Carry That Weight Day Of Action At Columbia

Earlier today, hundreds of people took to Low Steps with mattresses and banners in support of survivors of sexual assault and in protest of the Columbia administration’s mishandling of the issue. The Day of Action and rally were part of the Carry That Weight campaign, a national movement started by activists at Columbia to support survivors and call for change. Over 130 universities across the nation also took part in the Day of Action.

If you somehow didn’t notice the groups of students carrying mattresses, here’s what you missed:

From the Carry That Weight Day of Action press release:

The aim of the national #carrythatweight campaign is to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence and to empower students at colleges around the country who are working to improve their school’s sexual and domestic violence response policies. As a platform for further discussion and action, the demonstration serves as an opportunity for student groups to develop concrete steps to confront rape culture on their campuses and to support survivors in their communities.

To achieve this goal, the #carrythatweight campaign has built connections with committed on-campus and nonprofit groups. In addition to partnerships with students at over 130 schools, more than 15 organizations have signed on as formal partners with the campaign. Through these partnerships, groups pledge to promote the event and hold universities accountable to an equitable adjudication process that is sensitive to survivors.

In response to the Day of Action, the Columbia administration released a statement on sexual assault policies. An excerpt from the statement is included below:

Columbia embraces its responsibility to be a leader in preventing sexual assault and other gender-based misconduct anywhere it may occur, with a special duty to protect the safety and well-being of our own students. Student activism here and around the nation has played in important role in encouraging these efforts. As a university we have made substantial new investments to further strengthen our personnel, physical resources, and policies dedicated to preventing and responding to gender based-misconduct.

We understand that reports about these cases in the media can be deeply distressing, and our hearts go out to any students who feel they have been mistreated. But galvanizing public attention on an important societal problem is very different from a public conversation about individual students and cases, which colleges and universities do not discuss—not only because of federal student privacy law, but also because it is essential that all students have confidence that they can report misconduct or access the counseling resources they need without concern that the university will ever talk about them in public.

CAGE Creates Guide To Columbia Expansion

almaThis month, students from the Coalition Against Gentrification published a document entitled “Understanding Columbia University’s Expansion into West Harlem: An Activist’s Guide.” The guide aims to bring together all of the disparate information on Columbia’s expansion into one easily accessible resource.

The document includes census data and statistics on the neighborhoods surrounding Columbia, as well as information on what Columbia’s expansion may mean for those neighborhoods. For example, in the first section, the guide mentions, “Manhattanville is home to around 32,000 people…. The median household income for the neighborhood is $32,617.” It goes on to add, “The implication is that most tenants in the area live at or below the poverty level. The changes in property value that Columbia’s expansion will bring to the neighborhood present an immanent threat of displacement for unprotected tenants.”

There is also information on the recent raids on the Grant and Manhattanville houses near Columbia’s campus, which disrupted the lives of many residents. Public Safety VP James McShane gave his support to these raids in an email to the Columbia community last spring. As the document notes, that email included the information that “Columbia University’s Public Safety Program intends to escalate their surveillance and patrol activity throughout the housing projects, in collaboration with the New York Police Department.”

The majority of the guide consists of a timeline of Columbia’s expansion into West Harlem, from 1991 to 2014. Much of the information in the timeline focuses on protests of this expansion by Columbia students and West Harlem residents. Also significant are notes on Columbia’s use of eminent domain to acquire land in West Harlem. As part of the eminent domain agreement, Columbia committed to hiring a certain number of workers from West Harlem and establishing a $3 million fund for the Grant and Manhattanville Houses. However, according to articles linked in the document, both of those commitments have come into question in the past few years. As of last month, only $85,000 of the fund has actually been distributed, and the number of local workers hired has also been under investigation.

Finally, CAGE lists the sources that they have found useful in compiling this document and in the rest of their research. They also include further questions that they see as important, such as “How does the Columbia administration intend to navigate its relationship to the Grant and Manhattanville Houses from now until 2030?” and “What strategies can Columbia students adopt to mobilize in support of neighborhood residents who wish to remain in their own homes, and improve their living conditions?” More information on their work can be found on their website.

Bwog’s Costume Closet: International Student
Extra Halloween style points if you manage to snag cigarettes from, like, Paris or Shanghai or something

Extra Halloween style points if you manage to snag cigarettes from, like, Paris or Shanghai or something

Ever wondered if you could cultivate the same air of superiority as an international student? Here’s your chance to dabble in the sullen, scholarly ways of foreigners on Columbia’s campus. Claire Friedman brings you yet another Columbia-inspired costume idea: an International Student.

You Will Need:

  • Cigarette
  • Puffer jacket with fur on the hood
  • Skinny jeans
  • Scarf (preferably patterned)
  • Alluring accent
  • Trust fund

Execution:

Step 1: Don your jacket, jeans, and scarf.

