Wednesday, October 11, 2006

 

UNBECOMING: Columbia Bars Public from Anti-Terror Event

I was planning to see former Palestinian terrorist and current Israel supporter Walid Shoebat speak at Columbia University this evening. At 4:50 pm, I received this email from Columbia rescinding my invitation:

It is the decision of the advising office to Student Governing Board groups that at tonight’s event sponsored by the Columbia College Republicans, hosts to the Walid Shoebat Foundation, attendance will be limited to the invited speakers and their staff, CUID holders, and 20 invited guests. You are receiving this email to inform you that unfortunately, your RSVP to tonight’s event cannot be accepted.
Sincerely,

Jewelnel Davis
University Chaplain
Associate Provost
Director of the Earl Hall Center

This last minute email went out to 77 people who had reserved tickets and made plans to attend. One person was on a bus from Boston when she received the news.

Why were members of the community shut out? I understand that there might be security concerns, but given Columbia's recent history with regard to Israel, CU hasn't exactly earned the benefit of the doubt. It is a shame that the public didn't have the opportunity to hear this amazing speaker.

Comments:
My biggest problem with the announcement (besides the short notice, which since I go to school at Fordham was not an inconvience as it was for others) was the lack of explaination behind the decision. Had the email included a reason such as security concerns or even miscommunication between the administration and the Columbia Republicans I would have been less upset. I just would like a straight answer as to why people who signed up early for it were then told at 4:50pm (two hours before the doors opened) that they were no longer welcome.
 
I just came from Columbia. I wanted to see this travesty in action. A very soggy group of about 15 people with cancelled reservations hung around outside and many more walked up and left in frustration and shock when their reservations were denied. Shameful! Shameful behavior. And also denied entry to people in who were friends of the speakers. Shoebat came to the door and tried to gain admittance for four friends (who had reserved like the rest of us) and the Columbia brass said NO! I also saw them turn away Columbia adults with Columbia ID so that was bogus as well. WHAT is going on here people!! Make sure to complain. Write letters. Make calls. The culprit seems to be the chaplain at Earl Hall, Columbia. Google her and make your feelings known to her AND to Bollinger!!
 
E-Mail response I got from Columbia Republicans:

"This was a decision of the administration - the CRs wanted to allow all individuals with RSVPs. Please join us in directing complaintsto Earl Hall and the Columbia Admin. This is not the first time they have done something like this.All my thanks,Chris"

And HERE is the contact info for the "chaplain":(that's the correct ODD spelling of her name)
Jewelnel Davis
University Chaplain
Associate Provost
Director of the Earl Hall Center
jd260@columbia.edu
also:
University Chaplain
854-1493
chaplain@columbia.edu
 
I was on the denied rsvp list. I am incredibly disappointed with the way this whole thing was handled. I also heard that the guests of the featured speaker Walid Shoebat, were turned away even as he tried to get them in. Disgusted.
 
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