Friday, November 16, 2007

Statement in Support of Columbia University Hunger Strikers


The Lumumba-Zapata Coalition at the University of California-San Diego, stands in solidarity with the brave hunger strikers at Columbia University. Their principle demand, that Columbia University has “a Core Curriculum that is inclusive not only of the canon of Western European thought, but that seeks to build a deep understanding of the multicultural society that we live in and the power relations that constitute it” resonates completely with the mission of the LZC at UCSD, and the list of demands we made upon the Thurgood Marshall College administration at UCSD last spring. (See our blog:

We hope that—in contrast to UCSD—administrators at Columbia University will listen carefully to the demands of the hunger strikers and take action tocombat institutional racism, rather than perpetuate it with empty rhetoric about diversity and egregious indifference to the concerns of marginalized communities.

The LZC also supports the hunger striker’s criticism of Columbia’s expansion that will displace 5,000 people and entail the bulldozing of a Harlem neighborhood. We are appalled by such plans, and demand that Columbia devise a sustainable expansion plan that is just for all members of the surrounding community, rather than an example of blatant gentrification and the alarming seizure of urban living space.

We would also point out that what is happening at Columbia further indicates the urgency for UCSD and all universities to chart a new course in their commitments to inclusion and improving campus climates. It also signals the necessity for university administrations to listen to student concerns about diversity and education rooted in social justice, rather than dismiss, punish, and demonize those who point out disturbing trends in higher education. Students who speak for justice are our future hope, and it is shameful that they must be driven to strike so that administrators might do what they should have been doing to begin with.

Please circulate this message widely and sign the petition of the Columbia strikers:

For more information on the strike, please consult the striker’s website and a recent New York Times article:

In solidarity,

Lumumba-Zapata Coalition, University of California-San Diego(contact us at