Monthly Archive: November 2017

Nov

17

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We’ve come a long way since… whatever this is.

Happening Around The World: The Nigerian women’s bobsled team is heading to the 2018 Winter Olympics after crowdfunding $75,000 for their Olympic bid and qualifying over several races. Feel free to make as many Cool Runnings jokes as you want in the comments. (ABC News)

Happening In The US: Minnesota Senator Al Franken has apologized after a photo surfaced of him groping a sleeping woman’s breasts, along with a testimonial by that woman about how Franken forcibly kissed her. He is now facing bipartisan calls for an ethics investigation. (Washington Post)

Happening In NYC: A 30-year-old Australian diplomat has fallen to his death off a Lower East Side apartment during a “trust game” while celebrating the ‘yes’ vote in Australia towards marriage equality. (New York Times)

Happening At Columbia: Today is the Day of Data! Come by Lerner today for a variety of panels, workshops, and events. I’m especially excited for “Data Driven Journalism,” which has two panelists from Buzzfeed!

Overheard: “You know there’s a guy with a very similar style to you… I think it’s because you both use drugs”

Bop of the Day:

Nov

16

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Disclaimer: The irony of this journey is not lost on me, considering that practically every weekend since the beginning of NSOP has concluded at some random EC suite because Columbia’s nightlife is pretty abysmal and, let’s face it, EC is probably our saving grace.

 Nonetheless the tale of my upheaval is still very much a tragedy…

It was midterm season and ominous brown patches began to form on our ceiling, but as everybody knows this season means the typical CC student becomes a sleep deprived ‘festive’ walking mess (is this state limited to midterm season? I’m still unsure). Consequently, I considered the weird poop-like marks to be a mere figment of my increasingly limited imagination and went back to sleep since self-care is important. The next day I had awoken from my precious slumber to find the disturbing patches had doubled in size, so we called the oh-so familiar Hartley Hospitality Desk; we call them so much they hate us – that’s a lie the love us, shout out to hospitality! They soon dispatched someone to deal with our shit.

(more…)

Nov

16

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A group of Columbia football players celebrating after the game, with number 33 caught in a pose with his arms out and his knees bent.

With moves like these, how could they not succeed on the field?

As dozens of articles from inside and outside of the Columbia community have already mentioned, Columbia Football is good! Furthermore, they used to be bad! At Bwog, we’ve taken a look at what some football alumni think of the Lions’ newfound success, and we’ve given the professional advice on how to be a bandwagon fan. But with only one game remaining, one question remains – could Columbia become champions again?

The Lions (4-2 Ivy, 7-2 overall) have a clear path to the championship, a feat they have only accomplished once before. Columbia will have to defeat Brown (0-6 Ivy, 2-7 overall) up at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at 1 pm on Saturday, November 18th, and they will also need the Yale Bulldogs (5-1 Ivy, 8-1 overall) to lose in New Haven against the Harvard Crimson (3-3 Ivy, 5-4 overall). Thankfully, the Ivy football season does not have a needlessly arcane and surprisingly emotional tiebreaker system like Ivy basketball. If the Lions and Bulldogs both end the season at 5-2, they will share the Ivy title honors. And if Dartmouth also ends the season at 5-2, there could be a three-way tie at the top of the league.

The 2017 Lions are lucky to still be in the hunt for a title. A 5-2 team has not won the Ivy League since 1982, when Harvard, Penn, and Dartmouth all tied at the top. (Columbia that year finished 1-6 while giving up 36 points per game to Ivy opponents.) This year’s Ivy League might not have the one dominating force that often rises to the top of the Ancient Eight.

Yale Sports Analytics, one of the leaders in Ivy football and basketball analysis, doesn’t give Columbia great odds for getting a share of the championship. While they pegged a Columbia win over Brown at 80% odds, they consider Yale similarly prohibitive favorites at home against the stagnant Crimson. With Harvard at only a 30% chance of victory, the odds of Columbia winning and Harvard losing work out to only 24%.

One piece of good news, though, is that The Game between Harvard and Yale will start at 12:30 pm, while the Lions will not start playing until 1:00 pm. Fans in the audience will get to follow along, and will know whether or not the Lions’ hopes remain alive.  Columbia would love to control its own destiny for the championship. But considering that Columbia Football has not had a meaningful final game of any season since 1971, Saturday’s game is a cause for celebration.

