Yearly Archive: 2018

Aug

15

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Every August, Bwog takes a minute to reflect on the cool (and sometimes not-so-cool) places we’ve lived over the summer before we all return to Morningside Heights for the fall. Houses And Homes asks: where did you spend your time and what does home mean to you this summer? Idris O’Neill is kicking off this year’s series from the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. If you want to showcase your own great views, send a picture and your five senses to tips@bwog.com.

Where: Turtle Beach, Buck Island, off the coast of St. Croix (where I actually live)

Sight:

Sound: Popcaan blasting from one of the boats, waves hitting shore, someone reminding us that we have to be offshore by 6 pm

Smell: A little bit like weed if we’re being honest and ocean, but that’s a given.

Taste: KFC I had half an hour before, Cheez-its a stranger offered to me, my first Corona (no lime), and rum of course

Aug

8

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lol never

In early June, the New York Times (NYT) published an article about McBain Hall’s safety violations. After citing historical failures in its building maintenance, the piece depicted Columbia as ignoring a “façade so decrepit that city inspectors have issued several violations for the risk it posed to the public.”

While this incident might initially seem aligned with Columbia’s well-publicized record of facility issues – particularly in regards to response times to residents’ most urgent needs – the situation, in reality, proves more complex. Rather than simply a willful ignorance on Columbia’s part, McBain’s current number of high-penalty violations ultimately arrived from fundamental disagreements between New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) and Columbia Facilities.

The DOB’s Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) is divided into five-year cycles, with each building inspected once every cycle. Cycle 7 ran from 2010-2015, while the current cycle, Cycle 8, began in 2015. During an inspection, a third-party engineer, hired by the building owner and licensed by the NYC government, classifies the building as either Safe, Safe With Repairs and Maintenance (SWARM), or Unsafe.

In Columbia’s case, the third-party engineer who inspected McBain was from FacadeMD Architects and Engineers, a firm with a record of projects including the Newark Museum to the 14th Street W and Ritz Carlton Hotels. During Cycle 7, the FacadeMD eRecngineer deemed McBain as SWARM, meaning that the façade had a few repairs that needed to be completed before Cycle 7 ended, but was otherwise safe.

Continue after the jump

Aug

8

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Add to the list: take a coordinated jumping photo on Low Steps

Hey, new first years! Yeah, you! In just a few weeks, you’re going to embark on one of the greatest, sweatiest, and cringiest experiences of your whole college career: NSOP. In order to make this experience the Best Ever, a few of us old timers here at Bwog have compiled an NSOP bucketlist (based on our own experiences) to make sure you get the most out of this wild week. 

  • Get a fake ID
  • Walk the Brooklyn bridge
  • Get into a bar with an ID that isn’t yours
  • Go to a Carman party
  • Go to the Museum of Sex
  • Do a photoshoot in your Carman room
  • Host a Carman party
  • Go to Coney Island!!
  • Smoke w**d in Riverside Park
  • Grab a friend, start walking in a random direction, and let yourself get super lost. Best way to explore the city.
  • Rush a Broadway show while you still have the energy to wake up super early for it
  • Go to Absolute Bagels
  • Go to Hungarian Bakery, but don’t bring a Tinder date there
  • Take advantage of your CUID and go to a museum for free
  • (Second the go to Hungarian)
  • Go to Suite
  • Get and get over a crush
  • Buy your own w**d for the first time
  • Go to 1020 using your fake ID (or get there before they start carding)
  • Ask a random person for a sign in to the dorm you’re trying to get into
  • Hang out on Low Steps
  • Buy alcohol at International
  • Hook up with someone from your sibling NSOP group
  • Hook up with someone from your own NSOP group
  • Sneak alcohol in your college-branded tote
  • Go to Smorgasburg before it closes!!
  • Try to push the tooth statue (officially known as three-way piece: points) near the International Affairs Building
  • Watch the sunset from the top floor of the International Affairs Building
  • Go to one of the “NYC Welcome Week” parties (I did this; I hated it, but it was definitely an experience)
  • Go to the 20th floor of EC and admire the view from the lounge before all the seniors move in and you feel awkward there

Note: Bwog does not condone the use of illegal substances.

