Daily Archive: February 17, 2018



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Columbia was one of the universities named in the Paradise Papers last year, which showed that it was linked to companies that help to hide its investments.

In early November 2017, a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, obtained a series of documents dubbed the Paradise Papers containing information about the offshore investments of the world’s wealthiest people. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists then partially released them to be publicly available. These documents “[shed] light on trillions of dollars that move through offshore tax havens” (NYT). Corporations and billionaires aren’t the only ones to hide their income overseas, however; many universities, including Columbia, were revealed to be investing and hiding endowments in offshore “paradises” such as the Cayman Islands (TCU) or the Isle of Man (Columbia).

According to the New York Times, thanks at least in part to “lucrative tax breaks” and less traditional investment schemes (ex. private equity and hedge funds as opposed to United States equities or other more traditional methods), many universities have seen greater returns on investments as compared to previous decades. For example, Columbia’s endowment increased from about $7 billion in 2007 to $10 billion in 2017. Yale, another school named in the Paradise Papers (Yale Daily News), has seen a $5.3 billion increase in its endowment over the past decade. Princeton, also named (The Daily Princetonian), had an endowment of $16.3 billion in June 2008, which increased to $22.8 billion by March 2017. Other universities named in the documents include Stanford, Dartmouth, and NYU.

There isn’t a correlation that can be drawn between the fact that these schools were in the Paradise Papers and that their endowments have increased. The manner in which universities like Columbia invest overseas may be unscrupulous, but it is not necessarily illegal.

More after the jump



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The Dastardly Dabber himself.

Paul Ryan recently tweeted (‘n’ deleted) about a whopping $1.50-a-week raise for a high school secretary as a result of the tax bill. In anticipation of the money raining from the sky, I decided to treat myself to a $1.50 shopping spree around MoHi. Here’s how it went.

With a light heart and a heavy wallet, I set out from the Columbia gates with my mind on my $1.50 and my $1.50 on my mind. However, my stomach was empty, so I decided to head to Community for some gourmet food. Except, I took a look at the menu. Forget food, the $1.50 wasn’t even enough for some fresh juice. I would need to wait three weeks to afford a single glass of orange juice, without tip. Ah well, brunch is for people on TV anyway.

Every restaurant I checked was way too expensive for my budget, so I walked south until I hit Panda Express. The average meal would take me ten weeks to save up for, about the same as Chipotle, so that idea died quick. Even Koronet’s and Famiglia were a no-go; I couldn’t even get garlic knots with my $1.50.

At this point, I was feeling really drained, but then I remembered that Walgreens is expecting $200 million dollars in savings from the Republican tax bill this year!  Though they haven’t announced any plans to share the savings with its employees, I knew that the wealth would eventually trickle down, so I laid down in the fifth aisle and waited for the sweet, sweet crumbs dribbling from the corners of executives mouths as they feast.

Six hours later, I checked my wallet and I still had the same $1.50. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll get around to trickling down soon anyway. My last stop of the day was Ivy League stationers. After using my student discount and spending a few hours finding loose coins on the sidewalk, I was able to walk away with a shiny new pen. It’s not a ballpoint, but it’s still… functional. It’ll work perfectly when I go to the polls in November.



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I’m the one in the pink sash.

New York City is packed with amazing culture and inspiring art, but sometimes it’s difficult to break the Morningside-bubble and experience it all first-hand. “Where Art Thou” is a weekly guide to interesting and notable lectures, events, and performances for the literary/musically/theatrically-inclined on campus.

On campus:

  • TOMORROW at 6 pm in the Lerner Black Box, come see CMTS’ 24 Hour Musical! Actors have exactly 24 hours to learn their lines, music, staging and choreography before the house lights go up. Your friendly neighborhood Arts Editor will be in it, which is why you should honor her sacrifice of sleep/sanity and go see what is sure to be a highly entertaining show!
  • Monday at 6:15 pm, the Harriman Institute (Int Affairs 1201) is hosting a screening and discussion with the director of Children of Peace: The Story of The First Generation of Children Born After the Bosnian War. The film takes place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the aftermath of the destructive Bosnian War. As the new generations grew ever more divided, six young people from six divided cities met and decided to do a performance about their mutual thoughts and beliefs.
  • This Friday at 8 pm, and Saturday at 3 and 7 pm, the Center for Science and Society is putting on “Science! The Musical” in Fayerweather 513. Janice, a first year PhD student, has just had her first paper accepted to an academic conference. The only problem is, she hasn’t written the paper yet! In the few short weeks before the conference, Janice must learn to do interdisciplinary science. Will she publish, or will she perish!?

