Dante De Blasio College Tour

Multiple tipsters have confirmed that Mayor Bill de Blasio, his son, Dante de Blasio, and wife Chirlane McCray have been touring around Columbia University—they’ve been spotted walking to campus near Starbucks, strolling through Riverside Park, and taking a personal tour near Butler Library and the freshmen residence halls.

One Columbia staff member in Hartley was surprised to see the mayor walk in: “I was on the phone talking, and I just looked up and it was him, and I was like, ‘It’s You!’ and he came over and shook my hand.”

On Monday the Daily News posted photos that showed Dante, a junior in high school, visiting Wesleyan University with the fam. Keep your eyes open, and send your pictures to tips@bwog.com or use our anonymous tip form!

come to cu!

The de Blasio family with Finn Vigeland as a tour guide


Which residence hall would be best for Dante?


The family kindly indulged requests for pictures.

More pictures after the jump.

WBAR-B-Q Spring Show Today
Awesome free music right here

Awesome free music right here

Today on Lehman Lawn from 12-8 pm WBAR Barnard College Radio will be hosting their annual spring showcase of awesome music acts from all over New York City and beyond. The show is free and open to the public, and there will be free Vanessa’s Dumplings. The lineup this year looks full of both variety and talent, starting the day with Brooklyn-based pop punk act Arm Candy going all the way to the Los Angeles alternative R&B duo Inc. to close out the show. The rest of the day you can hear some spazz-electronics, or some avant-pop, among other creative genres. Check out the bumpin’ lineup below:

Are those NSOP groups? via Barnard

PSA: Phishing Emails In Columbia Network

There are sketchy emails currently being circulated through the Columbia LionMail network, and some are being sent from actual Columbia students’ email addresses after they clicked on the links to the first one. This might mean that some accounts are being hacked, but this cannot be confirmed. If you receive an email such as this one DO NOT click on the link or enter any information (obviously, guys, come on) and forward the message to askcuit@columbia.edu immediately.

don't click

Bwoglines: Fear Of The Future Edition
This is what scares your grandma

This is what scares your grandma

The president of Pace University criticized Columbia’s decision to stop offering internship credits for limiting the availability of educationally valuable, yet unpaid positions. (The Hill)

Four French journalists were released this morning after 10 months held hostage in Syria. (ABC News)

Google and Amazon are scaring people with their eye-on-the-future technological innovations. Drones are pretty terrifying and so are wristwatches. (Information Week)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket blasted through a cloudy atmosphere yesterday on its way to the International Space Station, loaded with supplies for the station crew. (Discovery News)

Google Iris via Shutterstock

Savoring Serenity: Pita Grill
Tastes good, who cares?

Savory, delicious ambiguous meat product

We’re always down to eat (especially in the vicinity of 1020), so we were pretty excited about Pita Grill, a new restaurant across the street from St. John the Divine. We sent gyro guru Artur Renault to sample the menu and write haikus about it.

As the spring now blooms,
So does a new restaurant;
Pita Grill’s upon us.

A diverse menu;
It has schnitzels and rice bowls
And even tacos.

Hummus, oh hummus,
The hopeless choice between
Three kinds of hummus.

Oh, the lamb gyro.
It’s better than halal carts’
Although much smaller.

Falafel pitas
Are only three dollars each
Can this be real life?

Mid-meal reflections:
Are regular walls cheaper
Than these cool bare bricks?

The menu says beef;
The burger tasted like lamb
What should I believe?

Some things taste like soap;
the iced tea and the tabbouleh.
Steer clear.

It is right next to
Insomnia and 1020.
Get dessert and drinks!

Overall cheap;
And some things are very good,
But it’s a gamble.

Meaty goodness via Shutterstock

BwogSports: The Lions Are Out–Go Watch Them Play
How gray and scenic

Tearing up that turf water

Despite the sudden, unwarranted cool-down this past week, the forecast for the weekend looks to be more friendly for those who love sitting on the Steps. Take advantage of the fact that the weather is finally warming up to the season and go watch the many Columbia teams in action this weekend. Catch a preview of the games below. 

