Campus Free Speech

Columbia Students Interrupted a Sex and Gender Class to Protest a Professor They Disagree With (Updated)

"Professor Goldberg proudly refers to her experience as an LGBTQ rights lawyer while continuing to create a dangerous environment for students."


Screenshot via Vimeo

This post has been updated, see below.

Last week, activist students at Columbia University barged into a Sexuality and Gender Law class to protest the professor, a vice president and Title IX administrator who is insufficiently committed to the cause, according to the protesters.

The incident was captured on video. Led by junior Amelia Roskin-Frazee, who is suing Columbia for failing to properly investigate her sexual assault accusations under Title IX, the students entered Goldberg's small discussion class and began to talk over her.

"We are here today because despite the repeated efforts of student organizers, survivors at Columbia and Barnard are still endangered by administrators like Suzanne Goldberg," said Roskin-Frazee, reading from a prepared statement. "Professor Goldberg proudly refers to her experience as an LGBTQ rights lawyer while continuing to create a dangerous environment for students, including queer students, on this campus."

Goldberg repeatedly asked the students to leave, and accused them of violating university policy by disrupting her class. They eventually departed—on their own time, after the Roskin-Frazee was finished speaking.

Goldberg has become a frequent target of campus activism, according to Campus Reform's Toni Airaksinen:

Just last year, student members of Columbia Divest for Climate Justice were caught on video stalking her to her taxi, screaming at her that they wanted "divestment" as she fled.

Just a day earlier, students had followed her to a campus administrative building to call for divestment, as well.

Goldberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Roskin-Frazee declined to comment.

I don't want to see students punished for expressing their opinions, but a class meeting to which they were not invited is certainly the wrong time and place to do so. If students felt free to barge into classrooms and lecture halls and rant at professors they don't like, the most basic function of the university would be compromised.

Just as it was wrong to shut down an ACLU attorney attempting to advise students on their First Amendment rights, it is also wrong to disturb the operations of a random class. In fact, it's something of a new low for the campus anti-speech movement.

Updated at 1:00 p.m.: A university spokesperson sent me the following statement on behalf of Goldberg, to whom it is attributed: "There are many times in the day when I am glad to meet with students or hear students' views on university life issues, but interrupting a class is never acceptable."

Group of students protesting Suzanne Goldberg's class today from Bwog on Vimeo.