Police Arrest Fake Columbia Student

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Earlier today, Spec reported that police had arrested a young woman who’s been posing as a Columbia freshman for the past few weeks, despite having no official Columbia enrollment (or enrollment at any Columbia-affiliated school. The woman told freshmen and OLs that her name was “Rhea Sen” and Spec reported she was about 20 years old, but an NYPD spokesperson told Bwog that her real name is Briva (update: it’s actually Birva) Patel and she’s 26.

Over the past few weeks, Patel crashed multiple ISOP and NSOP events—claiming she just forgot her ID—and lied to RAs, OLs, and freshmen about where she lived. She was finally arrested by the NYPD Thursday night on college walk and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass.

It’s not clear where she was living—presumably she couldn’t get into residence halls—or how long she’d been pretending to be a Columbia student. She only got noticed during orientation, though some commenters claim that she’s been hanging out on campus all summer.

Weirdly, this isn’t the first time someone lying about their identity has hung out on campus. A few years ago, Esther Reed was convicted of identity theft after she conned her way into GS under the name “Brooke Henson.”

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  1. Anonymous  

    what happened to bwog? i used to revel in every post and this year it's become a second rate rehash of everything spec reports. step it up, please? i miss the old bwog.

  2. SEAS '11

    Seriously? Another disgruntled Brown imposter? Things never change...

  3. spec  

    article says she was arrested last thursday, not today

  4. The Columbian  

    I know this is a Barnard-joke gold mine, but let's all try and resist the urge, shall we...?

  5. In all seriousness...

    ...I think we can, the very least, agree to go easy on her for having the feeling of desperately wanting something to be true.

    When I was a kid I wanted Jurassic Park to be real. And, had it been, I would've found a way down to Isla Nublar and I would've walked around saying I'd forgotten my ID, too. That said, I was a kid who needed to grow up and this woman definitely needs help. But I remember that longing well.

  6. Anonymous


  7. She got nothin'

    On Azia Kim, who posed as a Stanford student and lived in the friggin dorms for a year before she got caught.

  8. And  

    she would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

  9. Sigh

    This makes me incredibly sad and grateful? I loved everything about my freshman year, and can just imagine being on the outside of that experience, wanting in.... and then stopping meds for three-weeks and, voila.

    Hope she finds happiness, whatever shape it takes.

  10. Anonymous

    those who really wanted to study could not get in. those who got in but did not take the study seriously.

    she could go to the general studies?

    • Anonymous  

      clever troll is clever.

      But judging from the looks of it, clever troll is also not posting from campus or anywhere nearby.

      Try again.

    • GS '14  

      She would have to pretend she was 32.

      • Anonymous

        I started GS about a month after I turned 22........ so.....

      • CC'14  

        32? I heard the median is like 23-25 (although the average is higher due to outliers). Besides, I've met a bunch of 19~22 year-olds in GS who aren't in JTS (which makes sense because you only have to take a year off to be eligible for GS). I met a 17 year-old once too lol

        • GS '14  

          Yes, it was a joke. Median age is 26. But: old people. Get it?

          • Trollin' With The Homies...  

            GS jokes are only funny when they're not self-referential.

            If you had earned your right to be at Columbia instead of sneaking in the back door, you'd know that.

            Your parry/riposte should either be a lengthy essay on GS or a Barnard joke. If you can only muster a SEAS crack, it's like an admission of defeat...


            See what I just did there?


            Just kidding, have a nice night.

          • GS '14


          • Anonymous

            but not in academic achievement

          • CC'14  

            Granted, their GPAs at Columbia show they actually are academically accomplished, although I've been annoyed by a GSer or two in the past as well. Then again, I could say the same for CC, and BC. Not sure about SEAS.

          • GS '14

            SEAS folks are either quiet or amazing. True story.

          • Anonymous

            Actually GS students rank higher in GPA at Columbia, so the fairer argument is that CC kids are reducing the pool of academic capability. If you're going to be an intellectual elitist, you might want to get some facts, like actual intellectuals. Then again you don't learn that by cramming for the SAT's or racking up meaningless extracurriculars :P

          • GS '13 GPA: 3.94

            GS students take fewer credits, have fewer core requirements and are involved in less activities outside of the classroom. It should be seen as no accomplishment that their GPAs are higher on average, if they even are. Let's think of a better argument than this one to justify our existence.

