FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 15, 2007
CONTACT: Columbia Coalition Against the War
Deena Guzder 832-725-4611
Momentum is Growing for the Antiwar Strike and Teach-in at Columbia
| NEW YORK – February 15 – The Columbia Coalition Against the War has received emails from at least 23 professors who will cancel their classes on Thursday and/or read a statement encouraging their students to participate in it without penalty. The coalition has also learned that there are several additional professors who are canceling classes who have not emailed us, and it has received a great deal of further support from professors who are on leave or do not have Thursday classes.
Student response has been enthusiastic. The coalition has held daily tablings to promote the strike, and walked through dining halls to promote it. Flyers have blanketed the campus, and the strike has been mentioned in news or op-eds in the campus newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, every day for two weeks. The strike was favorably covered by the Spectator in an editorial arguing for the need for unity in the antiwar movement.
The strike follows a call by students at UC Santa Barbara. Columbia will be joined in taking action against the war by 25 other schools across the country, including in New York City City College, Fordham, and New York University. This is not an isolated act but part of a national movement, and it will not stop after Thursday.
The coalition at Columbia is already making plans for future events.
The strike has gained the support of three unions representing workers at Columbia. It has received unofficial endorsements from representatives of Service Employees International Union Local 1199 and Transport Workers’ Union Local 241, and it has received a formal endorsement from United Auto Workers Local 2110. Among Columbia student groups, Students Promoting Empowerment and Knowledge (SPEaK) has signed on to the event, joining the International Socialist Organization, LUCHA, Students for Justice in the Middle East, the Working Families Party, and the World Can’t Wait. Moreover, two national antiwar organizations have joined the event. United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), which organized the February 15 2003 antiwar demonstrations, which were the largest in world history and which the student strike is commemorating, will support the event by sending a representative. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has endorsed the event and will provide speakers at both the rally and the teach-in.
The coalition has received a permit to hold a march from campus up to 125th street on Amsterdam and back to campus on Broadway, starting at 1:30pm on Thursday. The march will fall between the rally, starting at noon on Low Plaza, and the teach-in, starting at 2pm in Lerner Hall. The rally will feature Professor Dennis Dalton (Political Science), representatives of UAW 2110 and TWU 241, representatives of each of the participating student groups, and representatives of UFPJ and IVAW. The teach-in will feature a representative of IVAW, professor Richard Bulliet (History), professor Hamid Dabashi (MEALAC), Michael Letwin of NYC Labor Against the War, Carlito Rovira of ANSWER and formerly the Young Lords Party, and professor Rebecca Young (Women’s Studies).
Tickets will be free and available in Lerner to the general public on a first-come first-served basis.