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

Friday, November 16, 2007

Statement of Solidarity: Sakib Khan

Sakib Khan is an alum of Columbia University, former Chair of the Student Governing Board and former President of the Muslim Students Association.


As an alum of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, I write in solidarity with those taking and supporting direct action. The need for direct action has been a long time coming, and I am inspired by the sacrifice of the strikers. They continue Columbia's proudest tradition, selflessly speaking truth to power, no matter the personal expense. I wish the expense was less, but in my experience and in the experience of countless others, the administrations of the University, Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science have, both jointly and separately, neglected to respect more conventional communication.

The University and its schools exercise their powers in a manner that systematically marginalizes people of color. Development powers, curricular powers, faculty-hiring and tenure-granting powers and student life powers are among those abused at the expense of neighbors, faculty, and students. The most troubling instance of this abuse of power might be the University's refusal to incorporate the principles of its neighbors' own plans for the future of Manhattanville. Here, the University chooses to unilaterally reject the community's rightful input on neighborhood development (197A) simply because land use laws allow marginalization. If expansion is to be successful, Columbia must invest in a campaign of inclusion and empowerment, not just capital.

None of these abuses--development, curricular, faculty hiring/tenure, student life--are intentional. However, the University and its schools have persisted without significantly changing their approach to power in the face of multiple race-related scandals each year for the last several years. The University and its schools have persisted without change in the face of 5 hate crimes in a 4 week span. The University and its schools have persisted without change in the face of local, national, and international media attention. Most importantly, the University and its schools have persisted without change in the face of years of cautioning, advocacy, negotiation, and protest by concerned neighbors, faculty, students and alumni. Their persistence is repulsive and unbecoming of a well-regarded institution.

However, without darkness, we would not know the light. Without obstacle, we would not learn the power of struggle. I hope that each of the strikers and their supporters takes time to reflect on the education they receive through struggle. Sadly, marginalized people coming together and taking direct action is a rare occurrence. It is among the most unique and valuable experiences they will have at

I pray that further escalation is not needed, but that if it proves necessary, then that it is brief and successful. I pray for the health, strength, and faith of all involved in making a more responsible and moral Columbia. God willing, their sacrifice will pay dividends for us all.

“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him correct it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart." -Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him)

Peace to you all,
Sakib Khan SEAS '07