The 19th-ranked men’s tennis team is in pursuit of the Ivy League title, hoping to lock it up this weekend for the first time since 2010 (the women’s team won the league last year). While the men travel to Penn today, they come home on Sunday to serve up Princeton to end the regular season. Catch them on the court at Dick Savitt Tennis Center.

The men’s lightweight crew team, ranked second in the nation, is hosting several top-ten teams at Overpeck Park, which, according to Google Maps, is in New Jersey. The Lions look to make waves against No. 1 Cornell and No. 7 MIT on Saturday for the Geiger Cup, and on Sunday against No. 9 Dartmouth for the Subin Cup.

The women’s lacrosse team is home against Harvard on Saturday for a 1 pm game to finish the home Ivy League slate. While the team won’t be making the postseason or winning the Ivy League (3-8, 0-5 Ivy), they deserve your support as they finish off their season.

Baseball and Softball both play a four-game weekend set at Cornell. The baseball team (17-15, 9-3 Ivy League) is coming off nine straight wins, most recently an 11-4 rout of St. John’s, while the softball team (18-18, 5-7 Ivy League) has a two-game winning streak going into their matchup against Big Red. Look forward to the men returning home to face Fordham on April 23rd, and the women returning to face Penn on April 26th in a season-finale doubleheader.

In the zone via Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

Commencement Approacheth

It’s that time of year again. The end of the semester is a few weeks away, and the bleachers are starting to go up on Low Plaza. Seniors are starting to frantically take part in campus life any way they can, desperate to cling to their last weeks at Columbia. The rest of us have to weave our way around the construction on our way to class. Meanwhile, a new generation of frosh continue to awkwardly introduce themselves on Facebook.

Class of 2014, are you ready to leave?

How #Blue Are You?

The critical question for any Columbia student: how #blue are you? Do you represent #OurBlue? We know you’re #dying to find out.

LectureHop: Guns, PMCs, And Steel
Looking stately

Roosevelt president and VP with their panelists, looking stately

Last Thursday was the Roosevelt Institute’s annual policy forum on the topic of the future of the U.S. defense industry. Never one to miss a good panel discussion, we sent defensive defenestrator Julia Goodman to report.

In case you’re unaware, the Roosevelt Institute is a nonpartisan think tank with chapters on college campuses across the nation. The Columbia chapter, among other things, knows how to put together a good panel discussion–they organize at least one forum a year. This year’s focus was the American military-industrial complex, which Eisenhower famously warned against in his 1961 farewell speech before leaving the White House.

The panel was an interesting group of people, and considering that there were only three speakers, the Institute leaders did an impressive job of capturing the diversity of experience within the defense industry. The speakers were Austin Long, a professor and consultant for various defense engineering companies; Ken Nevor, an executive from one such company; and John Schiffer, a GS student who served in the Marines. The dynamic between the three was quite interesting–as the youngest (and lowest-ranking) speaker, Schiffer seemed to carry less respect with the two older panelists, who frequently whispered loudly over him. Nevor, meanwhile, insisted on reading from a prepared sheet of responses. (He initially said this was because he was tired, but then said that he “ha[d] to,” which added to the sense that he was toeing the company line.)

Nevertheless, all had insights to share. Responding to questions about how they view the relationship between the military and private companies, none of the three speakers seemed to have any moral qualms with it. Nevor explained that, from his perspective, Eisenhower was warning against a nation in which the government would spend all of its time and energy on military technology (as Soviet Russia was perceived to be doing at the time) and thus outsourcing such work to private companies is actually in line with what Eisenhower would want. He also pointed out that side the military is “designed and tailored to meet the needs” of the U.S. government, outsourcing work to private companies does not mean the military will suddenly be doing things the government, or taxpayers, wouldn’t be okay with.

