On October 4, the College Republicans at Columbia University hosted Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist. The Minutemen are known for inciting racist violence against immigrants. In an exercise of free speech, students unfurled a banner on the stage reading “No One is Illegal”, prompting audience members to join them on the stage with another banner with the message, “No to Racism”. These peaceful protesters were violently assaulted. Below is their initial statement published the night of the protest as well as a link to a video showing parts of the event. They are now under attack from the administration and potentially face disciplinary charges. Please support them by signing the online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/nominute/petition.html. The students are also soliciting letters of support and solidarity, which can be sent to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement of the Student Protestors:
We celebrate free speech: for that reason we allowed the Minutemen to speak, and for that same reason we peacefully occupied the stage and spoke ourselves. Our peaceful protest was violently attacked by members of the College Republicans and their supporters, who are the very same people who invited the Minutemen to our campus in the first place. The Minutemen are not a legitimate voice in the debate on immigration. They are a racist, armed militia who have declared open hunting season on immigrants, causing countless hate crimes and over 3000 deaths on the border. Why should exploitative corporations have free passes between nations, but individual people not? No human being is illegal.
-Those who occupied the stage
Links to coverage, including video at Columbia Spectator