Daily Archive: February 6, 2018

Feb

6

img February 06, 20187:30 pmimg 1 Comments

where i imagine poe’s story taking place

Cholera, fungus, and goths? In today’s installment of Bwog Science, staff writer Riya Mirchandaney writes about last night’s lecture, “The Medical Imagination in the Early United States,” part of the Explorations in the Medical Humanities Series hosted by the Heyman Center for the Humanities.

“Science does not know its debt to imagination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1872

What I thought would be a broad and heartwarming discussion on the importance of the imagination in medicine ended up being a long and stressfully intimate—but fascinating—talk about the enigmatic nature of fungi. Yes, you read that right—to quote Cosmo Kramer, fungi.

Sari Altschuler, assistant professor of English at Northeastern and scholar of American literature and culture before 1865, used this talk (sponsored by the Heyman Center for the Humanities) to preview her upcoming book, The Medical Imagination: Literature and Health in the Early United States, a multidisciplinary work tracing the intersections of medical history and literary history.

She began by talking about cholera. Believed to be endemic to India, cholera eventually made its way to North America in the 1820s. Cholera didn’t seem contagious, yet spread rapidly, confounding all public health officials. Medical cartography, which mapped the instances and spread of the choleric miasma, proved ineffective for understanding the disease’s nature. Mysterious and deadly, cholera presented the perfect conundrum for the medically imaginative.

Introducing: gothic medicine. The gothiest of goths, Edgar Allan Poe, along with his physician-poet friend John Kearsley Mitchell, both of whom were thoroughly affected by the cholera outbreak (Mitchell himself nearly died from it), took to writing to interpret and convey the situation.

Read how Poe and Mitchell used literature to change modern perceptions of cholera

Feb

6

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Last week, it came to the attention of No Red Tape (NRT) that a member of the Student Governing Board leadership (SGB) is currently under investigation by the Student Conducts and Community Standards (SCCS) office for multiple allegations of sexual assault. These accusations include an alleged rape perpetrated against a general body member of NRT. SGB, as the umbrella organization responsible for managing Columbia student groups organized around religious, spiritual political, ideological, humanitarian, or activist concerns, is in charge of managing NRT’s funding, approving events, and controlling discipline, as well as other administrative responsibilities. Specifically, SGB requires all student groups in its domain to send representatives to the Town Hall meetings it holds at least once a semester, at the risk of cutting funding to the groups who do not attend.

Sources have confirmed that the accused individual was asked to leave his fraternity as a result of similar allegations, and has stepped down from other leadership positions on campus.

“For obvious reasons, we at No Red Tape are profoundly uncomfortable with this individual having any power or say in No Red Tape actions, funding, discipline, etc.,” a member of NRT wrote in an email to the group’s faculty advisor. Besides the responsibility that NRT’s leadership feels towards its members, this student explained, it constitutes a “wild conflict of interest” for an anti-sexual violence activist group to be required to attend meetings with an individual undergoing investigation for gender-based misconduct. They, therefore, asked that NRT be excused from Town Hall meetings at which this individual would be in attendance. The NRT member further requested that SGB student leadership, or the Columbia advisor in charge of SGB, “ask this individual to recuse himself from any and all decision-making related to No Red Tape, if there ever comes a time when SGB has to vote on a No Red Tape-related matter.”

This morning, the NRT member who wrote this email met with NRT’s and SGB’s faculty advisors to discuss the student’s concerns. At this meeting, it was agreed that the alleged perpetrator would be “quietly” removed from financial decisions involving NRT. However, it is less certain whether NRT can be exempt from Town Hall meetings. SGB’s advisor can make this request on the behalf of NRT, but if the advisor tells the reason for the request to the student chair of SGB who would actually make this decision, the NRT member involved in SCCS’s investigation could be charged with retaliation.

SCCS’s Gender-based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students document states that, during a disciplinary investigation, both the “complainant” (alleged survivor) and “respondent” (alleged perpetrator) have the right to “privacy to the extent possible consistent with applicable law and University Policy.”  A member of NRT calling attention to the existence of the investigation and information about the respondent violates this confidentiality policy, which is crucial to ensuring a successful investigation and a fair trial for both the complainant and the respondent. Such violation could warrant a retaliation charge, which would hinder the ongoing investigation and potentially result in disciplinary action for the complainant. As such, neither NRT’s leadership nor either advisor can call for the alleged perpetrator to be removed from his SGB position or otherwise rescind his responsibilities related to managing NRT without the possibility of disciplinary action.

“The University has an obligation to warn the campus community about potential ongoing safety threats,” Bwog’s source wrote. “I argue this falls under that category. Leadership positions over other students are a privilege, not a right, and if you’re under investigation for multiple rape allegations, I think you (at least temporarily) forfeit that privilege.”

