Jun

24

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The big man himself, repping affirmative action

Presidents set precedent

Arts Editor and aspiring legal scholar Gowan Moïse takes time off from his summer law internship to catch up on Supreme Court decisions and the continuing influence of our own PrezBo’s legal precedent from his time at the University of Michigan.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al. and released a 4-3 decision, affirming the constitutionality of the University’s system of admissions with regard to the use of ‘race-sensitive admissions policies.’ Fisher originally brought her case before the Court in 2013, where it was remanded and sent back down to a lower court for strict scrutiny of the circumstances and application of the admissions policies.

Fisher alleged that the University of Texas disadvantaged her (a Caucasian) compared to students of racial minorities in the admissions process, positing that this discrimination against her violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This decision of the Court puts to rest these allegations of bias brought against the University, with Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor in concurrence with Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito dissented. Justice Kagan recused herself because of her involvement with the case as Solicitor General when it was in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In both the 2013 and 2016 written decisions, the Court reference two notable cases of precedent for affirmative action, both involving Columbia’s very own Lee C. Bollinger. While serving as president of the University of Michigan, Bollinger was the named defendant in cases brought against the undergraduate school and the law school at Michigan, Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger respectively.

More on PrezBo and the Constitution after the jump

Jun

16

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Remnants of a once proud magnolia

Remnants of a once proud magnolia

Earlier today, the Barnard Community was deeply saddened to receive a construction update email with the news that our beloved magnolia tree (which was moved last fall in order to build Barnard’s new Teaching and Learning Center) may be on its last limbs. Despite the recent warm weather, Maggie’s leaves have still failed to emerge, which, according to Barnard’s arborists, is “not good news.” In honor of the tree (and its apparently imminent demise), Bwogger Betsy Ladyzhets has composed a eulogy.

Magnolia, Magnolia,
How it pains us to look upon you, Magnolia.
We slumbered beneath you in summer and shivered with you in winter,
Wept beneath you in autumn and cheered with you in spring.
You are the center of our campus and of our hearts,
Never faltering, never failing, always blossoming
Bold and beautiful as the women who walk past you each day.
Your branches once opened to us like the arms of our mothers,
Bright and brilliant, colorful and courageous –
A beacon of hope extending beyond campus walls.

More eulogizing (and the official message) after the jump

Jun

4

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Missing from the photo: sweaty football players and wrestlers

It’s official–despite a resolution by CCSC to make Cannon’s more accessible, everyone’s favorite bar (during NSOP) will be closing for good.

After hearing a rumor from a pal over at Sig Chi, we gave Tara Hill (as it’s officially known) a call earlier today. The person on the phone confirmed that they will be closing at the end of June. We also asked if the bar would be reopening soon under different management (as it did in 2004, back when it was actually called Cannon’s), but the employee said it wouldn’t be. You can read more on the restaurant/bar’s Facebook page.

Come fall, we guess the Class of 2020 will have to try their luck at Mel’s! Perhaps now there will be fewer lost coats during the winter, too.

Looking back, the news sure makes this Facebook event poignant.

Should we all go for one last hurrah? via Tara Hill’s Facebook page

May

31

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Will they crucify us on a cross of gold?

Will they crucify us on a cross of gold?

In what seems a pattern of overt financial and educational pivots toward reforming Columbia into a “Global University,” Campus Services’ Scott Wright in an email two weeks ago announced the termination of Columbia’s “banking service agreement” with CitiBank. Instead, a “committee of representatives from Columbia Finance, Student Financial Services, Campus Services and Student Life” decided to transfer Columbia’s contract award to another of the alternate six vendors—Santander.

While the replacement of the CitiBank ATMs in Lerner with those of Santander began this past week—frustrating, we’re sure, the hundreds of students who opened accounts with CitiBank due to Columbia’s former contract with the New York based bank—this decision is allegedly rooted in January of this year. The transfer of services from CitiBank, which Deantini might have christened in “Columbia College style” the “greatest bank at the greatest university in the greatest city in the world,” to Santander grants “no-fee banking from the ages of 16 to 25, low or no-cost banking for faculty and staff, no-fee mobile transfers, no-fee incoming international and domestic wire transfers for student value checking accounts, and convenient on-campus ATMs”—though we’re pretty certain almost all these were previously available with CitiBank.

What about the globe though?

May

18

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fritzsternPresident Bollinger sent an email on Wednesday informing the Columbia community that former Provost and professor, Fritz Stern, has passed away. Fritz Stern graduated from Columbia College in 1946 and received his PhD from the university in 1953. He taught at Columbia for over 40 years.

You can read the full text of President Bollinger’s email below.

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

On a Commencement day when we come together to celebrate a new generation that becomes part of Columbia’s great intellectual tradition, I am sad to report that our university community has lost one of the towering exemplars of that tradition, former Provost and longtime history professor Fritz Stern ’46CC, ’53GSAS.

For decades, Fritz Stern was among Columbia’s most eminent faculty, and everything he did, as a scholar, teacher, and public intellectual, defined what it means to be each of those things. As a child in a family forced to flee Nazi Germany in the 1930s, he made his way from Jackson Heights to Columbia for college and graduate school, where he became a pioneering historian on the rise of German National Socialism. He won honors for his great teaching and prizes for his acclaimed books; he was rightly awarded our highest academic ranks, as both the Seth Low Professor of History chair and University Professor.

We mourn the loss of Fritz Stern and send our deepest condolences to his dear Elisabeth, friend to so many of us, and their family.

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

Fritz Stern via Joe Pineiro, Columbia University

May

16

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Friends of Nayla's circulated this flyer on Facebook

Friends of Nayla’s circulated this flyer on Facebook

SEAS student Nayla Kidd, previously reported missing, has been found. According to an email from Public Safety Officer James McShane, she was “located by the NYPD and is safe.”

Kidd had last been seen on May 5th, and students became aware of her disappearance on May 12th after friends of hers began posting on Facebook in the hopes of locating her.

You can read the email below:

Dear All,

Columbia University student Nayla Kidd, previously reported missing, has been located by the NYPD and is safe. Thank you all for your support.

James F. McShane
Vice President for Public Safety

May

14

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Surprise! This is actually our last senior wisdom (and post) of the semester. Prez Ben is a busy guy, but he eventually found the time to write his senior wisdom (a few weeks after the deadline). Read on for wise words from Ben Makansi.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Benjamin Karim Storch Makansi, CC, Astrophysics, Steelville, Pennsylvania

Claim to fame: NSOP OL in 2013 and 2015

Where are you going? Shit, that’s deep.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?

1) When students are divided over something, they’re often divided more on tactics than they are on ideology. Few students will disagree that the university should do more to support survivors of sexual violence, but there will be a lot of disagreement on whether the right way to push for that is to project “Columbia Protects Rapists” onto Low Library during Days on Campus or to scrawl the names of alleged rapists on bathroom stalls. Seventy-four percent of CC students voted to divest from fossil fuels, but I’m guessing that fewer students were in support of occupying a campus building or chasing Suzanne Goldberg into a cab. Both CUMB and the people who posted on the Orgo Night event page hate discrimination and want to hold the university accountable, but they disagree on whether relentless satire is an appropriate tactic for doing so. I say this not as a prescriptive claim about how activists should advocate for issues, but as a descriptive observation that many campus conflicts aren’t actually about the issues. We often agree on goals but divide ourselves on how to get there. This is frustrating but it should also be encouraging. It’s frustrating that a disagreement on tactics is often equated with opposition to an entire movement, and it’s frustrating that, as I genuinely believe, there are people who care deeply about certain social justice issues but become discouraged from working on them at this school as a result. But I also find solace reminding myself that students are often advocating for the same causes.

More advice from Ben after the jump.

May

13

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Reflecting on the semester via illustrations

Reflecting on the semester via illustrations

In our last Semester in Review, we noted that this was the fourth semester in a row in which a new Editor-in-Chief took the helm of Bwog. We never could have anticipated that we would be saying something similar only a few months later.

At the end of each semester, we look back at the most significant events that swept through the Columbia community. Yet this time we also take stock of the tides that have swept through Bwog itself. As many of our readers reflect on who they want to be when they return in the fall, so too will Bwog.

We present this Semester in Review much in the same way as we have in the past, reminding our readers of controversies they may have forgotten and ones that they cannot forget. Internally, Bwog will continue to look back as we plan for our future.

Until fall, 

Rachel Deal, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie Stearn, Managing Editor

The semester started off tragically with a bus crash in Honduras that killed two Columbia students and one CUMC nurse. The campus came together to mourn their passing.

Later in January, we criticized the sorority recruitment process, and then Theta proved our point.

January 30th marked Bwog’s 10th birthday! Several of our past Editors-in-chief wrote letters to Bwog throughout February, telling us to be nicer, to never get old, and that we messed everything up (so help me Bwog!).

What else happened at CU this year?

May

13

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a classy picture of meIt’s our last Senior Wisdom of the year, and we couldn’t think of a better way we’d want to go out than with our former Editor-in-Chief. She talks about St. Augustine, Hungarian Pastry Shop, and Infinite Jest – we’re not surprised. But she also has some wonderful words of advice to leave you all with.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Britt Fossum, the College, Chemistry, Omaha

Claim to fame: Former Bwog Editrix, Hungarian Pastry Goth, and the saddest boy in all of Columbia

Where are you going? Taking the summer off to surf every couch from Duluth to Tokyo before finally going into….plastics (starting a PhD program in Chemistry).

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?

1) Learn to be comfortable on your own. There will be a lot of things you’ll want to do at Columbia and in the city and sometimes your friends are gonna be lame and bail on you last minute. Or maybe you’ll develop incredibly niche interests that no one else will be interested in. So: do ’em on your own! And in the meantime, make conversation with people when you’re out alone. I have had more wild and weird discussions with people I know I’ll never meet again than with acquaintances at 1020 I know I’m going to see again outside Butler the next day.

Addendum to #1: You’ll just exhaust yourself seeking validation from others. You do you, ’cause no one else will.

2) Eliminate any habit of hero-worship. Just because someone is older, more educated, “cooler” (whatever that means to you): it doesn’t mean they give good advice and certainly doesn’t mean the “good” advice they give will be good for you and your individual situation. Think critically about the things people tell you you should do. Start with this senior “wisdom” (do you really think a 22 year old going into grad school instead of the real world knows what she’s talking about??).

Addendum to #2: You will eventually realize that you’ve been unconsciously imitating the people you admire. Don’t feel bad about doing so, but realize when you’re doing it and make sure none of the habits you’ve picked up are embarrassing or life-threatening.

3) Shut up and listen! That and more past the jump

May

13

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IMG_1942

not even graduation bleachers can stop that smile

Joseph Powers – known to many as Bwog’s former Internal Editor (or, Bwog Dad), and to many others as the guy who wrote that weird deer overseen a couple of years ago – discusses posts that probably shouldn’t have been published and experiences with math TAs that should. (If some of this advice sounds like it’s coming from a charming Southern grandpa without an unfriendly bone in his body, that’s because it kind of is.)

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Joseph Powers, CC, Applied Mathematics, Alexandria, VA

Claim to fame: As Daily Editor, Arts Editor, and finally Internal Editor of Bwog, I respectively: wrote a post about a deer inspiring the historic campus dialogue “I don’t want to drag this lyrical post down, but in this part of the country deer in Riverside Park mean Lyme Disease in Morningside Heights…”; reviewed the Varsity Show, my thoughts themselves favorably reviewed as “This is the weirdest review. It’s like a CC class post.”; and helped oversee a site universally acclaimed as “better when I was a first-year.”

Also: a truly cringeworthy photo in the Spectator included in an article (incorrectly) implying I starred in a one-man show.

Where are you going? As of now, no idea! It was finance for a while, and then in a moment of liberation and short-lived catharsis I realized it was not. I suppose I will split my time trying to enjoy the city and worrying about my future, so living the Columbia lifestyle in an apartment basically.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?

1) It’s amazing how much we can affect the lives of people around us. Even in a moment we might never think about again, we can turn someone’s whole day around. On one hand, this means we can cause a lot of hurt if we’re careless, and we have to be aware of that. On the other hand, though, kindness really does matter, and a friendly word or an extra bit of understanding go so much further than it seems like they could. If I could stress only one thing, that’s what it would be.

Since I get three things, on a less serious note:

2) I have never had a TA who collected my problem sets on time, most have waited until the next afternoon, and the doors of the math building are incapable of locking. Do what you will with that information.

3) The green dumpling cart across the street from Barnard gates will sell you something like 20 dumplings for $5, and they are pretty decent.

Nostalgia, regrets, and oral sex after the jump

May

13

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Eric CohnAs we enter our final day of Senior Wisdoms, we give you some graduating Bwoggers and their life advice. First up is “ex-various” Eric Cohn, who covered some of the most real and least real news in Bwog’s history. Today, he brings you advice on listening, self-care, and getting over your cheese addiction. 

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Eric Cohn, Columbia College, Mathematics and a Psychology concentration. Philly suburbs

Claim to fame: Ex-various at Bwog, where I wrote a letter; recently un-anonymized peer listener at Nightline; that guy who you thought would never say hi to you (it was probably Ian).

Where are you going? Vietnam and Japan for a month, then returning back to NYC full-time starting in July.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?

1) Listening is a virtue.

Listening is such an underrated but powerful act, but it takes dedication. Learning to listen to the world and people around you can teach you so much, and it has the added benefit of telling those that you are listening to that you value them. In this world and this place we are urged to speak, to have a voice, and to proceed vertically. These are definitely good things. But there’s a lot to be gained in the horizontal—in standing to the side to let others speak and to listen to them with open ears and minds. Internalize that people believe what they say and are legitimate in what they feel: their experiences are worth hearing. Listen when it’s difficult and uncomfortable. When your friend is complaining but you disapprove; when people on this campus honestly express pain or offense when you see none. We all have much to learn, and listening is an important—if not the most important—step along the way.

2) Act or accept.

This one might not resonate with everyone, but it certainly did for me. There were times in my life—particularly here—where I felt low on hope. One of the most empowering phrases I discovered was “act or accept,” which essentially means that you either accept a circumstance or act to change it. There’s no in between. You definitely don’t have to apply this to every aspect of your life (in a lot of cases you can’t). But if there’s something about your life that makes you unhappy, that you want to change, it can be helpful to frame it in this way: “If I don’t act, I am accepting.” If it’s something that you really want to change, then clearly accepting is not an option, leaving only action.

3) You are valuable.

Complementing #1, which is basically saying that everyone besides you has value, know that you also have value. Work constantly to internalize it. For a lot of us, this will be a lifelong and often difficult process. One thing that can help is not comparing yourself to others’ standards of value, or what you perceive to be their standards of value. It’s okay not to be the most vocal in class, not to be the most socially visible on campus, not to get a 4.0. Those do not have to give you value. You can choose what defines you, and it can be anything. Just make it matter to you.

Nightline, Letters, and the Heights after the jump

May

13

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jesus there were so many

You should read more this summer than 8 different copies of The Iliad

It’s the end of your first year, and memories from the first day of LitHum begin to haunt you. How were you so behind on reading? One by one, your classmates entered the room and began discussing the many works of fiction and non-fiction that they had read over the summer. You couldn’t believe the names that were coming out of their mouths; they just grew more and more formidable! We’ve all been there, feeling like we’re not educated enough to compete with everyone else. For all of you soon-to-be Proust-loving, Camus-reading, and Faulkner-worshipping scholars, look no further because we here at Bwog are offering a solution: the Pretentious Summer Reading List. Put on your spectacles, don your smoking jacket, and ready your pipe, because you have a tremendous amount of catching up to do.   

