(Powerline)—A while ago, The Daily Caller reported that, as a student at Columbia University, Eric Holder participated in an armed takeover of the University’s former ROTC office. John wrote about this at the time, but I want to expand.
According to the Daily Caller, Holder was among the leaders of the Student Afro-American Society (SAAS), which demanded that the former ROTC office be renamed the “Malcolm X Lounge.” The change, the group insisted, was to be made “in honor of a man who recognized the importance of territory as a basis for nationhood.”
This statement shows the separatist nature of the group Holder helped lead. And, indeed, Stefan Bradley, professor of African-American studies at Saint Louis University and author of the 2009 book “Harlem vs. Columbia University,” has described the Columbia organization as separatist.
The Daily Caller contacted the Justice Department before running the story about Holder and the takeover. DOJ’s spokesperson spokeswoman has not responded to the question of whether Holder himself was armed, and if so, with what sort of weapon.
The Daily Caller’s information comes in part from statements by a friend of Holder at Columbia and in part from Holder himself. The friend, Steve Smith, told GQ magazine that he, Holder, and others “took over the ROTC lounge in Hartley Hall and created the Malcolm X Lounge.” GQ calls Sims “the attorney general’s closest friend” and “a man Holder describes as his ‘consigliere.’”
Holder himself said in a 2009 speech that he and his fellow students decided to “peacefully occupy one of the campus offices.” Presumably, this was the ROTC office.
The information that the occupiers were armed comes from a deleted Web page of the Black Students’ Organization (BSO) at Columbia, a successor group to the SAAS. It states: “In 1970, a group of armed black students seized the abandoned ROTC office on the first floor of Hartley Hall.” If this account is correct, then Holder either has forgotten about the arms, pretends there were no arms, or means that the occupation was “peaceful” in the sense that no one was shot.