Step 2: Head for a hip outdoor location (ex. outside of Mel’s, the 1020 line, or a bench in front of Butler).

Step 3: Light your cigarette and engage in intellectual conversation with unwilling passersby. Other topics of conversation might include clubbing, Adderall, or clubbing.

Cost:

Depending on how accurate you want your costume to be, this outfit’s price ranges from $40 to infinity.

Pseudo-intellectual satire by Taylor Grasdalen

Giving Day, Or Columbia Begging Extra Hard For Money
A guy in a suit asking for money

A guy in a suit asking for money

Today is Giving Day here at Columbia, which is an online fundraising competition between the many schools that make up the university (and apparently “Athletics” is its own school?). Notably, the money donated to each school’s fund can only be used for that school–the money isn’t part of general funds. Check out the Leader Board to see which schools are raking in the most dough. As of now, Columbia College is leading in amount donated, with Athletics and SEAS trailing behind in second and third respectively, and GS is in the lead for greatest alumni participation percentage.

Image via Shutterstock

Live At Lerner: Bridget Davis And The Viking Kings
The VIKINGS

The VIKINGS

Just in time to get you excited for fall break: Live at Lerner Sounds is having its fourth event this semester today from noon to 1pm in the Lerner Piano Lounge. This time, Bridget Davis and the Viking Kings will be performing their pop/folk repertoire (but not in Norse).

As always, they will also be serving up delicious (and free!) food. Their menu this time includes festive fare such as roast chicken with spicy pumpkin sauce, sautéed vegetables, and Halloween cookies.

Head on over to Lerner to check out the music and food and to get pumped for break!

Smooth sailing via Shutterstock

Bwoglines: Spooky City Edition
Rats and bugs and Taylor Swift, oh my!

Rats and bugs and Taylor Swift, oh my!

Watch this troubling and scary video of a woman getting catcalled over 100 times as she walks around Manhattan. (Huffington Post)

Taylor Swift has been named a New York City Global Welcome Ambassador (whatever that means). Check out her video on NYC lingo in which she explains words such as “stoop” and “bodega.” (Gothamist)

Feeling morbid? This Halloween, check out the Met’s new exhibit on mourning clothing from the 19th and 20th centuries, Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire. (Jezebel)

Bill de Blasio has revealed his Halloween costume for this year, and no one knows what he’s supposed to be dressed as! (NY Mag)

 Foggy NYC via Shutterstock

#CYPHER: CU Does It Best

Over the spring, students at Brown University got together and created a cypher. It’s okay but, honestly, we only have one thing to say about it: one of them is wearing an LL Bean vest CU can do it better. Enter a group of students who met through the Columbia University Society of HipHop (CUSH). They created an awesome cypher of their own to spark up a bit of friendly competition; after all, Brown students take like three classes so it’s not as if they don’t have the time.

The group attempts to use their lyrics to raise social awareness on topics ranging from prison divestment to underrepresentation of minority groups. We applaud them on their message, and their hat choices. The beat in this particular video is “a throwback to Rakim’s classic song “When I B On Tha Mic.

Says one Bwogger: “that shit is hot hot fire.” But don’t just take our word for it! Check out the video below:

Bwog’s Costume Closet: Hawkma, Goddess of the Skies
Mortal human desperately trying to become Goddess

What elegance

Remember when this happened? Well, that gave birth to this, and the rest is history. Hawkma has been a living legend at Columbia for seven years and now you, yes, YOU can bring her glory to your Halloween festivitiesAmateur bird-watcher/ nudist Claire Friedman is here with yet another costume idea for the Halloween-challenged: Hawkma, the feathered goddess herself. 

You Will Need:

  • Several bottles of Elmer’s glue
  • Enough feathers to cover your entire body
  • Two tarps
  • A child-sized birthday hat (yellow)

Execution:

Step 1: Place each tarp on the ground. On the first, empty the Elmer’s glue bottles and spread evenly. On the second, pour the feathers.

Step 2: Take off all your clothes and roll your naked body in glue.

**note: if you’re feeling like a wimp like rolling around in glue isn’t your thing, feel free to wear a nude bodysuit for this step.

Step 3: Roll your glue-coated self in the feathers. Wait about 30 minutes for the glue to dry and the feathers to set.

Step 4: Fasten the small birthday hat over your nose like a beak. Now you’re ready to roam the skies!

Cost: Your dignity and possibly some of your skin/ hair. Also, about $40.

Feathery goodness by Taylor Grasdalen

LectureHop: Is Science Keeping Up With The Demands Of Ebola?
If you see this, you should probably run

If you see this, you should probably run

As Ebola continues to strike West Africa and other areas of the world, doctors, including several at Columbia, are stepping in and looking for a solution. Two of those doctors held a panel as part of an all day conference on Monday, and epidemiology expert Christina Clark was there to hear what they had to say. 

On Monday afternoon, I attended the last panel of Columbia’s conference on the Ebola crisis, titled “Is Science Keeping Up with the Demands of Ebola and Challenges to Come?” The featured speakers were Stephen Morse, PhD (a professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health) and Robert Klitzman, MD (Professor of Psychiatry at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies).

Dr. Morse was the first to give a speech, opening with a joke about how he felt like “the guest that you didn’t want to invite to the party,” given the reason for his talk. However, one of his first points was relatively positive; the fatality rates in this epidemic are 50% or less, while in previous instances rates have hovered closer to 90%. He believes that the biggest reason for this success is a greater emphasis on oral rehydration treatments in African hospitals and clinics.

Morse next began to discuss efforts to create a vaccine. While he predicted one would be available by the end of the year, he was concerned about how a vaccine would be distributed. Since Ebola outbreaks are unpredictable, it would be difficult to determine which areas have the greatest need for preventative measures. Another interesting treatment that he discussed was Zmapp, an antibody treatment produced using genetically engineered tobacco plants. Zmapp is a promising option, but has not been subjected to rigorous studies and is also difficult to mass produce.

What did Dr. Klitzman have to say, though?

Two Advising Deans Talk To SGA
Picking classes for next semester

Picking classes for next semester

With spring registration only a few weeks away, Monday night’s SGA meeting focused heavily on advising, with the help of some celebrity guest deans. Political preppie Joe Milholland brings you the scoop on Barnard’s human rights major, mug drives and other beary important news. 

At Monday night’s SGA meeting, Dean of Studies and advisor to the senior class Natalie Friedman and First-Year Class Dean and Dean for Academic Assistance Rebecca Grabiner came to talk about advising at Barnard. Advising admins spend a good deal of the year matching new students with academic possibilities depending on those students’ interests. A very high number of students want to major in human rights this year, and Barnard only has one human rights professor, so Advising has been looking for professors with interests in that area. “We want students to have as many adults in their lives as possible,” said Friedman of her goals.

This year, Advising has been looking into first-generation or “First-in-Family” students and pre-professional students. For the first time this year, any Barnard student who wants tutoring can get free peer-to-peer student help. Advising needs tutors in calculus, biology, economics, and almost any language, but especially Arabic. Barnard student tutors are paid $15 an hour.

As the deans talked to the SGA members, Friedman admitted that the training for advisors has been “kind of thin,” and asked for recommendations for programs because she didn’t believe students would show up to admin-planned programs. “We’re not as plugged into social media as we could be,” Friedman admitted.

Updates:

  • There will be a mug drive in Liz’s Place to collect and reuse mugs as part of sustainability initiatives. There is also a logo design contest for students. Admissions for the logo are open until November 7. The logos will be laminated onto mugs that Liz’s Place receives and will feature a “sustainable Barnard theme.” There is a 15% discount for customers who use reusable mugs. There’s also a dishwasher in Liz’s Place the workers will use.
  • Barnard students not going home during Thanksgiving Break can sign up to have a Thanksgiving dinner with a Barnard alumnus.

There’s only one human rights class here?!?! via Shutterstock

Columbia Fencing Wants To Get You Hyped

Remember that time you climbed to the seventh floor of Hamilton without taking a break to pretend to look at flyers in the stairwell? And you screamed, “I am a champion!” over the Columbia rooftops? And you felt like you could beat the entire world in a running race because that’s what champions do?

Apparently, the fencing team feels like that all the time. Their video, Mindset of a Champion, is a Rocky-esque sports montage that’ll make you feel super intense about sports and competition and stuff. It might also brainwash you into taking fencing for your PE requirement because hey, it actually looks pretty fun.

And why does the fencing team have the MINDSET OF A CHAMPION? Last year’s men’s squad split the Ivy title with Harvard and enjoyed seven weeks as the top-ranked team in the NCAA, finishing seventh in the NCAA Championships. Last year’s women’s squad finished 9th in the NCAA as well. The two teams finished ranked 2nd and 6th in their respective coaches’ polls. Oh, right. That’s why.

Video via anonymous tipster

Bwoglines: Get Educated Edition
Isn't learning fun?

Isn’t learning fun?

For the first time in over a decade, Columbia increased the salaries of some adjunct professors for CC and LitHum to $8,000 per semester. How much more apartment space does an extra $2,000 get them? (Capital New York)

Astronomers in Los Angeles have captured a rare sight in the cosmos: a star went nova. Not supernova, but just nova, turning it into a massive fireball in space. With time-lapse action shots of the explosion, we could learn much more about this stellar phenomenon. (LA Times)

“It’s a fleeting moment, and a telling one”: Taylor Swift is digging her sneaks heels boots into new(?) territory and turning into a full-fledged pop star. She’s always giving us something new to think about her. (Boston Globe)

Reassuring us of what we already knew, the Big Three automakers still can’t compete with Japanese imports in the reliability category (The Detroit News)

 

Out of the book and into our brains via Shutterstock

Field Notes: Homecoming/ Parents’ Weekend
BenS6

Easy to picture this man with a dog, right?

Whether you spent this weekend out & about with your family, drunk and clad in Columbia gear for the first time this year, or both, there was a lot happening around the Columbia bubble. Though you won’t have to be proving to your parents that you actually have fun in college next weekend, we as always want to know what went down over the weekend at tips@bwog.com. 

Showing the parents how it’s done:

  • “Also, my mom came to visit. we ate a lot. she asked me to explain Tinder to her.”
  • “Was hanging out with my parents and remembered why I crossed an ocean to go to university (kidding).”
  • “Parents came friday night and we discussed what I’m going to do with my life. Saw Les Miserables on Broadway with grandmother on Sunday. Reaffirmed my francophone tendencies.
  • “Took the parents downtown for dinner and saw the guy who played Ben Linus on Lost walking his dog in Columbus Circle.”
  • “I went and stayed downtown with my mom and brother. We went to the ballet and ate french fries and drank wine and it was awesome.”
  • “Went apple picking in the suburbs with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law, and we were the only family there with grown children. But snagged enough large and largely delicious apples to feed an entire residence hall.”

Homecoming 2k14, son: 

  • Pre-gaming right: “Listening to Nickleback rn.”
  • “Got free shirts from GS, GSAS, and Barnard at homecoming, and I’m not in any of them.”
  • “Paid $22 for an all-you-can-eat lunch at the alumni tent at Baker, just to discover that the only vegan thing on the menu was eggplant…lesson learned.”

Calling all LOST fans via Lostpedia

 

Bwog’s Costume Closet: Penis Fountain & Fountain Girl
fountain couple

Cutest couple on campus

Now that we’re just four days away from Halloween, it’s time to fight back against whatever blankness comes to mind upon hearing “Halloween costume” (because our Halloween costume contest is super competitive!!!). For those of you social enough to have a significant other/a friend/ a loose acquaintance, we salute you and hand you the couple costume of the year on a silver platter. Claire Friedman, most notably known for her role as Marnie in all three Halloweentown movies, gives the how-to for you and your special someone to dress like a real Columbia throwback: A Penis Fountain and Fountain Girl. 

You (The Penis Fountain) Will Need:

  • A nude body suit and swim cap
  • A squirt gun
  • A baby pool
  • A pair of suspenders
  • Some heavy-duty scissors

Execution:

Step 1: put on your body suit and swim cap. If you’re doing this right, you should now resemble a human penis.

Step 2: cut a hole big enough for your hips in the base of the baby pool.

Step 3: attach the suspenders to the sides of the baby pool and wear them over your shoulders. The pool should hang around hip-height.

Step 4: fill up your squirt gun and go out into the world.

**note: people will think you dressed as an penis in a baby pool for Halloween. That means you’re doing it right.

Cost:

This stellar outfit will probably run between $40 and $50. But hey, you know you’ll use that nude bodysuit again to dress up as a penis.

You (Fountain Girl) Will Need:

  • A grey shirt
  • Orange/ coral pants
  • A “no fucks given” attitude

Execution:

Step 1: dance around your Penis Fountain partner. Depending on the structural integrity of your partner’s costume, feel free to climb on/ bask in the baby pool until asked to stop.

Cost: 

This costume will cost between $20 and $30 but, unfortunately, you can’t buy her infinite awesomeness.

Illustration by Taylor Grasdalen.

Round Of Applause For The V121 C-Team

DSC_0213Say hello to who will bring this year’s Varsity Show to life – your V121 C-Team! This clearly talented group of students consists of mainly newcomers to the C-Team life, which should bring your anticipation of this year’s show to a whole new level. The Varsity Show held interviews for positions on the C-Team and here are the long-awaited results:

Director: Molly Heller, JTS/GS ’15 (Actor V119)

Producers: Nikita Ash, BC ’16 and Emily Snedeker, CC ’16 (Publicity Manager V120)

Composers/Lyricists: Sam Balzac, CC ’17 (Actor V120) and Fernanda Douglas, CC ’16 (Actor V119)

Writers: Ally Horn, BC ’16 and Bijan Samareh, CC ’15

Choreographer: Chloe Durkin, CC ’15

Art Director: Isabella Rosner, CC ’17 (Costume Designer V120)

If you happen to see these celebrities among us, be sure to extend your congratulations to them, or else you might be an object of satire in V121.

Group shot courtesy of Nikita Ash & Emily Snedeker