TOMORROW We’ll be heading to Newport News Virginia to campaign and canvass for Terry McAuliffe for governor! We’re one of the largest out of state groups going, with some of the most politically zealous students on campus! FIRED UP AND READY TO GO! Check out the event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/559688434079593/
The Columbia University College Democrats are proud to formally endorse the Fossil Fuel Divestment ballot initiative that will appear in this week’s Columbia College special election. The initiative will urge the Columbia University to completely divest its 8 billion dollar endowment from fossil fuels and focus on investing in renewable sources of energy. We would like to congratulate Barnard Columbia Divest for their success in gathering over 450 signatures for Columbia College’s first ever ballot initiative. We are proud of our partnership with BCD to support the initiative, and we look forward to working with them in the future on this incredibly important issue. We are also happy to see that the new ballot initiative process is already proving itself as an important way for students to express their concerns about policy issues to the administration, and we look forward to seeing it used to advocate for students concerns in the future.
We have also decided not to endorse any candidates for special elections to fill the vacant Columbia College University Senate. The CU Dems have a longstanding policy of listening to any candidate who wants to talk with us about the issues that affect students and the campus community, and we able to talk with several of the candidates at our board meeting. We used these meetings as an opportunity to talk with the candidates about important issues, such as Columbia’s sexual assault response policy and divestment. However, after due consideration, we have decided not to endorse a candidate in for the special election. This is not a statement about the quality of the candidates, but rather a product of their widespread agreement about many important issues and our own desire to avoid any conflict of interest. While some candidates are involved with CU Dems or with other groups that work with the Dems, we would like to make it clear that this should not be taken as an endorsement of those candidates. We would also like to make it clear that we will not provide any support to those candidates during the election.
We are happy to say that every candidate in the race has publicly endorsed our petition to bring transparency to Columbia and Barnard’s sexual assault policy. And we look forward to working closely with whomever wins to make sure that the administration knows that a transparent and accountable sexual assault policy is a student priority.
We strongly encourage all Columbia College students to vote in the election and support the Fossil Fuel Divestment Initiative.
On Wednesday, the Columbia University College Democrats launched a petition to demand that the Columbia and Barnard Administrations make their response to sexual assault and harassment on campus transparent and accountable. The CU Dems are asking for information about the prevalence of assaults on campus, how Columbia and Barnard adjudicate and punish rape and sexual assaults, and the ways in which Public Safety Officers are trained to handle reports of sexual assault. We are doing this in order to ensure that the students and the Columbia community can hold the administration accountable for protecting the safety of students.
We are specifically demanding that Columbia and Barnard release data on:
- what portion of accused assailants are found guilty
- what types of punishments those found guilty of rape or sexual assaults on campus receive
- what guidelines Columbia and Barnard have for sanctions and punishments
- how often punishments are altered or repealed
- the typical length of time it takes for a reported case to be adjudicated
- what Columbia estimates the true number of sexual assaults and rapes on campus to be
- and how Public Safety officers are trained to respond to sexual assault and support survivors
We are only asking anonymous and aggregated data about the number and type of assaults and instances of harassment, which will not include any information that could identify either survivors or perpetrators. The publication of anonymous data by colleges and law enforcement agencies is routine, and there are clear guidelines governing it. Under Title IX, the Clery Act, and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act the administration is actually legally forbidden from giving out any information that could be used to identify victims and survivors.
While we have contacted administrators in the Office of Gender Based Misconduct and at the Rape Crisis Center, we have yet to receive the information we need and were sometimes only given meetings weeks after we requested them. This information needs to be available without delay – as many as one in four women attending college are assaulted during their 4 years on campus and men and gender nonconforming students also face frighteningly high rates of assault. At dozens of other colleges and universities students have found administrators are more concerned with their PR than with student safety – we need to make sure that this isn’t the case at Columbia.
The Administration needs to know that the Columbia community demands transparency and accountability and that these issues are vitally important for the safety and wellbeing of every person on campus. Students are already hugely concerned with this issue. In less than 20 hours since we launched the petition it has received over 200 signatures from students and alumni – but we need more.
It is unacceptable for Columbia to keep students in the dark on issues vital to their safety and wellbeing. We ask that the entire Columbia and Barnard community join us in demanding that the administration release this information now, and annually in the future.Sign the petition. Share it with your friends, classmates, and professors. Demand accountability and transparency about sexual assault on campus.
The petition is available at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KPKXPC-HnNo0zYQFHRjaloivrvMJVdyUt-355ttaJHw/viewform
If your or your groups is intersted in supportingor endorsing the petition drive or for any questions contact the CU Dems Board at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve got some great events coming up this week!
We start with this week’s General Body Meeting, on Wednesday the 25th at 9 PM in the Lerner Satow Room! Our Circles this weeks are Abortion Clinic Defense, Immigration Rally Prep, a discussion of SNAP, and a Sex Workers’ Rights Discussion.
On Thursday we’ll have our first phonebank for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Thursday 572 Lerner from 6 -7:30 PM! If you signed up for the campaign trip, it’s highly recommended to come out and learn about the issues at stake in this crucial race. Don’t let right wing radical Ken Cuccinelli and Republican delegates take control of the statehouse. join the facebook event for updates and reminders
On Saturday at 7am at the Broadway and 116th we’ll meet to go to our first Clinic Defense of the semester going to Dr. Emily’s Woman’s Health Center in the Bronx to do clinic defense to protect women seeking access to abortion care. We will escort women to the clinic and ensure that they are not harassed by anti-abortion protesters. As volunteer clinic escorts, we will have the opportunity to do our part to keep safe, reliable access to abortion care a reality. We will be meeting at the 116 and Broadway gates at 7am and leave together, doing clinic defense from 8 am – noon. We will provide bagels and coffee in the morning for our volunteers. Join the facebook event for updates