Fireside Chat, Graduate Edition
The venue

The venue

PrezBo held one of his famous fireside chats; this time, for graduate students. He served us pretty good burritos and nachos, as well as the smallest cupcakes Bwog has ever seen. Wonder what he said? Presidential party crasher Artur Renault has got you covered.

People were very confused at my name tag, which said “Bwog,” where theirs stated their school affiliation. My standard answer to “What school is B.W.O.G.?” was “I’m getting a doctorate in squirrel studies.” I got mixed reactions.

Soon we were ushered from the large, old, hardwood-floored room with the buffet into a large, old, hardwood-floored room with chairs specially placed so we could talk to PrezBo.

Here’s what he said.

University Statement On Title IX Filing

The following University statement was sent out, noting that Columbia cannot comment on the allegations of the Title IX complaint because they have not yet seen it. It also states that Columbia is working to improve the current system, which will continue even in the face of the Title IX, Title II, and Clery complaints filed. Read it below the jump, emphasis ours:

Haven’t seen it, can’t comment.

The Activities Board At Columbia And Conflict Of Interest
Computer Club, anyone? ...Anyone?

Computer Club, anyone? …Anyone?

The Activities Board at Columbia is responsible for the proper allocation of campus clubs’ funds, and its deliberations have become an interesting cause for concern. Fairness aficionado Maud Rozee visited the group to check it out.

A few days ago, Bwog got a tip which claimed that the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC), which allocated the budgets for over 150 clubs on campus, wasn’t doing enough to prevent conflicts of interest from affecting allocation decisions. We also heard rumors that club leaders weren’t satisfied with the transparency and rationale behind allocation decisions. So, last night, I sat in on one of ABC’s meetings, which are open to the public (and in 501 Lerner, contrary to their website), to see how these allocation decisions were made.

Here’s the good news: the members of ABC seem to be friendly, smart, ethical, and very hardworking. And they have procedures in place which help make allocations fair. Members with conflicts of interest abstain from voting. And, of course, having members with conflicts of interest is inevitable. What are they going to do—only accept applications from people with zero involvement in campus life? That’s not feasible, and it would likely make ABC’s decisions much more poorly informed.

The honor system and more, after the jump.

SGA: No But Really, Barnard Cares About Your Health
"Alternative milk sampling"

“Alternative milk sampling”

As the school year starts to wind-down (but more like wind-up, amirite???), we all need to take a little time to think about our health. Lucky for all of us, Monday’s SGA meeting was dedicated to discussing what Barnard does (and doesn’t do) to promote health on campus. Barnard Bearoness Lauren Beltrone reports.

The meeting featured the trifecta of Barnard health administrators: Jessica Cannon, Well Woman Program Director, Mary Joan Murphy, Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness Programs, and Mary Commerford, Counseling Center Director. Cannon was the first of the trifecta to speak, filling us in on all the cool stuff Well Woman does. If you still haven’t hung out at Well Woman office hours or attended a program, you should seriously go. Well Woman offers all kinds of programs (yoga, non-competitive running, alternative milk sampling…) and is obligated to give you chocolate and tea when you enter the office.

In-clinic IUD insertions and toddlers after the jump.

Columbia Ends Sexual Violence By Baking A Cake
If it were only so simple.

Miniature version of the cake: a cupcake.

Bwog reader Chelsea Carrick submitted the following essay to us in what we find to be an incredibly timely response to recent events

New York, NY—Administrators responded to students’ requests for increased transparency and improved policies surrounding sexual violence at Columbia University by baking a cake. The cake, red velvet, was tastefully decorated with fondant roses and writing stating “Sexual Violence Prevention” in elegantly scrawled red cursive letters.

Terry Martinez, Dean of Student Affairs, told students Tuesday upon the presentation of the cake in Ferris Booth Dining Hall, “I think we heard you. I think what this cake is saying is that we heard you. We heard you.”

