Goldberg Talks About The Sexual Assault Policy At USenate Plenary
More official by the month

More official by the month

Bureaucracy buff Joe Milholland ventured to the University Senate plenary on Friday, coming back with word on the University’s evolving sexual assault policy, Ebola, and Manhattanville.

At the Friday, October 24 USenate Plenary, Suzanne Goldberg, the Special Advisor to the President for Sexual Assault Policy, talked about the sexual assault policy and took questions from the audience.

Goldberg emphasized the policy was focused on prevention and communicating resources as well as response. She noted that there are several confidential resources for survivors, such as Sexual Violence Response, the Office of the University Chaplain, and Health Services. She also said that Columbia has several staff members and peer advocates on CPS, whereas most schools only have one trained person to deal with sexual assault.

As for non-confidential resources, Goldberg stated that survivors do not have to engage in the investigation process even if they get accommodations from the Office of Gender-based Misconduct. The investigators at SVR are all new and are “deeply trained,” according to Goldberg, who has sat in on some training sessions. Of the non-confidential processes, Goldberg said, “non-confidential does not mean non-private,” and “The University will never comment on an individual student’s case, even if the student is public about their experience of sexual violence”

Goldberg asked how many USenators had read the policy. Most senators raised their hands, and Goldberg told them that most places where she asks that question she gets very few raised hands, usually from people who have been through the investigation process. However, Goldberg wants more people to have read the policy, which is not written for lawyers but for “human beings who don’t have legal training.”

A senator on the Faculty Affairs Committee who hadn’t read the policy wanted to be sure that the university had “a very well detailed process for who does what and how is responsible for what” and worried that “in order to solve a problem, [the university is] creating another problem.” The senator mentioned a professor who was suspended from teaching for a semester because of an anonymous comment on CourseWorks about inappropriate sexual comments in his lectures. Because the professor’s classes were filmed, the professor was eventually found innocent, but the senator was worried people were being prosecuted before they were investigated. Goldberg first told the senator that the new policy doesn’t apply to faculty, but that the policy for students has “tremendous sensitivity for the students involved” and “fairness to all.”

A professor of Anthropology asked about how the university was going to communicate “the social consequences” of sexual assault, a concern she had especially after she was “stunned” by the “comments on the Spec” about sexual assault. Goldberg also said she was concerned about bigotry in online comments and mentioned the school’s bystander training.

There was also a question about the investigators and the investigation process. Goldberg said the new investigators included someone from the DA’s sex crime prosecution unit in Manhattan and “experts in the dynamics of sexual assault.” She also said that investigations, even with drinking and drug use, are not typically he said-she said situations, and the investigators talk “very carefully with students about step-by-step what happened.”

Goldberg also received a question about the push-back by professors at Harvard about the school’s new sexual assault policy. She said that “Harvard has taken a bit of an unusual approach” in putting the investigation and adjudication process in the same place, but the two roles are exasperated at Columbia. “I think [Columbia's sexual assault policy is] probably the best policy in the country,” Goldberg said at the conclusion of her questioning. “I have not seen anything that is as good as ours.”

Other Updates:

  • Title IX Coordinator Melissa Rooker talked for a short time about the sexual assault data. She wants the data “to improve community about sexual assault and other gender-based misconduct.” After her talk, Rooker and Goldberg received questions about how they can measure the effectiveness of the new policy. Goldberg said there will likely never be a “comprehensive set of data” about the numbers of sexual assault because so many sources are confidential. However, next year Goldberg will be working with people from the School of Public Health “to try to track the effectiveness of some of what is done.”
  • On Ebola, PrezBo said that the infected doctor, Craig Spencer, was at Bellevue, “the key place designated in the city, at this point, to take such patients.” “I have heard nothing up to this point that would lead me to think that any member of the Columbia community is at risk,” PrezBo said.
  • Ronald Breslow, Chair of the Campus Planning Committee, talked about changes to Columbia from Manhattanville. He said the library and café at the B-school will likely leave and that the role of Manhattanville in undergrad education is not yet clear.

