Daily Archive: March 30, 2018



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A stellar institution of higher learning or the Gates to Hell?

This is the first installment in Bwog’s new column, Classical Whines, in which Bwog’s resident classics majors will talk about all things classics and give you a wine recommendation. In the first post of this series, you can read Social Media Editor Youngweon Lee’s rant about the Hamilton elevator.

Hamilton Hall, as the main headquarter of Columbia College, houses the Departments of Classics, Slavic Studies, American Studies, Italian, Germanic Languages and Literature, among others. It is also where the Admissions Office and Deantini’s Office are. In addition to classes in the aforementioned academic departments, a lot of classes that could count as general humanities (or not) are held in Hamilton; I’ve had LitHum, CC, FroSci discussion, and various French classes in Hamilton. I also know that even some econ, stats, art hum, etc. classes are held there as well.

So needless to say, there are always a lot of people trying to get places in Hamilton Hall. Yet, the singular elevator in Hamilton is objectively one of the worst elevators on campus. Seeing as the ground floor is actually the second floor, if your class is on the third or fourth (or even fifth, for the ambitious ones among you) floors, you don’t really need an elevator. In fact, if you are someone who is not disabled and you take the elevator to anywhere below the fifth floor during rush hour in Hamilton Hall, there is a special circle in Inferno for you. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Read on about the plights of an out-of-shape Classics major



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Why are you fraternizing with the enemy?!

Sports Editor Abby Rubel interrupts your Easter, Passover, or sleep to bring you the latest from Columbia Athletics. 

Baseball: The Lions (2-1 Ivy, 5-17 overall) will play a three-game series against Harvard this weekend following an 8-7 loss to Manhattan on Tuesday. The Crimson are 8-11 after a two-game losing streak against Furman; the series against Columbia will be their conference opener. Harvard’s number one task will be to shut down Randell Kanemaru, Columbia’s sometimes-shortstop, sometimes-third baseman, and consistently phenomenal hitter. Historically, the Lions have slightly outperformed the Bulldogs, winning nine of the last 10 games between them.

Women’s Tennis: Women’s tennis will open their Ivy season on Saturday with a 1:00 pm game against Cornell at home. The 8-5 Lions are coming off a two-game winning streak against Florida Atlantic and LIU Brooklyn. Cornell (6-7) is coming off a two-game losing streak against much tougher teams. The Big Red tied for the Ivy title last year and beat Columbia 7-0.

Men’s Tennis: The Lions are ranked at number 13 nationally this week, up from 17 last week despite a 4-0 loss to TCU two weeks ago. Buffalo dropped its last two games to Cornell and Harvard for a 7-7 overall record. Junior Victor Pham is back in action this weekend, just in time to warm up for next week’s conference opener.




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Early this afternoon, CC announced that “Moonlight” producer Dede Gardner CC ’90 will be the CC class day speaker. Celebrity chef Judy Joo SEAS ’97 will speak at the ESC class day.

Dede Gardner

Gardner, alongside her role as co-president of major production company Plan B Entertainment, has produced films such as “Moonlight,” “The Big Short,” “Selma,” and “12 Years A Slave.” She is the first female producer to win two Academy Awards for Best Picture.

During her time at Columbia, Gardner graduated cum laude in comparative literature and English, and recently received the 2012 John Jay Award, which recognizes distinguished professional achievement among CC graduates.

“I’m absolutely thrilled she’ll be coming to speak at our Class Day,” senior class president John Avendano CC ’18 said. “It’ll be truly humbling to absorb the wisdom of someone who’s helped create films that have delivered such profound messages.”

Judy Joo

Joo, one of four U.K. chefs to hold the Iron Chef title, also hosts Food Network show “Korean Food Made Simple,” owns three popular restaurants, and founded inner-city food education project Harvest Time in Harlem.

After earning her degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Joo worked at Goldman Sachs and attended the French Culinary Institute in New York, graduating as class valedictorian.

Joo said, “I definitely attribute my relatively quick success in the culinary field to my strong education. Particular with running restaurants, you have to have a strong business sense, know operations, efficiency design, understand marketing, PR and also have the creativity to cook new, innovative dishes.”

As Avendano points out, this is the second year in a row that a woman will speak at the CC class day speaker, and the first year both CC and SEAS class day speakers are female.



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Is that sign in the background a Crying of Lot 49 reference

Last night, the Graduate Workers of Columbia Union, Student-Worker Solidarity, and the International Socialist Organization held a panel in Hamilton to discuss why a graduate student union is necessary. Senior Staffer Abby Rubel brings you the details.

