This is the sixth edition of “The Season That Could Have Been,” Spectator’s series on spring 2020 sports.
Columbia baseball is set to embark on a 13-game road trip to begin its 2020 slate after falling short of Ivy League glory last year in a heartbreaking loss to Harvard. This season will present unique challenges to the Light Blue, which lost a number of key pieces that powered its 2019 team to a 13-8 Ivy League record....
It's late. You're up. Toss your textbooks aside and go to sleep.
Remember that movie "Taken"? The one where Liam Neeson says that thing about "I have a very particular set of skills" and fights his way Bourne-style through a bunch of slightly less badass bad people to rescue his kidnapped daughter? In "Taken," the daughter gets put up for sale as a sex slave to a bunch of gross, absurdly wealthy males—but it's OK, because in the end Liam finds her. The movie is a failure, though, because it's missing a crucial blurb that audiences everywhere probably would have appreciated seeing—that this actually happens. The problem with "Taken" is that it doesn't take the problem of human trafficking—modern-day slavery—seriously enough. I first heard about this issue two years ago through a documentary called "Call+Response." The film, a self-styled "rockumentary," features artists like Matisyahu, Cold War Kids, and Imogen Heap, intellectuals like Cornel West, and politicians like Madeleine Albright. The film makes the bold statement that slavery—yes, slavery—is as big a business today as it was 200 years ago. Not only that, but slavery exists in the United States and even here in New York, in what many of us call the greatest city in the world. I think sometimes being a student at Columbia makes me naive. I find this strange, because I also think being a student makes me wiser. By this I mean that I start to think of the world as it should be, instead of how it is. Especially in classes like Lit Hum and CC, it's very easy to swallow whole the narrative that's presented to you—the teleological progression of morals and ideas that has culminated in our current state. Sure, we've got our problems, but we've picked the best from Plato and Hegel and the rest. We've had our Civil War and we know that slavery is evil. It's illegal, it's immoral, and it's a thing of the past. But how many times have we shaken our heads in anger when we've heard someone (let's say on Fox News) say something about "post-racial America" when talking about the election of Barack Obama? Racism is still alive, we say. Legal, moral, social, and even physical battles have been won, but much work remains—the justification for it is dead, but racism still exists, waiting under the surface. I submit to you that in the same way, yes, slavery is illegal, yes, it is accepted as deplorable and despicable, and yes, it's still alive and kicking. Here are the facts. The Department of State estimates that there are around 27 million slaves in the world today and defines modern-day slavery as encompassing the following: bonded labor, forced labor, sex trafficking, child soldiering, child sex trafficking, involuntary domestic servitude, and forced child labor. Of the 27 million, 17,500 are trafficked in the United States each year. A side note—human trafficking just passed the illicit weapons trade to become the second-largest illegal market in the world, behind illicit drugs. In other words, in today's global economy, criminals make more money selling people than they do selling weapons. Modern-day slavery is a moral outrage and demands a response—a modern-day abolitionist movement. As a self-proclaimed global institution, Columbia should be at the forefront of both intellectual critiques of and movements to end the global slave trade, and as students we can be the force that propels the University into that position. This week, InterVarsity Social Justice will begin its "I Am An Abolitionist" campaign, a series of events designed to raise awareness of human trafficking and the ways we can fight it as students. The goal of the campaign is ambitious and provocative: that every student at Columbia will be able to say "I am an Abolitionist" and do something about one of the world's great human rights crises. And who knows, maybe we can all learn some of Liam Neeson's moves. The author is a Columbia College senior majoring in English....
Although the loss of many runners seems a daunting obstacle to overcome, both the men's and women's cross country teams are optimistic that they will stay ahead of the competition this season....