Ethnic Studies with professors and hiring power
Major Cultures with classes on colonialism and race
responsibly through community input
Increase administrative support

This is what we are fighting for. Support the strike & sign the petition. Contact us at

Monday, December 10, 2007


Wednesday, Dec 12th. All day (STUDENTS COME AT 1:15 by TRAIN)
Hearings on Manhattanville


A Show of Strength and Solidarity with the Communities of Harlem
Students Take a Stand at the City Council public hearing on the
Columbia Expansion

Meet at the 116th and Broadway Gates at 1:15pm.
At 2pm we will be at the hearing to SHOW our support
and let the City Council know: "STUDENTS SAY: NO ONE GETS DISPLACED"

(you will be back uptown to work on finals and papers by 3pm if you
like :) and if you have music or noise makers bring them along )

Directions by train:
Take the 1, 2, 3, A or C to Chambers Street, enter through City Hall

What matters most right now is the more the better. For EVERY PERSON
who comes out the message will be louder and clearer.


Why Now?
Wednesday, is the last major hearing as part of the city process to
determine the future of West Harlem and the Columbia plan to build a
17 acre / $7bn research campus in the neighborhood of Manhattanville.
As you may know the Columbia plan has long competed with the
community's (197a) plan for the future of the neighborhood.

Most community residents believe both plans can co-exist, but in order
for that to happen, the Columbia must be accountable to the community
needs - most especially no displacement of residents in the expansion
area or the surrounding neighborhoods .

Columbia's own environmental impact study predicts that 300 people
will be directly displaced and over 3,300 people from the surrounding
Black and Latino neighborhoods will see their rents become
unaffordable because of this development - something already happening
throughout the neighborhood.

The City Council are the publicly accountable decision makers for New
Yorkers. What the City decides goes, except what gets worked out in
private negotiations and the state. This may be the last chance to
have a major student and public showing on the expansion .

What happened as of late?

You may have heard some of the recent news around the expansion and
displacement in Harlem. The 125th St zoning receiving little support
throughout the neighborhood and getting voted down by Central Harlem's
CB10 because it will destroy the character of one of America's most
important commercial streets, and the heart of Harlem. Or you have
heard about the trouble the West Harlem Local Development Corp. has
come across in negotiating with Columbia about a fair and just set of
community benefits because of the role of politicians and closed
negotiations with Columbia. Or you heard about the Hunger Strike,
which though seven students and a professor fasted for 10 days the
University administration made no concessions on the expansion,
especially around protecting tenants who will be displaced and
offering an adequate amount toward preserving and creating affordable
housing its plan will displace.

This is the last public hearing of a 7 month city review process. The
process was started during the summer, and will end during winter
break. A decision made by the University that has excluded community
residents and students alike from the process. The University made no
change to the start of the hearings when students and community
brought these concerns saying that this timing will exclude us from
the process.

What is Wednesday again?

Though this hearing falls on reading days - one of the worst times for
student participation - and at the height of the holidays - when our
neighbors should be spending time with their families - we still have
a chance to be HEARD and take ACTION!

People who want, can, have, not sure but think they should, - give two
hours of your time (1:15 - 3:15), and come down to the hearing. There
will be some visible action taking place, so the City Council knows

Meet at the 116th St. Broadway Gates - 1:15
Bring noise makers if you have

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

1986 Anti-Apartheid Hunger Strikers

Dear folks,

We are writing to support your courageous protest. We are survivors of a 14-day student hunger strike in 1986, which not only ultimately led Columbia to abandon its investments in companies doing business in South Africa but also boosted a growing national movement for divestment. In the end that helped the anti-apartheid movement prevail in South Africa.

When you act from conviction, you get the only results that count. So be strong and know that you are carrying on a proud tradition.

Let us know if there's anything you need.

Yours in solidarity,

Tony Glover
Rob Jones
Laird Townsend
Whitney Tymas

Monday, November 19, 2007

What We Just Won

What we just won: Administrative commitment to, and student involvement in, expansion of the OMA, expansion of Ethnic Studies, and transformation of Major Cultures into a seminar format on equal footing with CC and Lit Hum.

What the Next Five Years will bring is….

