To answer this question with a firm "yes" or "no" would be to demonstrate disinterest.
Should the University make any political statements? Should the endowment be used to make a political statement? Should students care about where or how Columbia distributes its funds externally, and should they have a say in those decisions?
As students at Columbia, we are regularly confronted with political expressions. We belong to an educational institution that houses a host of students who are willing and eager to promote their ideas. We undertake courses of study that require us to lend an ear to the great thinkers of our past, and that encourage us to form and voice informed opinions of our own.
We’re a loud and proud bunch here, and our political inclinations have a remarkable tendency to become vocalized or put into action (à la 1968).
But while making political statements and lending support to political causes is the norm within Columbia’s micro-communities, the question of whether the University as a whole should express itself politically is more complex. We are constantly reminded to make our individual voices heard when it comes to particular issues. But what of Columbia’s collective voice?
Universities are complex institutions that are composed of myriad opinions. Finding one collective voice on any political issue is certainly no easy task. Moreover, should the endowment—the fund our educations are dependent upon—be used to express political statements?
As students, are Columbia's investments—and thus, political stances—even germane to us? If so, what kind of say can we even have?
We invite you to consider the issues here.
This is the real question we need to ask ourselves: When Columbia takes a position, how does it enact that position in the world?
By sabotaging the operation of capital at the university, we risk diminishing the value of our own personhood.
Institutions can and should be pressured by their members to live up to their own principles.