No Red Tape, the anti-rape activist group at Columbia University, projected the words “Rape happens here” and “Columbia has a rape problem” across the facade of the campus library Sunday night. The demonstration was timed to coincide with prospective students visiting the campus. An administrator reportedly physically blocked the projector to keep the messages from being displayed.
According to reports from campus papers Bwog and the Columbia Spectator, which we saw via Gothamist, No Red Tape’s demonstration happened during Days on Campus, the school’s annual event for prospective students. According to the Spectator, a campus administrator tried to block the messages with her body, saying they were a “safety hazard:”
But the activists were met by a bit of pushback from Residence Hall Director Aaron Hukari and Graduate Hall Directors Rainikka Corprew and Meghan Chidsey, who arrived at the protest at approximately 8 p.m., just as the protesters were setting up the projection. A number of Public Safety officers also were present during the protest.
Corprew, who declined to comment, physically blocked the projector from displaying messages onto Low Library, telling activists the projection was a safety hazard because the light was blinding to individuals inside Low.
As Corprew attempted to block the projector, she audibly told the activists, “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.”
(Correction, 8:40 p.m.: Meghan Chidsey, one of the administrators named, emailed Jezebel to say that the Spectator’s account is inaccurate and that she wasn’t present at the protest: “Simply put I haven’t been on duty for a month and wasn’t even in New York this past weekend.”)
It looks like No Red Tape teamed up with The Illuminator, a political art project borne out of Occupy Wall Street that displays projected messages onto public buildings. Columbia has also proven itself especially sensitive to any protest that takes place where prospective students or their parents can see: No Red Tape was previously threatened with disciplinary action for a demonstration at an information session for potential students.
According to a press release we received, No Red Tape also led a demonstration on campus this morning, as part of the nationwide #CarryThatWeight movement, which demonstrates against sexual violence. From the press release:
Columbia students continue their protests of the University’s handling of sexual and dating violence by dropping banners of prominent campus buildings as hundreds of prospective students watch. The group No Red Tape is demanding that Columbia improve their adjudication process, issue harsher sanctions for rapists and abusers, expand their prevention education and provide more resources to survivors. This protest was a part of the national day of action organized by the Carry That Weight campaign where student groups at schools across the country are demanding action and improved policies from their administrations. The campaign was inspired by the activism and art of Emma Sulkowicz, who is boldly carrying the mattress from her dorm room as long as her rapist continues to attend Columbia University. Through this powerful demonstration of student power and solidarity, students will tangibly express their commitment to lift the burden of sexual and dating violence from the shoulders of survivors alone and pressure their college administrations to help carry that weight.
Seems like threatening letters, fines and in-person confrontations are working great, Columbia administrators. Definitely having its intended effect.
Image via No Red Tape/Facebook
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