We are a group of Columbia University students representing all schools and programs, undergraduate and graduate, across the university, including affiliate schools such as Barnard and Teachers College. We are taking action to address several key fronts on which the University is acutely failing its students and the local community, which have only been exacerbated by the inaction with which the administration has met popular demands and referendums in the past ten months.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, students immediately began demonstrating against the injustice of exorbitant tuition rates, which constitute a significant source of financial hardship during this economic depression. As national protests of an unprecedented scale expressed outrage over structural racism, Mobilized African Diaspora and the nearly 1500 supporters of its demands called for the University to address its own role in upholding racist policing practices, damaging local communities, and inadequately supporting Black students. Last semester, almost a thousand students, faculty, and alumni signed on in support of full divestment from fossil fuels, along with referendums at Barnard and Columbia College in which students voted overwhelmingly to divest from companies involved in human rights violations. Finally, the University continues to refuse to meet the demands of thousands of academic student-workers when it comes to fair wages, healthcare, international student protections, robust grievance procedures, closed shop, and union recognition for MA and undergrad student-workers.