Ferguson, Missouri became a hotbed of debate and activism in fall 2014 after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, by white police officer Darren Wilson. Another unarmed black man, Eric Garner, died after an illegal chokehold by white police officer Daniel Pantaleo.
Demonstrations around the world ensued. A number of events at Columbia are related to the non-indictments of the officers in December 2014.
- There were a number of marches, most notably one with around 500 people that were corralled by the police between 113th and 114th Streets by the police to dissipate the crowd.
- A "die-in"--an event where black students lay on the ground motionless for 4 minutes to represent the 4 hours Brown's body lay in the street after being shot--happened at Tree Lighting. Anticipating further action, the administration called the NYPD on these students, in addition to public safety.
- The administration's response to these issues varied. At the Law School, after a controversial Ferguson panel where faculty encouraged students not to protest, students responded negatively on Twitter. As a result, Law School deans allowed students to postpone finals due to demonstrations and mental duress.
- In CC and SEAS, Cristen Kromm offered her apartment as a space for students to discuss the non-indictments.
- The Office of Undergraduate Student Life held an event concurrently with a larger protest downtown where students were promised a safe space. According to the Spec, "In addition to talking about the situation, attendees made posters from colored paper and pipe cleaners with headings like “#blacklivesmatter” and “How are you feeling?” Milk and cookies were served, and a representative from Counseling and Psychological Services was present."
- The IRC and Potluck House hung Black Lives Matter banners, which were taken down by ResLife out of "fire safety concerns."
- Later, CC and SEAS deans followed the Law School's lead, allowing students to postpone finals given that they consult with their advisors about their thoughts on Ferguson.
- At Barnard Midnight Breakfast was criticized for its 125th anniversary theme of "Party Like It's 1889." Students argued that in 1889, Barnard was all-white and segregation still existed. The theme was later changed to #ThrowbackThursday.
- Finally, administrators held an open forum where student activists criticized Public Safety's treatment of black students and called for the cancellation of Orgo Night. After a back-and-forth on social media between CUMB supporters and Orgo Night opponents, several Spec op-eds were penned.
- The administration met with the CUMB and asked them to call off Orgo Night. The CUMB declined in the name of free speech and protest, which the deans were fine with.
- While Orgo Night itself wasn't protested, students held a silent protest at Midnight Breakfast. The event went on as usual, with one line in particular comparing unpaid interns to slaves drawing criticism. While the CUMB was normally able to enter Barnard Quad to perform after Orgo Night, the aforementioned Midnight Breakfast protestors asked Dean Avis Hinkson to have Barnard Public Safety block the CUMB from entering the doors.
- More Spec op-eds.
- Then finals winter break happened, and campus returned to its regular yuppie self.
If I missed anything, someone else edit this at Wikithon.