Daily Archive: February 23, 2018



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A photo from Columbia Dining’s feedback page

Are you totally confused–and frustrated–by Barnard’s guest swipe policy for Columbia dining halls? So were we. Bwoggers Sarah Dahl and Lucy Danger did some investigating to find out the truth about guest swipes. We hope this information helps you.

Barnard students weren’t allowed to swipe guests into dining halls until this year, when emails from administrators informed us that the policy had changed.

An April 25, 2017 email to Barnard students from interim president Rob Goldberg and Dean Avis Hinkson announcing the tuition and fees for 2017-2018, noted that “in response to student concerns about food insecurity, and to encourage community building, there will be additional ‘guest’ swipes added for all meal plans.”

Another email to Barnard students from Vice President for Campus Services Gail Beltrone on September 8, 2017, announces, “This year, the College added guest swipes onto meal plans.”

But the guest swipes aren’t available on all meal plans. According to barnard.edu/dining:

“Guest Meals are included with certain meal plans and can be used at any on campus location that accepts meal swipes. Guest Meals are included with the following meal plans:
Platinum Plan – 6 guest swipes/semester, Upper Class Quad – 5 guest swipes/semester, Basic 1 – 4 guest swipes/semester, Basic 2 – 3 guest swipes/semester, Basic 3 – 2 guest swipes/semester.”

This policy was confirmed in an email from Lauren Scocozza, Barnard Food Service Director, who also noted that guest swipes “can be used at Columbia Dining halls so long as the dining hall accepts meal swipes.” Ms. Scocozza also noted that these guest swipes are “in addition to the meals included in the meal plans listed.”

What did Columbia have to say?



img February 23, 20186:15 pmimg 0 Comments

University of Pennsylvania professor, Dr. Howard Stevenson

Yesterday, Bwogger Isabel Sepúlveda attended a talk, “Playing with Anger: Racial Literacy and Health Interventions for Black Boys and Men” hosted by the Justice Working Group with University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Howard Stevenson. He discussed his work developing culturally relevant heath interventions for men of color and, more broadly, how we can think about race in ways that limit the tension and increase empathy.

Talking about race can be difficult at best, meaning at times, we tend to shut out any dialogue in favor of sparing ourselves from the awkwardness and potential pitfalls that come hand in hand with discussing a difficult subject. While Dr. Stevenson’s talk was aimed more toward people with experience in fields of health and racial interventions, as the environment created was as open as it was educational. Though perhaps not completely obliterating our resistance to discussing these issues, it opened the floor to questions and conversation that elevated and personalized the experience.

Dr. Stevenson began by talking about his own background, discussing his childhood and his parents’ contrasting viewpoints towards dealing with racial tension. He went on to discuss how his childhood in South Delaware and how the reactions of his neighbors to his ultimate career in academia led in part to his desire to study the effects racial stresses have on marginalized groups and integrate racial experiences into health interventions in order to lessen the effects of said stresses.

He discussed two programs he’s implemented in Philadelphia, PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) and SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers Project. The former, which formed the core of much of our later discussion, integrates basketball into therapy in order to help youth and their parents cope with the stress of violence and social rejection. According too Dr. Stevenson, the youth open up more on the court because they’re engaging more systems than just the verbal system engaged in most typical therapies. Similarly, it allows the facilitators to see how youth act in high pressure situations in a controlled environment and give them strategies to cope in these situations. SHAPE-UP trains Black barbers as health educators so that they can educate Black men ages 18 to 24 and in turn reduce their risk of HIV/STIs and retaliation violence, as they tend to open more in these environments.

How do these interventions help in practice?



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Education and Incarceration was an event hosted by the Human Rights department, and was led by none other than Bwog’s own Sarah Dahl and featured a panel of Professors with the Justice-in-Education initiative as well as prison rights advocates. Avid The Night Of watcher and Staff Writer Megan Wylie checked it out. 

The role of education and prison, as well as prison reform in general, has been an increasingly popular issue in the political world due to the country’s dependence on the prison industrial complex. This particular panel focused on the role of university professors and outreach efforts to maximum security prisons. The two Columbia professors on the panel were noted prison advocates Achille Varzi and Christia Mercer. Also present was Danny Li, a Columbia senior who has dedicated his time to teaching debate at Rikers Island every week, whose passion for teaching inmates debate skill helped him organize excursions to Albany and cross-prison debate competitions for the participants. The panel also featured Aisha Elliott, a formerly incarcerated student and prison education advocate.

I’m pretty sure this type of cell isn’t used anymore, but you get the point

Mercer began the event by presenting staggering statistics regarding prison populations in the US and the disproportional targeting of people of color and people below the poverty line. The entire system favors the white and privileged, from the criminal justice system to the bail-bond process, and this is clear in the rates of incarceration in relation to race and income. In addition, due to the climates of prison, rates of reincarceration are extremely high since inmates are released into society without being rehabilitated or educated by the state, and face rampant discrimination.

Find out more after the jump



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Whitson shining bright next to those soybeans.

While she may have pass-failed her Astronomy course, Bwogger Victoria Arancio has always had a soft spot for science. 

In all my time at Columbia University, never have I seen so many people eager to learn about science. The room—even fifteen minutes before the start of the presentation—was packed, with people finding empty space on the floor to sit and learn about Peggy A. Whitson’s experiences in space. Like Whitson, my dream job as a child was to become an astronaut. When my dreams were crushed by the gravity of the near impossible odds, I decided to look elsewhere; Whitson never stopped looking up.