Ethnic Studies
For the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER):
Three senior faculty hires
Increased student participation in hiring process

Senior faculty hire for IRAAS (the Institute for Research in African American Studies)

Recruitment of a scholar in Native American Studies

Resources toward strengthened ties between CSER, IRAAS and IRWAG (the Institute for Research on Women and Gender)

Student participation in the Academic Review Committee on CSER allowing for student input in CSER's development

Office of Multicultural Affairs and Administrative Reform
Review of the OMA and the School of the Arts and Sciences to:
• Identify the unmet needs for the Office of Multicultural Affairs
• Access to the OMA for the School of General Studies
• Identify the needs for a Multicultural Affairs officer in the Arts and Sciences
• Create more safe spaces for a number of campus communities

The new location of an expanded Intercultural Resource Center will be announced and funded at the end of the semester

The Annual orientation for new faculty will include perspectives that address the power and privilege

Diversity education and training for Public Safety staff

The Core and Major Cultures
Increased student participation in the re-examining of the Core beginning this semester

Commitment to funding new Major Cultures seminars when approved by the Committee on the Core and the Task Force on Undergraduate Education

Faculty, Student and Alumni Oversight
A committee of faculty, students and alumni to ensure the progress of these concerns

We've gotten the ball rolling, Columbia. We've put these things on the table and won a commitment to raise the money so that they will actually happen. Now it's up to you, students and faculty of the entire university, to shape it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Press Release: Friday, November 16, 2007


November 16, 2007

*Tonight all remaining Columbia hunger strikers will break their fast*

Contact: Jamie Chen, Student Organizer, , 240.305.7628
Contact: David Judd, Student Organizer, , 646.326.0944
Contact: Annie Salsich, Student Organizer, , 508.314.0422
Contact: Linnea Hincks, Student Organizer, , 646.388.0603

Official website:


In response to the concerns of the Coalition to Preserve Community and prominent community members for the Columbia University hunger strikers' health, the remaining hunger strikers will break their fast at tonight's 9pm vigil. Although, at the urging of community members, they will change their form of protest, the individuals who have been on strike and those who have mobilized around this movement are committed to continuing their struggle for an ethical expansion by Columbia into West Harlem.

Negotiations on the strikers' demands relating to Columbia's expansion took place yesterday. The administration's response to student demands was patronizing, and led to nothing but a restating of the university's current positions, demonstrating continual resistance to engaging in constructive discussion with its students. Ryan Fukumori, CC'09 and a student negotiator, noted that, on the issue of expansion, "This administration is in a moral crisis when its financial interests surpass the greater needs of the community." He added, "Despite significant advancements made in the areas of administrative and curricular reform, we have unfortunately not seen the same cooperative attitude from administrators on the topic of expansion."

Community members have expressed their greatest appreciation for the student movement that escalated into a hunger strike ten days ago. The administration's appreciation for the community is less apparent: community members were asked by present officials to leave the gathering of silent observers at yesterday's negotiation. It had been agreed at student insistence that negotiations would be made public, but it had not been explicitly specified whether community members were included in this agreement.

Students maintained their resolve over their demands regarding Columbia's expansion. The points brought by students to the negotiations yesterday were compromises from the students' original positions. Demands include: that Columbia take eminent domain completely off the table; that it promise to negotiate with tenants and the Local Development Corporation rather than landlords and city politicians; and that resources be allocated to creating affordable housing for the 5035 people who are living in unsubsidized housing in the area of expansion.

Open Letter to the Administrators, from the Negotiators

Dear Administrators,

We would like to begin by reminding you how we got to this point. But first, we want to state why we're not here: we're not here because a small group of students decided to hold the university hostage. We're not here requesting a laundry list of concessions, or else. We're not here for our own selfish whims. We're here because this semester we saw hate far and wide on this campus. We heard President Bollinger the face and head of our university make inflammatory remarks. We've seen incidences of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic language in our community and we've experienced the personal attacks on Teachers College faculty in the form of swastikas and nooses. This is unacceptable in our community, but even less acceptable is the administration's lack of response. These acts and our university's inability to address them have only illuminated the vast inadequacies of this institution on numerous levels. We're here to address the ways in which this university contributes to the marginalization of communities.

How is it that students on our campus can say that other students are overreacting when they are outraged by nooses in our community? What is the responsibility of our university to provide resources to create a safe, inclusive and just campus community and responsible world citizens? We don't think our opinions differ so vastly on these points.

What we have laid out are ways we believe we can encourage this university to be accountable to its students and community, and specifically how we can (re)envision a process, administration, and university that will lead to this safe, just and inclusive community we imagine.

Unfortunately (re)imagining the process by which we operate is not simple and unfortunately it can not be satisfied by placing checkmarks next to a laundry list of requests. Further, considering the significant difference of power between students and administrators, it is rather unfair and impractical to expect us to trust that these concerns and commitments will be followed through on without having the proposals and time tables by which these commitments will be implemented. We see our current agreements over the document as a first step in ensuring our trust in the process as we move forward.

