and warn
fellow Americans are the ones targeted by intelligence to keep silent.
Preying on the current emotional state of the nation, our country's
leaders are using the events of September 11th to insist that protecting
America right now must come at the expense of our personal liberties (USA
PATRIOT is actually an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America
by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct
Terrorism). Legislation like the USA PATRIOT Act (Bill HR.2975) and
the related USA Act of 2001 (Bill S.1510) not only threaten the activities
of today's progressive citizens, activists and organizations, they contain
provisions that give intelligence authorities the power to engage in
retroactive search and seizure by abolishing the statute of limitations on
these “crimes.” Were you involved in any “un-American” activities in the
past? The FBI may be contacting you in the near future. This warning is not meant to incite fear in the hearts of activists; rather,
we need to arm ourselves and others with the knowledge we need to combat this kind of neo-McCarthyism.
The ACLU has issued a legislative analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act and the ways in which it encroaches on civil liberties.
The following list is an excerpt from their analysis, citing the most alarming provisions of the Act, measures that would:
• Allow for indefinite detention of non-citizens who are not terrorists on minor visa violations if they cannot be deported
because they are stateless, their country of origin refuses to accept them, or because they would face torture in their country
of origin.

• Minimize judicial supervision of federal telephone and internet surveillance by law enforcement authorities.
• Expand the ability of the government to conduct secret searches.
• Give the Attorney General and the Secretary of State the power to designate domestic groups as terrorist organizations and
deport any non-citizen who belongs to them.

• Grant the FBI broad access to sensitive business records about individuals without having to show evidence of a crime.
• Lead to large-scale investigations of American citizens for "intelligence" purposes.
Additionally, Arab-Americans have been profiled and discriminated against in recent months. Already, many Muslim and
Arab-American groups have been subjected to the intense scrutiny of FBI agencies. In Don Thompson's article entitled "Muslim
Student Groups Probed for Terrorist Links" (Associated Press, 12/22/01), the author makes unsubstantiated claims linking
Muslim student groups to terrorist groups. Based on quotations taken out of context and manipulated to incite suspicion, these
claims are dangerous in that they have the potential to invoke widespread prejudice and fear of Arab-Americans reminiscent of
World War II profiling of Japanese-Americans. From the statement released by the Muslim Students Association in response to
the article: “The unfortunate timing of this deplorable article has only worsened the already high anti-Muslim sentiment in North
America after the 9/11 attacks.” There is imminent danger to all Americans if these dangerously prejudiced ideas are allowed to
infiltrate the subconscious of the American public.
So what can we do? The answer is the same as always. Get involved. If you already are, stay involved. Stay up-to-date on the
latest Congressional actions, and talk to others to make sure they are as well. Organize people to demand that their Congressional
representation dissent from future legislation that in any way curtails our civil liberties and constitutional freedoms. And most
importantly, whatever you do, don't stop talking about it.
5
That would be when they will truly have won.

Lies and Smiles: Your Administration

6

Timeline of
Campus
Activism

Poor freshpeople, I feel sorry for you. When I entered
The Art of War (with your administration):
Columbia four years ago, George Rupp, an idiot-savant able to
1.Always find out who has the final say, and deal only with
raise millions in a single benefit yet capable of alienating the him/her. Sometimes decisions are made by the President,
entire student body with a single word, was president. Whenever sometimes by lower-level administrators, but it is important to
we fought the administration, George made a perfect target, research who has the real power and not let administrators pass
saying such things as child labor was fine because he had a the buck to the president, or let the president send you to useless
paper-route as a child. Now, the aloof leader has been replaced meetings with powerless people. They will try.
by a friendly one, Lee Bollinger. Not only will Bollinger teach
2.Never meet with an administrator without first building a
a class for you, but he will also invite you into his home for a group of students who support your goals. Find some way to
fireside chat. And, even better,
display this: a petition, lots
he is a defender of affirmative
of students at a meeting with
action.
administrators, or students
It’s going to suck.
wearing a symbol of support.
Columbia is an institution
And never attend a meeting
that for all of its contributions
with less than three students.
to the canon of human
3. Know
your
knowledge is one that still tosses
administrator. A closet
tenants out onto the street,
liberal? Pull his heart strings.
refuses to recognize the
An evil bastard? Keep
Teaching and Research
detailed notes of all things he
Assistants’ union, and has a
says. Play administrators off
tendency to not tenure female
of each other. Make them
faculty. This is not to say that
seem like the brilliant ones
the administrators who make
for coming up with your
these policy decisions are evil
idea. Find out who has the
bastards; they are bureaucrats
president’s ear.
with their eye on the bottom line
4. Beware of “death by
A Dean held hostage for 26 hours in 1968.
who favor maintaining the status
committee.” After ignoring
quo. And when you want to
you, they may decide to
change a policy you will find that Bollinger will talk with you “study” the issue with administrators, faculty, and a token
and even say favorable things about you to the press. He did student rep—maybe even you. Sometimes there is no way
this at the University of Michigan even as students occupied around a committee, but always give it firm deadlines and keep
administration offices. But what he won’t do is respond to issues up the pressure, or all it will do is issue an inconclusive report.
that the University has a vital interest in without a little pressure Demand that all committee meetings be open to the public.
being applied. Case in point: Bollinger praised the Teaching
5.Have clear, short demands.
Assistants Union in UMich, but sent out an anti-union letter to
6.Remember, Columbia is one of the few universities with a
all Columbia students last spring.
Senate in which there are student Senators. They are your reps
So don’t be swayed by Lee’s friendly style or even his and often take their jobs seriously, and they actually have some
personal beliefs. He was hired by the Board of Trustees and it power. As the Senate’s decisions are often listened to, this is a
is to them that he answers-after all, they write the checks for process you may want to get involved with. However, beware
his half-million dollar salary. Lee won’t make things easier for rule 4.
you; he will say things that students will confuse for action.
Now go out there and win!
All this will do is make activists look more unreasonable, even
as their demands aren’t met. And so you must learn . . .

June 1917 - Three
Columbia students
are arrested at an
a n t i - w a r
demonstration.

October 1917 - Trustees fire
CU Professors Cattell and
Dana for their anti-war
activities; students led by the
Peithologian
Society
protest.

1932 - Columbia Spectator editor Reed Harris expelled
from Columbia College for his critical coverage of
Columbia's dining room employment policies. The
National Student League organizes a protest of 2000 NYC
students as well as a one-day strike, which results in a
75% drop in class attendance.