Off campus:

  • This Saturday, Feb 24 from 11 am to 5 pm, you can celebrate the Lunar New Year Festival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with performances, interactive gallery activities, and artist-led workshops. Find the program here.
  • Tomorrow at 8:30 pm, UWS bar Prohibition NYC (503 Columbus Ave) is hosting Broadway Night. Come listen to Broadway’s current and future performers sing about love, sex, and heartbreak, including work from composer Sam Balzac (CC ’17). Check out the FB event here and the Prohibition website here.

Musicals via Wikimedia Commons



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Richard blessing the foliage behind him

Even though Valentine’s Day is over, it’s never too late to find someone to cuddle up with this cold, (possibly) snowy post-Valentine’s weekend. Our next personal is none other than Richard Shin of Columbia Crushes Fame. But fear not, despite all the Columbia Crushes posts about him, Richard is single and ready to mingle. Email us at tips@bwog.com if you’re interested in him (before someone else beats you to it)!

Name, Year, School, Major (grad students encouraged): Richard Shin, CC 2018, Data Science
Preference (girl for girl, etc): Boy for girl
Hometown: Cumberland, MD
Your nightmare date in seven words or fewer: Being recognized from Columbia Crushes
What redeems you as a human being?
Great friends who tag me too much on Facebook
Library room of choice: Ref
Beverage of choice: Bubble tea
Which dating apps have you been active on? (be honest) Tea
Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night? Out and about
Historical Hottie: Joseph Stalin



img February 17, 201811:55 amimg 0 Comments

The ruins of the Ummayyad Mosque in Aleppo

Bwogger Cara Hudson-Erdman got intellectual this Friday and attended a lecture at the Italian Academy. This discussion focused global intervention in the protection of cultural monuments in war zones and the role of sovereignty versus international responsibility. Through a wave of witty academic banter, posh British accents, and overuse of the word “colleague,” the key question of the event was: is there an international responsibility to protect cultural heritage sites when states fail to do so?

At Columbia, we students find ourselves inundated with references to antiquity just by walking into the library,  and we often forget that sites of their origin are under threat of destruction. At the Italian Academy, the International Observatory for Cultural Heritage Lecture addressed this topic, titled Cultural Heritage in Conflict Zones: Protecting the Past for the Future. The keynote speaker was James Cuno, the president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, who is a major proponent of the idea of a universal cultural heritage and an advocate international intervention to protect cultural sites at risk of destruction. In particular, Cuno spoke about the situation in Syria, where in the midst of a civil war ISIS has destroyed sites such as the Ummayyad Mosque in Aleppo. Cuno emphasized that this destruction should be considered cultural cleansing as well as an indicator of genocide.

In the face of a failing state, Syria, a country whose map resembles a “jigsaw puzzle,” Cuno argued that there is a moral responsibility for other powers to intervene to protect these valuable historic sites. His reasoning stems from his idea that artistic and cultural monuments belong to a shared, international heritage that transcends national borders and states. The moderator, Columbia’s Professor David Freedberg, identified Cuno as “untrendy” for propagating such beliefs, characterizing them as values of the Enlightenment, and the same ones that bolster encyclopedic museums such as the British Museum. Cuno was also joined by a panel of art history and political science experts including Vishakha Desai, former president of the Asia Society, Thomas Weiss, professor of political science at CUNY and an expert in state sovereignty, Edward Luck, a SIPA professor and former advisor to Ban-Ki Moon, and Mariët Westermann from the Mellon Foundation.

Read more after the jump



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It’s the year of the dog!!!!!!

Happening in the World: Following the Prime Minister’s resignation, Ethiopia declared a state of emergency. The Prime Minister’s resignation is said to be a result of growing tensions between the four parties in the country’s ruling coalition, which has been in power since 1991 and currently holds all 547 seats in parliament. (Reuters)

Happening in the US: After a new development in the FBI’s investigation of the 2016 Presidential election, 13 Russians have been charged with tampering with the election. Three of the thirteen Russians have been accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while five have been accused of aggravated identity theft. Read more about the indictment here. (BBC)

Happening in NYC: A former teacher and his twin brother were arrested for allegedly creating bombs in their Bronx home. Several materials used for making bombs along with a diary detailing a plan entitled “Operation Code Name Flash” were found. (NY Daily News)

Happening on Campus: The Chinese Students Club is hosting the 40th Annual Lunar Gala in celebration of the Lunar New Year this Sunday from 6:00 to 9:30 pm. There will be performances and food! Get more information about the event and tickets through the Facebook event.

Image via Pexels

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