Bwog has reached out to both SCCS and SGB for comment and has been notified that SGB will send us a statement tonight or tomorrow morning. We will update the story when we receive it.

Update 2/12/18, 4:45 pm: In a statement issued via its Facebook page, SGB has declined to comment on the article above, instead only restating relevant policies regarding members with conflicts of interest.

According to SGB, members with conflicts of interest “should” ideally “remove themselves” from voting processes; “the board” can also remove these members from discussion. In regards to the actual presence of the individual accused of sexual assault at meetings where NRT is also in attendance, the statement more broadly stated that there are “exceptions for town hall attendance as circumstances demand.”

This announcement came six days after the original article was published on Bwog. The full statement is available here.

Feb

6

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Bwoggers, Barnard students, and roommates Sarah Harty and Lucy Danger explore the connections between our storied structures and online “romantic” services. There’s more parallels here than one might think. 

Delete this app. Tear down Altschul.

The Quad is Bumble. Barnard students must invite and sign their significant others into these dorms, similarly to how Bumble forces girls to message first. Softboys wait for responses like they wait in the Brooks and Sulz lobbies.

Milbank is Match.com. Milbank was Barnard’s first academic building, built in 1896. Match.com was one of the first dating services that didn’t involve mail-order brides. Like Milbank, it maintains its original façade (seriously, the website looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 90s). Also, Barnard alum Martha Stewart has an account.

The Diana Center is Her. This one is obvious. Diana was nicknamed “The Vag” from its original name of the Vagelos Center. It’s confusing to men and they don’t seem to belong there.

Altschul is Tinder. It’s the place on Barnard’s campus where you can find the most straight men. Ugly but necessary. Where you pick up your mail, or your male.

Barnard Hall is CoffeeMeetsBagel. Hewitt Dining Hall is in the basement, where you can get coffee and a bagel at any time of day. The app promises to find its users “serious” matches, and if you take your SO to Hewitt, it better be serious.

The Milstein Center is The League. The League makes its would-be users stand on a waitlist for months on end, just as we’ve been waiting for a goddamn library. Still in its beta version. Isn’t actually that useful – whether Milstein will be remains to be seen…

Feb

6

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Alma Bwogger Rachel Deal sends an unsuccessful plea to JJs and the other Columbia dining halls to keep her ultimate drunk food, cereal, in stock at all times. In short: Get on Hewitt’s level. 

Cereal is one of my favorite foods, and I could eat it for every meal, probably. Need some breakfast? Cereal. Want something to supplement your Ferris salad? Cereal. Want a healthier dessert option? Cereal. Hungry before bed? Cereal.

Despite cereal’s obvious versatility, though, the only dining hall that keeps the cereal out for every meal is Hewitt (which is necessary because Hewitt’s options are often lackluster). Beyond this, too, JJ’s doesn’t have cereal at all, which seems like a missed opportunity considering all I ever really want to eat at 2 AM is Cheerios.

What happened when Rachel messaged CU Dining…

Feb

6

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Last night’s Barnard Student Government Association meeting had everything. An (in my opinion) unwanted visitor, student guests, administrative guests, and even a vote. Somehow, though, the main focus of the night was on microphones. Intrigued? Read on!

First, the visitor. Georgette Fleischer, disgruntled former-adjunct and union member, who was fired last May, following the the instillation of a new contract for adjunct faculty. Fleischer believes she was let go in retaliation for her work in the union (Barnard has tried to fire Fleischer before, siting negative student feedback, but she won a lawsuit against the College in 2015 and was reinstated). Fleischer, SGA’s most frequent open floor visitor, was there to ask students join her in protesting at President Sian Beilock’s official inauguration this Friday. If this keeps up, I might start protesting open floor.

New reps, mics, and votes, oh my!

Feb

6

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Happening In The World: Now that speculation over Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy is over and done with, it’s time to talk about another bump: The so-called “Trump bump” that kept stock markets booming over the past year is now over. The Dow and S&P both dropped about four percent on Monday in the worst day since August 2011. (NYTimes)

Like this, except way worse.

Happening In The US: One possible reason for the above piece of news is that a new Federal Reserve Chair was sworn in on Monday. Jerome Powell replaced Janet Yellen, leading to uncertainty from investors who cannot be sure how Powell will tackle interest rates. (WSJ)

Happening In NYC: If you needed another reason to get a flu shot, two children have already died from it in New York this season. They’re free at Columbia and Barnard. Just do it. (NBC New York)

Happening At Columbia: Tonight from 6 – 7 pm in Sulz Parlor, Barnard recommences its poetry readings with visits from Frank Bidart and Eleanor Chai. The event is open to the public.

Bop of the Day: For your FWB. 

 

 

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