Friday, April 13, 2007

Anti-Minutemen Protestors face Columbia University Punishment

Columbia University's Two-Tiered Punishments By MARTÍN LOPEZ, COSETTE OLIVO and KARINA GARCÍA

After over five months of disciplinary proceedings, we Columbia University students, who in October protested a speech by then Minutemen Project leader Jim Gilchrist, have been advised that Columbia University has issued discipline against us. These arbitrary and ridiculous punishments are the culmination of an arbitrary and ridiculous process, in which students were denied due process, presentation of any evidence or witnesses to substantiate specific charges, any legal representation, or any explanation of the basis for the disciplinary findings. Most atrocious is the fact that of the seven students, the three Latino students received the harshest punishments. In contrast, the non-Latino student protesters who were punished received "disciplinary warnings," the lightest punishment available.

The administration did not give a reason for the different punishments.We received "censures," which was the maximum penalty given the "simple" charges-as opposed to "serious" charges- against us. The censure means that any subsequent disciplinary infraction, regardless of the severity, will automatically result in our suspension.The impropriety and racism undergirding Columbia's discipline is particularly laid bare in the case of Martin Lopez. Lopez was one of the three students who received a censure. Video coverage provided by Univision shows that Lopez, a sophomore and the son of immigrant parents, was kicked violently in the face by a Minutemen supporter while on the floor of the auditorium. He never set one foot on stage.

(Click here to read more)