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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Statement of Solidarity: Prof. Robin D.G. Kelley

I’m writing in support of student demands for a change in the core curriculum, administrative reform, support for a stronger, expanded and more autonomous Ethnic Studies program, and a more equitable and just policy toward communities in Harlem. These demands grow out of years of thinking and struggle on Columbia’s campus, dating back at least to the formation of Ethnic Studies eleven years ago, if not before. Indeed, during my brief tenure on the faculty at Columbia University, I recall spending most of my time battling on these same fronts—attending meetings “re-thinking” the core curriculum; trying to get faculty and students to understand how Columbia’s expansion plan into West Harlem will destroy local communities; figuring out how to keep CSER afloat on a miniscule budget, mostly junior faculty, and no authority to make unilateral appointments. And, of course, we dealt with racist, sexist, and homophobic incidents on campus.

I do hope everyone—the administration, the faculty, and students who might be reluctant to support the strike—understands that the hunger strikes and the movement of which they are a part are offering a vision that would make Columbia University a better place. In struggle they have created a blueprint for what all institutions of learning (higher or otherwise) ought to aspire to be. And that is, a safe place for all students irrespective of difference, a place where knowledge is expansive and challenging, a place that engages, supports and partners with it’s neighbors rather than steam rolls over them, and an institution that places social justice at its core.

Robin D. G. Kelley
Professor of History and American Studies and Ethnicity
University of Southern California