Ivies under attack for sexual assault policies

Ah, springtime at an Ivy: students descend on the quad, thesis writers emerge from their caves, and — best of all — high school seniors attack campus with naïveté, un-jaded excitement, and a myriad of questions all boiling down to: Can my host get me alcohol? Is this the school for me?

Columbia’s first Days on Campus program — prospective student visiting weekend — for the Class of 2018 began today. Prospies were treated with a beautiful spring day and  blue and white balloons blanketing College Walk. But they’re also getting another dose of classic Columbia: protests.

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BROWN: Getting Frisky For Spring Weekend

This week, Brown revealed a hodgepodge lineup for their April 11-12th Spring Weekend (clever name): Lauryn Hill, Diplo, Chance the Rapper, and Andrew Bird. Shortly thereafter, students began making preparations for the event, namely in the form of personalized bro-tank. And everyone knows there’s no better way to celebrate your inner bro than reppin’ the biggest campus controversy of the year.

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Princeton Declares War on Hummus, Campus Is like WTF

Leave it to the Ivy League to turn a chickpea spread into a point of political outrage. Princeton’s Undergraduate Student Government has decided that Sabra Hummus–you know, the stuff that can single-handedly turn your dorm-room grubfest into a classy cocktail party–should no longer be sold in university stores. Why? Because Sabra is apparently sending free hummus to Israeli military outfits that have been accused of human rights violations.

Let us quickly interject to say: oh, come on. It’s HUMMUS, people. You’re living on a college campus surrounded by NGO pamphlets and FreeRice.com, and this is the most egregious ethical evil you could find? If you’re really that bored, go picket American Apparel or something. Leave the late-night snacks alone.

At any rate, the Princeton Student Government should really know better than to mess with (a) students with strong opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and (b) vegans. If you stand still for long enough, both types will start eying you hungrily. Either that, or they’ll start a Facebook group to take you down, which is exactly what the creators of the “Save the Hummus!–Vote Against the Sabra Hummus Boycott” group have done. As of this morning, the group had over 1600 members.

IvyGate contacted the group founders for comment, and they put us off until tomorrow (expect an update then). But behold a slice of their Facebook page, which includes a long list of reasons why a Sabra boycott is totally effing stupid:

…we think it absurd to suggest that supporting a company that sends care packages to Israeli soldiers is indirect support for war crimes.

5. Context is critical here. This boycott unfairly targets Israel. We’re not seeing an attempt, for example, to boycott products which somehow support the Saudi government despite its truly widespread human rights abuses. And even were the student body to deem boycotts targeted at Israeli goods to be acceptable, where would this stop? Would we boycott Microsoft, Intel, Victoria’s Secret, and other mainstream companies based heavily in Israel? Surely the student body is not willing to take this misguided effort to its logical conclusion.

Ha, like Princeton could ever boycott Victoria’s Secret. Infallible logic right there.

Frankly, both of these groups could probably benefit from a few horse tranquilizers. But since the fat’s in the fire at this point, we’re more interested to see whether people start flinging carrots and pita at each other. Fight! Fight! Fight!

Update: We’ve added the link to the anti-hummus Facebook page, for all you folks who like to play fair. With any luck, there will soon be an anti-anti-hummus and a pro-anti-hummus page as well (nothing makes a shitshow like a few good Facebook factions).

I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed By… What, Exactly?

6a00d83451fc5a69e200e55070c0758833-800wiA tipster points us to Keep Building Brown, a mysterious/compelling site put together in darkness by a team of (we guess) Brunonians. The site is vaguely Marxist, but at a kind of ninth-grader-reading-The Communist Manifesto-in-Starbucks level; it says that students in Ivy League schools are all alienated from their labor as simultaneous “producers,” “consumers,” and “products.” Well, hm! Citing finals period as a time when students’ deference to the machine-like nature of university labor is especially cast into relief, the Brown Builders write:

Sure, some of us are more productive than others – and that’s what college is about: finding your place in the division of labor, picking your path, and gathering skills to make you a more effective cog in the machine.

It’s too bad that all the people behind Keep Building Brown get nothing more out of their travails than the sense that they are, personally, victims of some Matrix-like enterprise meant to keep them crushed under the boot. While finals are, yes, regimented, these people will have had four years of pursuing whatever it is that they enjoy, likely on someone else’s dime, responsible only for passing. Brown is many things, but an “assembly line of knowledge” only rings true for a reader who has never thought about the lives of people who work on assembly lines.