As to those many places where we have not made agreements or where we must defer to faculty, reviews and other processes, we would simply like emphasize the importance of the blue ribbon oversight committee proposed and agreed upon. It is simply unfair to expect students to become experts on the complexities of your bureaucratic system. In the future when approached with proposals, as we have in the past, we would ask you to tell us what you can do within your purview, if our proposals don't work, to help us to make our vision for what this community can be a reality.

We would hope that your commitment to our community would extend beyond the discrete proposals we have made- beyond, even, the discrete issues we have brought up to truly interrogate how you can use your power to play a role in affecting change at every level of this institution. We expect this to be a starting point, not an end point, but we need to see that this is understood by your side as well.

Just to reiterate this clearly, the student organizing in the past weeks was not just about how many hires we can get out of this process or specifically how much funding we can secure. Rather it should have been about you coming to us and saying "I may not be able to do this but I can call a meeting" or "I can start making calls to donors" or "I can have this or that discussion with the relevant administrators."

Please understand that this is about being able to see your commitment for a new vision of our community in a tangible way, not trying to coerce you into acquiescing to some self-interested and un-negotiable demands. In that spirit, we hope that you yourselves will, in the future, be making recommendations to students above and beyond our own to make our community a safer more inclusive place, but we'll leave that to you for now.

Rahel Aima, CC'10
Yadira Alvarez, CC'10
Desiree Carver-Thomas, CC'09
Ryan Fukumori, CC'09
Vivian Lu, CC'10
Andrew Lyubarsky, CC'09
Sam Rennebohm, GS'09
Julie Schneyer, BC'08
Andrew Tillett-Saks, CC'09
Christien Tompkins, CC'08
with the concerned students organizing around the hunger strike and demands of Autumn 2007

Joint Statement from Administrators and Students

Any successful negotiation results in an agreement that enables both sides to claim victory. In this case, however, there is only one winner and one side, because we all share the same commitment to building a better Columbia.

The administration recognizes the deep seriousness of the student strikers' commitment to institutional changes that will reduce the marginalization experienced by some of our communities and enhance inclusiveness for all.

The students recognize the strength of the administration's commitment to advancing change through the channels that represent the interests of the whole Columbia community.

We have worked hard together to bring these two imperatives into complementary relationship and we are confident we have succeeded.

Coming to this agreement has required a great amount of trust; trust that we must continue to build and sustain together.

Press Release: Coalition to Preserve Community, 11/16/07

A response to CPC's concerns will be released shortly and presented at tonights vigil, 9pm at the sundial.

***** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/16/07 *****


Tom DeMott: 917-969-0669
Nellie Bailey: 646-812-5188
Luis Tejada: 212 234-3002

Five days ago, on November 11, the Coalition to Preserve Community (CPC), a four-year old West Harlem community group opposing the Columbia University expansion plan, asked the Columbia students who had been on a hunger strike since Wednesday, November 7, to withdraw their demand that the University recall its 197C rezoning application. They rejected our request at that time, but today we are asking them again.

We do not want the students' health and welfare to be sacrificed in waiting on Columbia to engage in an honest dialogue and negotiation with the community on the rezoning application. For that to happen, President Bollinger and the Board of Trustees would have to respect the ten points raised by the Community Board as necessary to bring the Columbia plan into conformity with the community plan. The students are correct when they say that this could be accomplished, and they have done a great job bringing the true nature of Columbia's eviction plan out in the open, but we have all seen over the past five days that Columbia is stonewalling them, as it has stonewalled the community, on this issue.

The students attempted to focus in on six points concerning the expansion, and Columbia would not even make the basic commitment to negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement exclusively with the Local Development Corporation. This refusal reveals Columbia’s underhanded strategy of dealing with elected officials in back-door 11th-hour negotiations in order to circumvent the comprehensive demands developed on LDC committees by grassroots people. Columbia and its politicians want to sweep the work of community members under the rug and invent some last minute deal that will be put forth as purported "mitigation" of the devastation the Columbia plan will wreak in the community. The students should not starve themselves any longer trying to change this bought-and-paid-for scenario. It is clear that the fix is in regarding Manhattanville.

We have supported the advocacy efforts of the students on their other important demands for a democratic and inclusive education and those talks have been concluded. We will continue to work with them as we advocate for real community planning that does not cause displacement nor depend on the use of eminent domain.

Coalition members are extremely concerned for the well-being of the students. Having dealt with the Columbia administration for four years on its proposed expansion plans, the CPC is fully aware of Low Library's intransigence, deceitfulness, and cold-blooded ruthlessness. Accordingly, the CPC calls upon the students to withdraw their demand regarding Columbia's 197C application with its reliance on bulldozing a community and eminent domain and to concentrate on their other advocacy.

The striking students and their supporters will be conducting a vigil and press conference tonight at the sundial on the Columbia campus at Broadway and 116th Street.