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10/4: Students storm stage at Columbia University; Minuteman Project founder forced to flee
Released 12 October 2006  By Columbia University Students
10/4: Students storm stage at Columbia University; Minuteman Project founder forced to flee

10/4: Students storm stage at Columbia University; Minuteman Project founder forced to flee

October 4, 2006

After a 45 minute long diatribe by a preachy opening speaker, during which a packed crowd inside Roone Arledge grew increasingly irate, main event Jim Gilchrist was rushed by a large group of students, in what descended into a free-for-all on the stage. Scroll below for the blow-by-blow and photos.
1:56 AM: Chicano Caucus press release at the bottom of the post.

1:23 AM: YouTube is down at the moment. Bwog is working to provide an alternative, so stay tuned.
CTV's video of the protest:

7: 30 PM: In the biggest old-fashioned activist shindig Broadway has seen since Chris Kulawik's last guest arrived in November 2005, hundreds of students and community members yelled and picketed outside Lerner to protest the arrival of Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen. They had catchy slogans.
"Workers of the world unite! Same struggle, same fight!"

"Minutemen, Nazis, KKK! Racists, fascists, go away!"
8:10 PM: A little Miles Davis music on overhead in Roone Arledge Auditorium strikes Bwog as ironic. Opening speaker Marvin Stewart steps up to the podium, and begins by thanking Jesus Christ and Chris Kulawik. "ARE YOU READY to surrender your liberties?" he demands of the crowd.

8:35 PM: Stewart is 30 minutes into a free-associative rant, ranging through scripture and America's Consitutional Republican form of government (NOT Democratic). People in the increasingly restless crowd shout: "You don't know **** about god! Black white supremacist!" "Go home! "
to which Stewart counters: "I am home! God bless America! to which the crowd replies: "BOOOOOOOOOOO!"

It's getting more surreal by the minute.

Update 8:41 pm: Someone yells, "In Spanish, please!" The crowd bursts into a thunderous applause, which spirals into a full-out protest, complete with students wearing Mexican wrestling masks. The students are now standing up one by one, with their backs to the man, who has asked, "Are you standing with your backs to me? Why'd you come, no wonder you don't know anything." Repubs cheered, others sneered.

Update 8:45 pm: Some white-shirted students were just escorted out of the auditorium by security.

Update 8:47 pm: Man at the podium is still ranting, despite the beads of sweat trickling down his forehead and his voice-cracks... "Religion and morality are necessary for government." Students chanting: "Wrap it up! Wrap it up!" Some guy just came out to try to get him to stop, and he said, "Let me finish..." he's sweating, and looks angry. "All of you who are doing your chanting in here are the very ones that need this the most. But guess what, I'm not deterred."

Update 8:51 pm: "I'm going to wrap this up because time is an issue." With Kulawik looking uncomfortable, Stewart stops talking with a boisterous "God Bless America, and America Bless God!" Taking the podium, Kulawik chastens the crowd. "I was under the false assumption that this was an Ivy League School," he says.

Finally the Minuteman himself enters. "Now who're you calling racist?" he shouts, putting his arm around Stewart, who is black. "I love the First Amendment. As soon as you graduate, you'll all be investment bankers. I've been where you at. I know you hate yourselves."

Update 9:00 pm: BWOG IS SHOCKED. STUDENTS WITH A BIG YELLOW SIGN JUST CAME ONTO THE STAGE. The sign says, "There are no illegals." Students rise en masse from the audience and rush the stage. The Minuteman and the students engaged in a tug of war with the banner. More people rush the stage, prompting a fist-fight. One female student is kicked in the head. A guy in a pony tail (definitely not a student) rushes the stage and fights with students (several witnesses saw him kick a student) and then banded together with the Minuteman to shout the pledge of allegiance as the rumble spun out of hand, "One nation! Under God! Indivisible!"

There was at least two minutes of chaos between students, other students and the Minutemen. Bwog took cover.

Update: 9:01 pm: Security comes out, now the curtain is down. Students are still chanting, now everyone's filing out.

Update: 9:15 pm: Students outside shouting, "They say, 'get bent,' we say, 'let's fight!'"

