Petitioning President Bollinger and 1 other

PETITION: Expel CU 2017 Wrestling Team

As reported by bwog:

Bwog recently received screenshots of a Class of 2017 Wrestling Team GroupMe. The screenshots, which contain messages spanning from 2014 to a few days ago, are troubling—the men in the group message mock women’s appearances, make jokes about rape, use homophobic and racist slurs, and engage in other distasteful interactions. After requesting a statement from the University, we have learned that an investigation has since been launched, and that the Wrestling team will no longer be competing at their meet this weekend.

The messages show a lack of respect for women—even those with whom they interact regularly. In the screenshots we received, the wrestlers sent each other numerous photos of female Columbia students and mocked their appearances. One of the men said a female student looked like “a dude in a wig.” Another woman was referred to as “fish pussy.” The wrestlers in the GroupMe also mocked female students as a whole. In one message, a wrestler refers to female Columbia students as “ugly socially awkward cunts” who feel “entitled.” Just messages before, another member of the team expressed frustration over how their team would “run the town of any state school” where “every girl begs for the cock so hard.” It appears these team members don’t realize the irony in referring to women as “entitled” for wanting to control their own bodies.

Among the misogynistic messages is a shocking proliferation of racism and racist comments. Their comments about black women come across as especially distasteful and cruel. The wrestlers’ usage of the n-word is flippant, too, and they use it to refer to women with whom they’ve hooked up, workers at businesses around Columbia, and protesters in Ferguson, MO.

From the SCCS website:

Student Conduct and Community Standards, in accordance with the Deans of the University, believe that as members of the Columbia University community, all students are expected to uphold the highest values of respect, integrity, and civility. These core values are key components of the University experience and reflect the community’s expectations of Columbia University students. Students are therefore expected to conduct themselves in an honest, civil, and respectful manner in all aspects of their lives.

 

SCCS's mission is to hold our community accountable to the "highest standards of respect, integrity, and civility". We concerned Black students, students of color, women, queer and trans students, believe that the wrestling team's behavior violates every single one of these standards—indeed, the very concept of “community.” Their interactions (as reported by Bwog) reflect the team’s deep disregard for their fellow students’ safety, and an outright eagerness to inflict violence on their peers: the rape threats, violent transmisogyny and misogynoir they revel in are the cause for 1 in 4 women being sexually assaulted in U.S. colleges and for the high murder rates for Black and/or trans women in the U.S. Their use of appallingly violent anti-Black slurs, their blatant anti-semitism, and their homophobia also celebrates the danger that some of Columbia’s most vulnerable students are put in on and off campus. This is unacceptable.

Keeping these students around, in our dorms, in our dining halls, in our athletics community, would be a statement on behalf of the Columbia administration that the material lives and psychological well-being of marginalized students means nothing to the University. As an office purportedly interested in upholding “community standards,” we demand that you keep these violent individuals away from our community, away from women they may harm, away from Black students and students of color they clearly despise, away from queer and trans students they regard as subhuman, and away from all other concerned members of the community who should not be expected to tolerate such a significant amount of disrespect on top of their school work, jobs, extracurriculars and other daily life struggles.

Some may claim that such a response would be disproportionate to the acts in question. This defense is irreconcilable with the supposedly fundamental expectation that makes the residential college experience possible: that Columbia students behave as though we belong to a shared community by regarding one another as equally deserving of respect, dignity, and humanity. The members of the Columbia wrestling team’s Class of 2017 cohort have openly and proudly failed to uphold this expectation, and we the undersigned demand that you prove that these vaunted “community standards” are not merely symbolic by expelling them from Columbia University.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • President Bollinger
  • SCCS

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