I'm a 1997 graduate of Columbia Bible College. When I had received Enzi Tanner's email October 4th stating that CIU had decided not to meet with Soulforce and would not allow them on campus, I was disheartened. So, I sent an email to various administration at CIU and received this reply back from a trusted friend:
"As I had been talking with Katie Higgins (Ride co-director) it appeared obvious that their intentions were to come on campus despite our request that they agree to a neutral site meeting versus coming here. She said they would only be sending six to the off-site meeting. In a later e-mail she said that the six people from each group (SoulForce and CIU) does not fully meet the goals of the riders. We didn't restrict the size of the group meeting off campus so that also indicated to us that their intentions were more focused here on campus, which I can fully understand. Based on that we cancelled the off campus meeting.
At the same time we began talking about what we could do to accommodate them here. While not agreeing to all their requests (open access to campus, a chapel venue, etc.), we thought we could do something. We didn't have that determined when I informed Katie we were cancelling the off-campus meeting. So, what we did was mark off an area near the front entrance of campus all up in the trees so that there would be grass to sit on and plenty of shade. We brought a couple porta-pottys, coolers of drinks, and about 20 students came up at noon with boxed lunches that we ate together. I had sent an e-mail to our students telling them that any that wanted to meet with the group should be waiting in the student center Monday morning, about 25 came up when they arrived at 10:00 a.m. I think about 60-70 students interacted with them throughout the day (they were here about 5 hours). Probably 10-15 faculty joined in as well.
So while the initial communication was pretty negative sounding, we did intend to have the interaction. Was it what they wanted? No, but several of the riders expressed deep appreciation to our students. I appreciated the riders' cooperation and peaceful manner. Sometimes coming with an agenda makes it hard to understand all the angles involved, but I know we too could have done better. How, I'm not sure. Our efforts were sincere, there was more dialogue than we first thought we would offer and certainly more than they expected when they arrived.
I'm sure you were disappointed in us, maybe this will lessen some of that disappointment."
Then I read Soulforce's press release "Riders Connect with Columbia International Students, Despite Official Surveillance" http://www.soulforce.org/article/1441
which seems to carry a negative tone.
All I'm saying is that there are two sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle is the truth.