“Dangerous” Neighborhoods
Urban Legends Your RA Told You
The first time I saw a friend of mine step foot into Morningside Park, I screamed. After being told for two years to NEVER
set foot in the park by my RA’s, professors, and fellow students, I took these admonitions literally to mean that if any part of
one’s body went inside the park, a pack of crackheads would murder him or her. After my friend stood inside the park (maybe 5
feet from the sidewalk) for a whole minute without getting mugged, I realized that shrieking like Jamie Lee-Curtis was not only
irrational, but racist. Like many white New Yorkers, I believed that if I entered a poor, non-white neighborhood I was likely to
be the victim of criminals who were waiting for me to tresspass on to their turf.
The Columbia Administration, who has probably told you to never go above 125th or east of Amsterdam, perpetuates this
idea. It has spent the past 50 years or so kicking poor non-whites out of “Morningside Heights”, filling it instead with yuppies,
over-priced bistros and you, all protected by a private security force (this process is called “gentrification” and is happening
throughout NYC as poor neighborhoods are colonized by well-off people in search of cheaper rents). Sure, our schools celebrates
diversity and raves about Harlem, but from a distance. Rather than pushing its students to interact with the city, it presents a
sanitized version through on campus events.
Luckily for me, I took a class that required that I do research—by myself—in the very neighborhoods I feared. As I explored
the city, I realized that “dangerous” is based on one’s perception: it can be safer to walk on a crowded Harlem Street than on a
deserted one on the Upper East Side where no one can hear you scream. And besides, all of these neighborhoods are where
countless families make their homes, and go about their business in relative peace. The more I walked, the more I took the
subway at night, the more I learned not to search out for fellow white faces to make me feel safe, but to look to other clues to read
people. And the more I explored, the more I realized that the “dangerous” neighborhoods also could be the most interesting; if
you want to see a good community garden, go to the South Bronx, not to SoHo.
This article is not an exhortation to let down your guard; people get mugged, raped and scammed in New York, just like in
other places. But rather it is a request that you critically examine what makes you feel unsafe. Remember, you are far more likely
to get physically hurt by someone close to you than someone you have never met. Keep an eye on your surroundings and pretend
you know where you're going, but a close look at crime statistics will show you not to be afraid to explore the parts of the city
where investment bankers fear to tread.
If this phenomenon of gentrification and “dangerous” neighborhoods interests you, check out the following books:
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs. This classic work from the 1960’s argues that cities (especially
“slums”) are safer than suburbs. Discusses
how people watch out for each other in
the concrete jungle.
Bomb the Suburbs, by William Upski
Wimsatt. In 1992 this white graffiti artist
from Chicago’s South Side made a “bet
with America” that he could hitch-hike
through America’s most “dangerous”
neighborhoods unscathed. Not only did
he win, but he met a bunch of great people.
Containing essays about do-it-yourself
urban renewal, hip-hop and race relations,
this book is an altogether enlightening and
entertaining read written by one of
America’s leading young activists.
Jazz Musicians in Harlem, 1958
1934-6 - Columbia students participate in
a series of National Student Strikes Against
War. To commemorate the third strike in
1936, 2000 Columbia and Barnard students
assemble at Broadway and 120th Street,
with the Barnard women dressed as widows
of future wars.

1945 - Maintenance
workers, led by TWU
leader Mike Quill, hold a
one-day strike to demand
the right to unionize.
University concedes this
right.

1952 - John Jay dining
hall employees, led by
Mike Quill, strike for
right to unionize.
University refuses to
recognize union.

1961 - 600 CU
students and faculty
gather on Low Plaza
to protest the
mandating of air raid
drills on campus.

7

Unions: The Folks Who
Brought You The Weekend
What is a union?
A union is a democratic organization of workers that uses
its power to win better conditions, pay, and benefits for its
members. Unions also fight for political solutions benefiting
their members and the working class at large.
Why do workers join unions?
Aside from pay, benefits, and safety, unions can prevent
arbitrary firing and discrimination, and they provide workers
with a voice on the job.
How are unions structured?
Workers in a company form a bargaining unit to negotiate
with one employer, which is part of a “local” in one area. An
international is a collection of locals in one industry to
coordinate struggles. Examples of international unions include
Service Employees International Union, the International
Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the United Farm
Workers. International unions in one country also form
federations, such as the AFL-CIO or the I.W.W.
What is collective bargaining?
Negotiation between a union and an employer, hopefully
resulting in a contract guaranteeing certain standards for the
workplace, such as non-discrimination policies, wage scales,
safety provisions, and health insurance.
What is a strike?
A way of making an employer listen, in which workers
just don't show up, or don't work (a sit-down). The employer
loses money and is forced to bargain on better terms. Strikes
demonstrate where the employer gets its money from, and they
help win workers a piece of the pie.
What is a picket line?
When workers strike, they often demonstrate outside of a
workplace to raise awareness and pressure the employer. Picket
lines are not to be crossed: workers risk a lot by striking, and
they depend on outside support.
What is union-busting?
Employer attacks on unions, such as firing pro-union
workers, giving raises to reward complacency, making threats
or spreading disinformation, or abusing the NLRB to claim that
workers aren't really workers and thus can't form unions (ask
Pres. Bollinger about this one). Often such actions are illegal,
but companies have expensive law firms like Proskauer-Rose.
1965 - Students disrupt
NROTC
awards
ceremony. First time
ever NYPD called on
campus.

8

1966 - 18 SDS (Students for a
Democratic Society) members
hold first campus sit-in at
Dodge Hall to protest CIA
recruiters on campus.

What is the NLRB?
The National Labor Relations Board is a government
agency theoretically charged with mediating between unions
and employers, and with conducting elections where workers
decide whether or not they want a union. It remains slow, as
well as biased towards large companies and Ivy-League
universities.
What about corruption and racism?
Many unions have done stupid, short-sighted things in the
past; a handful still do. But a lot of unions backed the civil
rights struggle, and many nowadays will strike against racist
or sexist employers. SEIU actively fights for humane
immigration policy; ILWU has refused to move toxic waste,
and has struck against racist application of the death penalty.
The union movement remains a vibrant, diverse, and tolerant
place, where workers from all backgrounds find their common
needs. For many minority, female, immigrant, or queer workers,
the union is the first place they go when the boss discriminates,
because they know their co-workers will support them. And
since unions are democracies, workers can eject unwanted
leaders.
Don’t unions just hurt progress by forcing businesses
around?
If “progress” means “rich get richer,” yes, they do, by
forcing the rich to share the wealth with those who make it.
Don’t like it? Move to Myanmar.
Why should I care about all of this?
Because the labor movement created the two-day weekend.
Because everyone deserves decent health care, safety, and the
knowledge that hard work will be rewarded with decent pay
and a secure job. Because people should control where they
spend their lives 9 to 5. Because the rich are too rich, and the
poor are too poor. Because it's morally good to stand up for
your neighbors. And because you, or someone you love, might
be on that picket line one day.
1967 - Series of demonstrations
(with 100s of students) to
protest military recruiting on
campus and University's
involvement with the Institute
for Defense Analysis.

1968 - see article, page 4.

X-Ray Astronomy On Strike!
Academic Labor and the Struggle to Unionize
The famous Core Curriculum: perhaps you came to Columbia for it, perhaps in spite of it. One thing is certain, though: the
700 students taking L&R each semester require a lot of instructors, and tenured professors aren't really interested. Even in more
advanced classes, those that are not deemed to be “beneath” a professor's abilities, someone has to grade your exams, lead
discussion sections, and make all those photocopies.
Professors are expensive, though, so Columbia (like other universities around the country) is hiring fewer and fewer of
them. Instead, education is turning to other sources of labor: adjunct faculty (part-time, underpaid teachers who can be hired and
fired at the department's whim), graduate students, and even undergraduates in some departments.
But, while the University has been primarily concerned with cutting costs, even graduate students have to eat. So, concerned
with “bread-and-butter” issues such as stipends and health care as well as the larger issue of respect for the work they do, a group
of teaching and research assistants at Columbia made the same decision as made by many other groups of workers: to form a
union.
Many more than the required 30% of student-workers signed “authorization cards” indicating their wish to join Local 2110
of the United Auto Workers (UAW).
The University, unwilling to cede any power to the teachers and researchers upon whom it depends, has been fighting the
union all the way. Its legal case relies on the absurd argument that one cannot simultaneously be both a student and an employee,
an argument which the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the government body that rules on such issues, has already
rejected in the case of New York University. Beyond this legal argument, Columbia has been making vague threats and indications:
suggesting (incorrectly) that foreign students may be deported if the union passes or trying to artificially divide slightly-higherpaid natural science and engineering students
from humanities students.
A union election, permitting both
undergraduate and graduate teaching and
research assistants to vote on whether they wish
to join the UAW or not, was finally held in midMarch, 2001. However, the results of this
election are not known; the ballots have been
“impounded” and will not be counted until the
University’s appeal is settled.
Dissatisfied with waiting for the seemingly
endless legal process to end, union-supporting
student-employees held a one-day walkout on
April 29th. Clerical and support staff, also
members of UAW Local 2110, joined in this
action. While this walkout did not cause the
University to drop its legal appeal (nor was it
expected to), it offered a preview of the possible
future power of the union, should the University continue to refuse to bargain.
Columbia's refusal to bargain with the UAW is perhaps particularly ironic as it welcomes new University President Lee
Bollinger. Prior to his arrival at Columbia, Bollinger was president of the University of Michigan, home to a graduate student
union which, at more than 25 years, is the second-oldest in the nation!
Hopefully, the legal process will end soon, and the University will sit down to bargain with the employees upon whose labor
it depends. If not, the union is certainly not willing to wait forever.

