In response to Student Veterans Society closing

By Letter to the Editor, by Jackie Spinner

I was dismayed to read that the college has taken away the dedicated veteran student space on campus. Veteran students come to Columbia with unique skills and experiences that are vastly different than our other students. One of the reasons I teach a war stories class in J-term is to help students understand what it’s been like for their peers to go to war, a war that the United States has been fighting most of their lives. Veteran students have used this space to connect and to support each other during a huge and sometimes difficult transition into college life.

The students need to know the space is there even if they don’t use it regularly because one day they might. Someone who hasn’t been to war or been to conflict cannot understand that, how war can creep up on you. It sends the wrong message to veteran students—and their non-veteran peers—about how the college values their service. If I were a veteran interested in Columbia, I’d think twice about an institution that didn’t offer this basic support for me. It’s really quite shameful.

Jackie Spinner, associate professor,