Aug

24

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First tip: stuff those move-in carts as high as you can

First tip: stuff those move-in carts as high as you can

If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you attended NSOP. And if you attended NSOP, you almost definitely hated NSOP. Hating NSOP is, as the class of 2020 will soon discover, an integral part of the Columbia experience, just like parties in Carman doubles and forgetting we have a football team. This year’s orientation, kicking off with move-in this Sunday, will surely be no different.

But just because incoming freshmen will probably hate NSOP doesn’t mean they can’t make the most of their first week on campus by making friends, exploring the city, and acquiring fakes. Bwog is going to help the freshmen out by posting one or two NSOP tips on our Twitter each day.

If you want to contribute some tips (help freshmen get CAVA’d during their second week instead of their first week), send them in to tips@bwog.com!  And keep a look out for the posts on Twitter–we’ll be tagging them #BwogDoesNSOP.

An already-crowded campus via 2014 Bwog

Aug

23

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Columbia_University_-_Low_Memorial_Library-DThe National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday that graduate students at universities across the country will now be able to unionize. The case involved grad students at Columbia, and overturned a 2004 precedent in a case involving Brown University.

This ruling comes after two years of Columbia graduate students pushing for the right to unionize. A petition of theirs was denied by the NLRB back in February 2015.

According to Politico, Columbia may appeal the board’s decision. The University has yet to release an official statement.

You can read the NLRB’s full ruling here.

Update, 4:47pm: Caroline Adelman, Media Relations Director for CU, gave a statement to the New York Times disagreeing with the ruling. In it she said, “While we are reviewing the ruling, Columbia — along with many of our peer institutions — disagrees with this outcome because we believe the academic relationship students have with faculty members and departments as part of their studies is not the same as between employer and employee.”

Update, 8/24/2016 at 2:25pmColumbia has released their official statement on the NLRB ruling in an email from the provost. You can read it below:

Read the statement after the jump.

Aug

22

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Bwog continues its Houses and Homes series with Amara’s family vacation to Hawaii. If you, too, would rather write out the details of your summer surroundings rather than force yourself to engage in conversations about your future, snap a pic and send your five senses to tips@bwog.com!

Where: Maui, Hawaii

Sight:

image

Smell: Tourists always smell like SPF 900. Wailea was no exception.

Sound: People saying “mmhmmm” but in different accents. Grandma again asking about my damn major.

Taste: The karma-acid from eating 2 whole pineapples and not sharing

Aug

20

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What if Columbia has to mortgage Butler???

What if Columbia has to mortgage Butler???

Despite being in the middle of wrapping up his summer legal internship, Arts Editor Gowan Moise took the time to look into the latest legal allegations against our great University. 

Last Tuesday, a proposed class action lawsuit naming Columbia University was filed in the New York federal district court. In the complaint, the unnamed plaintiff (“Jane Doe”) accused the university of allegedly overcharging administrative fees for participation in its retirement plan. In addition to this allegation, Doe claims that Columbia improperly managed the investment options and selected poorly performing options over alternative investments, thereby reducing the retirement assets of university employees. These actions by the university allegedly caused participants in the university’s retirement plan to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, leading the beneficiaries to ask the court to judge Columbia liable for $100 million in damages.

The complaint against the university seeks class action status, as it represents a proposed class of 27,000+ participants in Columbia’s retirement plans. The suit claims that the university breached its fiduciary responsibility according to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by allowing participants in the retirement plan to pay unreasonable fees for administrative and investment services in relation to the retirement plan. Because Columbia also allegedly “selected and retained expensive and poor-performing investment options that consistently and historically underperformed their benchmarks and similar funds,” according to the complaint, “Columbia University caused … plans, and hence participants, to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars of staggering losses to retirement savings.”

Columbia has yet to make any official statement regarding the filed lawsuit. Provided that the summary judgement is not reached in favor of either party, the university will ultimately either address its fiduciary responsibility to participants by either settling with the plaintiffs out of court, or face trial.

In addition to Columbia, eight notable universities have been recently named in similar proposed class action lawsuits relating to retirement plan mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty. These universities include NYU, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT, among others.

For the legal-minded, the initial complaint of the lawsuit filed against Columbia and other related court documents can be accessed online through this site ($5 per document with the 14-day free access trial).