1969 - Black students
occupy office in Hamilton to
protest delays in establishing
African-American Studies
program.

1985 - 5 day strike by
UAW clerical workers.

1985 - After years of student
pressure (beginning in 1978),
trustees finally agree to divest
from companies doing
business in apartheid South
Africa - the first major
university to do so.

April 1986 - Students erect
shanties on Low Plaza to protest the
slow pace of divestment.
October 1987 - CU announces that
divestment is complete.

9

What is a Sweatshop?
A sweatshop is a factory that requires long hours in unsafe
conditions, paying low, often illegal, wages and often using
coercion and child labor.
How common are sweatshops?
In the United States, the Labor Department estimates that
there are 2,500 sweatshops violating labor laws in NYC,
especially in Chinatown and the Garment District. Only 37%
of the garment workers here work in law-abiding shops. Abroad,
sweatshops are even more common, especially in countries that
have no effective labor laws. The problem is nearly universal
in the garment industry, and most companies refuse to disclose
factory locations, blocking investigation.
How much do they pay workers? How long are the hours?
Virtually no garmet shop pays a “living wage.” Typically
work runs upwards of 60 hours per week; during “rush orders,”
shifts of over 24 hours straight are not unheard of.
How are health conditions in sweatshops?
Due to a complete lack of law enforcement, factories very
often have poor ventilation, and dust inhalation causes
respiratory diseases so severe that workers routinely "retire" in
their 20's. Extreme fatigue and machine injuries are common,
as is physical abuse (in Colombia, murder) of union activists.
Many factories force pregnancy tests, and Honduran women
were involuntarily given birth control, all to prevent costly
maternity leaves.
Can’t they just get other jobs?
Not typically. Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have
few job opportunities and risk deportation if they report labor
abuses. Abroad, population growth and corporate buyouts have
reduced available farmland as World Bank crop rents and
International Monetary Fund crop price reductions make
agriculture less lucrative. Landless workers, especially young
women, are forced to go to cities, where sweatshops are some
of the few options available.
Aren’t low-paying, unsafe jobs with long hours better than
no jobs at all?
No one wants to starve, but that doesn’t make sweatshops
okay. In 2000, Nike made $601 million in profits and spent

Spring 1992 - Administration threatens
to take away need-blind, full aid
admissions. A group of students takes
over Low Library and occupies an office
there. No students are disciplined for this
action and need blind is saved.

10

$978 million on advertising. In the same year, their Indonesian
workers made 15 cents an hour. Almost every multinational
could afford to put its workers above the poverty line and in
safe shops without putting a big dent in their profits.
So what can I do?
Check out Columbia Students Against Sweatshops, which
uses a monitoring agency (the Worker Rights Consortium) to
make sure Columbia apparel is bought from safe shops, and
influences companies to pay decent wages. By using Columbia's
purchasing power we have helped thousands of workers fight
for more secure futures.
Individual purchasing power can also be influential. Look
for the union label, and, if possible, seek out clothes made in
cooperatives like Sweat-X. Ask managers at stores whether their
products were made in safe shops by well paid workers, or
write letters to the companies. And, of course, support calls for
boycotts made by unions.
Workers' struggles are also tied into global trade policy.
The “Free Trade Area of the Americas” threatens to speed up
the “race to the bottom” by attacking labor laws; call
“your”politicians and voice your opposition. And remember
the International Monetary Fund policies that drive workers to
sweatshops in the first place. September 27-28 we'll be
“quarantining” their meetings in DC; see below for more info,
or watch the CSSN website for ways to participate in an
international struggle for the rights of workers.
Columbia Students Against Sweatshops: See page 22.
National Labor Committee: www.nlcnet.org
Educating for Justice: www.nikewages.org
Stop FTAA: www.stopftaa.com
Sweat X: www.sweatx.coop
Info on the World Bank/IMF: www.50years.org
and how to shut them down: www.abolishthebank.org or email
cu-breakthebank@riseup.net

1992/1993 - CU plans to destroy the
Audobon Ballroom, where Malcolm
X was assasinated, in order to build a
biomedical research center. After
protest, Columbia builds the lab, but
preserves part of the building as a
memorial.

April 1996 - Ethnic studies struggle. 4
students engage in a 15-day hunger strike;
others occupy Low Library and Hamilton
Hall, resulting in 23 arrests. In response, Pres.
Rupp declares that “students do not design
our curriculum.”

Our Education: Up in Smoke!
Few American endeavors of the past two decades have been as rife with cronyism, corruption, and moral hypocrisy as our
failed and futile War on Drugs.
Take the Higher Education Act's 1998 drug provision, which potentially denies federal financial aid to students convicted of
drug offenses. Depending on their prior drug convictions and whether they've completed a lengthy drug rehab program by the
aid application due date (for many, this is a logistical impossibility), students can lose their aid for up to two years after their last
offense. The legislation stripped federal aid from more than 40,000 students last year - aid that's often the make-or-break for
economically disadvantaged students seeking a college education. And indications are that it'll get worse. Previously, applicants
for aid could leave questions about drug use blank. Now, under the Bush-Cheney regime, all blank answers are the equivalent of
answering "Yes," and all applications with them aren't even processed.
Who wins? Certainly not students of color or of disadvantaged backgrounds (or both). As with most War on Drug legislation,
the overwhelming number of the incarcerated are of non-white backgrounds (in New York, 95%) and are economically
disadvantaged, even though the majority of drug users are white. (Thuggish narco cops tend not to break down the doors of
middle-class suburban homes or coke-stained
corporate boardrooms) Those convicted but
privileged enough to afford slick attorneys -- and
whose parents can finance expensive college
educations anyway -- rarely need worry about the
loss of federal student aid.
Meanwhile, the New York state prison budget
continues to balloon to nearly $2 billion a year while
billionaire New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg this year slashed budgets for public
libraries, public parks, and recycling programs.
Treatment programs, which even the conservative
RAND think-tank has said reduce serious crimes 15
times more than mandatory minimums, make up only
15% of the federal drug control budget. Besides
representing a more compassionate and effective
solution, drug treatment programs are also costeffective. The annual cost of outpatient drug
treatment per patient is a few thousand dollars. New
York prisons, by contrast, require $32,000 per
prisoner, 44% of whom are there for nonviolent drug offenses.
Fortunately, more and more people are realizing that the War on Drugs is our domestic Vietnam. In the past few years,
groups like DRCNet and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) have initiated and mobilized campaigns to take down such
destructive measures as the 1998 HEA drug provision. Last year, Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank introduced a bill to
undo that provision, and hundreds of student governments and national organizations support reform (the otherwise pathetic
puppet organization known as the Columbia College Student Council passed such a resolution before it presumably returned to
offering free potato chips during finals; next comes Bollinger). Figures across ideological lines, from Ralph Nader to William F.
Buckley, have called for a serious re-examination of a national anti-drug effort that has drained so many funds from more
worthwhile pursuits and ruined so many lives. Even Hollywood movies like Traffic, however oversimplified and whitewashed,
have introduced reform discourse into the mainstream and encouraged consideration of more compassionate, less punitive
approaches to addiction. States like California have relaxed punishments for first-time offenders, replacing jail time with treatment
and rehab.
For more information on Columbia SSDP and our current and upcoming campaigns, visit www.columbia.edu/cu/ssdp.
February 1999 - Four NYPD officers shoot
2000 - Columbia begins its Committee on Socially
Amadou Diallo, an unarmed Haitan
Responsible Investing, charged with deciding
Immigrant, 41 times when he reaches for
1997 - Two week strike
whether or not to use the voting power it gains by
his wallet. Many CU students are arrested
by 800 clerical workers in
owning stocks of companies to vote on issues
with countless other New Yorkers in a
UAW Local 2110.
concerning environmental, labor and political rights.
successful bid to get the Mayor to indict the
To date, it has not enacted the vast majority of
cops. They also join in the months of
student suggestions.
protests afterwards.
11

