Columbia Recording Policy

We were horrified to learn that Columbia University has changed its policies to prevent students from recording meetings and hearings with Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS), the office that deals with gender-based misconduct on campus. The policy, which students and their advisors are forced to sign prior to a meeting with SCCS, threatens disciplinary action if a student records a meeting.

Check out the document below, and please sign our petition to Jeri Henry (SCCS) here:

Columbia's 2015-16 Gender-Based Misconduct Report

On July 29, 2016, Columbia released aggregate data about reports of Gender-Based Misconduct for the 2015-16 school year. This data shows clearly that the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy revisions that occurred last year were not enough to create a safer campus. Columbia is still failing to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure the well-being of its students.

Although more cases of gender-based misconduct were reported in 2015-16 than during the previous school year, fewer perpetrators were found responsible. As students who have extensive experience with the incompetent and self-serving Columbia administration, we firmly believe this discrepancy is a result of an administration and campus culture that routinely protects rapists and abusers while disregarding the experiences of survivors.

According to the report, 115 instances of gender-based misconduct were reported in the 2015-16 school year. While this number alone is cause for concern, it is important to remember that sexual violence is extremely underreported, and official numbers do not truly reflect the extent of violence which occurs on campus. The numbers for this report do not include any reports made to Sexual Violence Response (SVR) and Columbia Psychological Services (CPS); in order for an assault to be counted, it has to be reported to the Office of Gender-Based Misconduct. As we detail in our SAAFE demands, we are calling for reports of gender-based misconduct to be counted anonymously in Columbia’s Clery Crime reports in order to better reflect the occurrence of sexual violence.

We are also extremely disturbed by the lack of administrative response to reports of sexual harassment and dating violence. The lack of support for students who experience violence in their workplaces, residence halls, and other campus spaces contributes greatly to an unsafe learning environment. In the context of these findings, the need for a graduate student union to provide some protection and collective organizing power against sexual harassment becomes even more urgent. Columbia must also invest in extensive and mandatory prevention education about sexual and dating violence beyond the current Sexual Respect Initiative requirements — something it has yet to do.

Additionally, it is unacceptable that students found responsible for rape are allowed to return to campus within two years. We believe that behavior as grave as this necessitates not only permanent removal from the campus community, but extensive and meaningful re-education. Columbia provides neither of those things, instead allowing perpetrators to return after taking a brief hiatus.

To be clear, we know we cannot rely on what is essentially a broken system to keep us safe. Through its administrative apathy, Columbia has demonstrated the issues it is truly dedicated to are profit and public image, not the safety of its students. These findings come as no surprise. However, it is unacceptable that Columbia continues to foster a dangerous and hostile learning environment rather than respond adequately to sexual violence.

Solidarity Through Love and Support

No Red Tape is committed to supporting the health and safety of survivors of sexual and domestic violence at Columbia University. We feel that it is equally important to support our group’s members, fellow activists, and their families in times of need. In the face of any oppression and injustice, activist communities must come together in order to build power through love, solidarity, and compassion.

As an organization which fights to end rape culture, we recognize that sexual violence is intimately connected with different systems of oppression and forms of inequality, including limited access to healthcare. We acknowledge that people belonging to marginalized groups, such as people from low-income backgrounds and people of color, are disproportionately affected by health care inequality.

We are calling on the activist community and the greater Barnard/Columbia community to contribute in any way possible (donations, shares, kind words) to help a member of No Red Tape’s family, Nicole Tommasiello. Nicole’s Uncle Alfonso needs life-saving surgery. His doctors have told him that if his tumor is not removed, he will have only a few more months to live, and an even shorter amount of time before he becomes blind. Alfonso must pay out of pocket for all aspects of his surgery, including the equipment and the medical care he will receive after the surgery.

We believe that everyone has the right to live and should be able to receive the medical care they need.

Here’s the link to the GoFundMe! Please support in any way you can.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Statement

[TW]

As we near the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we have recently been taking the opportunity to reflect upon the anti-sexual violence movement and our role within it as activists and supporters. Accordingly, we feel that it is important for us to address the presence of interpersonal violence within activist communities.

We recognize that dating abuse and sexual violence can and do occur within every community, and activist communities are not an exception. Survivors who experience violence within these communities may be discouraged from coming forward because of concerns about damaging public perceptions of the movement or the reputation of other activists. However, the public image of an activist movement should never be prioritized over the safety and integrity of its members. Strong movements cannot be built if they perpetuate the silencing of survivors and allow violence to continue behind closed doors.

To all survivors of sexual violence, we believe you and strive to support you in any way we can. If you decide to turn to us for help or come forward with your story, we will connect you with resources and provide you with support to the best of our ability. Regardless of the circumstances of your experience or who your story implicates, we are here for you.

We believe that it is crucial for activist communities to apply a critical eye to ourselves when advocating for change. Sexual violence is a pervasive problem that spans all identities, settings, and social circles, and we recognize that we bear a grave responsibility, as an organization that combats sexual violence, to recognize the presence of violence within our own communities and continue to fight to end it in any way that we can.

Goldberg's Appointment to Interim Title IX Coordinator

We were disturbed to discover yesterday morning that Columbia’s Executive Vice President of University Life, Suzanne Goldberg, is now Columbia’s acting Title IX coordinator. Title IX coordinators are supposed to help students exercise their Title IX rights, but Goldberg has time and time again cast sexual and dating violence survivors aside in favor of protecting Columbia’s image.

We find Goldberg’s appointment to Columbia’s interim Title IX coordinator, however temporary, to be an outrageous conflict of interest. In addition to creating and defending policies that fail to adhere to Title IX in their implementation, Goldberg serves as Columbia’s Rules Administrator, a job which gives her the power to discipline students who protest the gender-based misconduct policies she oversees. Now Goldberg is also the person students are supposed to turn to if Goldberg herself, or any offices she oversees, violate Title IX.

We demand Goldberg immediately step down from her role as acting Title IX coordinator and appoint an interim coordinator who has no vested interest in discouraging or inhibiting students from exercising their Title IX rights.