Daily Archive: April 25, 2017

Apr

25

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

On Monday afternoon, CU Dems Member and Bwog Events Editor Lexie Lehmann attended an open lunch with Marjory Fisher, Columbia’s Title IX Coordinator. The event was hosted in honor of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Yesterday, Columbia Democrats hosted a public lunch meeting as an opportunity to discuss the resources available to students on Columbia’s campus, as well as to address concerns about how Title IX might change during the Trump administration. As the group nibbled on some gourmet Westside-Italian catering, Ms. Fisher introduced herself as well as her colleagues, Sarah Swan, a representative from Columbia Law School and Jeri Henry, Associate Vice President of Columbia’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Ms. Fischer explained that before coming to Columbia, she was the Senior Managing Director of the Sexual Misconduct Consulting & Investigations Division at T&M Protection Resources. Before that, she was the Bureau Chief of the Special Victims Bureau in the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Marjory Fisher began by explaining the history of Title IX, reminding us that it used to be just a protocol regarding sports equity. Under the Obama administration, however, Title IX was reinterpreted to address gender-based discrimination at private and public schools receiving federal funding. Columbia University, for example, receives around 1 billion dollars annually from the federal government. The purpose of the Title IX office, therefore, is to ensure that all complaints of misconduct are addressed through quick and thorough investigations.

More on Title IX after the jump

Apr

25

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New leaders, new Barnard?

Well, to be honest, nothing groundbreaking happened at this week’s SGA meeting. The meeting basically confirmed everything previously believed: Barnard loves Asia, GS, SEAS, and complaining about how double swipes don’t already exist. 

This week’s SGA meeting was supposed to be a changing of the guard: old members welcoming new on the eve of the elections results. Of course, no such thing occurred. Because of a miscommunication, BCIT closed down voting Sunday night instead of Monday afternoon. When this mistake was discovered, voting was put back up and extended until Monday at midnight to compensate.
So this meeting was short, and had nothing on the official agenda. But our bold, beautiful Rep Council made up for it with a deluge of announcements:

SGA loves collaboration:

  • SGA and ESC 2019 class councils are joining to host a lawn party in the near future. Together we will revel in our lack of swim test requirement.
  • The Barnard/GS Picnic is happening this Thursday on Lewisohn Lawn. Says SGA VP Campus Life Angela Beam, come to “celebrate our favorite undergraduate colleges in Morningside Heights.” We feel that.

Academic Affairs gets things done:

  • Everybody’s favorite Rep for Academic Affairs announced that Barnard is close to approving three new minors: East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies. If you are really into regional studies but not, like, that interested, this is for you.
  • Hannah also discussed everybody’s frustration with myBarnard, the new system imposed on the students last year for choosing and registering for classes. It looks flashy, and only kind of works. If you’ve encountered any specific problems (say, with using the search bar for anything at all), alert BCIT. They’ll have a look when they’re through inadvertently tampering with the elections.

More on SGA

Apr

25

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And they’re like, it’s better than yours.

This week’s ESC meeting focused on getting others involved in the Mental Health Task Force and collaborating with CCSC in the future. Oh, and we’re all hoping for JJ’s milkshakes.

Note (April 26, 2017): In a previous version of this article, specific references were made to the efforts of CC University Senator Sean Ryan under the influence of his participation in the Mental Health Task Force to transform the Schapiro Gym, a space open to all Columbia students, into a semi-privatized space for one specific community at Columbia, efforts crassly referenced in the irreverent tags of the article. While some of these tags were almost immediately removed by Bwog staff as they could possibly be seen as hostile towards said community—and I want to clarify that in no way were such criticisms intentionally meant in a hostile manner against any private person—I want to explain the purely political criticism of said University Senator’s endeavours to privatize this space.

This transformation under the University Senator was first raised in an aside at a previous ESC meeting, and was determined with minimal democratic participation of the student body in making such an impactful choice—especially given the earlier commendable decision to turn unused space in Lerner into a new semi-privatized area for this specific community. In the opinion of this specific journalist in the role of a political correspondent, the manner in which the transformation of the Schapiro Gym was determined has infringed upon the values which our Student Councils hold dear; that a democratic consensus ought to be attained, whether in the discussion of an elected and representative body or in legitimately gathered data, before instituting such wide-reaching policy and space changes. No announcement has been made to the student body of this plan, as far as I am aware, beyond the confines of my ESC coverage—despite the massive impact on all students who use this space already and the potential impact on student choice of dorms in Housing Selection. It may be that this change in status of the space is necessary and proper. However, the process of restricting access should impose a reasonable burden of proof upon those seeking limitations upon what is now a decidedly public area.

This criticism is launched against the University Senator not out of personal hatred or bias, but out of anxious concern from a Columbia College constituent and journalist who covers the efforts of the Mental Health Task Force and has found severe fault in such endeavours as led by the University Senator—endeavours the University Senator publicly defended on the most-watched conservative news show in America. This issue was brought to mind given the discussion in ESC of a desire to expand the Mental Health Task Force beyond undergraduate students in Columbia College and, specifically, those students primarily active in Columbia College Student Council and student government. As a journalist in a privately funded, staffed, and maintained news organization, who is intimately familiar with the mechanisms of student government, I desired to express the full magnitude of these concerns, which, while aimed at the University Senator, are intended to be based in a purely political context. Furthermore, Bwog may travel in satire, but it is never our intent to engage in satire which is either unnecessarily or undeservedly critical.