A Hands-On Lesson in Colonialism
The State of Pan-African Studies At Barnard
Critical observation of the Pan-African Studies program at Barnard provides a powerful lesson about present-day manifestations
of colonialism at this academic institution. The behavior of the Barnard administration towards the Pan-African Studies program
at Barnard College parallels the model of colonialism traditionally applied to the African continent in terms of its placement of
priority, lack of accountability to and for its constituency, and denial of autonomy. The premise of African colonialism was that
a continent full of black people and resources was only valuable in terms of its ability to serve the political and economic
interests of European powers. Similarly, the college seems to view the existence of the Pan-African Studies Program as a priority
only infosar as it furthers the public relations interests of the college. Despite the college’s voiced support, in reality the lack of
hiring power and curriculum development for the ethnic studies programs at this university has crippled the programs. And in
another similarity, it is only when students resist these patterns of oppression that they have been included in planning the future
of their education.
If the Barnard administration actually wanted to foster an inclusive curriculum and advance the study of the African Diaspora
in the American academy, the logical actions would include the maintenance of at least the basic framework of a program in
terms of faculty. The Pan-African Studies program has never had a tenured director. (Note the related but distinct fact that,
according to the Provost’s office, only two faculty members of color have ever been tenured at Barnard.)
The structural difference between a department and a program is that a department has the ability to hire its own faculty,
while a program has to depend on the discretion of the Provost and the departments. The interdisciplinary nature of such majors
is designed in a way that makes them dependent on departments and suggests that the topics they cover do not exist as disciplines
of their own but as combinations of other subject matter. For instance, Women’s Studies, once an interdisciplinary program at
Barnard, finally gained department status when it was acknowledged that it is an important field of study not covered by any
existing department. The interdisciplinary nature of the study of ethnicity at this school makes sense and allows students to
design logical and fulfilling courses of study in most cases. However, the perception of the study of ethnicity at an Ivy League
institution as something dependent on other entities and not a unit of its own, perpetuates the marginalization that makes ethnic
studies necessary in the first place.
Last year, no student input was built into the strategy of the director search and the departmental talks held did not include
discussion for proposed student interactions. A Barnard sophomore, worried that she could be choosing a major that did not exist
on any dependable terms, took the initiative to organize a meeting with the provost. The meeting ended up being a conference
room filled with students worried about the status of the program. Students did their own research on the performance of the
candidates in their previous appointments and arranged yet another meeting with the provost and other administrators before
they were granted a place on the official agenda of the candidate search. The Pan-African Studies Advisory Board also expressed
that they felt they were not given enough opportunity for input.
When an administrative body operates in a manner that excludes the input of its constituency and then makes decisions that
threaten the interests of that constituency, it has failed to fulfill its function.
If this institution is committed to the indoctrination of the student body and the limitation (damnation) of this generation to
destructive traditions of the past, then its existing structures are sufficient. If however, as I hope against reason, this institution is
committed to the enlightenment of the student body and the empowerment of this generation in the creation of a new context for
existence, it is in need of a transformation in policy, perspective and action. In this case, it is necessary that the administration
makes the success of every subject of study a priority. It is imperative that the student body and the faculty let the administration
know that we value Pan-African Studies not merely because it “proves” by its mere existence that Barnard is not a racist
institution, but for of its educational contribution to our academic community.

Spring 2000 - Due to pressure from
Columbia Students Against
Sweatshops, the University agrees to
join the Workers' Rights Consortium
and to enact a code of conduct to
define workplace standards for
Columbia apparel production.

12

November 12, 2000 - Over
400 students march on a
University Senate Meeting
to successfully urge the
senators
to
enact
meaningful reforms to the
Sexual Misconduct Policy.

2001 - Columbia begins
a permanent experiment
with
Socially
R e s p o n s i b l e
consumption by offering
fair trade coffee.

September 12, 2001 - Over
300 students attend the first
People for Peace meeting and
later join in large NYC
protests against the bombing
of Afghanistan.

When and Where We Enter
The Struggle for Ethnic Studies at Columbia

Students have been agitating for ethnic studies at Columbia
The matter of when and where `people of color’ enter into
since 1968, but it was not until 1993 that the administration Columbia's curriculum, the matter of when and where the
first established the Institute for Research in African American experiences of communities racially constructed as 'non-whites'
Studies (IRAAS), which is currently directed by Manning and socially constructed as 'minorities' will be allowed the
Marable. In 1996, after a 15-day hunger strike and several academic space and resources that are necessary for their
building takeovers, the administration agreed to the development on this campus will determine the extent to which
establishment of a Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race Columbia University, itself, will serve as an enabling site for
(CSER), which houses two programs, Asian American Studies its students and remain both expansive and reflective in its
and Latina/o Studies. Unfortunately, this agreement, reached production of knowledge.
under coercive conditions,
In 1998, students involved
fell far short of the
in the protests for Ethnic
students’ goal: an Ethnic
Studies founded Students
Studies Department with
Promoting Empowerment and
hiring power and with
Knowledge (SPEaK). SPEaK's
Native Studies included.
mission is to make students
The sole major victory in
active in shaping their own
the agreement was that it
education. In the last four
allowed for undergraduate
years, we have fought for
student representatives to
student input in decisionsit on all faculty search
making processes and greater
committees in CSER (a
autonomy for Ethnic Studies
first for the university).
and Women's and Gender
Gary Okihiro currently
Studies programs, created
serves as chair of the Asian
extracurricular spaces for
American Studies program
dialogue about race, class,
and as director of CSER.
gender, and sexuality,
Under his leadership,
including an underground
Victor
Cervantes
in
his
mock
jail
cell
on
College
Walk.
The
CSER has developed a
student-run Native American
“cell”, designed to call attention to the lack of space for
comparative emphasis
Studies program, and curated
students of color on campus, was vandalized.
which stresses not only
public art to express our
comparative work across
visions of the world and our
various racialized groups, but which also attempts to locate the interpretations of the historical and existing injustices around
intersections of race and ethnicity with other social formations us. We also hosted the first-ever student conference on Ethnic
such as gender, sexuality, class and nation. Hopefully, beginning Studies. For more detailed information on the history of Ethnic
this year, students will be able to major in Comparative Ethnic Studies at Columbia and around the nation and on Columbia's
Studies, in addition to current options in African American Core Curriculum, visit www.columbia.edu/cu/speak
Studies, Asian American Studies, and Latina/o Studies.

2002 - Barnard agrees to an
advisory committee for
socially
responsible
investing. It also begins to
offer fair trade coffee on its
own.

February 2002 - Students hold
a counter summit, with over
1000 attendees, to the World
Economic Forum’s meeting in
New York and participate in
actions against the WEF.

April 29, 2002 - Teaching and
research assistants hold a oneday walkout to protest
Columbia’s failure to
recognize their union or count
the ballots from their election.

2003 - ?