Along similar lines, Bwog reports that a very … poetic … poem recited by a “Students for a Radical Democracy” course forced a Public Safety intervention. An excerpt:

Columbia, Columbia!  I’m forever shouting your name but you’re hard of hearing.  In fact, I’m howling your name into the darkness at night as I collapse over my books, strung out, frantic even.

Tom Wolfe couldn’t write it better. But what change do these students want? The Brown kids link to The Coming Insurrection, which portends spookiness until you realize that the Keep Building Brown method of affecting change is a website with language so convoluted that for 10 minutes, I thought they were praising Brown. And the Columbians — who were, ironically, removed from the Low Library steps by the very security workers with whose plight they identify — will live to recite poetry another day. We’ve known many kids who lived in a state of nebulous protest, many of whom have graduated. Half of them live with their parents; the other half are in consulting.

“Noble Freedom Warriors”: Columbia Libertarians to Protest Fed Res Tomorrow

Of all nutty student activists, libertarians are by far my favorite. They’re like an ideological parody of the Ivy League, whatwith the ruthless individualism, brute competition, and strict adherence to ECON101. They also have the most awesomely grandiose rhetoric on their side, for which we now turn to the Columbia College Libertarians, who have an exciting protest planned for tomorrow:

From: [redacted]@columbia.edu
Date: Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 8:13 PM
Subject: [CCL] Libertarians Meeting MONDAY at 9:00 PM
To: [redacted]@columbia.edu

Noble Freedom Warriors,

Our second meeting of the year will be Monday (tomorrow) at 9:00 PM in 315 Hamilton. We will be elaborating on plans for the year and voting on a change to the club’s constitution, followed by the regular discussion.

Also, if any of you are free in the afternoon, there will be a protest at the NY Federal Reserve at 4:45 PM.  Email us ASAP if you plan on attending.  The press will be there.  I’ll include the details at the end of the email.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Protest details — including costume requirements, as described by some guy named “Dallas Moorhead” — after the jump.

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Columbia Student Group May Be Overseas Extension of Communist Regime

communism-chinaThe long-named Columbia University Chinese Student and Scholars Association: United for China’s Peaceful Rising (CUCSSA) has taken the stance, as of a few weeks ago, that “Anyone who offends China will be executed no matter how far away they are!” and said so on their website for all to see. That’s what ‘peaceful rising’ means in Mandarin, right? Someone translate for me.

Luckily for most of us, the Epoch Times tells us that ‘anyone’ just means Falun Gong practitioners. The Columbia University Falun Dafa Club is understandably upset. This was only the latest escalation in CUCSSA’s extremist rhetoric in the months since the Falun Dafa Club hosted a panel discussion in April about China’s spotty human rights record.

The April panel, titled “China’s New Genocide-Organ Harvesting from Live Falun Gong Practitioners,” caused an indignant CUCSSA to try to take disruptive action. They were not yet at the death-threat stage, instead:

The CUCSSA responded by sending out an email to its members the night before that referred to using “flags dyed red in blood to beat” the “high spirits” of Falun Gong. The email also repeated slanders of Falun Gong typically used in the Chinese regime’s propaganda.

The Falun Dafa Club received a copy of the inflammatory e-mail and Columbia University police were on hand the next day when 20 to 30 CUCSSA members showed up carrying large red flags, which they were forced to leave outside the lecture hall.

During the panel discussion CUCSSA students held up small placards attacking Falun Gong using terms borrowed from the Chinese regime’s anti-Falun Gong propaganda, flew paper airplanes in the direction of the speakers, and in other ways acted in a disruptive manner. Two students from the CUCSSA group were prevented from reentering the lecture hall because of their inappropriate behavior.

First question: Were the red flags actually dyed in blood? All of your questions answered after the break. Read the rest of this entry »

Princetonian ‘Joke’ Issue Shows Knack for Subtle Social Commentary

<em>Princetonian</em> 'Joke' Issue Shows Knack for Subtle Social CommentaryWe knew there was a reason we hadn’t yet written about Jian Li, the high school senior who sued filed a civil rights complaint against Princeton for discrimination after they rejected his early application. (He claims they held his Asian ethnicity against him.) And boy are we glad we waited, since now he can probably add the Daily Princetonian as a defendant.