Hallowed halls via 360b / Shutterstock

What The Faust? A Theater Review
Faust 2.0, more like Faust OS X, or something

The actors are sitting literally a foot behind the monitors

Risking soul and sanity, casual culture critic Ross Chapman brings his everyman perspective to avant-garde theatre.

We all know the feeling. It’s the night before a big presentation, and you haven’t looked at the text at all. It’s got some big, scary name on the front. Adorno, maybe, or Hegel, or Butler. You open up the first two pages, caffeinated beverage in hand. You read the introductory paragraphs. You pause, and read them again. You examine them sentence by sentence, word by word. Fifteen minutes later, you look up from the page with absolutely no idea what a single thought on the page meant. This is what it felt like for the casual theater viewer to go through the Minor Latham Playhouse production of Faust 2.0.

The publicity page for the drama says that it “inquires into the gender dynamics of Goethe’s work, imagining a counter voice to his ‘eternal feminine,’ a voice freeing itself from a logic of extrinsic desire.” But going into this expecting a feminist version of Goethe’s most famous work would be naïve, primarily because that implies that anything about this would be simple. The program notes go out of their way to refer to Faust as an “unstageable” play. Dr. Hana Worthen, the play’s dramaturg and a professor of theater at Barnard, points out that “while it is literally unstageable, Goethe’s Faust II needs to be seen: it is a work for theatre.”

The way that the Barnard College Department of Theatre tackled this paradox was confusing, at best. Screens on either side of the sold-out playhouse in Milbank Hall displayed a variety of images during speeches and interludes. These ranged from sex symbols to an anthropomorphized death brandishing a scythe to a slowed down video of a man fondling a woman’s breasts. Adding to the A/V confusions were three TV screens, which were placed on a table at center stage. At certain parts of the play, characters would sit in front of cameras on the table (hooked up to the TV’s) to converse, express emotion, or emphasize a body part. Particularly notable was a scene in which Faust (played by Molly Heller (JTS/GS ’15), using this as her senior thesis in performance) made a terribly sad face for an entire scene. The choice to display this emotion through a screen, instead of through the actor who sat mere inches behind it, didn’t come off as intuitive.

But how was the acting? Was it art?

Bwoglines: Disposable Income Edition
Sending mommy to the moon

Sending mommy to the moon

Just in time for Halloween, the Connecticut ghost town of Johnsonville has been put up for sale by a hotel developer for $800,000. (Business Insider)

Creatively-named Luxembourg space exploration company LuxSpace has launched the first private (unmanned) mission to the moon. LuxSpace was able to keep the cost under a million dollars by hitching a ride on China’s “Long March” rocket. (Engadget)

Printer tech company EFI has been fined $3,500 plus back wages for paying foreign employees $1.21 an hour to work 122-hour weeks at its Fremont, California headquarters. The firm is still assessing the impact of this sanction on its $200 million quarterly revenue. (SFGate)

“Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy,” a 1606 painting by Italian artist Caravaggio, has likely been discovered in a private European collection. Tragically, its owner has not signaled any intention to put it up for auction. (Telegraph)

Capitalist scum via Shutterstock

#Ferguson: Reporting A Viral News Story

TowCenter_Horizontal_v5_for_NewsletterBwog writer Taylor Grasdalen spent her Thursday night over at the Journalism School to hear from those reporters and members of the community closest to recent months’ events in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Can a black man in the United States get legal justice? That is the story.” Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post stresses that reporting on scene does not mean that he must himself become the scene.

And for most of their ninety minutes of discussion, the other members of the “#Ferguson: Reporting a Viral News Story” panel concluded similarly. Present were Lowery, Emily Bell of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism (an institute functioning within Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and that was responsible for the evening), Antonio French of the City of St. Louis, MO, Alice Speri of VICE News, and Zeynep Tufekci of UNC Chapel Hill. Bell moderated the talk, which focused on these individuals’ own journalistic contributions and concerns, and the sociological understanding of #Ferguson.

