Columbia University students angered by the school's handling of sexual assault cases left a pointed message for anyone who happened to pass Low Memorial Library last night.
"Rape Happens Here" and "Columbia Has A Rape Problem" flashed at intervals across the library's facade starting around 8 p.m., courtesy of the campus advocacy organization No Red Tape. According to Columbia's student-run Bwog, campus security officers asked protesters to please stop broadcasting the message until prospective students had left the vicinity.
The Columbia Spectator reports that Graduate Hall Director Rainikka Corprew opted to silence the message by physically blocking the projector, telling protesters that it was a safety hazard "because the light was blinding" to library-goers. She added that "“I feel like I’m being violated in the same way that you’re defending women’s bodies… It’s like you’re becoming the oppressors.”
No Red Tape member Becca Breslaw told Bwog that the group had specifically selected last night to stage the demonstration because of the presence of admitted students on campus. "The group’s goal was to make these accepted students consider how big this issue is at Columbia before deciding to join the study body, while also bringing awareness to the fact that sexual assault is a prominent issue on other college campuses — regardless of where they choose to attend," the report says.
She added that NRT will also be holding a teach-in this afternoon to educate any interested Columbia prospects on how the school handles rape cases, presumably including that of Emma Sulkowicz, who for her senior thesis committed to carrying a mattress around campus in protest of the continued enrollment of a fellow student she said raped her in 2012, in addition to the numerous other instances of students unsatisfied by the university's response to cases of sexual violence. Columbia is is also one of 55 schools under federal investigation for its alleged mishandling of sexual assault and harassment.
But to be fair, it's not like Columbia administration hasn't done anything. Remember the Sexual Violence cake?