Image via Columbia University

Aug

6

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Hello, dear readers! We here at Bwog hope that your summer has been going spectacularly. Now that we have a month left until school, here’s a little update on what’s been happening in MoHi to wake you from your blissful oblivion.

News:

  • Up Coffee closed, and Joe Coffee is replacing it.
  • There’s a plant in a Broadway Hall water fountain.
  • A professor at the Columbia Business School, Geert Bekaert, was found liable for retaliation in a sexual harassment case.
  • Hewitt Dining Hall has an A health rating now. Technically they only have one less violation point than before (they got a B with 14 points last October, and had 13 points on July 26, which gave them an A with the maximum number of points possible) but we’re still proud of her.
  • Columbia Dining is phasing out plastic straws, but they will still be available upon request for accessibility needs.
  • Alma Mater had her patina cleaned.
  • Columbia’s shuttle service has now fully switched over to electric buses. Columbia is the first university in NYC and the first Ivy League school to go electric, according to the Columbia University Twitter. However, the new buses are too small for the 50+ people who commute to/from the Lamont campus every day, who, ironically, are mostly environmental studies people.
  • Prezbo is standing by Columbia’s affirmative action policy.
  • Columbia Men’s Basketball lost Lukas Meisner (formerly CC ’19 and one of the team’s top players) to a professional German team.
  • A giant tree fell in Riverside Park, but Maggie Jr. is thriving.
  • There’s a new Chinese noodle place on 123rd. It’s got some good Yelp reviews.
  • A NYPL card will now get you into most museums that you couldn’t get into with a CUID for free.
  • The Milstein Center has books now! They were stored in offsite storage for the last two years. The center will be closed until classes start on Sept 4 but their staff will be available.

Pics & field notes after the jump

Aug

2

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A Joe Coming Soon sign with Butler in the reflection and the old green Up chairs behind the glass

Joe Coffee will replace Up Coffee and occupy the corner space between Pulitzer and Furnald. This will be the third Joe Coffee on campus, after their NoCo and Dodge (not the gym) locations.

It is unclear whether they will take dining dollars (their other two locations don’t, and Up didn’t), or when exactly they will open. This location is not listed on Joe Coffee’s website yet.

Joe Replacing Up via Levi Cohen

Jul

29

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Rats? Don’t know her. Hewitt Dining Hall has an A health rating now. A legend. We don’t deserve her. I always believed in her even when the haters looked down on her. I knew she could make this comeback.

We have reached out to Barnard for comment and will update this post if we receive a statement.

Update July 30th, 2018 9:50 PM: We have received a statement from Barnard:

Read the statement after the jump

Jul

29

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This past Thursday, a Manhattan federal jury ruled that Geert Bekaert, a professor of economics at the Columbia Business School, is liable for retaliation against Enrichetta Ravina, a former researcher and assistant professor in the department, after she refused his sexual advances.

As reported in the New York TimesBekaert worked with Ravina on her research, which involved data to which Bekaert had access. During meetings on this research project, Bekaert delayed Ravina’s work and made sexual advances towards her. Bekaert allegedly “told her of his sexual exploits and preferences, touched her inappropriately and asked that she call him ‘sexy.'”

Ravina reported this behavior to Columbia administrators. Columbia first gave Ravina a paid leave for the 2015-2016 academic year and accelerated her tenure process, then revoked that leave and denied her tenure a couple of months later. Meanwhile, Bekaert disparaged Ravina in emails to colleagues, calling her “incredibly evil,” “insane,” “unstable,” “schizophrenic” and an “incredibly mean b.”

Ravina filed two lawsuits in March 2016, accusing Bekaert and Columbia of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation and seeing up to $30 million in damages. Last week, a Manhattan jury ruled that Bakaert is liable for retaliation and the university is liable for responsibility in that retaliation. However, the jury did not find Bakaert or Columbia liable for gender discrimination.

In the next week, the jury will hear arguments on emotional and economic hardship Ravina suffered due to Bekaert and the university’s actions, and damages will be determined.

