From Columbia to Columbae, the Leftist Settlements Must Go

From Columbia to Columbae, the Leftist Settlements Must Go

On Tuesday, Columbae, Stanford’s “vegetarian, social justice-focused co-op run on the principle of consensus,” received an email from Interim Vice Provost for Student Affairs, C. Matthew Snipp. He informed residents that their house will be converted into an unthemed self-operated house, renamed simply as 549 Lasuen. An insufficient number of students—only four—originally applied to live in the house, but now Stanford has decided to reopen applications to the house to give it another shot at survival.

Stanford’s history of neutering the personality of the Row Houses—as has been done to Sigma Chi, the Italian and Slavic theme houses, and many more—is nothing new. But Columbae is known on campus for its unconventional governance (which apparently led to a debate over whether it was ethical to hire an ant exterminator, according to the Stanford-exclusive Fizz mobile app) and insufferable leftism. Like its fellow co-ops EBF and Kairos, it is known as haven for ideological intolerance where one is required to support causes such as #FreePalestine and “Queer Exploration” to be socially accepted. 

After the October 7th massacre, The New York Times published an article describing Columbae’s off-putting banners, reading that “Zionism is genocide,” hoisted before the bodies in Israel were cold. Perhaps this extreme anti-Zionism contributed to only four students applying to a house with a capacity for 53 assignable spaces. Adding insult to injury, Columbae’s resident advisors cyber-begged their peers on Instagram to fill out the interest form, “even if you are slightly considering it,” to save their “community oriented safe space for marginalized students on campus.” Stanford caved in, and opened up a second round of pre-assignment for Columbae last night. It remains to be seen whether they can muster more than four students on their second attempt at attracting more comrades into their house.

While Stanford, largely due to liability concerns, has undertaken a crusade to eradicate any student-run or autonomous housing, the dehousing of Columbae presents a rare opportunity to loosen the grip of leftist student groups on campus. Just as Columbia took belated yet decisive action to invite the New York Police Department to campus to kick out protesters from its lawn, it is the right move for Stanford to evict these student-activists who have a history of harassment and treating their university-owned residence as a de facto headquarters for their social justice operations. 

Crackdowns on anti-Israel encampments and protesters across the country, from Princeton to Austin, demonstrate that universities are done accepting the antics of radicals who believe their settler-colonialism of university quads and administrative buildings will successfully bully administrators into accepting their ridiculous demands. The unseriousness of prominent activists such as former Columbia student Khymani James, who is apparently resisting the urge to “murder Zionists,” and Columbia School of Social Work student Aidan Parisi, whose eviction from student housing has sent him scrambling to find an apartment that accommodates his emotional support rabbit, reveals that the maturity of leftists holding campuses hostage is identical to that of petulant children.

While Stanford’s motivations to end Columbae may be part of its larger “war on fun,” the University is correct to counter the hijacking of its property to act as havens for terrorist-sympathizing, America-hating kvetches. Endowment-funded DEI departments and social justice-motivated departments have peddled enough wokeness; Stanford should not be providing a subsidized base of operations for these far-left fanatics who comprise a tiny sliver of the general student body.

However, instead of converting Columbae into yet another soulless, themeless Row House, it is imperative that the University convert it into a space which will appeal to the majority of the student body and contribute to Stanford’s struggling social scene. Only five of Stanford’s eleven fraternities are housed, and many once-vibrant Row houses and Greek organizations, such as SAE and TDX, have been erased by administrative action. Reinstating one of these organizations and having them occupy the former site of Columbae would not only serve as a (rightful) slap in the face to the small, but very loud minority of student activists—many of whom powered the #AbolishGreekLife movement—but would serve a far larger portion of Stanford’s student body.

Opening the house to parties and upperclassmen who want to live in a dorm where they can prepare meat in their own kitchen and not need to extol the virtues of #LandBack would be a great option for the typical tech-focused, apolitical Stanford student. The backlash to the 2024 attempted intifada on college campuses indicates that the nation’s cultural pendulum is swinging against wokeness. Stanford should move with that pendulum to dehouse Columbae and rehouse the frat bros, thereby evicting miserable leftism and restoring fun to the Farm.

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