Budget and Policy Reconciliation

VP for Policy Zoha Qamar reported her meeting with CCSC’s Nicole Allicock regarding future collaboration between councils. As there are now multiple positions between the two councils with the same goals (i.e. diversity reps, Student Services, etc.) there will be closer interactions between CCSC and ESC. Starting next semester, there will be at least one joint CCSC-ESC policy-wide meeting, so as to further this collaboration.

In terms of budgetary reconciliations, VP for Student Life Ben Barton explained how there is a lot of intertwining debt among the different school councils, with councils having accrued a certain level of debt so as to hinder interactions and planning between them. Therefore, there will be a giant meeting with the VPs for Student Life from across the three Columbia schools, their counterpart in Barnard’s SGA, and the council advisors. The goal is to “have everything fresh with no debt.”

More on ESC

Apr

25

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We might actually be able to swipe our friends into Hewitt now?

The Barnard news just starts coming and doesn’t stop coming today. Interim President Rob Goldberg and Dean Avis Hinkson sent out an email to the student body early this afternoon with updates on the college’s tuition and meal plan for the 2017-2018 school year.

The tuition for the upcoming year has been raised to a total of $68,762, which is $2,770 more than this year’s rate. Goldberg and Hinkson wrote that the raised price reflects paying faculty and staff, funding financial aid, funding union contracts, and implementing changes associated with the new contingent-faculty union agreement. Of this total figure, $52,662 is the tuition fee, $1,780 is the comprehensive fee, $9,510 is the multiple room price (while single rooms are $11,038 and studio singles are $16,480), and $6,590 is the Platinum first-year meal plan price.

The Barnard meal plan is not facing a chance nearly as great as last year’s (when the Diana was opened for dinner and Barnard students were given access to JJ’s Place), but a change is still occurring: additional “guest swipes” will be added to all meal plans, as a means of combating food insecurity and building community. The email did not specify how exactly these swipes will function or in which dining halls Barnard students will be able to use them.

Goldberg and Hinkson concluded their email with a note that the Barnard administration “understand[s] that rising costs present a burden to many students and their families”, but “annual increases are unfortunately necessary for Barnard to improve the quality of the educational experience and to continue to be the most selective women’s college in the country.”

Read the full email after the jump

Apr

25

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Who really won the Greek Games?

Tired of responding to random people’s “Vote for Me!” Facebook events? You’re in luck; SGA voting is officially closed! After extending the voting period from Monday 3pm to midnight (because of a miscommunication with BCIT in which voting had been closed early), the official results have finally been counted and announced. Here’s the list of your newly elected representatives:

Senate: Kira Dennis

Executive Board:

President: Angela Beam
VP of Policy: Alicia Simba
VP of Campus Life: Aku Acquaye
VP of Finance: Evelyn Mccorkle
VP of Communications: Rhea Nagpal

At-Large Representatives: 

Junior Representative to the Board of Trustees: Tamar Dayanim
Academic Affairs: Shoshana Edelman
Equity & Inclusion: Kashaf Doha
Campus Affairs: Mia Lindheimer
Seven Sisters Relations: Julia Pickel
Information & Technology: Tahsina Saosun
Arts & Culture: Chloe Morris
Health Services: Valerie Jaharis
Food & Dining Services: Sarah Broniscer
Sustainable Initiatives: Sylvie Rosen

Class Councils: 

2018: Ambika Mookerjee (President), Masha Ikromova (Vice President)
2019: Aashna Singh (President), Surbhi Lohia (Vice President)
2020: Rose Reiken (President), Gabi Garcia (Vice President)

Apr

25

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Columbia, keep your shit together. We’re almost there.

Happening in the world: After French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron won the popular vote in the first round of the French elections, the euro, French government bonds and European stocks have seen an increase in value. Please France, don’t pull a Trump on us. (Wall Street Journal)

Happening in NYC: Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed to expansion of early childhood education by allowing access to three year olds. The mayor has been praised for his work to publicly fund preschools in NYC, and his plan would start in districts in Brooklyn and the Bronx. (NY Times)

Happening on campus: Tonight from 6-8pm on Low Library there will be a lecture by activist, performer, and scholar Dr. Salamishah Tillet called, Rape, Popular Culture and Post-Racial America.

Overheard: “I love white people jazz.”

Music Pick: Rihanna’s amazing. You’re amazing. Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Apr

25

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Are you buried neck deep in work? Same. You know what that means; Orgo Night is approaching. On May 4th, at 11:59PM, the Columbia University Marching Band will gather outside of Butler (thanks to the lovely librarian Ann Thorton) and tell jokes you don’t wanna tell your friends you laughed at but will inevitably laugh uncomfortably at. Here are the posters for this semester’s Orgo Night.

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