Jul

13

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Well, it’s not a literal tree, but there is a whole plant growing in a water fountain in Broadway Hall. It has a stem and leaves growing out of a crack in the fountain. It gets trimmed every few days but it always grows back as a testimony to the strength of Mother Nature and the strong will of life. The persevering spirit of this plant to grow to such an incredible length in a plastic water fountain despite its hardships (i.e. getting cruelly cut every few days) is truly inspirational. Who knows how big the part of the plant that’s hidden in the water fountain is? This plant really serves as a reminder that humans are ruining the planet and it really does not care if the summer residents of Broadway Hall are well-hydrated or not; it’s just going its own way. If anyone has suggestions for what to name this hardy boy, comment them below or send to tips@bwog.com.

Water Fountain Plant via Grant Der Manouel

Jul

6

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My life no longer has meaning.

Despair via Ezra Schwarzbaum

Jul

3

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May is nothing but a distant, shimmering memory now, and we left even June behind. The best season of the year, Gemini season, is well behind us, and we are deep into Cancer season. Summer is entering that boring lull as the Fourth of July approaches and we are all starting to get tired of whatever we are doing, whether that be more classes, working, nothing, or sweating. Do you miss us yet? We sure miss our readers. Here’s what the first half of the summer has brought to Morningside Heights.

News

  • McBain Hall is falling apart and there is scaffolding around the exterior now.
  • Nussbaum is apparently closed for good.
  • Tuition is rising again. Click for: Columbia College, SEAS, Barnard
  • Joel Davis, GS student, was arrested on charges of child pornography and enticing a minor to have sex.
  • Kendrick Lamar came to campus for his Pulitzer.
  • Barnard has a new laundry system, complete with credit card payments and refunds for old laundry cards.
  • John Jay Dining Hall is being renovated.
  • Barnard Library is almost finished.
  • University Hardware & Housewares is expanding! They are moving to Spirit Halloween’s annual spot between 113th and 114th on Broadway.
  • Morningside Park has gotten a facelift.
  • Butler’s first-floor women’s bathrooms have new doors on their stalls so the awkward gap no longer exists.
  • The Columbia campus shuttle is switching to electric buses this week.
  • South Lawn is being redone again.
  • Amigos is being replaced by e’s Bar, which, according to their Twitter, is “a neighborhood joint with good food, good drinks, fun games and smiling people. Reminiscent of the dive bars we grew up in…for grown ups.” Sounds like Mel’s, A&C, and Hex&Co birthed a lovechild on 112th.

Pics and field notes after the jump

Jun

27

img June 27, 20186:51 pmimg 12 Comments

Editor’s note: a mug shot was not available at the time of publishing this post, so Joel Davis’ Facebook profile picture has been included instead.

Content warning: This article contains mention of pedophilia, child pornography, and sexual assault/violence.

Joel Davis, GS ’19, was arrested Tuesday on charges of “enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, and possession, receipt, and distribution of child pornography,” according to a press release from US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.

Davis reportedly described the sexual activity he intended to engage in with the nine-year-old daughter of an undercover officer and the two-year-old daughter of the officer’s girlfriend, requested sexually explicit photographs of the children, and sent explicit pictures of infants and toddlers to undercover officers.

Davis has long vocally opposed sexual assault. He co-founded Youth to End Sexual Violence in 2014, an organization dedicated to “eliminating the use of rape and sexual violence in conflict,” and currently serves as their Executive Director and US Representative. He is also the chairman of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. He was a UN Youth Ambassador on Sexual Violence in Conflict for 2 years, chaired the International Campaign to Stop Rape, and co-chaired the International Campaign to Stop Rape Steering Committee, part of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. He wrote about the issue as a columnist for the Columbia Daily Spectator in 2017 and in a 2014 HuffPost op-ed.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said Davis displayed “the highest degree of hypocrisy in his alleged attempts to exploit multiple minors.”

Davis’s charges hold mandatory minimum federal sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years, while the maximum sentences range from 20 years to a life sentence.

Youth to End Sexual Violence and the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict have been reached out to for comment.

