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Columbia queer/non-binary student group ‘derecognized’ due to antisemitism, racism

The women-led queer and non-binary Columbia student group LionLez was officially “derecognized” by the Student Governing Board last week due to its “antisemitic sentiments” and “racial quota requirements for board members.”

The genesis of the LionLez controversy was its now-former president’s remarks regarding “Zionists” not being allowed to attend the group’s October “Black Lesbian Films” event.

Lizzy George-Griffin also made antisemitic posts on social media such as “Israelis are the terrorists,” the “Holocaust WASN’T special [nor] UNIQUE” (only that its victims “were white”), and only “white Jews” are permitted to live in Israel.

She also believes those who support “Israel” (quotes in the original) are “very stupid and/or very racist.”

George-Griffin (pictured) denied that her posts were antisemitic in a statement to the Columbia Spectator.

Despite this background, the Student Governing Board derecognition vote was extremely close — 50.8 percent in favor vs. 49.2 percent opposed, the Spectator reports.

In response to vote results, LionLez blamed the “current political climate on campus.”

It also noted the SBA previously did not have an issue with its constitution which had specific quotas for students “of color” (“at least 70 percent” of the executive board, and all presidents if there are more than one; the group’s Instagram page still lists the mandates).

LionLez also claimed it never “proactively implemented or enforced” the quotas anyway.

MORE: Hatred of western culture unites the left with pro-Palestinians: op-ed

From the story:

SGB emphasized in the letter that the decision was not informed by the actions of an individual, but rather due to multiple allegations of discrimination and safety concerns.

“LionLez’s behavior negatively impacted their relations with the Columbia community at large, and has currently rendered them unable to function as an inclusive space for all students who attend Columbia,” SGB wrote. “In light of these violations of Columbia policy, federal anti-discrimination law, SGB guidelines, and their own constitution, we voted to recommend derecognition.” …

“The accusations by LionLez have portrayed the SGB as being merely another bureaucratic entity with the intent to exact disciplinary action on them for their political viewpoint. This is unfounded,” SGB wrote.

Despite changes made to the organization, LionLez still specifies it’s a “POC [People of Color]-Run Club.” Two of the group’s three new presidents use “they/them” pronouns, and all three are humanities majors (sociology, English, and film).

It also refuses to recognize the state of Israel, instead referring to it as a “settler colony created through genocide.”

At the end of each semester, proceeds from the so-called “LionLez Fund” event are distributed to “trans people of color” at Columbia and the adjacent Harlem community for “gender-affirming” care.

MORE: Anti-Israel protesters at Columbia demand divestment, threaten tuition strike

IMAGE: Shutterstock.com; ilovetheupperwestside, LionLez/Instagram

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.