13

Ethical Consumption
Every day each of us makes many
decisions on how to consume.
Consumption can range from what we eat
to our mode of transportation to our
clothing purchases. Any purchase of goods
or services is a form of consumption. As
consumers we have power to affect the
products we buy. If a product becomes
unpopular it is no longer produced, for
example. The terrible environmental
consequences from laundry detergents
made
ordinary
housewives
environmentally conscious, leading to
fundamental changes in what is used to
make detergents. Conversely, if a product
is in demand it may enter production.
Organic food and hybrid gasoline-electric
cars did not exist until consumers
demanded them. The consumer's control
of their spending dollars gives them the
power to affect the products they are using.
Ethics can inform this purchasing power.
Immoral or unreputable business practices
can be rejected by not buying a particular
company's products. Boycotting a specific
company's products will often pressure it
to change. Demand that the goods and
services you pay for are provided ethically.
A mass movement of ethically conscious

14

invdividuals, each acting on personal
morality, can change the world in
fundamental ways.
As a college student, you may find
Barnard or Columbia providing
objectionable products for your use.
Columbia Students Against Sweatshops is
one group fighting for ethical purchasing
at the University level; it supports labor
struggles by changing university
purchasing policy to pressure clothing
manufacturers. It takes recommendations
from a monitoring agency, the Worker
Rights Consortium, and asks or demands
that Columbia implement them. In this
way thousands of garment workers have
won decent pay and safe shops, supported
by the actions of students half a world
away. Students for Economic and
Environmental Justice has organized to
have fair trade coffee introduced
throughout Columbia's campus, a program
that was recently expanded to Barnard.
These products guarantee fair wages and
healthy working conditions throughout
production and environmentally
sustainable growth. Look for a variety of
socially conscious products to begin being

offered throughout Columbia's campus.
Alternately, ethical consumption can
be enacted on a much larger scale
throughout your life. Lots of people see
vegetarianism and veganism (meaning, not
eating or buying dead animals or animal
products like milk) as a futile gesture, but
really they amount to a boycott of an earthdestroying, dangerous industry that
clearcuts forests for unsustainable grazing,
dumps toxics into our water, and kills 11
billion animals a year (in the US). Check
out www.vegan.org for more info. Organic
food can also help prevent cancer-causing
pesticides from winding up on your plate
or in our reservoirs. Bicycles, subways,
buses, and trains do more against global
warming than political proposals ever will,
and now that you're in Manhattan, you're
stuck with mass transit anyways. Looking
for clothes made by union shops helps pull
workers out of poverty, and not buying
from union-busting companies gets the
message across that you support living
wages. Perhaps none of these suggestions
fits your particular morality. Be creative,
find a solution to correct the moral wrongs
you see in the world and begin your own
unique version of ethical consumption!

Ethical Investment

In a time when a tragic majority of corporations are
choosing to put profits before people, and where multinationals
are becoming an ever more formidable force, those hoping for
a more ethical social and economic world are often left feeling
helpless. Companies argue that ethical practices would not cost
more, but that their ultimate responsibility is to their
shareholders, not to their community. Business ethics dictate
that executives must always think of their investors' desires
first and foremost; only later can environmental, labor, political,
and other considerations be considered. However, investors have
the ability to dictate business priorities, including morally
conscious ones. Through a variety of investor-executive
channels new considerations of the investors' choosing can be
stressed. The ethics of
investors can override the
strictly profit motive.
The growing influence
of the socially responsible
investment
(SRI)
movement has given
individual as well as
institutional investors
(Columbia and Barnard, for
example) the ability to
compel corporations to
adopt more ethical policies.
As shareholders in major
corporations, schools like
Barnard and Columbia
have the right to vote on
shareholder resolutions,
voicing their concerns as investors over the moral choices these
companies make. As students we can pressure our schools to
use this power to affect positive social change.
A few years ago, the Columbia Socially Responsible
Investment Committee was created with the mandate of advising
the university’s trustees as to how they might improve the social
and environmental impact of their investments. Each year, the
SRI committee invites members of the university community
to a public hearing where they can voice their opinions on any
issue relating to SRI at Columbia. The trustees have also made
public a snapshot of the university’s investment portfolio (six
months out of date) to give the community an idea of where the
school’s money is. In addition, after hearing the advice of the
SRI committee, the trustees release a summary of how they
voted on those shareholder resolutions that the committee
supported.
This summer, the Trustees of Barnard College voted to
create a similar committee. Unfortunately, the Barnard SRI
committee is much less equipped to seriously address issues
concerning Barnard’s investments. Firstly, the trustees have
refused to release Barnard’s investment portfolio to the
university community, or even to the members of the Barnard
SRI committee itself. The extent of Barnard’s investment

disclosure policy is that the SRI committee can (although
individual concerned students cannot) ask whether the college
owns specific stocks-and even then, they are given a ‘yes’ or
‘no’ answer with no indication as to how much money the school
has invested in it. Perhaps the most problematic aspects of the
committee, however, is the trustees are never required to reveal
whether or not they chose to act on any of the committees
recommendations.
There is no excuse for Barnard to have created an SRI
committee so doomed to be inefficient and ineffective. Barnard’s
progressive values and special commitment to address women’s
issues make this move especially hypocritical. Surely a concern
for women’s issues must include, among other things, a concern
for the disproportionately female textile workers suffering
horrific working and living conditions around the world. It’s
not enough to ensure a positive and supportive environment
for the few women with the privilege of attending the college
while remaining silent as the very companies in which they are
invested discriminate against and abuse their own female
workers. Of course, the obligation to take responsibility for its
investment decisions extends beyond women’s issues. By failing
to create an effective SRI committee, Barnard has foregone the
opportunity to influence a broad range of social and
environmental issues.
To demand that Trustees of Barnard College release the
college's portfolio and their voting record, contact Vice President
of Finance Andrew Manshel at amanshel@barnard.edu and ask
him to forward your concerns to the college's trustees. To join
the struggle to encourage both Barnard and Columbia to behave
as socially responsible investors, contact Students for
Environmental and Economic Justice at seej@columbia.edu.

Columbia’s Other Bank: The
Bethex Federal Credit Union
If you're anything like me, you're probably not too thrilled
about the idea of putting your money into a Citibank account.
Practitioner of redlining and predatory lending, funder of
socially and environmentally devastating projects all over the
world - the Three Gorges Dam in China is just one example Citigroup is the nightmare of anyone with a social conscience.
Not to mention, the customer service sucks - one day when you
have a couple of hours to kill, try calling the 800 number, and
you'll see what I mean. But you don't really have a choice, do
you? After all, it is the only bank on campus, right?
Wrong! There is an alternative - Bethex Federal Credit
Union, located on the fifth floor of Lerner Hall, in the club
space. Bethex is not exactly an ideal banking option either there is a $5 monthly fee for all checking accounts and the only
two free ATMs in Manhattan are the ones in Lerner. But at
least you'll know your money is being used to give low-interest
loans to people in the Bronx and not to destroy the planet.
For more information go to http://www.bethexfcu.org , or
visit the office hiding on the 5th floor of Lerner.
15