Update, June 28, 9:45 pm: Leaders of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict posted a statement on the coalition’s Facebook page earlier today, announcing that Davis is no longer the campaign’s coordinator and that his organization, Youth to End Sexual Violence, has been removed from the coalition of groups in the campaign. In the statement, the campaign’s leaders expressed shock and horror at Davis’ alleged actions, and said that they “stand firmly by the children and families allegedly hurt by these acts.” The statement concludes: “We remain committed–today more than ever–to the urgent work and mission of the campaign: to end sexual violence wherever it occurs.” The full statement is included below.
Read the full press release from the US Attorney’s office after the jump

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Jun

24

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img June 24, 20189:23 pmimg 5 Comments

Nussbaum & Wu has been closed again for a few days for unknown reasons. It doesn’t seem to be permanently closed, but the storefront’s sign does not indicate why they are closed or when they will reopen. They also only took cash for a few days before closing, and the tables outside are gone.

According to the website of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Nussbaum scored 34 points in its most recent health inspection on May 1. For some perspective, 28 points or above is the threshold for the dreaded C grade. A restaurant needs 13 points or below for an A grade, and between 14 and 27 for a B. Though this does not necessarily explain the closure, since the inspection was almost two months ago, it is definitely something to keep in mind.

Grade pending card

The Department of Health’s guide to its scoring system explains that if a restaurant receives a B or C grade, it will receive a grade card and a grade pending card, and it can post either until its case is heard at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Health Tribunal. Nussbaum currently displays the grade pending card.

Nussbaum had maintained an A grade for the majority of recent memory until it was shut down last March for animal droppings in its basement. According to the Department of Health’s website, the inspection on March 20th was an ungraded inspection; such inspections “evaluate a restaurant’s compliance with laws such as the Smoke-Free Air Act and others not directly related to food safety.” Initial inspections that score 14 points or higher are also scored but not graded. Nussbaum earned 35 violation points in that inspection, and five points in another ungraded follow-up inspection three days later.

Before the most recent inspection in May, Nussbaum’s last graded inspection was in September 2017, where they earned 13 points, the maximum number of points that a restaurant can get and still receive an A grade.

Update June 25, 11:54 am: A sign was posted to the storefront earlier today, saying that Nussbaum & Wu has closed its doors, and that the owner “has failed the community of Columbia University and all his vendors.” The sign, which has since been taken down, also listed a phone number for said owner. The name posted on the sign was not Harry Nussbaum or George Wu, the co-founders of Nussbaum & Wu.

One anonymous local noticed that the eatery’s owner disappeared last Sunday (June 17). He told Senior Staffer Levi Cohen that the owner didn’t come very often to begin with, but that he actually vanished last Sunday. Supply vendors apparently kept making deliveries, and he said that it seemed like they didn’t know that the place was closed.

Another worker at a nearby business said to Levi that Nussbaum closed around last Monday or Tuesday (June 18 or 19), and there were a lot of people in line to get in, but it seemed like Nussbaum’s manager was giving out the workers’ last checks before closing the business for good. Though none of this information is directly from Nussbaum & Wu, and it is still not entirely clear what is happening, the evidence seems to point to the tragic conclusion that Nussbaum is gone for good.

There is currently no one inside of Nussbaum & Wu, only the derelict remains of bagels past and leftover cookies sitting forlornly in glass jars. The black, metal tables, once so coveted by MoHi residents, stand upside down, no longer serving their purpose. The once-yellow, unnaturally warm lights are off, and shining rays of sunlight illuminate the odd bike and some leftover boxes that remain as a reminder of better days.

Update June 26 9:17 pm: It looks like Nussbaum is closed for good. A notice from Con Edison saying that the gas and electricity will be cut off unless further action is taken was found on the storefront today. RIP Nussbaum & Wu, 1998-2018.

Nussbaum woes via Sarah Kinney, Zoe Sottile, and Levi Cohen, mysterious sign and Con Edison via Alyssa Gengos

May

30

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On May 3, in the Barnard administration’s annual “tuition and fees” update email, COO Robert Goldberg and (soon-to-be-departing) Dean of the College Avis Hinkson informed students that there would be “several important changes” to Barnard’s meal plan. These changes, the email read, “resulted from discussions with students” and were purportedly intended to “address the issue of food insecurity.”

