The Return Of Bwog’s Comment Awards

Here at Bwog, we’re bringing back a long-lost fan favorite: comment awards! Here we recognize our loyal commenter base for providing us and the Columbia community as a whole with endless humor, food for thought, and even suggestions for controlling our freshmen. If you made the cut, congratulations! 

Staff Appreciation Award:

We are also Anna Hotter fans!

You Paid Attention in Your Core Classes Award:

Did you take Music Hum???

Most Imaginative:

Most Accurate:

Too real

Heartwarmingly Bloody Award:

~A real sense of community~

 Most Likely to Become One of Our Cover Photos:

Sorry bout it!

PrezBo Promises BCD Decision On Fossil Fuel Divestment


According to an article in Capital New York (on Capital Pro, excuse us, subscription required) by former Bwog managing editor Conor Skelding, President Bollinger promised Barnard-Columbia Divest a decision on whether or not he will divest from fossil fuels by the end of the academic year. According to Skelding’s article, PrezBo made the commitment to a decision at a meeting with the group on Monday morning. The full article is reprinted below.

Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger has promised to decide by the end of the academic year whether the university will divest from fossil fuels.

Bollinger made the commitment during a meeting Monday afternoon with Barnard-Columbia Divest, a group of activists whose goal is to divest the endowments of Barnard College and Columbia University from fossil fuels.

Karina Jougla, a member of B.C.D. and a Columbia junior studying comparative literature, attended the meeting at the president’s mansion on Morningside Drive.

“The commitment is that we will have a yes or no answer,” she told Capital. “There’s really no guarantee as to the outcome. Although from the tone of the meeting it was encouraging to me that President Bollinger seemed very open and interested in consider fossil fuel divesment.”

A university spokesman confirmed the committment in a statement to Capital.

“President Bollinger committed to a full exploration of the University’s role in the ongoing discussions around the reduction of fossil fuel emissions, with an understanding that divestment is one possible, but not the only, alternative to review. He committed to resolve the question of divestment this academic year,” the statement said.

A university official said the amount the school has invested in fossil fuels is not public.

To be clear, the commitment is not to a divestment of fossil fuels, but rather a decision on the matter. Barnard-Columbia Divest intercepted PrezBo to ask for the meeting during his annual 5K Fun Run on October 24, and he’s now giving the issue some due attention. Now, we just have to wait on this solution promise “commitment.”

BCD for Climate Justice logo via their Facebook page.

Bwog Reviews: Barnard Theatre Department’s “The Seagull”
the seagull poster

Classy, subtle typeface, for a classy subtle play

This past weekend, the Barnard Theatre Department put on a production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull in Minor Latham Playhouse. Bwog’s in-house theater critic Joseph Powers discusses the success of subtlety in the show. 

Theater shouldn’t come in screaming its intention, tearing off its clothes to reveal itself. It also can’t try for complete obscurity, babble incoherently, and giggle at the confusion of the audience. Good theater has subtlety; it finds a way to communicate its meaning without giving it away. Saturday afternoon, at the Minor Latham Playhouse, this balance between clarity and eloquence was both alluded to on stage and expertly showcased. A nuanced interpretation of a classic play, the Barnard Theatre Department’s production of The Seagull was proof of the importance of subtlety.

This is no small accomplishment. After a catastrophic opening night in 1896 and what can be considered only a moderately successful first run, it took a revival under the direction of revered Russian dramatist Constantin Stanislavski, for The Seagull to find real appreciation from critics and the public. The plot, a work of great subtlety itself, is at once a story of love and loss in the Russian countryside and a discussion on the nature of art. Exploring realism, symbolism, youthful ambitions juxtaposed with the regret of old age, the middlebrow and the high, and the various forms meaning can take, it is a play that, in the wrong hands, could easily collapse under the weight of its own ideas.

Director David Paul, together with student Assistant Director Cristina Angeles (BC ‘16), first avoided this through the use of tableau. A famous actress stands at the center of the stage with friends and family fanning out around her, the center of focus no matter who is speaking; the girl who now only dreams of being an actress stands off to the side, breaking this formation and drawing attention from the actress to herself. The relationship between the two is expressed even without explicit acknowledgement. Characters positioned behind a scrim upstage contribute to a show-within-a-show motif and comment on the main action, either in their implied observation, or as a reminder of their relevance to the scene at hand. The directing team also made great use of small moments: an old man reaches down to retrieve a flower taken from him and torn apart; a room grows awkwardly silent in anticipation of a crude story. In moments like these, and in the tableaus, the direction highlights the complex themes of the play without the need for caricature or melodramatic reading.