The case was the evolving use of social media in reporting a story. French, arguably the first to arrive to the events that would last days, weeks, months longer than anyone might have anticipated, is an area representative and resident. He only learned of what was beginning to happen over Twitter, where local news had published that there had been a “mob” response to the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by St. Louis police officer Darren Wilson. He questioned the language in use—”mob” rather than “community” response, particularly—and immediately went to visit the scene.

Discussion of police, media, and the Internet after the jump.

Bwog’s Costume Closet: INITIATION Girl
Some chicken for ya?

Some chicken for ya?

Halloweekend is right around the corner and if you’re planning on taking home the grand prize in our costume contest, you had better start brainstorming. Thank goodness Queen of Halloween Claire Friedman has you covered with Columbia-themed costume ideas coming at you all week! Today, she’s got step-by-step instructions on how to transform yourself into a Butler INITIATION girl aka a piece of art/ porn/??? Here’s a refresher if you’ve been living under a rock/ are a freshman.

You Will Need:

  • A white dress
  • White granny panties
  • A rotting chicken
  • A carton of eggs
  • A bag (so you can easily store your eggs/ rotting chicken on the go)

Execution:

Step 1: Put on the white dress/ granny panties and swing around your rotting chicken.

Step 2: Break the eggs and rub them over your body. Extra points for cracking an egg on your head and letting the yolk trickle down.

Step 3: Take off your white dress as needed; let your granny panties do the talking.

Cost: depending on the quality of your white dress (and your rotten chicken), this costume will run between $25 and $40.

 

Illustration via Taylor Grasdalen.

PrezBo Agrees To Meet With Columbia Prison Divest And Barnard Columbia Divest
PrezBo confronted by CPD at the Fun Run

PrezBo confronted by BCD at the Fun Run

In a perhaps unprecedented move, PrezBo has agreed to meet with the Columbia Prison Divest protesters who stood with signs outside 501 Schermerhorn during his popular Freedom of Speech and Press class on Wednesday.  He has also agreed to meet with Barnard Columbia Divest as of this morning.

October 22 was recognized as the official National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, according to an email sent by Columbia Students Against Mass Incarceration. Columbia Prison Divest members stood in Schermerhorn outside of 501 reading statements and holding signs, in addition to the many flyers speckling the walls of the classroom, in order to attract PrezBo’s attention.

Today, Bollinger agreed to meet with Barnard Columbia Divest protesters at his Fun Run this morning, according to BCD’s Twitter. CPD’s Facebook page also shows a video of the group intercepting PrezBo on Wednesday and getting vocal confirmation that he would meet. According to the video, CPD has been trying to meet with PrezBo for 8 months, and only now has he agreed to “set it up.”  Watch it below:

Video courtesy of Chris Wang, and photo via Barnard Columbia Divest

Writing About Writing In Your Twenties
So fancy

So fancy

Want to write? Scared about what will happen to your writing in your twenties? Max Rettig, a young man in his (early) twenties (so he hasn’t yet reached the HOLY CRAP I’M IN MY TWENTIES phase yet), explored the Writing in Your Twenties Panel and has written a piece about it. 

Late last night, well into the darkness of a late October evening and as high as one can go in Kent, I looked through the window onto an angled but clear view of a well-lit Butler, where just two nights ago, I had spent eight hours working on my first submission for my nonfiction creative writing workshop, the first class in what will likely become my major. Ah, Creative Writing…this was the topic, and host department, of last night’s discussion about writing in your twenties.

The panelists have been, or are currently going through, “that kind of awkward part” in their lives, according to moderator and fiction professor Stacey D’Erasmo. Those panelists were: Jenna Johnson (CC’99, editor at HMH), Jennifer Miller (MFA fiction ’11, author), Josh Edwin (MFA poetry ’14, GS advisor, UW Fellow), and Chris Prioleau (MFA, founder and editor of Apogee). Each panelist had a chance to speak about their twenties experiences, sometimes slightly directed by D’Erasmo but mostly free to say whatever they wished. Chris Prioleau was the first to speak.

Chris’ main theme was that, with writing, unlike for every other profession, there’s no switch that flips and suddenly you understand your life. He made a strong case for developing a very good work ethic, but also not necessarily writing every day. His reason? “Once you’re out of school, no one is asking you or chasing you down for a workshop submission.” Chris drove that point home by mentioning “the bubble”. We, as undergraduates, think of the Columbia bubble as a geographic location. Chris thinks of “the bubble” as an idea, in which we are protected by professors and advisors who care if we are successful or not. Outside of that bubble, save for our family and friends, no one cares. He finished by suggesting that writers get out of their own box and try every type of writing possible.

Next to talk was Josh Edwin, who described his twenties as “untethered and adrift.” His main theme was solitude, and, helped by quotes from James Joyce and others, he went on to discuss the pros and cons of being alone as a writer. Solitude is both his best friend and worst enemy. A positive aspect, he felt, is the absence of people telling him what he should read and the absence of a syllabus of reading assignments. This allowed him to explore hidden gems he wouldn’t have found otherwise. As a con, he mentioned the lack of a community with which to be excited about and get feedback for your work. His most striking point, however, was that “the world doesn’t give a shit, especially about poetry.” Take yourself outside your work, he encouraged, and look at it from a new perspective.

Read more from someone in their twenties writing about writing in your twenties after the jump!

10 Reasons to Watch CU Sports This Weekend
It's all so green and beautiful

On Saturday afternoon, about 10,000 people will be drinking here

The ever athletic Ross Chapman gives you a plethora of reasons to attend this week’s games.

It’s that time of year again. The posters are going up while the supply of beer in local stores is going down. This Saturday, everybody’s getting ready to go up to Baker Athletic Complex on the fan bus, dressed in all of the Columbia University merchandise they can dig out of their closets. Our Ivy League rival Dartmouth is coming to town while we put homecoming, parents’ weekend, and senior day together into one beautiful athletic experience. You might not be a sports fan, but if there’s one time to support the team, it’s right now. Get there early, stay there late, and cheer like it’s the Super Bowl. Go support a winning tradition. Go support the f***ball team, in the European sense.

Be there, when Columbia women’s soccer hosts Dartmouth at 4 PM on Saturday. Here’s why you should be excited:

  1. Columbia athletics are better than you think. This soccer team has played 13 games this season and has only lost two. Neither of the losses came at home. They’re second in the Ivy League (tied with Princeton) and are in a position to battle Harvard at the end of the year for the title if they continue their success.
  2. It’s Senior Day! Before the game, the Lions will honor all ten members of the 2015 class. If you have any senior friends on the team, congratulate them at the game!
  3. The Columbia defense ranks at #15 nationally with 0.567 goals allowed per game. The Lions will not be blown away by the Big Green.
  4. Goalkeeper Allison Spencer earned her second Ivy League Player of the Week award last weekend with her shutout performance against Princeton. Also on the honor roll is Holly Neshat, Ivy League Rookie of the Week, who scored the only goal in our 1-0 defeat of the Tigers.
  5. Saturday is Columbia’s last home game of the season, so you’ll have to wait until next September if you miss this game for more women’s soccer action.
  6. If you’re looking to get plastered with friends, you can avoid stumbling onto campus and stay for the men’s soccer game against Dartmouth at 7 PM.
  7. Columbia spreads the wealth; members of all four eligible graduating classes have contributed goals and assists to the Lions offense this season, meaning that one soccer player on your floor is not going to be on the sideline all game.
  8. Get away from the constant hollering about head coaches and athletic directors at Robert Kraft Field, because the new soccer coach Tracy Bartholomew, was hired just last winter. See how some new leadership can revitalize an athletic program.
  9. The Deli on the corner of Broadway and 218th street changed its layout. Everything’s flipped around and it looks respectable and oh my gosh, you guys, get a sandwich there, it looks so nice.
  10. We should be working to support our good teams. Just because soccer isn’t a big source of revenue for the university doesn’t mean we should all ignore a potential championship team. Reward these student-athletes for a great year of soccer.

