From the Issue: Curio Columbiana

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In the late 1960s, the Board of Trustees commissioned the architectural firm IM Pei & Partners to conduct a study of space in Morningside Heights. The study yielded a report titled “Housing at Columbia,” which surveyed the opinions of students on the housing situation at Columbia. The report’s authors included transcripts of interviews with students in its appendices. Selections from these interviews are here reprinted. [Curio is a monthly feature. If you come across anything noteworthy, send it to—Ed.]

On Carman Hall: “It’s very sterile and everything, concrete block construction…we have suites: two doubles next to each other with a bathroom and a suite, but it’s not really—yeah, it’s rather bitter….Suppose you come back from a party or concert at four in the morning and you don’t feel like going to sleep and you want to play records or something; well you can’t do it because your roommate’s there and obviously, if you make any noise, he’s going to get out of his bed and kill you.”

On dating: “A lot of the students are really getting frustrated, their rooms are small, it’s hard to meet girls, and they take it out on the dormitories; the walls are ripped…Guys above me were bowling last night and using the walls at the end of their corridor as the pin. So right now at both ends of the tenth floor you will find demolished walls, crushed concrete. The guys gotta do something, so they take a bowling ball and roll it down—nowhere to get rid of their steam. Guys throw garbage cans, firecrackers…”

On meeting people: “There’s always Furnald lobby. Thousands of strangers there—it’s very strange. There are always people wandering around—people you’ve never seen and are never gonna see again. They happen to come here (I don’t know why) and they sit around the lobby, talk to somebody and get up and leave.” Another student: “One of the problems of that lounge is you have people talking there till five in the morning; you get up in the morning and you always see people talking in there. Of course it’s always the same group of people.” Another student: “Carman is like that too; I think if I had the choice I’d rather come to Furnald. There’s something about the people in Carman—they just seem to be the type of engineering students and people who are studying at five in the morning, taking their three minute break.”

On the downside of maids: “There was a case where a maid found a considerable quantity of grass in someones room—three kilos—and she reported it to the residence hall and they got all the deans together and were about to bust this guy, but fortunately they called the UDC [Undergraduate Dormitory Council] and the UDC convinced them not to do it.”

On drugs: “No one at CU has ever been punished for smoking pot.”

On the Core: “Well, the courses are a farce. If some guy doesn’t want to take a course, doesn’t like it, there is no point in making him take it; he just won’t do the work—it’s a waste. I take humanities and I just don’t have the time for it—like, you’ve got to read 500-600 pages a week—like Don Quixote—stuff you want to read, but you want to read it in the summer…”

On Ruggles: “The dorm is irreparable. Plaster is falling down, paint’s peeling, rats run around periodically and we’ve got the roaches… heat doesn’t work half the time; no hot water; the lights went out last fall every night for about three weeks straight in this suite here… there are square sections which if you step on you’ll go down through the floor just about… it’s unsafe.”

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  1. Lol  

    Columbia's so much better now. Thank god the band old days are over.

  2. Blunts in Butler  

    The UDC knows whats up

  3. best lookin dude  

    well I'm dating the CA of carman, she just doesn't know it yet

  4. anon

    kind of cool how a lot of things at Columbia haven't changed (pot smoking destructive cool, not roaches and broken heater cool)

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