Dance, Lion, Dance via Columbia University Athletics

Nov

16

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Although climate change has graced us with weather that unfortunately lets people get away with wearing flip flops to class, the cold has finally set in. With winter approaching fast, Staff Writer Megan Wylie researched some tips to prepare yourself for what you’ll see on campus.

  1. Couples trying to pretend they aren’t on the verge of a breakup by posting a tree lighting pic

    Not shown: The patch of black ice that made me late to class

  2. A scarf that smells like mothballs being used to save three seats in Ref
  3. Your crush in class ruining their aesthetic by wearing a horrendous beanie
  4. Athletes posing half-naked in the snow (you know who you are)
  5. Winter accessories that cost more than tuition
  6. The inevitable melange of filth and snow that covers Broadway after the first snowfall
  7. Students blending together in a flock of Canada Goose jackets
  8. Kids from Florida looking like they’re embarking on an Arctic excursion.
  9. People trying to ski down Low Steps
  10. “Cuffing Szn” Instagram posts
  11. Longer lines at the 114th street Starbucks
  12. Ferris dedicating the entire dessert display to some sort of tasteless gourd
  13. International students freezing outside Butler while smoking in subzero temperatures
  14. A lot of people posting about the weather even though it’s only 10 degrees colder than it was last week. Stay warm!

Nov

16

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I was googling the hours of Brownie’s Café the other day, and lo-and-behold, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of actually helpful Yelp reviews. You’ve probably read the highlights from our analysis of Yelp and Google reviews of Columbia University overall, but here’s the best (and worst) take on a specific, infamous (famous?) Columbia institution: Brownie’s Café. And yes, Brownie’s does have a four-star Yelp rating.

 

Nov

16

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Happening Around The World: The Zimbabwean military have staged a takeover of President Robert Mugabe’s government, ending nearly four decades of his rule over the country. The military denies the move is a coup, insisting on an immediate return to constitutional order. However, Mugabe’s successor is still up for debate, leaving the country without an official leader. (BBC)

Who said there’s no nature in NYC?

Happening In The US: The death toll from yesterday’s mass shooting in Northern California has risen to six, after the gunman’s wife’s body was found under the floor in their house. He joins countless other shooters who have a history of violence against women, including the perpetrator of last week’s massacre at a Texas church. (ABC News)

Happening In NYC: TFW you can’t find decent NY housing and some literal insects can? Thousands of honeybees have been shipped from California into the green roof at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Maybe they’ll find company with some of Hillary Clinton’s balloons. (ABC NY7)

Happening At Columbia: The Lenfest Center for the Arts is hosting a screening of the new film “Risk” and a discussion with its director, Laura Poitras. “Risk” follows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over six years and culminates with his relationship to the 2016 election. The event, held in the Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room, is at capacity, but a standby line will form at 5:45.

Overheard: “They’re playing Christmas music in Ferris? Ok, it’s dead to me.”

Nov

15

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On Tuesday afternoon, Staff Writer Maggie Moran attended a Keynote speech, The State of Human Rights in the World Today, as part of Columbia’s World Leaders Forum. Topics covered included digital ethics, cyber warfare, and polka-dot socks. Sound interesting? Read on to hear more about the event.

Al Hussein and Masri during the Q&A. Not pictured: fun socks.

On Tuesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to hear Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, speak. This event took place in Casa Italiana’s Teatro (that’s Italian for theater), whose Ionic columns and chandeliers are fit for only the worldliest of audiences. President Bollinger introduced Al Hussein sporting an eye-catching emerald green necktie, as if I weren’t already captivated. Fashion choices aside, Bollinger did a great job highlighting Al Hussein’s lengthy and impressive track record. Before becoming the HCHR in 2014, he served as Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, as well as president of the UN’s Security Council. During his tenure as HCHR, he has confronted a variety of social issues at all levels, condemning both domestic and international terrorist groups. He also played a large role in the advancement and negotiation for the International Criminal Court, and has rebuked Donald Trump for his comments regarding the Charlottesville protests.