Image via Bwog

Bwoglines: Lizard Feet Edition?
Some super cool lizards evolved super lizard feet in 15 years.

Some super cool lizards evolved super lizard feet in 15 years.

Looks like America needs to step it up with national holidays. It could lead to greater happiness in the public. Come on Obama, just add a few already. (BBC)

Rome’s Mayor, registered the marriages of several same-sex couples yesterday, putting pressure on the Italian government to clarify the laws of civil unions. You can do it Italy! (New York Times)

If these lizards can evolve crazy new huge sticky feet in 15 years, I can definitely evolve a math-brain before the final right. (Washington Post)

If you enjoyed Archie comics as a kid, “Riverdale,” a TV show based on the comic books, will be coming to Fox. Can’t believe this was missing during my childhood. (LA Times)

 

Slimy via Shutterstock

CUMC Doctor Diagnosed With Ebola
Tl;dr of the article

Tl;dr of the article

Earlier tonight it was announced that CUMC physician Craig Spencer was officially diagnosed with Ebola, making him the first patient with Ebola in New York. Although De Blasio earlier told us all to calm down because they’ve got it handled, PrezBo also sent out an email to the Columbia community tonight addressing the issue. PrezBo confirmed that Spencer is currently being treated at the Bellevue Hospital. He also reminds us that the threat of contracting Ebola here at Columbia is very low, but you’re welcome to contact Health Services for answers to any of your paranoid questions.

Read PrezBo’s full email here:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

As you may have seen in the media, Dr. Craig Spencer is being treated for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.  Dr. Spencer, an emergency department physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, recently returned from a humanitarian mission with Doctors Without Borders to one of the outbreak areas in Western Africa.  We admire and appreciate all of those willing to do this vital and selfless public health work around the globe.

It’s critical to bear in mind what our public health and infectious disease experts have emphasized – that the risk to people in New York City and at Columbia remains extremely low.  If you or anyone has any concerns, please visit the University’s Ebola Preparedness site or the New York City Department of Health Ebola update page.  You may also contact Student Health Services at 212-854-2284 or Workforce Health and Safety for Faculty/Staff with Hospital Responsibilities at 212-305-7590.

We must keep Dr. Spencer in our thoughts and wish him a full and speedy recovery, as we do the vulnerable populations he serves.  We will also continue to keep the Columbia community informed as we learn more from City, State, and Federal health officials.

Sincerely,
Lee C. Bollinger

The truth via Shutterstock

Get Pumped For This Year’s HALLOWEEN CONTESTS
Don't just be another kitty in a world of lions

Don’t just be another kitty in a world of lions

We know that you’ve spent any time you’ve had free in the past couple of weeks thinking about your perfect Halloween costume. To pay off for your hard work and brag about your bravery for standing in line at Ricky’s for an hour, Bwog has brought back our annual Halloween Costume Contest. Put those blurry selfies and badly lit photos in the corner of your room to use by sending them to tips@bwog.com.

But wait! There’s more! We’re also bringing back our Pumpkin Carving Contest this year. Send in those pictures of the pumpkin you stole from outside the stores on Broadway and tried to poorly carve a face on with your steak knife in your kitchen. We’ve received some pretty baller pumpkins before, so step up your game this year.

All submissions for both contests are due by November 3rd. We will be posting submissions as we go, so get ready to get *Bwog famous.* Winners take home a coveted six pack (of your choice) and an entire Koronets pizza. May the odds be ever in your favor.

We look the same at 2am via Shutterstock

Ferris Reel Film Society Presents: Ghostbusters
"Who you gonna call?"

“Who you gonna call?”

The Columbia University Ferris Reel Film Society is hosting a free screening of Ghostbusters, cosponsored by Columbia College Student Council (CCSC), tonight at 10:30 in the Roone Arledge Cinema in Lerner Hall.

Entry is free with a CUID, so be sure to get there early grab the good seats.

In the spirit of Halloween, organizers have announced that costumes are welcome! (Note to first years: if you are debating wearing a costume, just know that everyone in college wears costumes given the slightest opportunity and you will definitely stand out if you haven’t spent at least 6 hours painstakingly recreating Dr. Egon’s jumpsuit. Start now.)