Update: 9:22 pm: A Bwog correspondent calls in a tip. A student defending the Minuteman right outside the gates on 115th was encircled by a group of protesters after a heated personal fight with just one of the protesters. The protesters then shouted, "Racist, go home!" Security showed up, and they started breaking up. Student last seen laughing on phone with friends. A mosh pit of triumphal students and community members dance and chant, "Asian, Black, Brown and White, we smashed the Minutemen tonight!"
OK, Bwog edited this since the initial transcription. We're excitable.

Press release from the Chicano Caucus, one of the main organizers of the protest:

On behalf of the Chicano Caucus Executive Board, I would like to clarify for the Columbia community any misunderstandings that may have arisen from tonight's chain of events. While we were the chief organizers of the protest outside Roone Arledge, we were not responsible for any of the actions that led to the termination of the event. It is unfortunate that the series of events escalated to a point of violence. We feel that it is important to discuss and bring to light important issues concerning immigration, though they should be done in a peaceful manner. While we do not agree with Mr. Gilchrist and his organization's views, we respect everyone's right to freedom of speech and regret that his opinion was not heard.

Adhemir Romero
Chicano Caucus President

At Columbia, Students Attack Minuteman Founder
By ELIANA JOHNSON - Staff Reporter of the Sun

October 5, 2006

Students stormed the stage at Columbia University's
Roone auditorium yesterday, knocking over chairs and
tables and attacking Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the
Minutemen, a group that patrols the border between
America and Mexico.

Mr. Gilchrist and Marvin Stewart, another member of
his group, were in the process of giving a speech at
the invitation of the Columbia College Republicans.
They were escorted off the stage unharmed and exited
the auditorium by a back door.

Having wreaked havoc onstage, the students unrolled a
banner that read, in both Arabic and English, "No one
is ever illegal." As security guards closed the
curtains and began escorting people from the
auditorium, the students jumped from the stage,
pumping their fists, chanting victoriously, "Si se
pudo, si se pudo,"Spanish for "Yes we could!"

The Minuteman Project, an organization of volunteers
founded in 2004 by Mr. Gilchrist, aims to keep illegal
immigrants out of America by alerting law enforcement
officials when they attempt to cross the border.The
group uses fiery language and unorthodox tactics to
advance its platform. "Future generations will inherit
a tangle of rancorous, unassimilated, squabbling
cultures with no common bond to hold them together,
and a certain guarantee of the death of this nation as
a harmonious melting pot,'" the group's Web site

The pandemonium that ensued as the evening's keynote
speaker took the stage was merely the climax of
protest that brewed all week. A number of campus
groups, including the Chicano caucus, the
African-American student organization, and the
International Socialist organization, began planning
their protests early this week when they heard that
the Minutemen would be arriving on campus.

The student protesters, who attended the event clad in
white as a sign of dissent, booed and shouted the
speakers down throughout.They interrupted Mr. Stewart,
who is African-American, when he referred to the
Declaration of Independence's self-evident truth that
"All men are created equal," calling him a racist, a
sellout, and a black white supremacist.

A student's demand that Mr. Stewart speak in Spanish
elicited thundering applause and brought the
protesters to their feet. The protesters remained
standing, turned their backs on Mr. Stewart for the
remainder of his remarks, and drowned him out by
chanting, "Wrap it up, wrap it up!" Mr. Stewart
appeared unphased by their behavior. He simply smiled
and bellowed, "No wonder you don't know what you're
talking about."

"These are racist individuals heading a project that
terrorizes immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border,"
Ryan Fukumori, a Columbia junior who took part in the
protest, told The New York Sun. "They have no right to
be able to speak here."

The student protesters "rush to vindicate themselves
with monikers like 'liberal' and open-minded,'
but their actions, their attempt to condemn the
Minutemen without even hearing what they have to say,
speak otherwise," the president of the Columbia
College Republicans, Chris Kulawik, said. On campus,
the Republicans' flyers advertising the event were
defaced and torn down.

The College Republicans expressed their concern about
the lack of free speech for opposing viewpoints on the
Columbia campus in the wake of the evening's events.
"We've often feared that there's not freedom of speech
at Columbia for more right wing views -- and that was
proven tonight," the executive director of the
Columbia College Republicans, Lauren Steinberg, said.

The Minutemen's arrival at Columbia drew protesters
from around the city as well. An hour before Messrs.
Stewart and Mr. Gilchrist took the stage, rowdy
protests began outside the auditorium on Broadway,
where activists chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, the
Minutemen have got to go!"

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