Al Hussein began by describing the two extremes he experienced when, within 8 days, he went from being in Silicon Valley to visiting Libya, one of the few countries in which the UN has no permanent presence. The difference between peering into the future and being transported into a barbaric past was mind-blowing. His job, in a nutshell, is to promote “a deeper consciousness of rights”. Global politics is putting that mission under much duress today, and although he believes that ending poverty, world hunger, and similar issues plaguing the world today is an achievable goal, many world leaders are turning away from potential solutions.

Read on for more!

Nov

15

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so many things to look forward to, such as tree-lighting season!

Now that we’re two months deep into the semester, and with Thanksgiving coming up next week, many of us are sleep-deprived, swamped in work, and losing steam. Luckily, for the officers and the attendees (including yours truly), last night’s General Studies Student Council meeting was short and sweet. Bwog’s GSSC Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, brings us updates for upcoming initiatives, events, and food giveaways.

To start off the meeting, GSSC’s Students with Disabilities Representative, Jonathan Criswell, introduced the council to the new Students with Disabilities Survey. The survey will be sent out to the GSSC community, and is aimed at pinpointing any “financial issues, issues of accessibility, issues of morale and discrimination, and any potential issues” that affect GSSC’s population of students with disabilities. The council briefly reviewed the survey, and certain members suggested semantic changes in the language of the survey. After further review, the survey will be sent out to the GS student body, and all respondents will be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card.

Under the guidance of Julia Hewitt, the Family and Working Students Representative, GSSC is also working on a survey for students with families. This shorter survey (also with a $50 gift card raffle) is aimed at granting GSSC a better understanding of the demographics and circumstances of the population.

Finally, the council approved funding for the First Year Dinner, which will happen on Friday, December 1 from 6-8pm at Amity Hall. The event is intended for first-year students to reconnect after their first semester at Columbia. GSSC will work with Amity Hall to make the dinner open to all students 18 and over.

Click here for fun events with free food!

Nov

15

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A close-up picture of many boxes of food, including Hamburger Helper, oats, and canned vegetables.

Boxed supplies to be disbursed by The Food Bank at Columbia

If you’re interested in materially affecting Columbia’s food insecurity issue, take a look at an event being held today by The Food Bank at Columbia. Bwog has already taken a look at The Food Bank this year as it aims to provide consistent and meaningful relief. Coming up today from 4-7 pm in Lerner 555 is a silent auction to directly benefit The Food Bank.

Highlighting the auction are guest speeches from Paige West (an Anthropology professor at Barnard) and Peter Awn (Dean of the School of General Studies). But some of the offered items might catch your eye better than a dean’s speech. Mark Gyourko of The Food Bank tells us that auctioned items will include Apple iMac computers, a gift certificate to Toast, and unlimited board play from Hex & Co. The event is targeted to the Columbia community at large, so students are welcome! If you want to buy anything, though, make sure to bring cash or check – Venmo and credit will not be accepted.

Image via The Food Bank at Columbia

Nov

15

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Me, after OPT, working hard and working legally!

There will be a workshop with an immigration attorney to help international students with their employment-based visa options after ending one’s student status (i.e. after F-1 and OPT) later today. The focus will be on the H-1B process and other possible non-immigrant statuses. The workshop will take place at the 1754 Board Room in Faculty House from 11am to 1pm. The event is open for any and all students. For any questions or inquiries, contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) at ISSO@columbia.edu.

My future via Pixabay

Nov

15

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Well done Oz!

Happening In The World: In a non-binding poll, 7.8 million Australians voted in favour of same-sex marriage. After the results were announced, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated that “[Australians] have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality. They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love.” Turnbull then said that the government will make moves to legalise same-sex marriage by Christmas. (BBC)

Happening In The Nation: Kinder Eggs are now legally available in the US! Since the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, these sweet treats have been illegal for having “non-nutritive objects” inside the chocolate egg. These newly legal Kinder Eggs (which will be available starting on Black Friday) will have one half chocolate egg and one half separately sealed toy. (AV Club)

Happening In NYC: Remember Salt Bae? The “salt sprinkling phenomenon”, otherwise known as Nusret Gökçe, has begun hiring for his new Turkish steakhouse, Nusr-et, in Midtown. Located at 60 West 53rd Street (near Sixth Avenue), the steakhouse will be open to the public by next month. (Eater)

Happening On Campus:Reclining Figure Gives BIRTH“, a performance art piece hosted by Bianca Rico and Yasmine Kaya, is happening at 6 to 7 pm in front of the Mathematics building. Through a performance and various mini sculptures of the Reclining Woman, the artists will be reappropriating the Reclining Woman using feminist art.

