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 2, 2007

Student Activism Timeline

FALL 2007 -- Columbia announces the largest Capital Campaign of its time, with a goal of raising $4 billion. Students from a number of campus organizations come together an in attempt to create student input in where these fund go.

APR 15, 2007 -- Students in Ethnic Studies release a report on the state of the programs at Columbia and how they compare with peer institutions, recommending a department for Ethnic Studies.

FEB 15, 2007 – The Columbia Coalition Against the War 300 students walk out and hold a teach-in against the continued war in Iraq and future U.S. military aggression.

OCT 4, 2006 -- The Columbia College Republics invites the founder and head of the Minutemen Project, Jim Gilcrhist to speak on campus. The group is a vigilante organization that ‘patrols’ the Mexico/US border harassing, detaining, and shooting migrants. He was meet by protesters from throughout the city and inside Roone Arledge several students went on stage to unfurl a banner where they were responded to by blows from the Minutemen. Several censures were dealt out by the University, only to Latino students who were involved.

SPRING 2006 -- A student returned to her dorm in Ruggles to anti-homophobic, racist and anti-semetic graffiti. Students organized a response under the adhoc group Stop Hate on Columbia’s Campus, with demands for the university’s response to hate crimes, funding for intercultural programming, and university advisors for the queer community.

SPRING 2006 -- Students organizing Financial Aid Reform (FAiR), culminating in a week long demonstration that guaranteed the elimination of loans for students from families earning under $50,000 a year.

SPRING 2005 -- A film, Columbia Unbecoming, released by the David Project levels accusations against professors in the Middle East Asian Language and Culture department. The professors were found not at fault, but this causes the leave of several faculty and silencing of the debate on the Israel/Palestine conflict.

SPRING 2004 -- A comic strip, “Blacky Fun Whitey” released in the Fed during Black Heritage Month sparks a week of protest against racism on campus. The Columbia Concerned Students of Color demand what becomes the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

FALL 2003 -- Columbia announces plans to create a 17 acre campus expanding into West Harlem. The plan is meet with opposition from the community who worked for the previous 15 years on their own development plan for the neighborhood.

SPRING 2003 -- 500 students walk out against the war in Iraq. The largest anti-war showing since the first gulf war began. A university professor who spoke out against the war was meet with death threats and national outcry against his criticisms.

APRIL 1, 1996 -- Four students pitch a tent in the center of campus and begin a hunger strike, demanding that Columbia University establish a department of Ethnic Studies and reorganize its Western-oriented core curriculum. These protest led to the creation of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, majors in Asian American, Latino, more funding for African American studies and the list C Major Cultures option.

DEC. 14, 1992 -- About 150 students demonstrate at Hamilton Hall to protest the university's plans to turn the Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X was assassinated, into a biomedical research center. These protest lead to negotiations for a Malcolm X memorial and employment opportunities for Harlem residents.

APRIL 6, 1990 -- Several Columbia Law School Students end an overnight sit-in at the dean's office to protest a lack of racial minorities, women and homosexuals on the faculty. Gaining more women, LGBTQ and faculty of color.

APRIL 13, 1989 -- About 200 students occupy part of the law school's main building to protest the feared closure of a clinic that offers free legal help to the victims of AIDS discrimination and practical experience for credit to the students who represent them.

APRIL 21, 1987 -- Fifty people, including an assistant professor and two alumni, are arrested during a daylong demonstration to protest racism. Nine arrests occur when almost 70 people chain themselves to the doors of two of the three main entrances to Hamilton Hall. The protest stemmed from complaints by black students about the university's inaction in disciplining four white students accused of attacking black students and shouting racial epithets. These protest lead to the creation of the Intercultural Resource Center.

APRIL 25, 1985 -- Students, along with some faculty and staff members, end a three-week sit-in on the front steps of Hamilton Hall, demonstrating against the university's holdings in companies that do business in South Africa. These protest succeed in making the university divest its stock holdings in the South Africa.

APRIL 21, 1979 -- Several Columbia University students demonstrate to demand that a nuclear reactor on campus be dismantled.

APRIL 21, 1978 -- About 300 students demonstrate against the university's investments in corporations that do business in South Africa.

FALL 1972 – Students of Gay People at Columbia sit in on an unused lounge space in Furnald hall demanding the recognition of what is now known as the Stephen Donaldson lounge.

MARCH 21, 1975 -- Fifteen members of the Revolutionary Student Brigade, protesting the arrest of six Iranian students who were passing out leaflets against the Shah of Iran on campus, are arrested after locking themselves in the deans's office.

MAY 12, 1972 -- Black and latino students end a 17-day takeover of several university buildings. This leads to changes to increase admissions of black and latino students.

MAY 2, 1972 -- Campus police clear Hamilton Hall of student anti-war demonstrators who held the building and several others for a week.

APRIL 21, 1972 – Black students sit in on the NROTC office in Hartley Hall, creating the Malcolm X Liberation Center.

MAY 22, 1968 -- A month-long occupation of the president's office and several other buildings ends. Complaints include racism and links to defense-related research. About 1200 are arrested as trespassers, and 30 are injured in scuffles. Strikers shut down the university for the semester.


For more history and resources on student activism, take a look at the OMA/IRC archive project – housed in the basement of the IRC at 552. W. 114th st.