Daily Archive: April 18, 2017

Apr

18

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Everyone deserves a second chance. Let the past stay in the past.

CU students are advocating to ban the box on Columbia University applications that specifically asks if an applicant has been convicted of a felony. Members of Beyond the Box at Columbia have created a letter to send to President Bollinger and Provost Coatsworth to remove the box on future CU applications. 

Beyond the Box at Columbia was founded by Leyla Martinez, a GS student that, like many other applicants, felt discouraged when met by “the box” on college applications, forced to have the past affect their chances of admission. Last year, Columbia University, along with 24 other universities in the United States, signed the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge which aims to make higher levels of education more accessible, especially for Americans that have a criminal record. Beyond the Box’s position on the issue is clear: the box is a deterrent for potential applicants that believe that the application process puts them at a disadvantage, even before applying to the school of their choice. Columbia currently still has the box on their applications, asking for information that is irrelevant when determining whether a person would be able to succeed at the university.

Let’s not forget the facts: people of color, residents in lower income communities, or people with a lower socioeconomic status in general are disproportionally incarcerated. Many affected struggle to find employment opportunities once they are released from prison, and others that seek higher levels of education are met with obstacles, one being “the box.” Opportunity to receive a college education would decrease the recidivism rate, make people generally more productive, and allow people of color to have access to education that was once inaccessible. Columbia prides itself on its low acceptance rate, increasing representation of minorities, and its sanctuary campus status, but why hasn’t the box been taken off the application?

Beyond the Box is just as confused as you are. New York State public universities (SUNY and CUNY) has recently removed the box from their applications. The move to ban the box should not be seen as progressive, but necessary, especially at a school which searches for diversity in thought, life, and action.

If you’d like to read Beyond the Box at Columbia’s letter to President Bollinger, click here.

Image via Flickr

Apr

18

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April is in full bloom! While we’re sneezing our guts up and counting down the days until summer, CC has been getting ready for another year of student council. Before voting begins, we would like to endorse the Grassroots Party: Ruben Rui Diaz-Pacheco, CC ’18, for President, Richard Nederlander, CC ’18, for Vice President of Policy, and Cindy Liu, CC ’18, for Vice President of Campus Life. We were impressed by their commitment to improving student life at Columbia, and we believe they will bring refreshing ideas to CCSC.

Something that stood out to us was their dedication to improving support for first-generation students. Ruben told us about how his experience as a first-generation student has motivated him to run for CCSC, as he found the programming and resources available to such students lacking. We also admire Grassroots’ plan to combat food insecurity, as they are committed to moving CU closer to guaranteeing food to all students. Their platform includes the establishment of a CCSC food bank, as the only resources available for CC students facing food insecurity are currently student-run. They believe Columbia should absorb at least some of this responsibility, and want to use their positions in CCSC to do so.

Grassroots is also passionate about preserving campus traditions. They are committed to supporting The Band and to working with the administration to negotiate a plan for Orgo Night to take place in 209. They also plan on throwing a carnival in the fall to create a large-scale, exciting, campus-wide event for students to look forward to in the fall. Imagined as an ultra-club fair, student groups will host booths where they can display unique, representative attractions for the community to enjoy. Ultimately, their goal would be to bring together the community for a day of fun outside. In addition to student-group carnival booths, CCSC would provide some attractions as well, such as a bouncy castle and games. Notably, Grassroots understands the severe limits placed on any plan for a full fledged Fall Bacchanal, and their plan is not only reasonable and actionable, but also unique and exciting—unlike the precipitous plans of the other CCSC parties.

Ultimately, we are attracted to Grassroots’ outsider perspective. As a group of students who have been here for three years, they have first-hand experience with the real issues Columbia students face, and want to fix them. We recognize a genuine passion to create changes that will survive their tenure, and trust their desire to improve student life at Columbia. But regardless of who you want to be in charge next year, please don’t forget to vote!

Sincerely,

Amara Banks, Editor in Chief
Betsy Ladyzhets, Managing Editor
Finn Klauber, Internal Editor

Apr

18

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Debating is just a part of our nature.

CCSC elections are in full swing. CEB hosted a debate with the candidates willing and able to present their platforms to an audience that varied between mostly empty to ghostly. One might say this is because many of the debates are simply the candidates presenting their platform, taking a few questions, and getting on with their Saturday. But there were some moments that went off Spec’s script, and Guest Writer Ufon Umanah is on mark-up duty.

The headlines:
Needs More Bacchanal
The debate for the Executive Board of CCSC revolved in large part around what big fall event Columbia should have, and none were bigger than Fall Bacchanal. The idea behind Fall Bacchanal is to try to get people outside for some school spirit, and Dave Mendelson assured the audience that his proposal was financially sound and okayed with the administration. This Bacchanal would be funded initially through paid tickets with financial aid options, alumni donations, corporate sponsorships, some funds from the surplus, and savings in JCCC. This was in contrast with Alliance’s fall event, which would be a concert located at Baker around the Homecoming Game. Both parties bickered over which idea was more feasible. Whereas Low Beach Party pointed to potential noise complaints in the Baker area, Alliance pointed to the likely no the administration would give to a Fall Bacchanal, an answer Low Beach Party rejected.