            Also, stfu about your life experience in classes. Only 1 out of 100 times is it actually interesting or relevant to discussion. This is why everybody hates us.

          • GS '14

            Uh, GS folks participate in plenty of positions and participate in a large number of GS and school-wide events. I know several that head up large clubs in the school or hold officer positions in them. I can say for myself that the MilVets club, unless someone is doing it wrong, is almost entirely made up of GS student-veterans. Also, many GS types hold jobs in addition to their credit hours. And, not to take anything away from the other schools' wealth of interesting students, I haven't met many GS students whose life stories I didn't find interesting in some way or another.

            Sounds to me like you've just got deep insecurities you need to air out.

    • CC'14  

      It would have made more sense to put down an official liberal arts college of Columbia University after learning to put a proper sentence together in English.

      Do you even go to a college?

    • Anonymous


  11. The Gray Fox

    She was a Barnard student posing as a Columbia student!

  12. Anonymous  

    Good thing no one turned Spec into a three-story Pinkberry

  13. GS '12

    This woman has been on campus for much longer than that. I remember during the fall of '10 she approached me in the first floor Butler computer lounge and asked if I could help her with writing an email because her english wasn't so good. I, being naive, obliged. After three emails and nearly 30 minutes deciphering WTF she was saying (the emails were weird weird personal correspondence and job inquiries) I told her I'd given enough of my time and that I had shit to do. She looked disappointed and wandered around looking for another sucker to help her.

    And she definitely looked older than 26.

    • CC '11

      Is there any word on whether that old Chinese man who randomly asks people to proofread his thesis has been arrested too? From the stories I've heard he's been hanging around for at least a decade and his thesis is still in the same spot. something about hydroelectric dams or something.

    • CC '11

      Maybe that's a different person? I had a similar experience with I think the same woman -- slight build, South Asian, and definitely older than 20 or 26. She asked me to help her sort her giant trash bag of mail, and I later saw her asking people to log her on to the Butler lab computers.

  14. Anonymous

    Very sad. She clearly needs help. Bizarre story but I guess somebody's mental health is ultimately not our business. From now on, anyway.

  15. Anonymous

    She is actually part of the NYPD's undercover task force investigating Muslim Student groups on college campuses

  16. Anonymous  

    A few friends and I actually met her last year (last fall, during finals). It was midnight during finals, we were playing frisbee on the low steps, she claimed to be going to a meeting (?) which was strange at that time of night, and then she ended up not going to the meeting (now clearly not a real one) so she could stay and play frisbee with us...found us on facebook, friended us, but after a few strange facebook messages we all unfriended her and lost track of her.

  17. Columbia alumni

    ShE met me on the steps and requested to help her friend in finding a consulting job. I advised her to use the career center and consulting club at Columbia. She kept writing emails - saying that the job is for her friend who is a masters student in SEAS and she really has to help her. for a long time I thought how could a random person approach me and ask for help in getting a job for their friend.
    I guess this incident explains everything.
    BTW all the emails she sent, she used her name as Birva not Rhea. At least she was honest with me. Although I admit her English was very poor and there was something goofy about her.

  18. Anonymous  

    Its actually quite scary how she could've asked for a room ID from Hartley and enter one of the rooms saying she left her ID somewhere. Columbia has to do something about security...

  19. Anonymous  

    omg so creepy to know that she's probably reading bwog like the rest of us...

  20. Best thing about this... the fact that this is GUARANTEED to be an ongoing joke at The Varsity Show.

  21. fred

    There are lots of posers at CU. Some are alumni that still hang at frats and look for cheap/free housing with sob stories. Bottom feeders. who cares why? just protect yourself.

  22. Anonymous

    How do these folks get into Butler?

  23. GS 07

    Con artist Joseph Cafasso, aka Colonel Gerry Blackwood on campus, set up shop at Columbia for a while in the mid-2000s. Hung out in the library, attended events, tried to link up with profs, groups, etc..

  24. Anonymous  

    a man named michael came up to me yesterday as i was reading a book and listening to music. he spoke very bad english and claimed to work for LG. when he asked to speak with me again, on a later date, i told him i had a boyfriend and he said, don't worry, i'm married.
    if this married chinese LG man (abou 35) approaches any of you, take his card and ride away with him into the sunset. this one seems like a keeper.

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