For some reason, I always thought that being an astronaut just meant that you would enter space, float around in gravity, and maybe collect a rock or two from the moon. In my head, it sounded like a lot of fun and pretty simple work, but Whitson took my understanding of engineering and science to a new level. Like Whitson said, NASA astronauts make their work look incredibly easy, and after her presentation, I can say confidently that Peggy Whitson is one of the most accomplished astronauts in history.

The day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon was the day that Whitson became committed to becoming an astronaut and scientist. Ever since then, she has developed her passion for science with years of schooling, hoping one day to find a herself on a space shuttle. Studying biology and chemistry at Iowa Wesleyan University and later receiving her doctorate degree in biochemistry from Rice University, Whitson knew she was ready to take her research to space. What she didn’t know was how slim her odds were, she said, and despite her challenges, she encouraged students to follow their passions, no matter how challenging they might be.

Science after the jump!



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artist's rendition of Ivy playoff scenarios

This image will be relevant every year

Senior Staffer Ross Chapman is really hoping the men’s basketball team doesn’t disappoint this year, though they probably will. 

Every year in late February, I write an article about the pile of nonsense that is Ivy League men’s basketball and its tiebreaker scenarios. As we near the end of the season, anything could happen – literally any team could still win the championship. For once, though, all of the rules are very clear. All that remains is crunching the numbers. Below are some possible playoff scenarios, all of which are making me pull my hair out. I look forward to soon being free from this Tiebreaker Hell – hopefully, Columbia will come out on top. (All tables in this article, as well as additional information, can be found in this spreadsheet.)

A graph of the current standings of Ivy Basketball

All graphs in this article can be clicked to enlarge.

Where are we now? The Columbia men currently stand tied for 4th with Brown and Cornell at 4-6. Columbia has not had a stellar season, but they have protected their home court well (3-1 in Levien). Their only home loss was to Penn, one of the league’s top teams. According to Luke Benz and the Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group, the Lions actually have a 53% chance to make the playoffs. This is because of how the Ivy League tiebreaker rules work.

If two teams are tied in the standings, you defer first to their head-to-head record. For instance, if Brown and Columbia were tied at 6-8, but Brown had defeated Columbia in both of their games, then Brown would have the advantage over Columbia. If the teams are tied, you compare the tied teams’ records against the best team in the league. If tied there, keep going down the standings until you find a difference. Columbia has a major advantage due to their win against Harvard, the other top team in the league. This puts Columbia into a great position if they can continue to perform at an average level.

Decipher sports more after the jump!



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Tag yourself, I’m the guy squinting into the sun.

Tired of all the basketball hype? Check out what some of the lesser-known sports have going on this weekend! (Ok, baseball is one of the major sports, but almost no one goes to games, so it counts.)

Men’s Swimming and Diving: The Ivy League Championships started on Wednesday at Princeton and will continue through Sunday. So far, Columbia’s performance hasn’t been particularly outstanding, mostly finishing races in fifth place or lower. Their only first-place finish so far is from first-year Jonathan Suckow in the one meter diving competition. Most of the competition has been time trials and preliminary races so far (to determine which heat the teams swim in), so the Lions could still finish strong.

Softball/Baseball: Both teams will have their season openers this weekend. The softball team kicks it all off at the FAU “Strike-Out-Cancer” Tournament in Florida against Texas State at 3:45 pm on Friday. After a promising 5-0 Ivy start last season, the Light Blue finished with a disappointing 8-12 record. This weekend will be particularly tough—they’re facing three teams that advanced to the NCAA regional round. But if last year’s solid offense is partnered with improvements on defense, the Lions could do quite well this season. Baseball, meanwhile, is headed out to Las Vegas to play University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 9:00 pm on Friday. Last season, they had only a 18-23 record overall but still managed to post an impressive 12-8 Ivy record. Unfortunately, they lost a crucial playoff game to Penn that ended their postseason early.

Men’s Squash: Now ranked nationally at number two after clinching the Ivy title last weekend, the Lions will head up to Trinity this weekend to take on the top eight teams in the country in the CSA Nationals competition. Their first matchup is against University of Rochester at 4:00 pm. The Light Blue beat Rochester handily, 6-3, back in January. If they win that match, they’ll face the winner of the Harvard/Penn match.

Say “Cheese!” via gocolumbialions.com



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Celebrating Black history on the 23rd day of its month

Happening in the World: Athi-Patra Ruga, a South African artist, won the grand prize at Rencontres de Bamako, a pan-African photography exhibit, with his series “The Future White Women of Azania.” His work centers Azania, a promised land that was adopted by Black nationalists in apartheid-era South Africa. See the full gallery here. (CNN)

Happening in the US: Black Panther has broken record after record, after its weekend debut – including the highest grossing film with a February debut, the fifth highest-earning film in Disney history, and the highest grossing film by a Black director. The film has inspired an active, participating fanbase with movie-goers dressing for the occasion. With a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, fans are eagerly awaiting any return of Wakanda. (NPR)

Happening in NYC: NYU came under fire recently for serving a “racially insensitive” lunch, for which the administration has recently apologized. NYU sophomore Nia Harris wrote a letter to the university for serving watermelon water and collared greens as a Black History Month-inspired meal. NYU has just a 4.8 percent Black student population, though insists on its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Aramark, also a food provider at Barnard College, has assumed responsibility for the mistake and has since suspended the director of dining. (Independent)

Happening on Campus: The Barnard Writing Fellows will be hosting their second Grammar Workshop today from 10:30-11:30 AM in Milbank 324. They ask that RSVPs and questions be sent to writing@barnard.edu, but welcome all walk-ins. Free coffee will be provided!

Bop of the Day:

Black Liberation flag via Wikimedia Commons

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