Dear Columbia Libertarians,
My name is Tao Tan and I am currently a sophomore in the College. I write for the Spectator and I serve on Student Council. I'm writing because there is a matter afoot which your organization might be interested in. This matter is Manhattanville.
In the past few weeks, the Coalition to Preserve Community had repeatedly threatened the construction of a "tent city", in effect, a forcible occupation - if you will - of Columbia's grounds to protest Manhattanville.
Last night, at a forum held here, I believe they went over the top. The following is a quote from a Spectator article:
'The discussion ended with a question from first-year SIPA student Vincent Villano, “How might we able to get President Bollinger to actually talk to the community?”
DeMott responded, “Storm his office."'
The group is now actively promoting student uprisings and have themselves hinted at violence and force (they talk about their tent city as a "counterattack").
The last time this happened, in 1968, a group called the "Majority Coalition" - so named because they collected the signatures of 2000 students, the majority of the CC student body at the time - formed. Wearing a set uniform (back then jackets and ties), they held counter-protests while Mark Rudd took over buildings. Essentially, they blocked the exits of the buildings and denied food from being passed in while people were perfectly free to leave.
The Majority Coalition's mission was simple back then - leaving aside the issue of the gym for the moment, they opposed the forcible occupation of Columbia's buildings by a small, vocal, and determined minority and the disruption of University life.
Additionally, it is important to understand that in 1968 Mark Rudd never wanted to talk. He just wanted to smear Columbia. He refused any form of negotiation, and so President Kirk was forced to call police. With the resulting media circus and decades of bad publicity, he nearly achieved his goal. Thus, it is vitally important that if and when this "counterattack" happens, the police not be called but that the students themselves demonstrate their opposition to this group occupying the Columbia campus.
Accordingly, I am reaching out to see if groups on campus might be interested in taking part in a new Majority Coalition to oppose this "counterattack", to do it peacefully (to avoid a media circus which is exactly what the CPC people want), and to provide a visible representation of the silent majority who do support expansion, the debate on which is currently being fueled by elements from the far left.
Please let me know if this is something your group and your members would be interested in.
Tao Tan, Class of 2007