Columbia newspaper refuses to publish Republican op-ed

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • The Columbia Spectator has run multiple articles about protests against speakers invited to campus by the College Republicans.
  • However, it has not published any articles about a series of flyers that doxed members of the College Republicans, including an op-ed by the group's President, Ari Boosalis.
  • The Columbia University student newspaper has declined to publish an op-ed written by Ari Boosalis, the president of the school’s College Republicans group.

    In an opinion submission to The Columbia Spectator obtained by Campus Reform, Boosalis sought to raise awareness of how his club members were doxed by NYC and how the targeting of conservatives on college campuses shows that free speech might be “dead.”

    "[The editors] did not find in your piece a new argument that adds this nuance to the current conversation [on campus free speech]."   

    “Recently at Columbia University, a student who is part of Antifa placed a flyer on the door of my residence hall that targeted me as President of the Columbia University College Republicans,” Boosalis began, adding that the flyer included his full name and photo.

    [RELATED: VIDEO: Antifa takes on Columbia College Republican board]

    “This action can be considered as libel and harassment, but it concerns a much larger issue that I wish to address: the suppression of ideas and dialogue on college campuses today,” Boosalis added.

    As Campus Reform previously reported, the NYC Antifa branch claimed responsibility for posting the flyers, which were initially seen in public areas of campus. Students also joined in, it seems, as some flyers have also been seen in buildings on campus that are only accessible to students.

    The Columbia Spectator’s news section has not reported on any of the Antifa flyers, and it is unclear whether the administration has investigated them. Although the flyers were brought to the school’s attention multiple times, Columbia never announced a formal investigation.

    When reached by Campus Reform, a Columbia University spokesperson claimed that investigations are confidential, if they ever occur.

    [RELATED: Columbia drops investigation of student protesters] 

    However, this does not appear to be a consistently applied rule. In the past few years, the Columbia University administration has been transparent about harassment investigations, sometimes even encouraging students who may know something to speak up.

    For example, in February 2017, multiple East Asian students had their door tags torn down, in a potential act of racial bias. In response, the university announced a formal investigation, and the associate dean of multicultural affairs sent an email to all Columbia students to encourage them to speak out if they had information on the incident.

    No similar administrative outreach or investigation appears to have happened after Columbia Republicans were targeted by student Antifa members. Columbia spokespersons did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the apparent discrepancy.

    If his article had been accepted, Boosalis’s op-ed would have been the very first article published in a campus newspaper to shed light on the Antifa flyers that doxed all 7 members of the Columbia Republicans board.

    [RELATED: Columbia newspaper silent after College Republicans doxing]

    Instead, Octavio Galaviz, the lead editor of the opinion section, rejected the op-ed. Galviz, who uses they/them pronouns, argued that the editors “did not find in your piece a new argument that adds this nuance to the current conversation [on campus free speech].”

    Galaviz also did not offer to let Boosalis revise his article, which is a common concession that is often offered to other students whose op-eds are initially rejected.

    Galaviz did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

    Since the beginning of the semester, The Columbia Spectator has published at least five op-eds critical of the Columbia University College Republicans (CUCR), including “CUCR and the privilege of unaccountability” and “Is CUCR Afraid of Free Speech.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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