Long had a less uniformly positive perspective, saying of private defense contractors, “Sometimes they’re helpful, sometimes they’re not, sometimes they’re just really weird.” To corroborate this statement, he shared the story of the private contractor whose job it was to make all the keys on one base Long worked on. When he needed a new key, Long had to go to the edge of the base to visit this man, known only as “The Keymaster,” and listen to him tell strange stories for a while before eventually getting his key. Schiffer added that because private contractors are nonmilitary personnel, they can technically choose not to work whenever they want, and can’t be ordered to go into the field. He occasionally witnessed significant problems with this, especially when private translators in Afghanistan would refuse to accompany a mission.

But there must be pros to contracting private labor, too?

Take Back The Night 2014: Rape Culture Is Not Some Buzzword
Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night is an annual campus event that provides a voice against local domestic violence and sexual assault. Taylor Grasdalen attended Thursday’s march and rally.

It would be entirely too easy to call Take Back the Night “moving,” or to call it by any related synonym, with as much stress as there has been this year on the terminology and language and circumstance surrounding issues of “gender-based misconduct and sexual assault.” Rather, I’ve never seen so much feeling; considering this event in the context of this word instead, this noun, seems to make far more sense than any descriptor. That there was feeling suggests a much greater thing.

And indeed, Take Back the Night really is about a greater thing, something big, something loud and important, a group rallying. This is exactly as it’s been for years’ events past, I know, but considering the modern energy of these issues makes that feeling stronger.

Take Back the Night began just before eight, with announcements and introductions. I was immediately regarded as “press” and could not speak to any other marcher or participant. Our key speaker–Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood (CC’14)–began the actual rally itself, by briefly discussing her own experiences and then for some time considering the University’s place in this cause. Her speech really clarified the purpose I’d hoped for this event: she gave more than just statistics, she gave thorough definition to “rape culture.” It’s any form of non-consent, anything without decision. She brought up Columbia’s Manhattanville expansion, where, too, students are not being heard. As she put it, “Rape culture is not some buzzword.” In a year of Town Halls and constant emails, administrators deflecting blame and students becoming restless, her concentration on language here felt incredibly timely.

She went on to name and address President Bollinger.

Bwoglines: Anomalies In The Universe Edition
Let's dive in

The portal home?

A baby is on the way! Grandma for president 2016? (Politico)

Kepler -186f isn’t the catchiest name, but it might still make for a good home after we fuck up Earth too badly to live on it. First settler gets naming rights! (CNN)

Ewwww these insects are having the wildest sex of any of us. We don’t know what that image is but we can’t even look at it. (The State Column)

Forget sugar and cream–just stir some straight butter into your coffee. We’re sure that would spruce up a big cup of Ferris roast. (Gothamist)

One bitch of a commute via Shutterstock

The Heights Is Back?

After The Heights succumbed to the Great Citibank Fire of January 2014, we feared we would never see it again. We keened and wept, depressed at the prospect of 1020 being stuffed with freshmen forevermore. We made a list of the bleak alternatives to having The Heights in our lives…

But then, today, we started hearing rumors. A Facebook post here, a private event held Sunday night there, all indicated that, like a phoenix, The Heights had been reborn from its ashes more splendid than ever. It seemed like happy hours were upon us once again.

However, when we called The Heights we just got a recorded phone message saying it had burnt down. And Spec says it will only be open by invitation on Friday.

Yet there’s a sign out front saying it’s open, serving drinks but not food. As far as we’re concerned, The Heights is back!

the heightsLest We Forget

Also, The Heights’ website says that “The Heights was founded in 1996 from the ashes of Nacho Mama’s Burritos which met its demise earlier the same year.” Is the location inherently fire-prone, or could the Heights be locked in an eternal cycle of rebirth and flame?