Overheard: “He has such clear skin, maybe he’ll clear my skin if we kiss!”

Pride and joy via Maxpixel

 

Nov

14

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This, apparently, is how EWB: Morocco takes their money overseas. At least, this is how we imagine it.

Once again, ESC has shut out both Bureau Chief Finn Klauber and his Spec counterpart from observing their “off the record” discussion. In the “public” meeting, however, ESC met with the Morocco division of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and discussed funding issue. Also there was a cappella drama, but what else is new. 

President Aida Lu

President Lu reviewed her meeting with Dean Morrison, SEAS Vice Dean of Undergraduate Programs. The main point of their conversation included the transformation of the course evaluation system—a topic which was (once again) discussed off the record as it relates to President Lu’s participation in the Committee on Instruction. Because SEAS is transitioning to canvas, the college will mostly likely implement a new tool for course evaluations. Dean Morrison primarily hopes to increase student participation in the course evaluations. They also discussed major representation at career fairs—a source of concern to ESC for the past three years. As ESC has already collected a list of engineering companies and firms which they hope to see, the only real roadblock is the Center for Career Education.

VP Policy, Zoha Qamar

VP Qamar discussed a variety of topics relating to low-income and first generation students. She met with Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) to review their efforts with the FLIP lending library, Giving Day fundraising, summer aid and housing, and the student work contribution. She also discussed expanding the Academic Success Program (ASP) with First Generation and Low Income Representative Carolina Garcia, President Lu, and FLIP. The main issue with expanding ASP is the inconstant cost of the program. ASP generally consists of four weeks of funding students’ classes, meals, and housing—but the number of ASP participants changes every year. Furthermore, some amount of funding for ASP is provided through New York, meaning that the exact price per capita for ASP is unclear. Meanwhile, VP Qamar wants ESC to outline and publicize the exact objectives of ASP, emphasizing the formation of an ASP community, by gathering student perspectives on the program.

Click here to read about Mental Health Student Training and a cappella drama

Nov

14

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We have shuttle buses?

Visiting a friend downtown, I found out that the 1 line had completely stopped running down to Times Square. Thanks, MTA. Stuck between walking to the Harlem station to take the C train (cold, lonely) and ordering an Uber (costly, lower self-worth), I pulled perhaps the biggest finesse I have since coming to college. I took the Columbia Shuttle.

I discovered that night that the Columbia Shuttle was an incredibly convenient and underrated resource most students overlook. But personally facing many bumps during my first-time journey taking the bus, I would have appreciated what I will present to you now: a definitive guide to how to take the Columbia Evening Shuttle.

  • If you’re traveling between 6 pm and 4 am and have a CUID (unfortunately, Barnard students are excluded), you can use this! There are two lines: the blue line and the red line. If you’re traveling east of Broadway (Amsterdam, Harlem/Manhattan Ave), take the blue line. If you’re traveling west of Broadway (Claremont, Barnard, UTS), take the red line.
  • The shuttle will likely not get there on time. The best way to know the shuttle’s location is the SmartTraxx App, or the map on their website. The app works really well and I suggest checking how far away the shuttle is before making the decision to take it.
  • The blue line bus stops right at the Amsterdam/116th gate. The red line shuttle stops right across the road, slightly to your left when exiting Columbia. Do not confuse the two!
  • Before boarding the bus, make sure you know your stop, as in, exact street intersection names. Oftentimes, the shuttle won’t actually stop at every stop, so the driver will ask you for the exact location.
  • Whilst on the bus, I usually check Google Maps for the shuttle’s current location relative to my stop, for peace of mind. If your driver is asking passengers to speak up when they reach their stop, do so and say loudly enough, “This is my stop.”
  • You made it! Make sure to be polite to the bus driver throughout, greeting the driver when you board and saying thank you when you depart – remember, Public Safety is nice enough to provide this dope ass service for students.

For reference, I’ve included below the map of the bus routes and the list of Evening Shuttle approximate times provided by Columbia.

