Students storm library to denounce conservative 'hate speech'
- About 20 members of the "Liberation Coalition" at Columbia University stormed the school library to denounce the school for "giving a platform to white supremacists" by allowing conservative speakers on campus.
- The protesters also called for "decolonization" of the curriculum, demanding that professors assign more readings from "marginalized people: black people, women of color, trans people."
A group of roughly 20 students stormed the Columbia University library Wednesday to protest the College Republicans for bringing conservative speakers to campus.
Most recently, the Columbia University College Republicans (CUCR) group has hosted events featuring Dennis Prager, Ann Coulter, and Anthony Scaramucci.
Footage filmed by The Columbia Spectator shows members of the Liberation Coalition occupying the library staircase while holding signs proclaiming “Decolonize Columbia” and “Divest from White Supremacy Now.”
“Dear students, what is anti-Black racism?” yells one student. “Can any student in this room right now tell me what anti-Black racism is? Ivy League! Ivy League! How does anti-Black racism play a role in what’s happening now?”
The man then goes on to explain what is meant by “Decolonize Columbia,” explaining that “decolonization involves paying attention to what happened in the past; paying attention to the land you're standing on; paying attention to the cultures, the people.”
Decolonization also involves the curriculum, the man says, noting that “Almost all of the readings, are white men” and insisting that professors should assign an “equitable amount of literature…from marginalized people: black people, women of color, trans people.”
Though no explicit reference to the College Republicans was made during the brief occupation—after which the protesters departed at the request of security—the Liberation Coalition had marketed the protest as an opportunity to fight against “hate speech” in the days leading up to the protest.
“Columbia's actions last October—giving a platform to white supremacists and seeking to punish students for protesting them—was not an isolated incident,” noted one Facebook post by the Liberation Coalition, referring to a College Republicans event that hosted Mike Cernovich.
As Campus Reform reported at the time, Cernovich was shouted down by student protesters as he attempted to lecture by Skype, and the students who helped organize the event were targeted by flyers put up by the NYC Antifacist Action (Antifa) group.
Though no students were forced to attend Cernovich’s lecture, the Liberation Coalition contends that the “violent hate speech Columbia forced its students to endure in Fall of 2017 was only made possible by a university shaped, more fundamentally, by white supremacy.”
The Liberation Coalition formed shortly after CUCR announced its speaker series last fall, but has largely been quiet since. The group’s mission statement lists a number of demands, including the removal of the school’s Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton statues, as well as free tuition for Black and Indigenous students.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen