Access Denied, Sort of: Joining the Columbia Club

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Allie Curry is urged to apply to Columbia. Again. Read this and more in the April issue of The Blue & White, on campus this week.

Illustration by Louise McCune, CC '13

Gleaning from the event description that “the ‘Old Sod’ has infused itself at the Club,” this reporter thirsted for nothing more than to investigate “Libations from Ireland: An Irish Whiskey Tasting.” This opportunity to sip on “a unique sampling of Clontarf, Greenore, Knappogue Castle, Middleton, and Redbreast” was made available to members of The Columbia University Club in Midtown this past March 15 at 6:30 pm.

To my dismay, touring guests (non-members) were expected to retrieve their coats and Brooks Brothers bags from the valet by 4 pm. What debauches carried on in the evening hours, I cannot say. House Rules in hand, it became clear that “Working Press and members of the media are not permitted in the Clubhouse, except by permission of management.”


Director of Clubhouse Services Glenn Gang brushed aside my media affiliations, supervised a comprehensive tour of the Club, called the blue, non-denim pants I was wearing jeans, and inquired as to my interest in joining. Flipping through the packet that was thrust into my hands post-tour, I sifted through a curious surfeit of capitalization-happy information that might be more precisely described as an “Admissions Procedure” than an application. The following constitute critical points of interest:

– The Dress Code
demands something it terms “Smart Casual,” which includes “sweater sets” for women and excludes “Birkenstocks.” It controversially takes the stance that leggings are not pants. The notable exception to this rule is the deviant “Relaxed Casual Attire”—permitted exclusively during weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

– The application packet comes with a handy pocket “key to New York,” which offers possessors the cross street to any address along an avenue in Manhattan.

– Curiously, “Business Meetings”, which require obvious use and display of papers, are disruptive to other members and are not permitted” (House Rules).

– “Online services, such as Skype, are prohibited [sic] inside the Clubhouse” (ibid.).

Should readers wish to bare their souls before yet another Columbia admissions committee, one recommends brevity: Section E. of the form gives the applicant a mere two lines to indicate his or her reasons for seeking membership. A sentence or two about sweater sets should suffice.

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  1. Clubby  

    It's one of the last bastions of civility in New York.

  2. Club Member

    This article is just silly. Jeans are allowed. The rule is "neatness", nothing more. The application is online. And regardless of this faux-pretentiousness that Allie is trying to project, unless you're an axe murderer, you get your application approved pretty quickly. The facilities have just been renovated (and there will be a Hamilton Room soon) including a bar with Sebastian, one of the nicest bartenders you'll find in the city, and a roof deck. And as a student, your dues are ~$100 or so per year. Try checking it out before bashing it.

  3. Anonymous

    The website pretty clearly states no denim.

  4. Anonymous

    The Columbia Club is great. After I graduated, I found the club very useful for networking.
    I highly suggest grads that live and work in NYC check it out.

  5. Elihu

    Hmph, the Yale Club would NEVER allow denim.

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