Here are some poems, they should be read carefully, this haiku is done:

  • Walt Witman’s Leaves of Grass
  • Maya Angelou’s (what?! A woman?!) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Allen Ginsberg’s Howl
  • Ulysses (because you don’t belong here if you haven’t read this at least 5 times)
  • Haikus by Issa, Shiki, and Buson

You Kant forget philosophy:

  • Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophus (bonus points for reading this in latin!)
  • Foucault’s The Order of Things
  • Rand’s Atlas Shrugged for utter rapture
  • Plato’s The Republic
  • More’s Utopia

(Only for Barnard) (This is the feminist section): 

  • Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble
  • Plath’s The Bell Jar (but let’s face it, this is the #holybookofbarnard)
  • Woolf’s To The Lighthouse
  • Woolf’s Lady in the Looking Glass
  • Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

Next up, novels that Kanye has definitely not read…

May

13

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gates

celebrate graduation by stealing balloons

Congratulations, everyone, we made it through! If you’re still working through a project with an extension, we’re wishing you luck. If not, good job surviving another year of the Columbia grind. Today’s our last day of the year, and we hope you party with all the energy of a kid just released on summer vacation. You’ve earned it.

Bwogline: Facebook published internal editor guidelines yesterday to prove that they’re not biased in their “Trending” section. Of course, you probably only heard that they’re not biased because you read it in the “Trending” section.

Study Tip: If you got an extension on work but still have to leave your housing, use the library where you live! If you’re only using Butler as a way to avoid working where you sleep, then go out to your local branch and crack down on work there.

Music: Celebrate senior graduation by playing the Billboard number one album from when they first stepped foot on Columbia’s campus – Based on a T.R.U. Story by 2 Chainz.

Procrastinate: Take a trip down memory lane by delving into some of the most helpful, imaginative, and sexually liberated comments left on our website by Columbians by reading our Comment Awards.

Overheard: “Yesterday I was just sitting in Butler drinking cough syrup with a straw, and it was the lowest I’ve ever been as a person.”

May

12

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UPDATE (5/13): Public Safety sent out an email today about Nayla Kidd. “If you know the student’s whereabouts, or any information that would be helpful in locating her, call Public Safety immediately at 212-854-5555 or the 26 Pct. Detective Squad at 212-678-1351.”

Today, friends and family of 19-year-old Nayla Kidd, SEAS ’18, posted a flyer on Facebook requesting help in finding the missing Columbia student. According to one friend, Nayla was last seen on May 5th with friends near 110th st. Her family has created a facebook page called “Finding Nayla” to help spread the word.

If you have had any recent contact with Nayla, or know any information about her whereabouts, her family asks that you contact LaCreis Kidd at (502) 500 – 6960 or (917) 559 – 4449. You can also send an email to findingnayla@gmail.com or post on the Finding Nayla Facebook page.

We will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.

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May

12

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Alexander Pines (1)You might know Alexander Pines from Under1Roof or some distant Twitter feud with a fraternity. He’s heading out of New York come this summer, so listen to him wax poetic just once more. It’ll probably be more interesting than Under1Roof.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Alexander Pines // CC // writing (nonfiction) and American Studies // Kalamazoo, MI

Claim to fame: I might have been your Under1Roof facilitator. I wrote a few things, and, um, this happened. Beta threatened me with libel. I made a weird Twitter once.

Where are you going? Headed home to Michigan for a couple of weeks, back in the city this summer to work with high schoolers on campus, and in the fall I’ll be (sorta) pulling a Hannah Horvath to write essays and teach at Iowa.

Read more here

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