More on the debate after the jump

Apr

18

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The expanding brain meme in two frames, with the first reading "Playing football on the lawns," and the second saying "Playing football on the tarps."

Next step: playing football in Butler?

Time is running out before Columbia’s lawns fall victim to commencement. Before that happens, let us celebrate via power rankings the best and worst sports and activities to play on Columbia’s lawns.

1.Sunbathing – While you can do this on the thin strips of lawn along College Walk, it’s best done on the wide expanses of the South Lawns. You can best enjoy the open lawns by doing literally nothing while outside.

2. Eating – Grass, also known to experts as “nature’s dining room,” is the perfect place to sit and chow down, whether you’re enjoying Surf and Turf or indulging in Sweetgreen. While you might suffer a stain, it’s worth it to feel that plush grass under your fingers.

3. Spikeball/KanJam – Let’s face it – these are basically the same game, played by the same people. While you should inherently distrust anyone playing these games, it’s hard to deny that their unorthodox playstyles and small space requirements make them fun to watch while walking by and ideal for a college lawn.

4. Kicking around a soccer ball, but knowing nothing about soccer – “Hey, let’s pretend that the lawn gate is a goal!” This never works. Seeing people attempt to make it work, but tripping over the ball, is a quintessential lawn experience.

More Columbia sports after the jump

Apr

18

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If this image makes you excited, you can only be an econ major

This week’s SGA meeting was primarily dedicated to presenting, explaining, and attempting to pass the 2017-2018 Internal Budget. First, however, during the period in which students and campus organizations can voice concerns to SGA, a group of members of the class of 2017 brought forward apprehensions about the financial strain Senior Week causes on students from low-income backgrounds, and Divest Barnard gave a presentation seeking further support from Student Government.

The students concerned about the financial strain caused by Senior Week asserted that all Barnard students have worked hard over the previous four years and that all deserve to be able to participate in the festivities. However, tickets upwards of $100 cause a considerable financial strain on students, especially during the already expensive graduation season. The Senior Class President replied that they would send more information to the student body concerning finances this Wednesday and that they would attempt to organize another fundraiser. Further discussion will occur at the Senior Class Council Meeting, which is open to all Barnard seniors, and will take place today at 7 pm in Diana 304.

Divest Barnard and SGA finances after the break

Apr

18

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ESC plans to take steps so that incidents like this won’t ever happen again.

Large portions of this meeting consisted of discussion regarding expectations and crowdsourced guidelines for ESC member behaviour. However, the brunt of the discourse last night was in reference to the Physics TA incident which occurred a couple of weeks ago.

Sensitivity Training and the Physics TA Incident

About one and a half weeks ago, we reported that a Physics TA and GSAS graduate student from Russia had torn down an inclusive, pro-LGBT sticker and replaced it with a notice referencing the Biblical annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah. Addressing this issue, both in terms of how this incident was reflected in the experiences of council members and what ESC could do in the long term to prevent such controversies from occuring in the future, though newly-elected President Aida Lu recounted how, in her meeting with Deans Kachani (Senior Vice Dean, Columbia Engineering) and Morrison (Vice Dean of Undergraduate Programs), Dean Kachani mentioned that some departments have printed and installed these stickers en masse.

2019 Representative Walker Magrath opened the discussion by explaining that he was a student of this physics TA, apologising in advance if comments seemed emotional charged. Notably, Representative Magrath’s stance was decidely hostile towards the Physics administration for the “absolutely unfathomable” decision to allow a graduate student with such a bio on the Physics website to TA an undergraduate class. The bio in question (which is still live) commends “Orthodox Christianity, the only true faith.” To an applause of snaps, Magrath proclaimed that it is imperative that ESC “strongly condemn these actions,” which “affect so many people in such a personal way.”

More on ESC

Apr

18

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Who’s sweeter: the Girl Scouts or the cookies?

Happening in the world: North Korea is planning to test more missiles, now on a weekly basis. As tensions between the US and North Korea continue to rise, any form of U.S. intervention could lead to war, according to Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol. (BBC)

Happening in NYC: Girl Scout Troop 6000 is New York City’s first troop meant solely for children that are homeless. The girls live in a Sleep Inn in Queens, as roughly 7,500 of the city’s homeless population currently lives in hotels. The troop currently has 20 scouts, and expects more. (NY Times)

Happening on campus: There will be a talk today from 4-5:30 in IAB called, A Revolution That Was Not: The Tiananmen Movement Revisited. It will be in room 918 and there is no RSVP required!

Overheard: “Before Trump, there was a mellow level of racism in this country.”

Music Pick: Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. Columbia, be humble.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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