Columbia University, NY - Columbia students' lack of tolerance for viewpoints other than their own was made obvious by their recent outburst at Columbia University. In actions reminiscent of KKK tactics, student disrupters yelled insults and stormed the stage to prevent black speaker Marvin Stewart and Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist from engaging in open discussion at a campus event scheduled by the Republican Club.
Student bullies gave Columbia a nationwide black eye, which led many to call for a boycott of donations and applications to the Ivy League school.
Why did campus police stand by and do nothing, as personal and racial slurs were shouted while Minuteman Director Marvin Stewart attempted to give his presentation?
"Oh my, yes, and that's not all," Stewart said, when asked if the embargoed "N-word" had been used. "You'd have thought that I'd accidentally stumbled into a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, not an American University lecture hall!" Stewart, who is the Director of Community Affairs for the Minuteman Project, has held a seat on California's University Board of Regents.
Unlike NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg's clear statements denouncing the students' violent actions and disruption, and urging President Bollinger to take action to protect free speech and the university's standing, Columbia President Lee Bollinger appears to be AWOL with respect to meaningful response to the incident. Although there was abundant video and photographic coverage of the event, which clearly showed the leaders and participants in the major riot, no arrests, suspensions, or other penalties have been announced.
Had campus police been instructed to "stand down," in the event of a protest? Certainly, their lack of action in controlling the crowd during Stewart's speech helped embolden the thugs who stormed the stage.
Where's Bollinger? Where are the investigations and arrests? If the Minutemen had similarly stormed a Chicano Caucus (one of the groups involved) event, can anyone doubt that enforcement would have been severe, and investigation and punishment immediate?
Clearly, free speech was not on the agenda of the hooligans who interrupted the evening with shouts, insults, and banners in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Nor is it likely to be in the future, without strong disciplinary action by Columbia administrators. Again, we are forced to ask, "why?"
The Minuteman Project intends to return to Columbia University. They are committed to finishing the meeting which was so uncivilly interrupted. Their message, according to spokesmen, remains that of peaceful citizen participation to assist with responsible administration of U.S. immigration laws, starting with secure borders. The Minuteman Project is neither racist, nor violent, despite the hysterical claims of the groups involved in the disruption at Columbia. Factual information on The Minuteman Project is available at www.minutemanproject.com
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