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When the Supreme Court revisits affirmative action in Fisher v. Universityof Texas on Dec. 9, the legalistic discussion of narrowly tailored means and race-neutral alternatives will obscure a more basic question: Do the searing events and protests that began in Ferguson, Mo., and continue to echo across the country leave any doubt about how far we have to go to overcome racial discrimination and to achieve a truly integrated society?

While we cannot easily account for or remedy the root of these and other tragic situations that we learn of so upsettingly often, we can provide support to members of our community who are directly or emotionally affected by these events.

After yesterday’s attacks in Bamako, Mali, our thoughts and condolences are with the victims' families, as well as with those on our own campus who have experienced such horrific events.  A Columbia alum, Anita Ashok Datar, was among those killed.

The teach-in and speak-out, titled "Race, Ethnicity and University Life" and moderated by Dean of Social Science Alondra Nelson, was organized by the Office of University Life to address institutionalized racism in light of nationwide protests regarding the experiences of students of color on college campuses.

We join in mourning the innocent lives lost and in decrying the violent attacks in Paris, as well as in other cities in recent weeks, just as the world mourned and stood together with New Yorkers after 9/11.  The University Chapel’s bells will toll at noon today, as we pause to reflect on these horrifying events.  

Statement from Columbia University regarding the events in Paris.

Awakening Our Democracy

"The three presenters were very knowledgable about different topics and able to talk about them, so that everyone could relate and understand," Holman said. "It was great, really insightful, and I'm glad I came out."

Awakening Our Democracy

“We are looking to have lively, engaging conversations with everyone in the University community and especially students,” Executive Vice President for University Life Suzanne Goldberg told Spectator in an interview.

Columbia’s Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative, which is required for new students and returning students who have not already completed the program, will offer a greater variety of programming options and give students more time to finish the requirement than last year.

What does it mean to be part of this University community?  Columbia, after all, is the size of a small city, with more than 50,000 of us affiliated, including students, faculty, staff and many others.

In response to this question, the Office has three focal points: student life, intellectual life, and community citizenship. 

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