Students were initially frustrated by the lack of progress being made by administrators, but students and faculty alike seem to think that this cake is a step in the right direction. Carmen Velazquez, a Columbia student, told reporters, “It looks like we can have our cake and eat it, too. I asked for the slice with one of the red roses and my friend asked for the T from the word assault. Not to mention I feel totally safe now.”

We were able to reach President Bollinger for comment while he was out canoodling with the students (as he is known to do) on the steps right outside of his office in Low Library. “I would have made the cake myself if my schedule wasn’t so overburdened. This cake addresses all of the students’ demands. What have they been asking for? Sexual violence prevention. What did we give them? Sexual violence prevention. Written on cake. Excuse me while I go run a quick 5K in the park with some of my undergraduate pals over here.”

Let’s discuss that cake, though.

Group Files Title IX And Other Complaints Against Columbia

no red tapeIt’s been a busy few months for the topic of sexual assault at Columbia. There have been protests and controversial responses, New York Post articles and Blue and White articles, one town hall and another town hall, and the significant use of our tag “sexual assault.”

The latest development: a group of 23 students under the name of “Our Stories CUis filing Title IX, Title II, and Clery complaints against Columbia University for its handling of sexual assault on campus. On April 3, the same thing happened at Harvard. The press release below notes: “students allege that the university has failed to comply with federal laws to ensure equal access to education, respond adequately to reports of sexual assault, and provide accommodations based on disability status.”

Examples of the violations claimed by the group in their 100+ page complaint include allowing perpetrators found guilty to remain on campus, showing hostility to victims based on gender identity, and deterring a student placed on academic and disciplinary probation—allegedly for being a “mental health liability”—from receiving mental health services.

The press release continues that “Columbia is more willing to silence and punish survivors and their supporters than serial rapists.” Read the full text below the jump.

Update (11:30 am): Bwog also received a tip about a Title IX Teach-In today at 4 PM in 754 Schermerhorn Extension: “If you want to know more about Title IX, come to a teach-in TODAY with Annie Clark (End Rape on Campus), Elischia Fludd (a sexual assault policy advocate), Dana Bolger (Know Your IX), and Christina Brandt-Young (Legal Momentum).”

Update (6:00 pm): The University has released a statement regarding the complaint, noting that they have not seen it but are still committed to reforming current sexual assault policies on campus.

The release after the jump.

Bwoglines: Stop The Presses! Edition
Not so fast...

Not so fast…

Fleet Foxes is still on hiatus, guys. Just give the kids some time to tend to their Columbia education. (Pitchfork)

We don’t know about you, but we’re Ready for (Grandma) Hillary. (The Washington Post)

The Folk Art Museum’s destruction is the MoMA’s pet preservation project. (The New York Times)

The Supreme Court recently upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action. What does this mean now? (Politico)

And lastly, let’s take a moment for a #tbt – throwing back to the days when Speccies could rely on consistent publication. (Bwog)

Print journalism, oh my! via Shutterstock.

Spec Goes Mostly Digital


fbv807: “Abby, Michael, and Steven announcing the exciting next phase of @columbiaspec at an all-staff meeting: it will be the first Ivy paper to drop its print edition in favor of a web-first journalism reality. Paper will print weekly starting fall 2014.”

Spec is currently holding a huge meeting in its office. According to a tweet from Finn Vigeland, former managing editor of Spec, and other sources, the Columbia Daily Spectator will be daily no more—it’s dropping down to one weekly print issue in the fall of 2014, and the Eye will become an online magazine. An encouraging quote from the editor at the meeting: “We will be even more daily”

Peter Sterne’s article in Capital notes that it will be published every Thursday. It continues:

Abrams said the move was not forced by the paper’s current finances, but rather driven by the desire to “make the decision while Spectator is still in a strong place.”

“This is not something that we have to do,” she said. “It’s a choice.”

Furthermore, Jill Colvin, Senior Political Reporter at The New York Observer commented on the major decision:

But is it final? Has it fallen? Read more updates after the jump.

