Keep the activism comin’
Two stories in the paper lately draw a stark contrast between Columbia’s activist past and our passive present. Yesterday, members of Spectator’s opinion section chronicled recent reactions by Columbia students to student activism.
Many of the pieces linked in this article talked at length about the recent Barnard fliering drama where administrators eventually capitulated in the face of unified student opposition. Why did this issue warrant such attention? Because it’s the first time in a long while that one could locate any trace of successful activism on the part of the student body.
Yet, introducing these series of articles was a picture of the April 29 edition of Spectator, chronicling the student siege of Hamilton Hall. What happened to us, CU? We used to take over buildings when we didn’t like school policy! Now, when student government takes a stand over something it warrants three opinion pieces?
That brings me to the second story, where Sammy Roth reports that Dean Valentini supports the disclosure of exactly how CU uses the $1,394 student life fee it demands from all students.
Why is this news? Because Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger does not support this disclosure, saying he doesn’t “want to get into the debate of students saying, ‘Out of my $1,396, I don’t want X amount going to athletics because I don’t go to any of the games or work out at the gym.’”
This is equivalent to a politician saying they won’t tell you how your tax money is spent because they don’t want to get into an argument about what does or doesn’t constitute a necessary service.
Yes, debates are no fun, especially if it means you might not ultimately get to do whatever you want with the money, but ultimately not wasting other people’s money on something they don’t want is sort of a key part of your job.
So the question, Columbia students, is: Are we going to take this type of thing sitting down? Or are we going to channel the power of our 1960s hippie ancestors and boogie on down to our next government meeting in order to fix this problem? It looks like we’re just starting to find our activist voice again—let’s keep it up.
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