Aug

19

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It’s that time of year again…time to reevaluate what “home” means, as you pack up your summer life and head back to MoHi. Where was your home these past few months? Parents’ place? Summer house? Sublet? Tent? Hostel? Wherever it was, we want to know! Bwog is running its annual Houses and Homes series. Send tips@bwog.com a picture of your home. Include where it is, and what it sounds, smells, and tastes like. Add personal flourish! First up is Bwog’s own Sarah Dahl, who spent the summer teaching kids in Hong Kong, and, according to Twitter, living her best life.

Where: ~70 sq foot apartment just inside Hong Kong’s Mongkok district, which is the most crowded place in the world (according to Guinness).

Sight: 

"Happy Day" bedspread

“Happy Day” bedspread

Sound: A/C, my neighbor’s phone convos and drumming, rain, Spotify blasting Mitski, PWR BTTM, or the Marie Antoinette soundtrack.

Smell: Fish or cigarettes, depending what my neighbors are cooking/smoking.

Taste: Soy milk, sushi, peanut butter-covered waffles, discounted Toblerone and Cadbury’s, daily breakfast of cornflakes and blueberries, ramen.

Aug

18

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View of one bed

Home sweet home

Listen, first-years—we know that you’re beyond excited to start your academic career at the Columbia University. However, one of your first big decisions you will have to make for school is what you will pack and bring to your new and depressing dorm room. We’ve put together our list of college essentials that aren’t listed in the Bed, Bath, and Beyond pamphlet. Enjoy!

The essentials

  • An ID (which may or may not be fake): Columbia’s social life for first years largely revolves around going to bars in the area after pregaming in your Carman double. You’ll want to make sure that you can sit on the 1020 pool table or sip on a margarita at The Heights during NSOP, so find a group now (or when you get to campus) to go in on a group order for IDs. You can absolutely have a fulfilling social life at Columbia without an ID, but your night out is going to feel incomplete if you don’t end up going to the bars with friends around midnight. Invest in a good product and you’ll be set until junior year.
  • A sleep mask: Columbia doesn’t give a shit about your quality of sleep, and you will find that you have some pretty crappy shades in your dorm room. You will also likely have a roommate who wakes up at inconvenient times and insists on turning on all the lights. A sleep mask will afford you a few extra hours of sleep/some help getting over your hangover.
  • Your old pair of white Converse: No Columbia betch has ever been caught in a frat without their trusty pair of white Converse. By the end of the year, they will be thoroughly covered with sticky alcohol, puke, dirt, and shame. It’s almost like a scrapbook of all your favorite memories!

More things you’ll need to shove into your duffle bag next.

Aug

18

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It’s about that time again… so we’ve prepared a playlist! Whether you’re bummed about summer’s approaching end, or you can’t wait for school to start again (despite the inevitably crushing workload), here’s a soundtrack for your transition back to Columbia (and the anxieties and insecurities that can come along with that).

  1. T-Shirt Weather by Circa Waves – As summer comes to a close, this song is perfect to play with your windows rolled down (maybe for the last time this year?)
  2. You’re Not Good Enough by Blood Orange – You’ll need a song to prepare yourself for re-entry into the land of Imposter Syndrome, aka CU. Dev Hynes will help you get ready to doubt yourself again!
  3. It’s All in Vain by Wet – For when ya gotta tell that summer fling, “baby please, let go of me, let go of me.”
  4. ADHD by Kendrick Lamar – This will only remind you how much you’ll have to concentrate soon once classes start back up, but who cares, at least the beat is great.
  5. Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean – CU, is that you? We’ll keep jamming to this song until we stop being bitter about the fact that Frank has yet to release new music… so forever, basically.
  6. Summer’s Over Interlude by Drake – Speaks for itself.
  7. Don’t F**k With My Money by Penguin Prison – Time to be a broke college student again!
  8. Pay My Rent by DNCE – For all of us returning to Columbia, but not to on-campus housing this fall, this song is particularly relevant.
  9. Girls ft. Chance the Rapper by Joey Purp – Q: Where all the girls at? A: Barnard, probably.
  10. Oblivion by Grimes – As summer starts to fade, Grimes will provide the soundtrack to transition into fall.
  11. Too Much by Geographer – For those who have “been here just lying in the basement” waiting to go back to school.
  12. Lite Weight by Anderson Paak – If you’re tolerance went away this summer like ours did… also, you better refresh your memory on all those jams that mostly white boyz like, and Malibu a good place to start.
  13. Please Ask For Help by Telekinesis – Make sure the froshies are reaching out when they need assistance! Come on, lend a hand. Be one of the nice upperclassmen.
  14. I Want You by Marian Hill – “I spent the whole summer sleeping, you’ve been staying up all night….”
  15. Paris by The 1975 – They may be describing the French city when they say “not enough noise and too much racket,” but which city does that really remind you of?
  16. Sunny Spell by Basic Tape – A bop, honestly. Perfect for background music while you stuff your suitcase, or for walking down the MoHi sidewalk for the first time since May.
  17. Same Old Song by The Weeknd – If you think this year’s gonna be soooo different… let us know how that works out!
  18. Finger Back by Vampire Weekend – In which Ezra sings about Jerusalem… ya know, “the one at W. 103rd and B’way?” It’s a falafel shop, for all you first years. Get pumped to be back on Broadway.

