Friday, January 20, 2006

Columbia Spectator opinion: Veterans Deserve Better

Veterans Deserve Better by Chris Kulawik, January 18, 2006.

"I’ve always held the radical notion that those individuals who serve or served in our nation’s armed forces deserve our deepest thanks and utmost respect. Apparently, Columbia and the Columbia discrimination policy disagree.

Call it the most overt and appalling case of discrimination that you’ve never heard of. Nearly five months ago to the day, three of Columbia’s most notable “liberals” found themselves at the Military Society table. Amid cries of “Baby killers!” and forceful denunciations unfit for print, a student, both a veteran and a minority, was singled out by the trio. The table nearly flipped, papers and literature thrown about the floor; their violent rant had turned personal. . . . "

*******

Letters to the Editor in response: Jonah Birch CC 05, Todd Murphy GS 08.

* Background: Matt Sanchez, a Marines reservist attending Columbia University was the victim of an anti-military hate attack on Friday, September 9, 2005 at the university-wide Activities Day (a club fair), held on College Walk and Low Plaza. He was visiting the Columbia Military Society table when the incident occurred. Matt reported the incident to the university administration. The administration's follow-up has been disappointing. The "other servicemen and women" at the CMS table are also, like Matt, Columbia students.

** A Columbia Spectator reporter is currently researching the incident for a news story for the Monday (Jan 23) paper.

*** Due to the School of General Studies, an undergraduate college for non-traditional students, Columbia University has a relatively large number of veterans, guard, reservists and active duty in its student population. The US Military Veterans of Columbia University (MilVets): http://www.columbia.edu/cu/usmilvetscu/. The MilVets President is Oscar Escano, a pre-med student and former Army Ranger who fought in Afghanistan (OEF I). Oscar has written a letter to the university administration asking for the university to protect ALL military and veterans at Columbia, not just Vietnam War and disabled veterans.

**** The "Ruggles incident" that Chris Kulawik mentions in his column is about anti-semitic graffitti in a campus dorm (Ruggles) that received a rapid and comprehensive university response, in contrast to the university's response to Matt's incident. Spectator story on incident.

- Eric

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