In yesterday’s annual “joke” issue, the Prince ran, among other laughlaughsigh satires, an op-ed by one “Lian Ji” titled, “Princeton University is racist against me, I mean, non-whites.” “Hi Princeton! Remember me?” it starts off. “I so good at math and science. Perfect 2400 SAT score. Ring bell?” Having upturned that modest divet, they keep digging for another 550 or so words:

“What is wrong with you no color people? Yellow people make the world go round. We cook greasy food, wash your clothes and let you copy our homework. Brown people are catching up, too but not before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”

WOW. I mean, wow. After the year that brought us the Dartmouth Review Native American flap and Yale Rumpus’ “Me Love You Long Time” ado, it’s as if someone just pushed reset. Let’s see that again! There should really be an award for the student(s) who, every year, think they will be the ones to transcend racism by displaying it in its crudest form. And who, every year, make utter fools of themselves (and learn that irony isn’t a defense). So kind of them not to spell it “Orympics.”

If this doesn’t blow up in their faces, it’s by the grace of God. Princetonian Editor-in-Chief Chanakya Sethi ’07 told us he was “aware there were concerns” about the piece, but hasn’t heard any direct complaints yet. Then again, students are in reading week. “If there are people who are concerned, I’m concerned,” he said.

The best part is, the people responsible for running it — the outgoing board, Sethi included — won’t even have to deal with the (still hypothetical) fallout. The hate mail, the meetings with deans, the sensitivity training seminars — all will fall squarely on the shoulders of their successors. Thanks, fellas. It’s been fun. Don’t let the picketers hit you in the ass on the way out.

P.S. — The Globe‘s must-read Brainiac had this first.

Dartmouth Review Delicately Enters Native American Debate

<em>Dartmouth Review</em> Delicately Enters Native American DebatePop quiz: You run a conservative campus publication. Tensions over Native American marginalization have been brewing for some time. Do you a) ignore the issue, b) address it as delicately as possible, or c) publish a 3,500-word philippic accusing the offended group of hypersensitivity and self-victimization inside an edition the cover of which depicts an Indian holding aloft a scalp?

If you picked (c), congratulations. We hope you enjoy your time on the Dartmouth Review editorial board.

Slow clap, fellas. Way to alienate everyone who might maybe have agreed with some of your points. Any reasonable points you may have made have been vaporized.

Members of Native Americans of Dartmouth (a student group with an unfortunate acronym) protested outside the Review offices at Dartmouth Hall yesterday. The AP quotes President James Wright telling the crowd:

“Like an open wound Dartmouth is hurting — we have all been insulted. … My Dartmouth, our shared Dartmouth, is one that condemns the deliberate mean-spiritedness that was demonstrated in the publication that was released yesterday.”

What did Daniel Linsalata, the piece’s author, have to say about the complaints by American Indian students, after such vivid condemnation across the board for his insensitivity? “They’re out for blood, so to speak.” Zing! Take that, Geronimo! Now go weave Dan some rugs.

Cartoon Scandals So Hot Right Now

Cartoon Scandals So Hot Right Now

Cartoon Scandals So Hot Right NowAs the Crimson‘s cartoon woes drift downriver, Dartmouth’s are just rounding the bend. But this time the comic isn’t plagiarized — it’s insensitive.


It started with Nietzsche. Drew Lerman ’10 drew a comic for Monday’s paper depicting the philosopher coaching a frat boy on how to take advantage of a drunk girl. A few readers concluded that the cartoon advocates rape and proceeded to burn copies of The Dartmouth outside the paper’s offices. Here’s Caroline Kerr ’05 in a Tuesday op-ed:

Where does The Dartmouth draw the line? Would a picture of a black student being lynched from Baker Tower make it into the comics? How about a group of students from Hillel being marched off to a gas chamber under a giant swastika?

A staff editorial in the same edition responded that the comic, while racy, “does not fall under the category of hate speech” and shouldn’t be censored. The university’s Student Assembly issued a strongly-worded statement Tuesday night questioning The Dartmouth‘s journalistic integrity. (Full text after the jump).

Misunderstood social commentary? Masculist hate crime? We’re gonna safely go with neither. The joke isn’t funny enough to be excusable, and the misinterpretation — that Nietzsche advocates rape — is too absurd to be offensive. We’re not sure where this lies on the overreact-o-meter either, but there are two things we never underestimate: 1) a college cartoonist’s ability to botch a joke, and 2) a campus’s inability to spot one.

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Columbia Shock, Outrage, Etc: The Video

Aaaand there’s video. Free speech or the shutdown thereof? Judge for yourself, then go berzerk here: