Daily Archive: April 25, 2018

Apr

25

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This society is literally as old as our nation.

This evening, both Barnard College and Columbia College released the names of the remaining inductees for their 2018 classes of Phi Beta Kappa. Phi Beta Kappa is made up of 10 percent of the respective college senior class, chosen “based on the breadth, depth and rigor of their academic programs” (not necessarily the top 10 percent GPA-wise, but ya know, there’s a lot of overlap). The first two percent of each class were elected last fall, receiving the special honors of Junior Phi Beta Kappa. You can find CC’s fall list here and Barnard’s one here.

Behold! The 2018 class of Columbia College Phi Beta Kappa

Find out whomst made the list!

Apr

25

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These unionization struggles for healthcare workers come at a time when graduate students are similarly struggling for union recognition.

It’s been almost two years since the medical assistant workers in Columbia’s Primary Care Services voted to join 1199 SEIU, a union with over 5,000 members in New York City. Most of the union members 1199 represents work at the Columbia Medical Center uptown, in addition to more than 500 workers in dining and clerical services here on the Morningside Heights campus. So it wasn’t strange when the eight women who work in Primary Care voted to join the union. But a year and a half, and more than 25 bargaining meetings later, there is still no contract agreement.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Michael Ashby, Vice President of 1199 SEIU. Ashby represents the workers at the medical center and the dining and clerical services at the Morningside campus. He explained that the current situation does not reflect normal contract negotiation procedure. When the other workers on the Morningside campus voted to join the union just over three years ago, it took around four bargaining meetings between Columbia and the union to agree on language for the contract for over 500 workers, compared to 25+ meetings – and counting – for these eight workers. The demands haven’t changed. Columbia’s Director of Labor and Employee Relations for Morningside, Idina Gorman, hasn’t changed. So, what is causing such a different process this time?

When the eight medical staff voted to join the union, 1199 wanted to have them folded into the already-existing contract that they had with the Columbia University dining and clerical services employees. This was a standard decision: it was a small number of new members; the University had already negotiated and agreed to the conditions and terms in those contracts. But Columbia refused, instead electing to revisit every term and proposed benefit. According to Gwynne Wilcox, lawyer for 1199, “the University has disregarded this precedent in bargaining and has effectively ignored the other two 1199 contracts that the University negotiated.” Wilcox added that “it is rare for employers to act like this under these circumstances for eight workers where the Union and employer already have contracts with substantial other workers,” she continued. “In most instance[s], employers would have adopted the existing contracts.” In short, Columbia hasn’t made it easy. However, what no one seems to know is why.

Some of the healthcare workers have reported not getting a raise in two years. More after the jump.

Apr

25

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A member of the Liberation Coalition speaking to the crowd about changing the curriculum

On April 25th, Butler Library was briefly occupied by the Liberation Coalition, a collective focused on “decolonizing Columbia.” Bwog Staff Writer Megan Wylie was at the occupation, and had the chance to speak to members of the group to gain insight into their motivations for the protest. 

In the midst of the graduate workers’ strike, at about 1:25 pm on Wednesday, a group known as the Liberation Coalition gained access to Butler through entering with a prospective student tour group, and occupied the main stairway between the 2nd and 3rd floors for approximately 45 minutes.  Although an administrator who arrived on scene threatened to call the police and take protesters’ IDs, no IDs were taken and the police was not called.

The group was formed in response to CUCR’s speaker series earlier in the year, and is focused on ending what they see as Columbia’s relationship with white colonization and systematic racism. They claim that this relationship, which they outlined in speeches and a flyer they handed out to bystanders, is expressed through racist statues and names on campus, a curriculum centered upon white men and intrinsically connected to colonization, the gentrification of Harlem, and institutional biases against students of color marginalized by white supremacy. Their demands seek to combat this connection between Columbia and colonization.  These demands include: “Replace racist statues and names on campus with people of color who resisted oppression;” “Decolonize the curricula by centralizing and privileging the voices and knowledge of marginalized people;” “Stop gentrifying Harlem;” “Provide free tuition for Indigenous and Black students, especially those from the Lenni Lenape diaspora and Harlem communities;” “Allocate financial and legal resources in defense of all marginalized communities;” and “Divest from white supremacy, settler colonialism, military occupation, and fossil fuels.”

Although these demands are significant and wide-reaching, the protesters in Butler today primarily sought to disrupt the normal flow of Columbia life and educate students about their cause. The collective consists of both graduate and undergraduate students, and does not have individual leaders.

As they marched through Butler, they carried signs that referenced the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, as well as a large banner that said “DECOLONIZE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.” In response to their chants, several students began yelling at the protesters, calling them disruptive and obnoxious.

“You have acres of colonized land to study on,” one protestor responded.

How did this protest pan out?

Apr

25

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summer! so close but so far

Spunky young GSSC Bureau Chief Zoe Sottile brings you the latest and greatest from General Studies Student Council. As always, GSSC meets at 8:15 pm on Tuesday nights in the Satow Room.

This was the last GSSC General Body of the year! Lots of updates, lots of co-sponsorship requests, so little time. And, as usual, there was food.

Dean Rosen-Metsch

New GS Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch made it a goal to attend GSSC once a month; last night’s meeting marked her fourth such visit. She gave shout-outs to GSSC’s success with the gala and encouraged students to take the Student Well-Being Survey.

Dean Rosen-Metsch spoke mostly about her efforts to improve GS’s financial aid and food security last night. She described financial aid as her “highest budget priority” and mentioned the setting aside of a budget next year specifically dedicated to alleviating student food insecurity. When a student asked what her highest priority was for improving student aid, she named GS’s endowment. She stated a desire to “ensure the financial viability of GS going forward” as well as ultimately “meet the full financial need of students”. GS is unique among the undergraduate colleges in that it doesn’t need to hire its own professors. Thus, essentially all of the profits of the endowment go towards increasing financial aid.

Dean Rosen-Metsch also mentioned her dedication to social justice issues, specifically naming the college’s partnership with the Center for Justice. The center is looking to create more educational opportunities for people who were formerly incarcerated; several GS deans are teaching or working at the center on that project and others.

(more…)

Apr

25

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In case you couldn’t tell from the drum circle on Low, the Graduate Workers Strike is in full swing. This subsequently means that us Barnumbia students are missing out on their quality time with 30-something grad students that live in Williamsburg or Astoria or Washington Heights. One Bwog Staffer fills us in on their saga to make a connection with their TA before it’s too late. 

It doesn’t get more millennial than protestors chugging La Croix

Somehow it’s taken me an entire semester, but this last minute stretch taught me that I need to go all out in my efforts to hook up with my TA. Once our final discussion was canceled, I realized I had to get my shit together. So I shaved my legs, threw on a dress, read up on the worker’s strike, and laced up my combat boots.

This is my LAST week to make my relationship with my TA blossom, and it’s really a testament to how committed I am, considering I’m trekking over to Low in an incredibly inappropriate outfit for a labor strike. In the midst of pots being banged and La Croix waters being handed out, I stood by and screamed “What’s disgusting? Union busting!”

But in the midst of me scanning a field of signs for my TA’s coiffed hair, I started overhearing chants and rants. The administration is doing what?? I can’t believe I almost crossed the picket line to support Columbia’s anti-labor, pro-Trump, capitalist scum agenda.

At that point I realized something: I had to join in on the fight against Columbia’s policies, not just the fight to get naked with my TA. I bent down and grabbed a sign and started marching with the crowd of protestors.

So at the end of the day, our love remains unrequited but I did become an avid supporter of graduate student workers collective bargaining. Now can Columbia just pay our fucking TAs so they can stop ignoring us (me)?

Apr

25

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Be wise, in a senior-ly way.

In the spirit of the intellectual and creative inspiration that is often imparted by wisdom, this important PSA will be told in the format of an acronym.

What are we looking for?

If there’s a senior you know who inspires you, nominate them to share some parting senior wisdom, so that we may all bask in their wise glory.

Speedy is what you have to be if you’d like to nominate someone, however, because nominations are due tonight!

Email tips@bwog with their name, email, and a brief description of why they deserve a nomination, or just fill out this Google Form.

(That is all. You’re welcome.)

Apr

25

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these are all Columbia blue

The sky is Columbia blue.

Happening in the World: Dressed in red, blue, and orange, thousands of demonstrators marched yesterday in Hollywood to demand that Turkey recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide, atrocities that caused the systematic killing of 1.2 million Armenians (LA Times).

Happening in the US: Rapper Meek Mill was released from prison yesterday, after a controversial sentence for violating probation. Hours after his release, Mill attended a playoff game supporting the blue-jersey-clad Philadelphia 76’ers (ESPN).

Happening in NYC: The blue whale exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History got its annual cleaning yesterday. With a crowd of onlookers, exhibition manager Trenton Duersken vacuumed the 94-feet-long, 21,000-pound fiberglass whale model, while suspended almost 50 feet in the air (AMNY).

Happening on Campus: Other than the strike? Well, Columbia Health is encouraging students to wear blue denim for Denim Day, a campaign supporting survivors of sexual assault. More information about Denim Day can be found here.

Overseen/Overheard: “Jesus is the original rally…Blacked out on a Friday and woke up that Sunday.”

Blues clues via Bwog Archives

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