Flaws, looming after the jump (along with performances and tech)

Happy Thanksgiving From Dean Awn (And A Turkey)!!!

Bwog imagines Dean Awn and his turkey looking towards the Eiffel Tower

General Studies Dean Peter Awn sent out his usual Thanksgiving message to the GS student body today, and as usual, he induced laughter hard enough to leave one short of breath as he ventured through Paris with a turkey. Because we love you so much, we’re sharing his hilarity. Happy (early) Thanksgiving, Columbia!

Dear Students,

I am known for many strange obsessions, especially my blind devotion to that wondrous of birds, the Turkey.  I have never revealed, however, the extent to which my fowl passion has driven me to unearth the secrets of this iconic creature. Truth be told, yes, I am a “Turkey Whisperer”.

My unique skill was fully tested this weekend when I was in Paris for meetings at Sciences Po.  As I walked down the Rue du Bac after the morning session, I espied, huddled under a Peugeot, a pulsating feathered form.  When he raised his noble head and shook his weathered wattle, I knew I was in the presence of a demigod.  I dropped to my knees, ignoring the puddle, seized the Turkey and put him inside my jacket so he could share my warmth.  Unfortunately, my “Turkey Whispering” had not yet penetrated his brain, for soon my shirt was blotched with red from the fierce pecking and scratching.  I was not deterred.  I redoubled my rapid eye movements and ritual flailing.  Suddenly, a blood speckled head shot out from under my lapel.  He fixed his gaze upon my face; I had whispered well.  His eyes radiated unconditional love, as if I were the Methuselah of his species.  I plucked a hair from my beard, and he a feather from his wing.  We exchanged plumage and, like Glaukos and Diomedes of old, pledged eternal loyalty to one another.

What will Dean Awn do next?

SGA Learns About Housing, The Senate, And Rules Of Conduct
The table clearly matches the architectural style of the Diana

The table clearly matches the architectural style of the Diana

Another week, another SGA meeting. This time, they welcomed in several people, one of whom asked them to sign a petition. For what, you ask? Diana Center Daredevil Joseph Milholland brings you the minutes from last night. 

At Monday night’s Barnard Student Government Association general body meeting, the council interacted with an admin, their student senator, and a Columbia College student asking them to sign a petition.

Dean Annie Aversa on Housing: The administrative guest this week was Associate Dean for Campus and Residential Life Annie Aversa, who spent most of her time talking about housing. Housing is hoping to hire 21-22 new RAs next year. The number of students studying abroad this Spring semester is lower than past Spring semesters. There will be about 15-20 study abroad students returning next semester and about 70 visiting students. There is a possibility Barnard will not be able to house everyone.

For deciding who gets housing, Barnard first gives housing to those guaranteed it, then to transfers and returning students not guaranteed it, and then to those who had been living off-campus before based on how far they are from Barnard. People not in a reasonable commuting distance from Barnard will be grouped together and given first priority. Those within a reasonable commuting distance will be ranked according to how long their commute takes according to Google Maps.

The December room change process is underway with a deadline on Wednesday, December 3 at 4 pm. Plimpton will be the only housing available over winter break. There are several reasons for this: Plimpton houses many Columbia students who don’t have to vacate housing over break; having all housing open during break would be costly to staff; Plimpton has suites and kitchens for cooking over the break; and it’s not good for security reasons for students to be alone on a floor over winter break.

Aversa is also in charge of “programmatic efforts” of Dining Services, and Barnard students with questions about dining can go to her, although she may send them to a different administrator.

But what about the State of the Senate?

Enlighten Us, Seniors!
Getting a senior wisdom = Enshrinement in here for all of eternity

Getting a senior wisdom = Enshrinement in here for all of eternity

This semester is almost over (pheww…), but for a select few people, that means their time at Columbia will soon be over too. Fortunately, some of them will get a final chance to shine and spread their wisdom across the Columbia community, from Low to Butler and back: Bwog is now accepting nominations for fall senior wisdoms!

To the unknowing: Senior Wisdoms are a biannual feature that Bwog runs, providing a forum for graduating seniors to express all that they’ve experienced and learned throughout their four years (give or take a semester) at this fine institution. These wise people have a lot of funny, smart, beautiful and interesting things to say. So, do you want to learn how it works?

  1. Nominate a straight-up awesome senior you know who is graduating in December and wants to share some parting words with their Columbia friends, classmates, professors, and the entire Internet.
  2. Email with two components: (a) some basic deets about your friend/friend of friend/rando senior from seminar, and (b) a convincing reason your nominee should be Bwog-famous. For this part, we want to know why they’re awesome people (as opposed to awesome interns, employees, etc.).