King’s Crown Recipients Tackle Sexual Assault

The King’s Crown Leadership Excellence Awards are coveted by some, as they are given to “students which have offered outstanding leadership to their community/ies with exemplary commitment and energy.” The awards ceremony began tonight at 6:30 in Roone, and some of the students being recognized are wearing red tape on their wrists in solidarity with recent attempts to fix Columbia’s sexual assault policy. Those wearing tape signed the following statement:

To the students, faculty, and trustees of Columbia University and Barnard College:

Tonight we are all honored, thankful, and humbled to have been nominated by our peers for King’s Crown Leadership Excellence Awards. Your support and recognition means a great deal to us. We are also deeply grateful for the work that so many others have done this year to make Columbia a safer, more supportive place.

This past year, students have pushed the University to take several important steps to reform the University’s inadequate, opaque services and policies for preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors on our campus. We want to recognize the years of work that both students and staff have spent and the positive changes that have taken place this year. But as we receive these awards, we need to say, unequivocally, that those steps are far from sufficient and that this work is far from done.

The system has been slow to change.

#tbt Greek Games Edition

This week’s #tbt is brought to you by the Columbia Spectator Archives and Britt Fossum, who kind of wishes she went to Barnard. Have anything you’d like to see featured? Send it to tips or use our anonymous form.

Bacchanal is a fairly recent development in Columbia’s history, starting only in the 2000s. But long before Bacchus was honored yearly with Keystone Light and lame outdoor concerts, the University still paid homage to the Greek Gods. Barnard College was once host to the greatest feats of strength and tests of skill since ancient Athens: the Barnard Hunger Greek Games. They ran continually through 1968 and now are honored only by a curious statue on campus and intermittent attempts at revival. Maybe the students found chariot races and elaborate opening rituals too silly to continue? Maybe the Freshmen were tired of losing to Sophomores over 60 times? Maybe it was because the student musical performers for the 1968 games were kidnapped by another student group?

Highlights from Spectator Archives (and one NY Times!) covering the much-anticipated event include:

  • “Greek Games is an attempt to authentically reproduce an ancient Greek Bacchanal.” 27 April 1965.
  • “DIGNITY TO PREVAIL IN BARNARD GAMES…Instead of trying to learn to walk in the Greek fashion, the students have practiced marching in an orderly and dignified procession.” 11 April 1917.
  • “But although they dedicated themselves to Aphrodite, it was the Goddess Fortuna who gave the class of ’61 the laurel wreath when two members of the ’62 hoop race relay team lost their hoops. 13 April 1959.
  • In 1958 Columbia students or “invading Barbarians” disturbed the games and required that “the Barnard gym was disguised as an Athenian Temple.” 21 April 1958.
  • “BARNARD SOPHS WIN THE HELLENIC CONTEST; They Had Zeus with Them at the Start, and Couldn’t Lose. STILL IT WAS PRETTY CLOSE Closer Than the Score, 36 to 25, Might Indicate — There Were Feats Both Mental and Physical.” 24 March 1906.
  • This entire 1944 article though: “Barnard Sacrifice Men for Greeks–Temporarily!” “Turn the Barnard Gym into a small-size Coliseum with hordes of blood-hungry spectators,” “athletic orgies,” and “Prometheus, the Athenian version of Thomas Edison.” 14 April 1944.
Colbert Report Filming Spoof Of Fox News

the interrogation begins

Tired of Fox News? So is The Colbert Report, who is on campus right now filming students. We caught up with a CC senior who had just been interviewed for the segment to mock Fox News making Columbia students look stupid.

“So The Colbert Report is coming on with unreasonable demands—he holds up a picture of somebody and swooshes it by really fast and asks them to name which political official it was. The humor is that Columbia students are really smart and answer correctly, and he’s trying to make a funny shot and gets pissed off. So I was just interviewed to answer what are the three branches of government. I actually got 2 of them right the first time, and then they did the shot again where I got all three of them right—he said ‘Son of a bitch!’ and stormed off.”

How many takes would it take you?