Event details, along with a plot synopsis and trailer, are available through the Facebook event.

Now, we don’t expect Bill Murray to be there. But Bill Murray is likely to be where you don’t expect him these days.

So.

Ghostbusters posters via WikiCommons

#TBT: A Bit Of Optimism (In These Dark Times)

Bwog is well aware of how sick and tired everyone is from the hellish two weeks we call midterms, so we decided to bring you a bit of optimism: It appears we have it much better than previous generations. Throwbacker Paula Pineros brings us this week’s edition of #tbt.

Not only do we have a much better chance of actually making it to graduation (note the great difference in numbers), we apparently do so with much more enthusiasm (and class, obviously) Note the lack of smiles (and/or life?) on the impressibly mustached faces. Perhaps exams sucked the life out of them, or this is just the psychological response to the lack of emotional release. After all, they didn’t have Yik Yak to complain, Cannons/1020 to let lose, or StressBusters to massage them, so we should probably give them a bit of leeway. Regardless, they look beat.

So, just think of it this way: you’re half a semester closer to the glorious feeling of self-actualization (and shaking PrezBo’s hand—an achievement in and of itself!) Or be really disappointed and stare of into distance with a beautiful ‘stache, which is just as fulfilling, apparently.

Photos via the Columbia Archives

PSA: Sexual Assault Resource CUID Stickers Available Today
Much like your ID, but more helpful.

Much like your ID, but more helpful.

Stickers with phone numbers for the Rape Crisis Center and Psychological Services, intended for the back of CUIDs, will be available today in Lerner from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.

These stickers are the result of efforts made by Lauren Cardenas, SEAS’16, and the SIC Community Health House. Realizing that mental health facilities and rape crisis resources were not included among the emergency information on the back of student IDs, Lauren has been working since this summer with the Community Health House to organize the order of stickers.

Fitting perfectly on the back of ID cards, there are plenty of stickers available; Res Life has funded the order for 8,000 stickers, which fit on the blank space on the back of the IDs.

Plans are in place to distribute the stickers through CPS, Kent, and Go Ask Alice!, but in the meantime they are available at the Community Health House and at events like today’s. Stickers were also distributed to RAs on Tuesday.

While currently available only to students with a CUID, the stickers should eventually be printed with Barnard numbers and for GS students. The ultimate goal of Lauren and the Community Health House is to have these numbers printed on the backs of IDs for future classes.

Bwoglines: Yes. It’s Still Happening Edition
You thought he'd forgotten, but they're still out there lurking, waiting for you to remember. He was young when you knew him.

Waving to you, a man who was young when you cared about these issues. But they’re still there, just like him.

Oscar Pistorius. Man. Remember that guy? Well, it doesn’t matter; his existence does not rely on your faith. He persists, and his five year prison sentence may soon mean house arrest. (The New York Times)

There was a while when we were all mildly interested in Ebola. Then terrified. Then generally okay, because we moved on. Well, it is still out there, to the degree that the United States is worried enough to monitor travelers from Ebola infested nations. (The New York Times)

Didn’t this already happen, you ask yourself. Certainly, we say, but this is how you get old and jaded, so pretend you’re still excited. A man hopped the white house fence, and is now in police custody. (CNN)

Bedbugs. Trendy for a while, but, like your high school friend at homecoming, still here even though you’ve decided it’s not cool any more. Nonetheless, here’s some tips on how to deal with your revolting little friends. (Gothamist)

It’s self defense, the officials say. We don’t want them to take any more territory, they say. Decide for yourself, whether U.S. statements on Syrian involvement, particularly it’s military training program, are accurate, or old hat (hint: see title). (Washington Post)

Remember Blackwater? Well a jury finally found at least some Blackwater employees guilty. Of crimes committed in 2007. Talk about a throwback Thursday. (Huffington Post)

Happy old man reminding you of all you’ve forgotten, via Shutterstock