All Activists Aren’t Crazy
Destroying Some Common Stereotypes
One day a few years back I was standing out on college walk, trying to get people to sign an anti-death penalty petition. One
man I approached seemed wary and apprehensive, clearly reluctant to talk to me, but then when I explained my petition, he
visibly relaxed. "Oh," he said, smiling in relief, "I'll sign that. It's so nice to see people out here who are normal," he added,
"usually it's these crazy socialists with wild hair, selling Russian newspapers." He was half-joking, I think, but nevertheless that
one man summed up perfectly what many people seem to think about activists: they're crazy, not normal. And if, like most
people, you've never had much contact with leftist politics, chances are that's probably what you think too. Hey, I don't blame
you. I watch TV, I read the newspaper, I see how activists are portrayed. But now I'm here to clear up some common misconceptions
about political activism.
1.Activists are all extremists: Whenever people find out that I'm involved in progressive politics, they tend to assume that I'm
some kind of extremist: a communist, an anarchist, a Radical with a capital 'R'. But the truth is, becoming an activist doesn't
necessarily mean embracing an entire ideology, adopting an '-ism' of some sort. Are you appalled by the exploitation of
workers? Or are you opposed to the death penalty? Do you want to do something about it? Well, then, congratulations, my
friend, you have all the makings of an activist.
2.Activism is a full-time commitment: A lot of people I talk to seem to think that an activist's idea of fun is sitting at the
Hungarian Pastry Shop late on a Saturday night and plotting the revolution. Hey, we're not fanatics. Sure, there are some
people who see activism as a 24-hour a day way of life - and more power to them - but most of us have an outside life as well.
Just because you're trying to change the world, it doesn't mean you can't have fun in the meantime.
3.Activists are all tree-hugging vegetarian hippies: Hey, I like tree-hugging vegetarian hippies. Hell, I am a tree-hugging
vegetarian hippie. But there are plenty of activists who aren't. Even if you can't stand the taste of soy and have never worn
a pair of Birkenstocks in your life, but you think that people should have the right to abortions, for example, there is a place
for you in progressive politics.
4.Activists are just a bunch of spoiled, middle class, white kids: This stereotype seems to contradict some of the earlier ones,
yet it is one I have heard time and time again, usually in regards to the anti-globalization movement. You know, the old
“people in the third world want globalization, they want the WTO, you stupid college kids think you know what's good for
them better than they do.” Well, I'm sorry, but that is just a load of crap. Anti-WTO/GATT/IMF/World Bank movements
have been going on in other countries for years. Just one quick example: October 1993, half a million Indian farmers
converged on Bangalore in opposition to GATT. That was a good six years before the big anti-WTO demonstrations in
Seattle, but it didn't happen in America, so it didn't really make it into the news here.
5.Activists are violent: Whenever there is a big
demonstration, the media always seem to focus
in on the “violent protesters:” smashing store
windows, throwing rocks, fighting with the
police, etc. But this is just another example of
“selective reporting.” At most protests, the large
majority of the participants are peaceful. Not
surprisingly, most people don't want to get
arrested (and you will get arrested if you hit a
cop). And, honestly, much more violence is
usually perpetuated by the police than by the
protesters.
6.All activists do is protest: Any good activist
spends the bulk of his or her time educating
people. Some of us work on drafting legislation,
setting up women's centers, campaigning for a
candidate and creating alternative media outlets.
So remember kids, all activists aren't scary!
Your next-door neighbor, your classmate, or even
your girlfriend could be one. And you can be one
too!

16

Electoral Politics
How To Be a Radical and Work Within the System
Soooo…you want to fight the good fight with fellow students and activists here at Columbia, but you feel disillusioned with
direct action, let down with leafleting, irritated with issue campaigns? What's a young progressive to do? The solution may just
be getting involved with electoral politics.
If you were anywhere near a television set during the 2000 presidential elections, then you witnessed firsthand just how
screwed up America's two-party system is. During the presidential debates, in fact, Dubya and Al uttered the words "I agree" in
response to their opponent's answer a whopping thirty-two times! But the good news is this: our country has mechanisms built
into the political system that lets average (but dedicated) folks
like you and I get involved and run ourselves for political
office. In fact, the Green Party, America's most rapidly growing
third party, has been the source of many victories for students
who have run for local offices.
However, if you aren't the type to run for political office,
and prefer strategizing and organizing, than maybe campaign
management is more your bag. If so, you're in luck, because
New York City just happens to be one of the best places to
gain real-world experience working on city council,
congressional, and other local campaigns. There are plenty of
great candidates running in elections this fall, and it's not too
late to get involved with many of these campaigns. Check out
www.gpnys.org/newyork.html to find out more about some
of these New York state candidates, many of whom are running
as Greens. You can also visit www.feinstein.org/greenparty/
electeds.html to find a list of all elected Greens currently
holding office in the U.S.--at least 152 in 20 states! Working
on one of these campaigns, you'll gain electoral know-how
and meet some hard-working political hacks like yourself, who may help you work your way up through the ranks to get
connected with people and jobs that excite and empower you.

Finding Your Niche On The Left
As you begin to explore the world of political activism-by volunteering, interning, protesting, political education, lobbying,
or some combination-you may feel overwhelmed by the wide array of choices for you at Columbia and in New York City. But
don't worry, you can find the place where you fit in, a group that will allow you to grow as an individual,teach you about how the
world really works, and actually accomplish change. The trick is to not get derailed by groups who live in their own world or
whose style of activism turns you off-just keep on moving. Many students who don't think of themselves as that radical get
turned off by some of the more extreme activists without realizing that the majority of activists are smart, level-headed people
who don't follow a party line, but are always debating and questioning.
So, as you try on different groups and causes, here are some good questions to ask yourself or others:
• Do the people in the group all have the same arguments? If they do, yours will probably begin to sound a lot like theirs.
Healthy groups expect members to agree on basic frameworks but allow room for individual opinions and beliefs.
• How are decisions made in a group? Process is very important. Do you like top-down structure or do you prefer decisions to
be made by consensus (where everyone, or the vast majority, has to agree in order to pass a resolution)?
• Does the group have a clear focus and winnable goals?
• What time commitment are you comfortable with (this may change as you get more involved)?
• Do people with different backgrounds or identities feel comfortable?
Not all criticisms lead to one solution. For example, just because you agree with someone that the government does not
represent the best interests of the people does not mean that you are obligated to agree with one group’s solution. And remember,
if you don't find a group that you love, start your own! It's easier than you think.

17

Red Tape Won’t Cover Up Rape
Lessons From the Struggle for a Sexual Misconduct Policy
Due to the long struggle of student activists, Columbia
University and Barnard College have the most progressive
sexual misconduct policy in the nation. This fight educated the
university community about the rapes that were being ignored
by the administration and organized a large group of students
by using creative tactics that focused on building unity. After
14 years of student requests, the Columbia University Senate
passed its first Sexual Misconduct Policy in 1995. However,
this policy proved to be ineffective in preventing or punishing
rapes and difficult for victims to use. Only two students
attempted to use the policy, and both cases were dismissed. No
provisions were made to educate the student body or the deans
responsible for trying cases. But what angered the campus most
was the number of cases reported by Columbia: 3, in a 5 year
period. Every year hundreds of students gather at the Take Back
the Night Rally and listen to dozens of student stories about
rape and sexual assault on campus – crimes, unreported and
unpunished.
In 1999, students collected 1,800 signatures recommending
a series of changes to the old policy, but this concern fell on the
deaf ears on the Senate Task Force assigned to this issue. After
this, students founded a group called Students Active For Ending
Rape (SAFER) that decided to build student power in order to
have their demands listened to. SAFER began a campaign using
red tape on posters and clothing as a sign of the bureaucracy’s
reluctance to address sexual violence. This allowed students
who did not have a lot of time to do something visible to show
their support and feel that they were a part of the struggle. After

a few months, the campus was covered not only with posters,
but with red tape on walls, wrapped around railings, and on the
students themselves. While SAFER held weekly meetings and
used the consensus model, it relied more on events, such as
forums with administrators, giving lots of students the
opportunity to confront the decision-makers. The coalition of
five groups that worked on this issue also relied on these
encounters instead of protests, which can fail to communicate
messages to observers, until support for reform was campuswide. These tactics enabled SAFER to turn out 400+ students
to a rally on November 12, 1999, which garnered major press
attention. This changed the nature of the debate, and the
administration became more responsive to their proposed
reforms and eventually adopted major elements of the proposal
in February 2000. The new policy calls for education and a
disciplinary process that is accountable and administered by
trained personnel. While no one, including the activists, believe
that the new policy is perfect, it did come under fire from certain
on campus and off campus groups that believed it did not offer
the accused enough due process.
However, these critics, rather than directing their concerns
at the new policy, often slandered activists and used the issue
to attack feminism. It is up to you, the next generation of
students, to guard the progress made while working for
improvements in an environment that sticks to the issues.
For more information, go to the Office of Sexual
Misconduct's website at www.columbia.edu/cu/
sexualmisconduct

Resources
Barnard/Columbia Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support
Center
854-HELP
Trained advocates 24 hours a day to take you to an emergency
room or to help you deal with the police, University policies,
or similar issues.
St. Luke’s Hospital Victim’s Services Hotline

577-7777

St. Luke’s Emergency Room

523-3335

The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project

714-1141

Sex Crimes Report Line
267-7273
Specially-trained officers. Female officers available.
Office of Sexual Misconduct Education and Prevention
To initiate a complaint within the University.
854-1717
Nightline
Anonymous peer counseling.