Disclaimer: While there is a Barnard-only shuttle with fewer stops (That allows Columbia passengers! What a double standard!), a Baker Athletics complex shuttle, and various Intercampus shuttles that you can take as well, this article covers the main Evening Shuttle provided by Columbia Public Safety.

Nov

14

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A real screenshot from my registration portal, <48 hours before registration.

With registration upon us this week, some of you upperclassmen have already started solidifying your schedule for next semester. Still others will be doing so in the next couple of days. And yet an unlucky few are left with one pressing question: where the fuck is my advisor? Bwogger Maggie Moran deconstructs this issue, hoping to provide some insight on the stress-inducing phenomenon.

Academic advisors are, for many students, crucial mentors in the class-scheduling process; they can give helpful information on which classes to take, when to take them, and how to incorporate study abroad into your triple major while still managing to graduate on time. As a first-year student, though, your advisor likely has no real connection to your plan of study, and perhaps as a result, has much less contact with you. But at what point are they crossing the line from just “letting you do your thing” into straight-up avoiding you? Everyone knows the feeling of being ghosted, but never did I expect it to come from the one person who was supposed to be there for me, guide me, and literally just press a button to allow me to register for classes I chose entirely without their help. If you, too, are in a similar boat, the pre-registration process might have gone something like this:

Two weeks before registration. You receive an e-mail alerting you of the advising period for spring registration. With the spring semester far from your mind, you probably ignore it, not wanting to risk the inevitable existential crisis that would result from dedicating real mental effort to your future.

1.5 weeks before registration. In the still of the night, you vaguely recall that you should be planning your courses for the spring. You start picking out classes, still glowing with the naive belief that next semester will be your semester. In the back of your head, you can’t recall if your advisor is supposed to reach out to you, or vice-versa, so you decide to give it another few days to avoid seeming overeager.

DOOM

Nov

14

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Edited, 11/14/17, 7:46 pm to reflect further investigation.

Early last Friday, Bwog received an anonymous tip from a member of the Barnard/Columbia theater community. This student claimed that a member of the creative team sexually assaulted her in spring of 2016. Student theater leaders who chose the creative team knew of the assault before appointing this member. The member himself was unaware of the allegation until Friday. The tipster wrote that despite alerting the leaders who chose the creative team member that he had assaulted her, he appeared “set to stay in his role”, because the rest of the creative team said they could not forcibly remove him without a formal complaint and investigation by the university. She encouraged Bwog to warn other students, “especially women”, against getting involved with this year’s show.

Other members of the theater community both within and outside of Bwog confirmed the tipster’s story, stating that they knew of other instances of sexual harassment perpetrated by the creative team member. Later that day, after discussions between the Varsity Show creative team and other students in the theater community close to the tipster, the accused member stepped down from the team. A public announcement on this change was made via the Varsity Show’s Facebook page.

That night, we received a statement from the student who stepped down. He explained that he stepped down because he “didn’t want the shadows of these allegations to weigh on the rest of the team.” This student “disputed” the tipster’s account, yet stated that “the most important thing to acknowledge right now is that [the tipster’s] pain is real”, and that he was “committed to reevaluating [his] understanding of relationships and boundaries.”

Although the accused student did not want his allegations to weigh on the rest of the Varsity Show team, in the minds of many members of the Columbia theater community, this issue is far from over. Several other theater organizations have been putting pressure on both the Varsity Show and CUPAL (the Columbia University Performing Arts League) to reconsider community guidelines regarding sexual respect. CUPAL is not a an advisory or governing board for performance groups, merely an umbrella organization that facilitates discussion between groups and helps to advise and advocate for these groups. Students in the theater community tend to view CUPAL as an organization with a great deal of power, however, particularly in this situation, as several integral members of the Varsity Show team are also closely tied to CUPAL.

On Monday, CUPAL has announced that it will be creating community guidelines; a town hall will be held this weekend with members of the CUPAL board, as well as its member organizations to discuss these guidelines. We reached out to CUPAL leadership for a statement, and were told that they will not be releasing a statement at this time.

The incident has also inspired many student groups in the performing arts community to create or revise similar guidelines.

Read the full tips we received from the alleged survivor and perpetrator after the jump

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