Great! You’ve successfully nominated your friend/friend of friend/rando senior from seminar for a senior wisdom! If you’ve convinced us of their worthiness, we’ll get in contact with them while you take pride in the fact that you know awesome Columbians. We get a ton of nominations each go-round, so make haste if you want to embarrass elate your friend(s)!



Bwog = Pantheon via Shutterstock

Bwoglines: Who Knows? Edition
Good question

Good question

The grand jury in charge of Officer Darren Wilson’s case did not indict him for his fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Racial tensions and distrust of law enforcement are high among residents in Ferguson and around the country. Is this a step back in the fight against racism? (Kansas City Star/AP)

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has resigned from his position. Obama is said to have several strong prospects to replace Hagel, including Michele Flournoy, who, if appointed and approved, would be the first female Secretary of Defense. Is this a step back for the Pentagon or a possible step forward for women in government? (Boston Globe)

With a new FDA rule dictating that places like movie theaters, cafés/delis, chain restaurants and even vending machines display calorie counts,  you’ll finally know how much that Costco hot dog you just had ate into your daily caloric budget. Is this a step forward in the fight against obesity? (Washington Post)

Both a gay couple and a lesbian couple asked a San Antonio, Texas federal judge to “allow gay marriages to begin taking place immediately.” The initial ruling, on a stay since February, will be reviewed soon. Is this a step forward in the fight for marriage equality? (DallasNews)

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko claims that his country is moving to meet the criteria for membership in NATO and the EU…but only if the people vote in a referendum first! Is this a step forward for international relations, or at least democracy? (Bloomberg)

 Who knows? via Shutterstock

Field Notes: It’s All Coming To An End

Our memories of Columbia nightlife during the Fall 2014 semester

As one of our last weekends on campus before we say goodbye to Fall 2014, it should come as no surprise that some people got rowdy. Next weekend we’ll be watching SNL on a couch with parents, and we like to think that the weekend after we’ll be productively studying our days away. And because we know coming home to your roommate on Sunday won’t go quite like this, remember that your rowdy weekends in NYC are numbered. 

 Columbia is where the heart is:

  • “Was wearing a Columbia t-shirt and was literally grabbed by my shirt to be dragged into a tourist’s picture of columbia and ‘real Columbia students.'”
  • “Went to a Murder Mystery Party in John Jay lounge over the weekend. The theme was upper-crust society of the 20s. I spent most of my time insulting F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I was redeemed when it turned out one of the murderers was his wife. Despite the lack of sugary snack foods, it was probably the best RHLO event I’ve ever been to.”
  • “Saturday I ran into friends and they said, ‘is everything okay? We both follow you on Spotify.'”
  • “Lost my Barnard ID sometime between 10 PM and midnight on Saturday night. Woke up Sunday morning with a missed call and voicemail at 3:40 AM from ‘No Caller ID,’ notifying me that some saint among us in Morningside Heights returned my ID wallet with my Barnard ID, my room key, and my health insurance card all in tact. Never before been so relieved to be contacted by the ominous ‘No Caller ID.'”
  • “Woke up cuddled naked with my roommate. Went to drunch. Tasty.”
  • Overheard on Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “What’s that movie where he’s twelve and a prostitute?”
  • “Got pooped on by a bird…supposed to be good luck? Hopefully that will come through with finals.”
  • “Watched Monsters Inc. for the first time in a very long time. It was fantastic.”

Next time at Mel’s via Shutterstock 


CCSC Talks Activities Fees And Study Space Crunch
Bwog's favorite Monopoly piece

Bwog’s favorite Monopoly piece

According to CCSC last night, it’s all about the money money money. Fancy financier Jessie-Joe Milholland gives you the real talk about all the money talk. 

The Columbia College Student Council approved a proposal to admins to raise the student activities fee (part of student life fees) by $4.50 a semester on Sunday night.

The vote came after VP of Finance Michael Li guided the council over the nuances of the proposed change. Of the $739 a semester that CC students pay in student life fees, $108 currently go to student activity fees, which goes to CCSC, which spends it on governing boards or student council events. Student life fees has increased in the past couple of year but not student activity fees. Student group spending has also increased. Li calculated the $4.50 increase based on the governing board increases and the number of CC/SEAS students.

While the increase will technically be $54,000 a year, it will actually only be an approximately $37,000 increase because ESC has been spending about $10,000 over budget for the last few years because of a large surplus. The money is intended for governing boards, but, since half of F@CU will be people elected in the spring, there is nothing officially requiring the money to go to governing boards. Li said that there’s the potential that CCSC could be overfunding governing boards if the increase happens, but there’s no way to raise the fees without running into this issue.