Dining Hall Reviews, Core-Style

If the Core has taught us anything, it’s the universal applicability of the texts we so dedicatedly devote our lives to. Every fleeting, ephemeral moment of everyday life is in fact a manifestation of the ideas, ideals, and ideologies the Core inspires us to study. Accordingly, what better reflection of these minuscule microcosms of Beauty and Truth than Yelp reviews of  that hallmark of campus life, dining halls? Here we bring you your daily eating experience, courtesy of Homer, Dante, Darwin, and Plath.

Homer reviews John Jay

Homer reviews John Jay Dining Hall

Dante reviews Ferris

Dante reviews Ferris Booth Darwin and Sylvia Plath after the jump.

Gillian Lester To Be New Law School Dean

facultyPhoto2.phpIn a press release this afternoon, PrezBo announced the next dean of the Law School, Gillian Lester. Lester presently serves as the acting dean of Berkeley Law and will “bring accomplished scholarship, admired teaching and first-hand academic leadership experience at a great peer institution to her new role at Columbia.”

Lester’s work has dealt primarily with employment law and policy. She’s earned degrees from Stanford and University of Toronto, and she’s also taught at Harvard, Georgetown, USC, and UChicago.

Said Lester, “I’m honored to take on the leadership of Columbia Law School at this pivotal time. I’m looking forward to working with its distinguished faculty, talented students and accomplished alumni.”

Dean Lester via Berkeley Law

Let Them Eat Cake

God only knows Ferris can grow stale in its weekly cycle of a menu. We know. We have the dining app and tear up a little every time we refresh the menu. But today, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, they’ve decided to live it up while they can and have given us this little gem. Dig in!

Update (6:25 PM): Statement from Vicki Dunn, Executive Director of Columbia Dining:

Columbia Dining supports Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Denim Day NYC (April 23). Today, when many employees are wearing their Denim Day pins, some members of the Dining staff wanted to also show recognition of the initiative. The cake was a well-meant, but inappropriate gesture by an employee in recognition of this important cause. The cake was removed almost immediately. We believe sexual violence is a serious issue not to be taken lightly in any form.


Downright gruesome (and sickly sweet to boot) dessert via Anna Bahr

Where Art Thou?
A whole new interpretation of "home stretch"

A whole new interpretation of “home stretch”

You’re in the home stretch. Stick it out; you’re almost there! Motivate yourself to actually write that paper due last week with this week’s cultural campus offerings, courtesy of achingly artsy Arts Editor Madysen Luebke.

All Weekend:

  • Black Theater Ensemble and CMTS have teamed up to bring Passing Strange to Columbia!  You can see this rock musical Thursday, Friday, or Saturday at 8 pm in the Glicker-Milstein Theatre for only $5 with CUID.
  • The Barnard Dances at Miller are back and better than ever!  This semester will feature works by Twyla Tharp, Robert LaFosse, and a restaging of a Martha Graham piece!  Catch it in Miller Theatre Friday and Saturday at 7 pm or Saturday at 2 pm for only $12 with CUID.
  • The Tempest
  • It’s that time of year again when Senior theater majors need to direct play for the thesis!  You can catch Alejandra Duque’s production of Fear and Misery of the Third Reich in the Minor Latham Playhouse Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 8 Pm or Saturday at 4 pm, all for free.
  • Another senior thesis play is Far Away, directed by Lilla Goettler. You can find it in the Minor Latham Playhouse Thursday at 8 pm, Friday at 9 pm or Saturday at 7 pm, all for free.
  • But wait!  There’s another senior thesis play in the Minor Latham Theater!  This one is called Hamletmachine and is directed by Naomi Boyce.  Show times are Thursday at 9 pm and Saturday at either 2 pm or 8 pm.  Again, still free.
  • The Final senior thesis show is The Love of Don Perlimplin and Belissa in the Garden directed by Alexis Wilcock.  It’ll run in the Minor Latham Playhouse Friday at 7 pm or Saturday at 3 pm and 9 pm.  For Free.
  • Columbia School of the Arts presents Cafe, a new play by Raquel Almazan.  Catch is in the Schapiro Theater Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday at 2 pm.  Tickets are free with reservation.
  • Catch some end-of-the-year Jazz with the Columbia Jazz Ensembles end of the year concerts!  They’ll be held in the UTS social hall Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 2 pm.  Both shows are free.