The night’s discussion opened with brief comments from the moderator, Fainan Lakha (CC ’17). She focused on the timeliness of the panel, coming as it did a few days before the union votes to authorize a strike and on the heels of the recent teachers strike in West Virginia. She also touched upon a common theme of the evening—that the struggle at Columbia will have implications across the country.

The panelists then gave their opening remarks. Tania Bhattacharyya, a PhD candidate in History at Columbia and member of the union’s bargaining committee, spoke first. She began by explaining how the conversation around unionization has changed in the two years she’s been organizing. At first, she was “convincing people to think of themselves as workers,” but now people are much more comfortable with the idea of a union. She also discussed how the “narrative of privilege” Columbia creates—telling students that they’re lucky to be at such a prestigious place—makes it easier for the administration to rugsweep their mistreatment of students, especially graduate student workers. “No matter how privileged you are, our labor is still exploited,” she said.

Meghan Brophy (BC ’20) and a member of Student-Worker Solidarity was next to speak. She emphasized the stake undergraduates had in the graduate students’ struggle because “teaching conditions are learning conditions.” She also decried the university’s “divide and conquer” strategy and encouraged students to talk to each other to overcome it.

Next up was Natasha Raheja, a PhD candidate at NYU who was on the bargaining committee of NYU’s graduate student union from 2014-2015. She discussed some lessons she had learned from her bargaining committee experience, including the need to prepare people to actually strike rather than seeing the authorization vote as an end unto itself. Because they “didn’t have the capacity to do an indefinite strike,” she said, the bargaining committee was forced to accept the deal NYU offered them the night before the strike began.

Finally, Columbia graduate student and International Socialist Organization member Alex Ferrena spoke. He focused on the “not-so-secret side of Columbia”—its gentrification of Harlem, mishandling of sexual assault cases, and mistreatment of graduate students. “Irresponsible would be an understatement,” he said. “Columbia has been actively malicious.” He then discussed the national importance of the struggle and ended by suggesting that the strike, if authorized, be open-ended and during finals to increase pressure on the administration, though he also acknowledged that this strategy is risky.

Lakha then opened the floor to questions and discussion from the audience. Unfortunately, she did not allow the panelists to address the questions as they came up, which created some confusion and didn’t allow for much in the way of answers.

One concern was the difference in striking power between research assistants, who bring large sums of money into the university but aren’t integral to the day-to-day functioning of the university, and teacher’s assistants, who would have a more immediate impact if they stopped working.

Another common worry was that of retaliation by the university. Because the graduate workers union has been certified by the National Labor Relations Board, the union is “allowed to strike.” Bhattacharyya said that this certification makes a big difference in reassuring people that striking is okay as well as preventing Columbia from retaliating against a striking worker. However, she and others acknowledged that relying on the federal government is risky, especially given the capriciousness of the Trump administration. Several people also mentioned that the Columbia administration is confident because they know Trump’s government will be on their side.

Undergraduates expressing support was also a major thread. One audience member suggested that undergraduates could join Student-Worker Solidarity or use their influence as future alumni and donors. A physics graduate student also suggested that undergrads could talk to graduate students they know, especially instructors, and let them know that they support a strike. “Just say it,” he said. Brophy added that undergraduates should not cross any picket lines and could show support by simply wearing a button.

The panelists then made their closing remarks, although they primarily reiterated earlier points. Bhattacharyya spoke about the need to create “a new normal,” where graduate students don’t have to fight to be recognized as workers. Brophy mentioned Student-Worker Solidarity’s photo campaign, and Raheja stressed the importance of a multi-pronged union strategy. Ferrena concluded the evening with a comment that graduate students at Columbia are “fighting like the old timeys.”

Photo via the event’s Facebook page



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Photo of Russian Advertisement by Misha Friedman

For those of you who missed it, the Columbia School of Journalism hosted a book talk and signing event for the newly released Never Remember: Searching for Stalin’s Gulags in Putin’s Russia by Masha Gessen and Misha Friedman. Resident Russian Olga Ivleva attended the panel, saying “dasvidania” to Stalinist Russia. 

Gessen and Friedman’s dark and mystifying book criticizes the nostalgia that exists for the days of the Soviet Union in modern day Russia. Gessen artfully depicts the horrors of the Stalin-era in her writing, pointing out the terrifying ways in which Putin’s Russia is ignorant to the terrors of the past. Her writing is accompanied by a beautiful collection of photos taken by Friedman as the two of them traveled through Russia. The photos include the gulag memorials alongside common Russian street propaganda, making the history seem even more desolate through the oblivion of the present.