Both ABC and SGB have had to make cuts. SGB actually had 2-3 budget appeals this year, but they were able to fund them through the surplus. According to Tony Lee, president of ABC, 21 groups applied to be recognized this year (“a record”), and 7 were accepted (the usual number). The maximum allocation for new groups is $250 a semester. ABC groups are hurting because Barnard Printing suddenly closed and tech and security fees are increasing. Also, according to ABC Treasurer Jared Greene, the Accounting Department has made it more difficult to get reimbursed.

Rawr, LionFund, rawr…

Let’s Talk Chess
Alekhine think of is chess.

Alekhine think of is chess.

If you’ve ever passed Oren’s on Broadway, you’ve likely noticed the chess master(s) who hang out over there. One of these guys is Adhemar Ahmad, and he’s written a book on the subject. Tonight is your chance to catch him and get a copy signed — head over to Book Culture tonight at 7pm. Go support Adhemar and learn what you can about New York’s trendiest game. Here’s rooking at you, kid.



King’s (College) match via Shutterstock

Take A Bow, 121st Annual Varsity Show Cast
A show rooted in tradition must also take its pictures in line with tradition

A place where many a-Varsity Show cast has been before

For the past three months, Bwog has been closely following the evolution of this year’s Varsity Show—from preliminary interviews to the long-awaited announcement of the C-Team, it’s yet another 20-something day of a fall semester month and V-Show has perhaps the biggest announcement for us yet.

Congratulations to the V121 Cast, in alphabetical order!

Gabrielle Bullard, BC ’18
Isaac Calvin, CC ’17
April Cho, CC ’17
Jahbril Cook, CC ’17
Skylar Gottlieb, BC ’16 (V119)
Cole Hickman, CC ’16 (V119)
Varun Kumar, SEAS ’16
Sophie Laruelle, CC ’17
Megan Litt, BC ’17
Michael MacKay, CC ’15
Alina Sodano, BC ’17
Asher Varon, JTS/GS ’18

With all of the anticipation alleviated, we are beyond excited to see how the many people involved with making V121 happen will pull it all together next semester. Break a leg—or else we will begin stocking up on tomatoes.

Photo courtesy of Nikita Ash and Emily Snedeker, Co-Producers


Use Meal Swipes To Bring In The Holiday Cheer
Make a homeless person feel like this

That mushy feeling after doing good things

Some really, really good people and fellow students are using the days leading up to Thanksgiving to maximize the amount of extra meal swipes we’ll all have as we venture home to our kitchen pantries and to Mom’s best Thanksgiving meal yet. For any day this week until you go home to the distant upstate New York Westchester,  swipe into JJ’s (bring some Barnard pals too if ya can), snag a Xpress Breakfast Pack and drop off the goods at a manned table in the John Jay Lounge during any of the following times:

Monday, 6-11 pm

Tuesday, 6-9 pm

Wednesday, 5-8 pm

If you still want to lend a helping hand but those times don’t work for you, there will also be a not-manned box to drop off the packs or any other nonperishable foods you want to donate to your fellow Morningside Heights dwellers.

For more information and to click “attending” to let everyone on your Facebook news feed know that you care this holiday season, visit the Facebook event page.

This and food are the world’s purest joys via Shutterstock

The Hidden Side To Teach For America
"I don't know what the hell I'm doing"

“I don’t know what the hell I’m doing”

Sunday afternoon Student-Worker Solidarity and Columbia Prison Reform and Education Project hosted a panel titled “The Truth About Teach For America.” The panel featured guests from both educational backgrounds as well as parents from the New York public school system who have had first hand experience with the school system TFA targets to fix with its program. Education Enthusiast Courtney Couillard went to check it out.

The presentation began with each of the panelists describing their individual experience with TFA and/or the public school system of New York. A former TFA member and graduate of Barnard College, Rachel Knight, described a inadequate experience with the program as a recent post-grad from Barnard. Knight admitted the program was an alluring way to spend her time while discovering her passion for being a teacher. What began as a promising and uplifting five-week training session, her time with TFA quickly turned into a traumatizing and stifling experience. Knight explained she did not feel prepared by TFA to enter into a New York public school to teach her first grade class with just two days to prepare and set up her classroom. Her biggest fear as a teacher in TFA was not being prepared to help students with serious disabilities and needs, and she wished that it was made more clear to her by TFA that teaching is a profession, not just a something you get into after college with little experience.