The email went on to describe these changes. First, rather than having a set amount of guest swipes, Barnard students will be able to swipe in guests up to the total number of swipes in their plans (which is how Columbia meal plans currently operate). Second, Barnard students will have 24-hour access to JJ’s place. And third, meal plan options will be “consolidated,” and students will be able to add points and swipes throughout the semester in small increments.

This initial message did not outline the actual, new consolidated meal plans or their costs. However, students were quick to find these new plans on Barnard’s tuition and fees page and point out issues these changes pose. Last year, Barnard offered about 15 different meal plans, including the Platinum Plan for first-years, Quad Upperclass Plan for upperclassmen living in the first-year dorms and Hewitt, and three “Basic” and “Convenience” plans for other upperclassmen and commuters. All of these plans, except for the Platinum and Quad Upperclass plans, cost under $1,000 per semester. (As of the writing of this post, all of these old plans are still visible on the Dining at Barnard website.)

Read about the new options and students’ concerns after the jump

May

30

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Dean Avis Hinkson

Earlier today, members of the Barnard community were notified that Dean Avis Hinkson, BC ’84, will be stepping down from her post later this summer. Starting on August 1, she will be the new Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Pomona College, where she has previously held positions. In Hinkson’s place, Executive Director of Residence Life and Housing Alicia Lawrence and Dean of Studies Natalie Friedman will together assume the responsibilities of Dean of the College.

In a community-wide email announcing this change, President Sian Beilock lauded Hinkson’s achievements as a “tireless advocate” for Barnard students, particularly her work regarding Title IX, DACA and undocumented students, and changes in Convocation. Other notable incidents documented here on Bwog include her addition of extra guest swipes in meal plans, her appearances at SGA meetings, and her statements on Barnard’s housing guarantee agreement. We will best remember her, however, for her literally thousands of emails and her gif-heavy “Office Minute” videos.

Barnard will begin the search for Hinkson’s replacement this summer. Beilock noted that the administration will be “incorporating input from faculty, staff, students, and alumnae in this important process,” but has not yet announced a process for facilitating such input.

Beilock’s message concludes: “Please join me in thanking Avis for her extraordinary service to Barnard and in wishing her much success at Pomona and with all that lies ahead.”

Read President Beilock’s full email after the jump

May

11

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The sky is Pantone 292

This semester has been a big one for Columbia, from the graduate student strike to Barnard’s heated debates over the CUAD referendum. It’s been a big semester for Bwog as well, as we’ve added more sports, science, and cooking posts to our regular content. All of our senior wisdoms are up now, and we’re closing out the semester with our bi-annual semester in review.

To kick off the new semester, Bwog took time to remember the life of our favorite Mexican restaurant, Amigos. Bwog started its very own science column. Carman’s newly-renovated floors showed signs of problems as students lived without hot water and experienced other issues. We brought back our Cooking With Bwog after being inspired by all of those Tasty videos on Facebook. After months of endless whining, we created a definitive ranking of the campus elevators. We celebrated Bwog’s 12th Birthday!  To end the month of January, we broke down the statistics behind Columbia Buy/Sell Memes.

We started the month of February by going back in time to when Columbia Basketball won the Ivy League Tournament. Graduate students began to protest on Low Steps when Columbia announced that they would not bargain with the Graduate Student Union. Martha Stewart came to campus to give us her words of “wisdom.” President Sian Beilock was inaugurated and met with protests.

Koronet temporarily closed for renovations, leaving thousands of students without jumbo slices. We took a look at how Datamatch could bring love to this sad campus.  ESC made some bold moves and impeached its president.  We asked some important questions, like “Who said it: me about a dog or a Columbia fuckboy about a girl?” Bwog also took time to read some of your meanest comments. (Don’t worry, we still love our readers. :) )

March started off strong when we boldly declared that all the chairs are wrong. We also started a finance column, for all of your student finance needs. Meanwhile, up at the medical school, famous neuroscience professor Thomas Jessell was dismissed for undisclosed reasons.

Strikes, debates, and more after the jump

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