During the event, Gessen and Friedman discussed their inspiration for the work, as well as what brought the two of them together as artists. The book is obviously intended as a political statement, and quite a radical one at that to most common Russians. When it came time for the Q & A, Gessen was bombarded by a mixture of praise and critique, with numerous older Russians angrily taking the microphone and attacking her work, claiming she was misrepresenting the Stalin era. Gessen firmly held her ground, hardly dignifying their flustered words with a response.

More after the jump



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It’ll definitely take you less time to read this housing review than it will to walk to this Columbia dorm. Carlton Arms may be the farthest dorm, but that Hudson breeze is worth it. 

Location: Riverside between 108th and 109th.

  • Nearby dorms: Nothing… Harmony and 110 (Barnard) maybe?
  • Stores and restaurants: Cascabel Taqueria, West End, Mels, 1020, Duane Reade, Chipotle, Five Guys, Vitamin Shoppe, Westside, Starbucks, Absolute Bagels, etc., etc.

Cost: The cost for upperclassman dorms is standard: $9,538.


  • Bathrooms: Each suite has two bathrooms with two sinks, two stalls, and a shower.
  • AC/Heating: No AC, but the heating is good. It’s too hot sometimes but you can open your window to the Hudson River blowing cool air in your face. The temperature is usually great.
  • Lounge: There aren’t floor lounges the floor, but each suite has a common space.
  • Kitchen: Each suite has one kitchen with an oven, microwave, fridge, stove, and medium cabinet space.
  • Laundry: In the basement of the building, only accessible through an elevator. Normal busy-ness.
  • Fire escapes: There are fire escapes that are accessible but you’re not allowed to go on them.
  • Bike storage: In the basement.
  • Computers/printers: In the first-floor lobby.
  • Gym: On the top floor.
  • Intra-transportation: Two elevators that are decent.
  • Hardwood/carpet: Rooms have hardwood, the rest of the suite has carpet.

Dig a little deeper after the jump



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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? I know it’s definitely not my train!

It’s Easter Weekend! The MTA isn’t resurrecting, though, so here are the service changes for this weekend. As always, please keep in mind that I’m not a fortune teller (yet) and don’t know when the trains will be delayed. If you’re feeling loved today, remember that the MTA hates you. Cheers! 

1: The 1 is running normally this weekend.

2: There are no 2 trains between 96th and 180th from 11:30 pm Friday to 5 am Monday, like last weekend. This doesn’t affect us MoHi residents too much. There are a few other service changes on the website that end at 5 am on Friday, but the way it’s worded, it’s unclear if it’s referring to 5 am on Friday (so all through Thursday night) or 5 am on Saturday (all though Friday night into Saturday morning). None of them affect the immediate MoHi campus too much, though.

3: No 3 trains this weekend from 11:30 pm Friday to 5 am Monday.

A: There doesn’t seem to be service changes on the A this weekend. Is this real life? It will probably be really delayed to make up for it.

B: Also no service changes on the B.

C: I can’t believe this, but also no service changes on the C.

D: Is it time for this column to end? No service changes on the D. I bet it will be super delayed to compensate.

#CuomosMTA via Bwog Archives



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We couldn’t find enough Good Friday content so we had to change the occasion.

Happening in the World: During Tuesday’s preliminary World Cup game between France and Russia in St. Petersburg, Black players were targeted by fans with jeering and ape noises. It is the third occurrence at the St. Peterburg Stadium. FIFA is currently investigating the incident alongside the Fare Network, an organization dedicated to investigating racism in the European sports world. (Associated Press)

Happening in the US: The Black students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas are speaking out against their exclusion from the #MarchForOurLives campaign. Students returned to school with an increased police presence, prompting the call for the campaign against gun violence to include police officers. (Miami Herald)

Happening in NYC: 11 people were arrested in the Wednesday night protest following Stephon Clark’s death. Clark was shot 20 times by police officers in his backyard on March 18th. Most protesters were arrested on the charge of disorderly conduct. (ABC News)

Happening on Campus: The Center for Jazz Studies is hosting a free concert featuring Yosvany Terry, a Cuban musician specializing in music of the African Diaspora. Reserve your seat by e-mailing More information can be found here.

Bop of the Day:

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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