Eight days ago, on 4/14, courageous students with Columbia Divest for Climate Justice began sitting in at Low Library on the Columbia campus to demand that CU President Lee Bollinger recommend to the Board of Trustees that the university begin the process of divesting its holdings from fossil fuel companies. This after years of education and advocacy efforts on campus for fossil fuel divestment.
PLEASE COME OUT TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 5 PM FOR AN IMPROMPTU RALLY TO SHOW C.U. THAT WE SUPPORT THE SIT-IN AND THE STUDENTS’ DEMANDS — Gather in front of the statue of Alma Mater, at Low Library on the main campus of Columbia University, W. 116th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam. Bring signs expressing support for Columbia Divest for Climate Justice.
Please visit the Columbia Divest for Climate Justice Facebook page and express your support: https://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaDivestforClimateJustice/
*** Please take a few moments to EMAIL PRESIDENT BOLLINGER to request that he follow his students’ leadership (rather than threatening them with suspension and expulsion), and begin the divestment process. Email to Bollinger: https://columbia-divest.squarespace.com/email-prezbo
The young are leading. For more background:
We, a collection of faculty members at Columbia University, support the student members of Columbia Divest for Climate Justice (CDCJ) currently occupying Low Library. We demand that they be protected against suspension and expulsion, and that you directly and immediately engage with CDCJ members rather than through intermediary university delegates.
You have said before that it is the administration’s duty to act on demands that have “campus consensus.” The students occupying Low Library have received widespread support from the campus community since the beginning of their action–the Student Governing Board, Columbia College Student Council, and nineteen other student groups have released statements speaking out against the threats of disproportionate punishment with which protesters have been threatened.
Last night, Rules Administrator Suzanne Goldberg wrote a letter to the seven students occupying Low, claiming that, “the sanction of suspension is what I anticipate assessing to be most relevant for the University Judicial Board to consider.” Such a statement is outside of Professor Goldberg’s authority as Rules Administrator, as it is the role of the University Judicial Board to determine sanctions for students in violation of the Rules of Conduct. Furthermore, we consider suspension and expulsion disproportionately severe punishments for a nonviolent act of civil disobedience. With its rich legacy of student activism, Columbia claims to value and promote free speech; it would be a violation of these beliefs to suspend or expel students simply for seeking action from their administration.
Professor Goldberg’s email also said that “the President will not meet with an organization whose members are in active violation of University rules.” Given Professor Goldberg’s role as Rules Administrator, we find that it is inappropriate and unproductive for her to be the channel of communication between you and students. As such, we urge you to directly engage with CDCJ members by meeting with them in person, as you had previously indicated you would.
More than 150 CU faculty