September 2, 2008

Protest Against Review Erupts During Clubfest

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It wasn’t all fun and games at this year’s Clubfest, an annual start-of-the-year event where students can learn about campus organizations.
On Sunday afternoon, students protested The Cornell Review during the event held in Barton Hall. Around 3:00 p.m., some students began circulating quarter cards calling the Cornell Review “racist.” The protesters also chanted at the members of The Review sitting at the magazine’s booth, causing members of the Cornell University Police Department to be called in. The CUPD refused to comment on the incident.
Raza Hoda ’11, the treasurer of The Review, said people were angry about a satirical piece he wrote about Muslims in the United Kingdom, as well as another piece by Eric Shive ’07, the former editor in chief of the Cornell American, which has since merged with The Review. [img_assist|nid=31360|title=Faces in the crowd|desc=Students crowd Barton Hall during Sunday’s annual Clubfest event, which introduces students to a slew of campus organizations.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Shive’s piece, which mentioned “angry minorities” and alluded to self-segregation in program houses, was included with Hoda’s in The Review’s freshman issue that combines several old articles into an single issue.
Hoda, who mentioned that he himself is Muslim, said that his piece was meant to be funny and satirical and said that when he showed the full article to some of the angry people reading excerpts on the protesters’ quartercards, they agreed that it was humorous.
Eddie Herron ’09, editor in chief of The Review, was not present during the protest, but wrote in an e-mail statement, “If you look at the top left of any of The Cornell Review’s issues you will see our motto ‘We Do Not Apologize.’ I will stand by that motto and say that The Cornell Review does not regret re-publishing Eric Shive’s, and Raza Hoda’s articles. With that said I am very disappointed that there was a protest, it seems that people at Cornell accept everyone’s beliefs, life styles and choices … as long as they aren’t conservative beliefs, life styles and choices.”
Star Li ’10, the Clubfest coordinator who organized the event, would not comment on the situation saying, “I don’t get involved in politics.”
Aside from the protest, the annual event meant to acquaint students with campus groups and organizations took place as usual. Between 1 and 4 p.m., clubs ranging from club soccer to a cappela to staged combat group Ring of Steel filled Barton Hall for this year’s Clubfest. Over 320 clubs, with interests ranging from philanthropy to academia to religion and culture, paid $7 to the Student Activities Office to set up booths on the track in Barton hoping to attract new members.
Li said, “This is one of the most important social events of the year for freshmen and even upperclassmen to see what all the groups are about, and interact with them rather than just reading about them on our website. It’s also a great way to learn about Cornell.”
Darya Moldavskaya ’12 agreed: “I came out here to join clubs and really see what’s out there.”
Many clubs were creative in trying to gain the attention of curious freshmen and other students looking to get involved. Katrina Cronburg ’10, treasurer of the Scandinavia Club said she set out Scandinavian cookies to attract and delight new members. She said not only did she meet Scandinavian students, but also students studying abroad at Cornell from the area.
Yet while most clubs resorted to bright posters and free candy, a few clubs went above and beyond. The Absolute Zero Breakdance Team performed a break dancing session; Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional chemistry fraternity made bright green goo out of cornstarch and water; and the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team showed off their AUV from last year.
Most clubs considered the event a success, getting dozens of students to sign up for their listserves.
Yet club executives also realize that most students sign up for everything they find appealing, before narrowing down their devoted membership to only a club or two.
One such student is Lily Chen ’12 who said she and her friends each signed up for over 10 clubs.