Aug

17

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but actually what is this logo

NSOP mission #1: find four cans of paint and splatter them on the ground.

NSOP is just two weeks from now! If you haven’t heard, this year’s theme is NSOP Out Loud. If the NSOP Committee’s promo video is any indication, first-years will be expected to take a bunch of Snapchat videos, hopefully making friends along the way.

Undergraduate Student Life released the schedules for all undergraduate NSOP’s this week. Barnard’s Guidebook is here, CC & SEAS can find their schedule here, and GS’s supplementary material is here. With the schedules so full, we want to highlight some of the exciting (and non-mandatory) events available to first-years. What should you do during NSOP?

  • This year’s NYC Event is Take Me Out to the Ballgame on Thursday night. This collective NSOP outing will let you spend some time with your new friends and force you to awkwardly explain to your Orientation Leader how you bought that beer you’re drinking. The New York Mets will host the Miami Marlins at Citi Field in Queens, so you should allot an hour to travel via the 1/2/3 and 7 trains. Columbia will host a tailgate party in the parking lot, and the first 1,000 students there will get to be on the field before the game. If you’re a sports fan, or if you’ve never witnessed the American Pastime, go out with the Class of 2020 on Thursday.
  • The EcoReps Green Sale goes on twice during NSOP, 9 am-4 pm on Thursday, August 31st and Monday, September 5th. If you need a fridge, a fan, some hangers, some art, or anything else for your dorm room, the Green Sale is a fantastic option. Everything sold by EcoReps was collected at the end of the last school year, and most prices are either low or negotiable. If you want to do some shopping in Wien Lounge, we suggest going on Thursday. If you wait until Monday, you’ll be fighting with all of the returning students. (Pro Tip: If you wait until 3 pm on Monday, EcoReps will start giving away whatever’s left for free!)
  • If you want to feel intellectual early, consider the #BarnardReads series. All week, Barnard professors will lead discussions based on books, plays, and TED Talks. These one-hour sessions in Sulzberger Parlor of Barnard Hall include topics such as “Can creativity save us?” and “How and why have feminists participated in Occupy Wall Street and #BlackLivesMatter?” NSOP asks that students interested in these discussions familiarize themselves with the material before arriving (just like for any other class). For more information, check out the Barnard First Year Blog.
  • Between Saturday and Sunday, NSOP will offer thirteen Neighborhood Tours to show you around New York City. If you want some good food, load up your Metrocard and take the Just Desserts or Cheap Eats tours downtown. For gorgeous views, consider the Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour, the Chelsea and Highline Tour, or the Central Park Photography Tour. If you want to spend a whole day out, the Coney Island Beach Day could be for you. That weekend is light on programming, so try to get out and see the city you wrote so much about on your college essays!
  • Make sure you go to the Activities Fairs! Both of them are from 12-4 pm during the first week of school–Barnard’s is on Wednesday and Columbia’s is on Friday. Hundreds of student groups will table and attempt to court you with free candy in order to get you onto their interest listservs. This is the best place to learn about clubs and find your new extracurriculars. At the very least, you’ll come away with a few extra stickers for your laptop.

Aug

7

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T.I. and JT rap about your mailbox woe

T.I. and JT rap about your mailbox woe

There were some things you thought you could count on at Columbia. One of them was that plinth for Henry Moore’s statue. But the plinth is finally gone, and now your mailing address is, too.

In an email to students on Friday, Columbia Housing announced that you should start addressing all mail/packages to:

Your Full Name, ####
70 Morningside Drive
New York, NY 10027

The hashtags represent your mailbox number. The email instructs, “Never write ‘box’ before the number.”

But wait! Don’t stop reading! The Package Center has also moved. Indeed, Housing informed us in their lengthy email that the package center is now in Wien. Use your long walks to the Package Center to compose angsty poetry about how you can’t trust Frank Ocean or Columbia.

