In Other Ivory Towers: Columbia students commence hunger strike, demand reforms

Five Columbia students began a hunger strike last Thursday, setting up tents outside and living solely on water, tea and Gatorade. The students say they will continue their strike until the University meets several demands: reform the core curriculum, provide greater resources for the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER), elicit a stronger administrative response to racial bias incidents and make changes to the proposed Manhattanville expansion plans.

On Friday a second group of four students publicly stated their intention to partake in the strike. They were joined the next day by Dennis Dalton, a Gandhian scholar and a political science professor at Barnard. “I want the core curriculum supplemented by writings on Gandhi, King, Malcolm X. I want a change,” Dalton said.

“I think the actions we are taking in terms of ethnic students are consistent with the spirit of the demands,” said Nicolas Dirks, vice presidents for arts and science. He supported his statement by pointing to the recent hire of three senior faculty members in the CSER, the recruitment of professors for the Native American studies department and the evaluation of the Core by the Task Force on Undergraduate Education.

Dirks explained that some of the demands are not currently viable. “We have a standard form of academic review, which we’re going to have to follow . . . It wouldn’t be good for if we gerry-rigged the review procedure,” Dirks said.

Administrators and students sat down on Friday for a first round of negotiations.

Campus reaction to the strike is divided, with some students signing the strikers’ petition and others criticizing the strikers for not taking a more reasonable approach, adding that their demands do not warrant a hunger strike.

One of the strikers, Aretha Choi ’10, was carried out on a stretcher to St. Luke’s Hospital Saturday evening after three and a half days of fasting. She was released from the hospital but discontinued her participation in the strike for medical reasons.

-The Columbia Spectator

Princeton revises alcohol

enforcement policy

The administration at Princeton is tightening its policies concerning alcohol use on campus. Beginning next school year, residential college advisors (RCAs) are required to report underage drinking and shut down parties in their hallways. The policy shift follows the alcohol-related death of a student at Rider University, a nearby school, last March.

The current University Rules and Regulations forbids RCAs from providing alcohol to their advisees and stipulates that they “confront inappropriate behavior and intervene immediately in situations where the safety of students is, or will be, in jeopardy.” However, there had been no explicit statement that RCAs must break up parties with underage drinking. The residential college administrators alerted RCAs of the new policy last week.

According to the new policy, RCAs will be required to inspect further if “ they know of credible rumors or discussion suggesting that students are planning a party or other activity in which the alcohol policy will be violated, witness minors bringing alcohol to a room in quantities that indicate an intent to serve a group of people beyond those who live in the room (e.g., a keg, hard alcohol, more than two six-packs of beer), or see signs that students are playing a drinking game or doing shots of hard alcohol, or planning to do either of these things.”

According to Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students Hillary Herbold, a year of research found that advisers at Princeton were expected to handle underage drinking with less severity than their counterparts on other campuses.

“Princeton was definitely on the end of the spectrum that involved less clarity, less specificity, less intervention and less enforcement,” she said.

-The Daily Princetonian

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