Gimme gimme more

What Matters To YOU?
Post-420 woes

Post-420 woes at Columbia

Maybe you’ve seen the enigmatic flyers around campus urging you to text some number to “find out what Columbia is really talking about.”  Bwog did and was intrigued by the app behind the posters, Matter, which offers its users an anonymous environment to share their thoughts and to read the thoughts of others.  We set up a long-distance interview with one of its founders, Ben Sigelman, who gave us his insights on Matter, Internet anonymity, social media, and human relationships.

Bwog: What, in your own words, is Matter?

Sigelman: It’s a place where people can feel completely comfortable being completely candid.  There’s a lot of places online right now where you can be anonymous, and that’s definitely important I think, but it’s sort of necessary but not sufficient to be comfortable being candid.  I think oftentimes anonymous places are also not very safe places.  Even if your identity isn’t associated with what you post, you’re still kind of vulnerable to people being abusive, and I think with Matter what we’re trying to do is take all of the ingredients that are necessary to make people, you know, comfortable sharing something, which certainly includes, but is not limited to, being anonymous… So the goal with Matter is to allow people to totally find an antidote to what I think is presently happening in most of social media—which is fine—but it’s a very different experience where it’s more focused on creating a personal brand for yourself, which is the opposite of being candid I think.  I have no problem with it, but it’s not real.  I think the pressure of maintaining an identity online is starting to wear on people and I think Matter is a reaction to that, or at least for me it is.

B: What role do you see Matter playing, or what do you think the benefits are of having it on a college campus or in a setting like Columbia?

S: One of the things about colleges that I think is so important is that, to me, if I know someone went to my college, I immediately feel like I can identify with them.  [Matter is] partly about sharing your experiences, for sure, but it’s also partly about reading the experiences of people that you can identify with.  And if someone’s having boyfriend or girlfriend troubles or something like that, and you don’t know who they are: that’s one thing.  But if they’re at your school and you might be passing them on the street, I feel like that becomes a lot more compelling.  So [Matter] becomes a place where you can potentially, you know, raise things that are of interest to your immediate community, instead of just to humanity in general, which is a very broad target.

What is the ultimate goal of matter? Click to read Ben’s answer.

Bwoglines: Lots Of Feelings Edition
Would u watch this movie? y or n: comment plz

Would u watch this movie? y or n: comment plz

You thought the only controversial ramps around here were in Lerner? Silly you. Apparently they’re also a type of onion, and people have weird amounts of feelings about them. Here are some dishes around town that feature the feisty little buggers. (Grubstreet)

Peeps: you eat them once a year and promptly forget everything about their existence. Well, Adam Rifkin (made Underdog, irony or nah?) wants to bring these bad boys back to your consciousness via “family epic.” (Vulture)

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that an anonymous phone tip is enough to warrant a police search. Predictably (and rightfully, we’d say), people are mad. (NPR)

Also Supreme Court: in a 6-2 split, the court endorsed anti-affirmative action legislation in Michigan. Said Kennedy, who voted with the majority, “This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.” (NY Times)

We love us some Avril, but her new video “Hello Kitty” features a little too much cultural appropriation to go down smoothly. Damn, we’ll still always have a soft spot for her though. (Youtube)

Bwog’s seen some pretty shitty movies but this one takes the (cup)cake via Shutterstock

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Whether you celebrated 420 or Easter, you probably spent Sunday pondering the significance of your existence in one form or another. Inspired by the glorious weather, Bwog Video ventured out onto our sunny campus and asked some very happy Columbians the question of questions: What is the meaning of life?