Did you already order some Prime goodies to your old address? Not to worry, Columbia Mail assures they “will ensure it gets to the proper location.” How long that may take is another question…

Good luck memorizing your new address. Just one more thing to remember in a long slew of facts for this year.

Greatest rap duo ever via Wikimedia Commons

Aug

1

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Sloppy, frosted, self-aware: mood summer 2016

Sloppy, frosted, self-aware: mood summer 2016

It’s August, the most melancholy month—the one in which you mourn the coming of September, start comparison-shopping laptops, and draft angst-ridden goodbye emails to your boss (“I’m good for more than data entry!”). If you feel a tinge of panic at not having done anything (besides achieving oneness with your couch), well, that’s justified. You only have a month left! And look at all that’s happened at Columbia while you’ve been asleep, adrift, and utterly useless!

  • Without any fanfare, Columbia dropped its annual report on gender-based misconduct policy, which includes aggregate data on the reported violations of such policy. There were 120 reports of misconduct at Columbia, ranging from stalking to sexual assault; 13 cases of sexual assault were adjudicated, with varying outcomes.
  • While we’re on the topic, a male student accused of sexually assaulting a classmate has sued the university for a “pro-female, anti-male bias” in its investigation. (Washington Post)
  • Athletes abroad: Junior Akua Obeng-Akrofi (CC ’18) is jetting off to Rio very soon—or perhaps running, since she’ll be part of the Ghanian 4x100m relay team. Maodo Lo (CC ’16) is set to begin his professional basketball career with Brose Baskets Bamberg, a German team.
  • Meet the new, improved (?) Diana, the recently completed, acutely modern CU Medical building. (Architectural Digest)
  • Columbia assured student workers that the minimum wage would reach $15/hour by September 4, 2018, with periodic increases along the way—so don’t break out the bubbly yet.
  • And finally, where is the base of the Reclining Figure, the languorous lump of metal and modernity that divided a campus in two, spawned multiple op-eds and petitions, and promptly disappeared from our collective consciousness once the term ended? It’s gone!! Did “activism” work? Was it all a social experiment?

Thought-provoking proof after the jump

Jul

1

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Our condolences to those spending their summers on campus

If you haven’t already realized (and if you haven’t…did you get lost in your copy of Infinite Jest? Are you putting in too many hours at your JP Morgan summer internship?), it’s July! Before you drink yourself into a coma this holiday weekend (please don’t…ugh…you don’t live in Carman anymore), try to clear your head of its summer haze and catch up on what’s going down in MoHi. Here’s what you may have missed in May and June (as far as Columbia is concerned):

Photos and field notes after the jump!

Jun

30

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Make a good first impression by not having an android.

Make a good first impression by not having an android.

We’ve heard through the grapevine (ahem…tips@bwog.com) that shit is getting (and we quote) “messy” in the Class of 2020 Facebook group now that housing assignments have been released. Hopefully this piece will soothe your worries a little bit, first-years, or at least make you realize that who your freshman year roommate is won’t really matter in the long run.

As things usually go at Columbia University (in terms of Barnard getting the short end of the stick…is that too phallic?), Barnard first-years will have to wait a few weeks to find out their housing situations. And CC/SEAS students–though your roommate may look weird as fuck (God forbid you couldn’t find them on Facebook and had to reach out via LionMail), at least you don’t have to live in the Quad.

Ever since the first of May after securing your spot at Columbia (or earlier, if you really couldn’t wait to sign your life away), you’ve been eager to finalize all of the details of your future in MoHi–what you’ll be taking, how you’ll be getting there, and most permanently, who you’ll be living with. Unfortunately, the university hasn’t been as understanding, as up until today, you haven’t had the answers to almost any of these questions. This changes today, as you have finally received your housing assignment, which included who will be borrowing your toothbrush, sexiling you bi-weekly, and partially responsible for your mid-life crisis in February. That’s right Class Of 2020: your roommate assignment is here.

We’re being a little harsh–college roommates are the source of NSOP comfort, late-night Tom’s companions, and borrowed Lit Hum books. In fact, the first couple of months at CU will be the best ones you and your roommate share. When you both first arrive on campus, you guys will be excited to be at college, in New York City, and most importantly, away from your parents. For the first two weeks of school, you will have someone to consume every meal with, tag in every Instagram post, and include in your fake ID order. This is a great time, especially since you both know that you can ditch each other as soon as you start making real friends.

Some of you won’t be as lucky…

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

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