18

854-7777

Barnard Counseling Services
Ten free sessions available to all students.

854-2091

Columbia Counseling Services
Ten free sessions available to all students.

854-2284

Escort Services
854-SAFE
From 8pm-3am, in the Columbia area, two specially trained
students will walk you to your door.
Planned Parenthood
965-7000
Emergency contraception, abortion services, and gynecological
care.
Safe Horizon’s
Crime victim’s hotline. Available 24 hours.

577-7777

Mount Sinai Rape Crisis Intervention Program 241-5461
In case of emergency, dial x99 (Columbia) or x88 (Barnard)
for immediate assistance.

Resources for Activists
Bluestocking Books. Amazing feminist bookstore. 172 Allen St.
Jobs With Justice. National labor solidarity group. 330 West 42nd. St. (212) 631-0886
Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM). Radical South Asian group. www.drumnation.org
Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM). Defends open education at Hunter College and elsewhere. (212) 772-4261
Mayday Books. An anarchist bookstore open afternoons, in Theater for the New City. 155 1st avenue
ABC NO RIO. A squat cum community center, with lots of concerts and organizing resources. Food Not Bombs cooks here. 156
Rivington. www.abcnorio.org
www.anarcho-nyc.net . Connections to various NYC anarchist groups. Spring collective has a hotline: (212) 252-6821
Critical Resistance East. Fighting private prisons and needless incarceration. www.criticalresistance.org/creast
Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants. Currently
fighting
arbitrary
immigrant
detentions.
www.itapnet.org/chri
National Action Network. Al Sharpton's organization
fighting gentrification and police brutality. 1941
Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor. (212) 987-5020
dumba. Queer anarchist performance, art, and activist
space. 57 Jay St. Brooklyn. (718) 390-6606
Youth Activists, Youth Allies. Maintains info on events
and city groups. 250 West 57th Street #820. (212) 5816922 http://www.youthlink.org/yaya
Nkiru Center. Black community center founded by Talib
Kweli and Mos Def. 732 Washington Ave. Brooklyn.
(718) 783-6306.
Indymedia Center. 34 East 29th St. 2nd floor. (212) 6848112 nyc.indymedia.org
WBAI. Pro-peace radio, a Pacifica affiliate. 99.5fm,
www.wbai.org
Animal Defense League. Contact benjamin@vegfl.com
People's Law Collective. Legal observers who support
activists. Call (917) 807-0658 if you're arrested in action.
http://www.tao.ca/~nycplc/
National Lawyer's Guild NYC. (212) 679-6018
nyc@nlg.org, or try the Columbia chapter at x4-2395,
or the NYU chapter at www.law.nyu.edu/studentorg/
nlg.html

19

The Police and You
Assassinations, fire hoses, and pepper spray: whatever the time, whatever the weapon, the police defend one version of the
law, and everyone from antislavery rebels to war resisters to southern blacks have found themselves opposite state repression
going above and beyond the usual litany of police crimes. So how do you deal with them?
Contrary to the “rock-thrower” image, most protests aim at raising awareness, which can usually be done legally. Whenever
you're planning an action, ask yourself, Can we do this without risk of arrest? Can we pull off some other (legal) stunt? Illegal
actions are sometimes necessary and effective - remember how restaurants in the South started serving black folk? - But we want
everyone, from immigrants to soccer moms to transgendered folks, to be able to participate without fear. Legal actions typically
use permits, and always wind up in barricades (in NYC). If planned and timed well, they can turn heads and hit targets where it
hurts (in the media), with barely an unfriendly glance from the NYPD. Keep a legal observer* around and be nice and friendly.
Should people get too rowdy, explain that they may be endangering folks inadvertently, and that they should feel free to take
more militant actions elsewhere.
If no effective, legal actions are available and you choose an alternative that coincides with what affected communities want,
remember: THE POLICE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. They have two jobs: enforcing the law and protecting the state. Your
privileged status as a student goes out the window as soon as you trespass, parade without a permit, or torch NikeTown. This
means that they only negotiate to control you. Some activists refuse, for this reason, to even negotiate formally. Getting a permit
means they know where you'll be and where you'll go, and negotiation doesn’t stop them from hauling you to jail. From these
facts, we derive the 3 rules of dealing with
cops around non-permitted actions:
1. Don't talk to cops. Unless you are
protesting their violence and racism, you
are not trying to convince them, and
attempting to do so will distract you from
your message. They aren’t listening and
don’t care.
2. Don't talk to cops. Legally, they can
lie to you; you cannot lie to them. They
will make a lot of promises and give lots
of orders. Assess their power and strategy
yourself, and act on what you know.
3. Don't talk to cops. Anything you say
can be used in court, so you shouldn't
apologize for or defend your actions, or
confirm or deny accusations. Your
interaction with them if in jail should be
limited to a pretty little song that goes like
this: “I wish to remain silent (uh-huh uhhuh), and I would like to see a lawyer (oh
yeah oh yeah).”
A few more things to remember: Most charges at demonstrations are bullshit, used purely to keep you off the street for a few
hours. Masks are technically illegal in groups in New York (equivalent to a parking ticket), going limp or linking arms counts as
“resisting arrest,” and touching cops or batons is “assault” even if done defensively, so be careful unless you know you can get
away. Unless you are a very large, angry mob, they will win a fight anyways. You will not typically be arrested for tresspassing
until given a lawful order to disperse, so push the limit a bit if you think it'll be useful. Always have a legal number (see p. 19)
written on your arm if you risk arrest, and try to have media and legal observers nearby to make the cops nervous. But finally,
relax. If you panic, you will lose. A few hours in lockup won’t kill you, as they know college students can sue them.
And remember an injunction from a famous New Yorker who shut down the New York Stock Exchange and didn't go to jail
for it: “The trick is to find the things that aren't illegal yet.”
*Legal observers are trained people, often lawyers, who monitor police at demonstrations to hold them legally accountable for
brutality and civil rights violations. See Community Resources for Activists, p. 19, for contact info.

20

Where To Eat
Vegetarian Dining In “Morningside Heights” and New York City
Uptown, Harlem, and “Morningside Heights”
Strictly Roots. 2058 Seventh Ave (Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.)
@ 123rd St. Great, cheap Rastafarian food in an activist-friendly
environment.
Zen Palate. 2170 Broadway @ 77th St., 663 9th Ave. @ 46th
St., or 34 Union Sq E. @ 16th St. Mostly vegan (ask) Asian
“fusion.” Overrated, but not too expensive.
Quintessence. 566 Amsterdam Ave. @ 87th St. Raw, organic
vegan food for the neurotic new-ager in you. Expensive, but
creative.
Candle Café. 1307 3rd Ave. @ 75th St. Probably the best vegan
restaurant in the city. A variety of stuff, with good Indian dishes
and amazing dessert, although expensive.
Ayurveda Café. 706 Amsterdam Ave. @ 94th St. A fixed-price
Ayurvedic Indian menu, for $11 or so. They will hold the dairy
if you want, and it’s a great deal. They deliver if you give good
directions.
Awash. 947 Amsterdam @ 106th St. Best Ethiopian in the
Columbia area. Try combo #3, which is vegan, and a $13 meal
for two. They won’t card when you ask for the blackberry honey
wine. Mmm. Also serves carcasses.
Josie’s. 300 Amsterdam @ 74th St. Lots of vegan, some meat,
and good organic wine. American.
Ozu. 566 Amsterdam @ 87th St. Japanese Macrobiotic food,
no dairy, some fish. The desserts are over-rated, but there are
some nice, cheapish noodle dishes and soups.
Cafe Viva. 2578 Broadway @ 97th St. Vegetarian pizza, and
they deliver to Columbia (212.663.VIVA). Great non-dairy
options (pesto!), and cheese if you want prostate cancer and
bad karma.
P&W. 1030 Amsterdam @ 110th St. Vegan cookies and
sandwiches for pretty cheap.
The Tamarind Seed. 2935 Broadway @ 115th St. Locallyowned health food store with a salad bar, good sandwiches,
and a knowledgeable staff. Don’t buy the pre-made sandwiches.

