Campus Updates

Chicano CaucusThis fall, the Chicano Caucus is focusing on immigration reform. The group hosted an event on the October 5 regarding the proposed DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, an act that “would allow illegal immigrants to begin the process of becoming US citizens if they are individuals who: have entered the USA before the age of 15, have been in the USA for at least 5 years prior to the enactment of the bill, have graduated from high school in the USA (or obtained a GED) or been accepted to an institution of higher education, are between the ages of 12 and 35, and have demonstrated good moral character.” Assuming the role of advocates, they plan to support the passage of this legislation on the national level, and believe the DREAM Act could serve as a gateway to comprehensive immigration reform.

College Democrats The Columbia University College Democrats plan to spend this year lobbying for and supporting their policy interests. They participated along with the College Republicans in the health care debate on October 7 in line with their planned initial focus on health care for the first two months of the fall semester. The group plans to then transition to poverty and hunger awareness for November and December. The Dems also plan to get involved in regional politics, in New York and beyond—including campaigning in Virginia during election week to support Gubernatorial Candidate Creigh Deeds and locally, involving themselves in the upcoming New York City mayoral election, with Democrat comptroller William Thompson Jr. trying to unseat the Republican incumbent, Michael Bloomberg.

International Socialist Organization (ISO) The International Socialist Organization began the year with an effort to bring CU students to the National LGBT Equality March on the weekend of the 10 and 11 of October. Later in the month, they will be hosting the Northeast Socialist Conference. Columbia has hosted this conference for the past couple of years and has typically drawn a couple hundred participants from all throughout the Northeast. Columbia professors Mahmood Mamdani and Manning Marable will both be speaking and as well as non-Columbia affiliated writers and activists Laura Flanders, Heather Rogers, Frances Fox Piven, and Dave Zirin. The ISO also focuses its efforts internationally and will be reporting back from the Viva Palestina convoy, an international group that plans to gather in London and then drive across Europe to Gaza to distribute medical supplies.

College Republicans On October 21, the Columbia University College Republicans are bringing Geert Wilders, the controversial Dutch politician, to campus. Wilders is the leader of the Freedom Party in the EU. He is extremely outspoken in Europe about immigration, Islam, and freedom of speech. His proposal to reduce the legal status of Islamic citizens in the Netherlands has been met with some support, but largely condemnation. This year, an Amsterdam court ordered for his prosecution and was banned from entry to the UK. Wilders has since focused on freedom of speech and how he has been silenced. He approached the University to speak and was rejected by the central administration events planners. The University then passed the proposal on to the College Republicans who took on the planning. The Republicans are hosting him in the name of freedom of speech, and in no way endorses his political views.