Another former educator from New York, Brian Jones, shared his own experience as a young teacher in New York in his own cousin program to TFA, NYC Teaching Fellows Program. Jones echoed the sentiments of Knight, recalling how painful his experience was in regards to not being able to meet the needs of his Harlem-resident students. Jones also dived into what he called the real question we should ask when creating proposals for education reform: “would this strengthen the hand of the employers or would this strengthen the hand of the labor?” Jones believed that the real issue with education is the fact that it is controlled by economic policy. Teachers are the most unionized group in America, meaning that many education decisions target teachers and will aim to weaken the hand of the unions. Jones tied this back to TFA by saying the program focuses on spending extra money on recruiting teachers through the program rather than investing in the public school system.

Now for the parents’ take on TFA after the jump.

Bwoglines: Uncertainty Edition
Who knew gender ambiguity could be so fun!

Who knew gender ambiguity could be so fun!

It’s socially confirmed that Hillary Clinton will announce that she’s in the running to get the Democratic nomination for president, but the Republicans aren’t so clear or united on who will go up against all that pantsuit power. (NY Times)

We’re unsure as to why Sea World wants to celebrate that they’ve just successfully created the first test-tube penguin, but here it is. With the death of Shamu, Sea World is slowly becoming more and more of a dark place in our hearts. (Yahoo! News)

Ferguson, MO residents and others elsewhere more than eagerly await the court decision that will determine the fate of Michael Brown’s shooter. (Reuters)

Life in rural Poland: small town Tuzyna this weekend banned the selling of Pooh Bears given Pooh’s unclear gender. Because when we were three and played with our Pooh Bears, we too were concerned if Pooh really had a space on the gender binary. (AOL)

The original jumping pic via Shutterstock

Who’s The Real Alpha On Campus?
A simple solution

A simple solution

If you don’t have the privilege of seeing/hearing/smelling hordes of frat guys doing whatever it is frat guys do every weekend, you must not live by the Beta house. After being pushed to his limit, one resident of Watt has proposed a challenge to the fraternity in the following letter:

Dear Beta,

During the course of the past few months, living across from you has been quite an experience. I’m not entirely certain what it was that first inspired my antipathies. Perhaps it was your barbecue that filled my room with acrid smoke on the first week back. Perhaps it was your mediocre, yet determined, guitar player plucking out bad 2000s rock. And maybe, just maybe, it was one of the multiple occasions on which you forgot to turn the lights off before fucking in front of the windows. While the aforementioned are comparatively trivial annoyances, it is safe to say we got off on the wrong foot.

As a resident of Watt, I have been involuntarily subjected to nearly all of your idiosyncrasies, or at least those that cannot be contained by your roof and four walls. I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m not admonishing you for the occasional slip-up. I get it. We’re human. We like to have fun and dance to loud music. Such things are cool, all good, whatever. However, you’ve made it abundantly clear that you aren’t satisfied to just have fun amongst yourselves.

Like the other resident [sic] of Watt, Hogan, Kappa, Q House, and the IRC; I had the delightful experience of being awoken at 4:23 AM by “The Circle of Life” being blasted from your sound system. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Lion King as much as the next guy, but you’ve thoroughly abused my love for Disney classics.

As I angrily lay in bed, I contemplated doing a number of things. I considered yelling, a fruitless act already undertaken by the brothers of Kappa. I considered calling public safety, a tactic that has been historically futile. And I considered turning my roommate’s bottle of 151 into a Molotov cocktail, as well as the ensuing prison sentence I would receive. But because I work on weekends (a working class experience your decadent asses clearly aren’t sensitive to), I opted to go back to sleep as quickly as possible. As much as I’d love to forgive a first-time offense, this is the fourth time you’ve done this in the past two months.

In my time spent attempting to understand you (perhaps in futility), I’ve noticed recurring commonality shared by your brothers: a need to present yourselves as ostentatiously masculine, a sort of peacocking if you will. Relative to Kappa, your comparatively less annoying neighbor, I believe this trait is what distinguishes you as a fraternity. You try SO HARD to act fratty and obnoxious that it leads me to question if you might not be collectively compensating for something. Your impossibly loud sound system is something of note in this regard. Maybe it was daddy’s way of making up for what he couldn’t give you in your genes (double entendre intended).

To settle this feud once and for all, I offer you a challenge: your president and I will compare dick sizes, measured erect and from the base. The bigger man wins. It’s as simple as that. If you win, I will yield to your sound system and questionable, early morning music choices. If I win, the volume stays at or below standard party level at all times. Contact me if you accept. If not, you can anticipate collective retaliation upon your next transgression.

No Homo,
John Bryan

A true test of mettle via Shutterstock