Lifethyme. 2275 Broadway @ 82nd St. Health food store with
a good vegan bakery.
Healthy Pleasures. 2493 Broadway @ 93rd St. More health
food, good salad bar.
Farmer’s Market. 116th Street between Broadway and
Riverside, right across from the main gates, every Thursday
from May through December. Fresh, local produce, way better
than what you’ll get in stores. Check www.cenyc.org for
locations other days.
Midtown
Hangawi. 12 E 32nd St. between Madison & 5th Aves. Amazing,
creative, and yummy Korean food in a serene restaurant. Try
the $35 Emperor’s Meal if you have that kind of money.
Vatan. 409 3rd Ave. @ 30th St. Awesome Indian food, overdone
decor. For $23, a fantastic all-you-can eat feast. Date material.
Tell them if you don't eat dairy.
Zenith. 888 Eighth Ave. @ 53rd St. Asian fusion. Quiet and
subtly-decorated, a great place for a date if you can't afford
Hangawi. The entrees are alright, but stay for the richest vegan
cakes, fancy-restaurant style.
Downtown
4th Street Food Coop. 58 4th St. between Bowery & 2nd Ave.
“Coop” means “doesn’t screw over workers.” Good prices and
variety.
Kate’s Corner 60 Ave. B @ 4th St. Really yummy American
food, offering such favorites as Buffalo un-chicken wings and
vegan pies your Grandma wished she’d made herself.
Angelica Kitchen. 300 E 12th St. between 1st & 2nd Aves.
Upscale hippie food, with cute waitstaff. Skip the sandwiches,
buy some dessert.
Veg City Diner. 55 W 14th St. between 5th & 6th Aves. A
pseudo-diner with okay entrees, fantastic cake, and cute gay
waiters. Pretty cheap, and if you flirt, they won’t card.

21

Columbia Student Solidarity Network:
The Black List
www.columbia.edu/cu/cssn/
American Civil Liberties Union: Contact Julia Kraut jrk35@columbia.edu
Amnesty International fights against human rights abuses in the United States and abroad. Contact Steffani
Jemison spj7@columbia.edu and Katrina Seligmann ks2018@columbia.edu
Barnard/Columbia Students for Choice and Party for Choice: Jessica Alpert ja452@columbia.edu
Columbia/Barnard Earth Coalition (Earth-Co): The campus group focusing on environmental issues, EarthCo got Columbia to recycle after performing an environmental audit. We also work in coalition with groups on
other campuses to win national campaigns. Contact Simon Fischer-Baum at sjf48@columbia.edu, Angela
Barranco ab651@columbia.edu and Lauren Sacks ljs44@columbia.edu.
Columbia/Barnard Student Action Labor Coalition: We support local labor struggles, particularly ones on
campus, such as the Teaching Assistant's Union and the Support Staff unions. Contact Liz Capone-Newton
eac126@columbia.edu
Columbia Campus Greens: Contact Lauren Schwartz ls591@columbia.edu
Columbia Men Against Violence: Contact cmav@columbia.edu
Columbia Students Against Immigrant Detention: In prisons in New York and New Jersey hundreds of
immigrants are detained, sometimes for years, without legal assistance or adequate medical care, and outside
support. A new group for 2002, CSAID works to support these detainees and their families through advocacy,
direct action and fundraising. On campus, Columbia Students Against Immigrant Detention will work to educate
the Columbia community about immigrant detention through speaking events, film nights, letter writing parties
and more! Contact: Lesley Wood, ljw31@columbia.edu
Columbia Students Against Sweatshops: By changing university purchasing decisions and informing consumers,
we have helped thousands of garment and other workers win better pay and safer working conditions. We are
a part of a national network of students committed to fighting for global economic justice. www.c-sas.org/
Contact Nate nmt2002@columbia.edu or x3-7843
Feminists United on Campus: Contact Liz Budnitz ebudnitz@barnard.edu
International Socialist Organization: We believe that war and poverty are products of capitalism. We are involved
in building movements against the war, for justice in Palestine, against the criminal injustice system and link
them together to build a socialist alternative. The ISO meets Thursdays at 8pm in Hamilton Hall. Email:
sh414@columbia.edu.
Jews for Social Justice: Offers a variety of service projects and works in coalition with other groups on campaigns.
Contact Emily Kates ek532@columbia.edu and Sonja Rakowski sr2018@columbia.edu
People for Peace is the Columbia/Barnard/Morningside Heights coalition against war and racism. We stand
against all aspects of War on Terrorism, from the US's military campaigns in Afghanistan, the Philippines and
possibly Iraq, to racial profiling, attacks on our civil rights, and the grotesque military budget. We are a member
group of a nation-wide network of campus-based antiwar organization, the National Campus Antiwar Network
(www.antiwarnetwork.org). For info, email lpd23@columbia.edu
(re) Magazine Each issue is devoted to a different topic that encourages our readers to critically engage in the
world and skool themselves. Contact Steve Theberge spt31@columbia.edu and Liz Capone eac126@columbia.edu
Students for Justice In Palestine: Contact Steve Theberge spt31@columbia.edu

SPEaK, Students Promoting Empowerment and Knowledge: Founded by folks with roots in the 1996 hunger
strike and struggle that brought Latino Studies and Asian American Studies programs to Columbia, SPEaK
believes that as students, we should be active in shaping our education. We have fought for student input in the
Ethnic and Gender Studies programs, created extracurricular spaces for dialogue about identities, including
an underground student-run Native American Studies program, and curated public art exhibitions. Feel free
to send questions, ideas, feedback or information to our core committee at speak@columbia.edu
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is one of more than 200 nationwide SSDP chapters working actively to publicize
the devastating and far-reaching effects of the nation's failed and futile War on Drugs. Currently, it is fighting,
among others, mandatory minimum sentencing, the obscene proliferation of the prison-industrial complex,
Plan Colombia, disparate racist drug sentencing, police conduct and brutality, patients' right to medical
marijuana, and the 1998 Drug Provision to the National Education Act, which denied federal student aid to
more than 40,000 people last year. Now, with a Presidential Administration full of hawkish Drug Warriors,
your energy and involvement is needed more than ever. For more info, visit www.columbia.edu/cu/ssdp
Students for Environmental and Economic Justice is an activist group that pressures the Barnard and Columbia
administrations to adopt socially and environmentally responsible policies. Previous successful campaigns
have included the creation of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Committees at both Barnard and Columbia
and the availability of Fair Trade coffee on campus. If you have any questions or would like to get involved,
please contact us at seej@columbia.edu.
Take Back the Night holds a large annual march promoting an end to domestic and sexual violence, followed
by an anonymous speakout allowing community members to share their experiences. TBtN also holds workshops
and other events on safe, consensual sexuality, and on how we as a community can end rape. Contact Priscilla
Caldwell, pc391@columbia.edu
World Bank/International Monetary Fund Organizing Committee: We are organizing against the WB/IMF
meetings, September 27-28, in Washington, DC. Contact cu-breakthebank@riseup.net
United Students of Color Council: The umbrella organization for People of Color organizations on campus, the
USCC is dedicated to promoting unity among groups of color and working on joint events. Contact: Alexis
Gumbs ag976@columbia.edu and Onyi Nwoso onn1@columbia.edu

Police swarm peaceful anti-Gore demonstation outside Columbia’s offical
“Free Speech Zone,” October 2000

In the spring of 1968,
Avery Hall wasn’t only
known for its quiet
library...
Join the Columbia
Student Solidarity
Network for its
annual screening of
the documentary Columbia Revolts, a
student-made
chronicle of the
strike of 1968.
Sunday
September 22nd
7p.m.
Dodge Room of
Earl Hall

This could
have been
you.

Free
Food!

www.columbia.edu/cu/cssn

www.columbia.edu/cu/cssn

Item sets