USenate SAC Votes To Support Divestment From Private Prisons

Tonight, the Columbia University Senate’s Student Affairs Committee (SAC) voted to support Columbia’s divestment from private prisons. Various groups on campus, particularly Columbia Prison Divest, have already urged President Bollinger to divest from private prisons before tonight’s vote. The SAC consists of 25 elected student senators and represents Columbia’s 20 schools and affiliates. Their press release, which can be found below, calls for President Bollinger to recognize student support for divestment, direct the divestment of shares, and announce the divestment decision.

Field Notes: Pucker Up Edition
Are you???

Are you???

It’s getting (somewhat) warmer outside, so everyone’s starting to feel lil’ steamy on the inside. Or, we all can just feel really inspired by the timely finding of an interestingly marketed lip balm product. Pucker up, cause Bacchanal is on the (rainy and cold) horizon, and everyone’s gonna be looking for warmth. Cheers to the weekend before the belligerence that is Bacchanal, and cheers to the after where you’ll hopefully be getting your money back. As we prepare for Big Sean & Co, you are over-encouraged to drop us a Bacchanal line at

Meet me 80-20

  • “Watched a belligerent man throw up on the subway in the seat directly across from me @ 4:30 am Saturday night while his drunk significant other laughed at him.”
  • “Met my big <3″
  • “Got a fish for my friends’ room. Went to the Frick Museum hungover AF with my Lit Hum class.”
  • “Saw a traditional Japanese ensemble play; it was pretty rad. Got distracted by a cat at a party and spent most of my time apologizing to it for the drunken manhandling of the other guests.”
  • “Was invited over to someone’s apartment to play board games, which I respectfully declined. Fell asleep in the Hartley sky lounge while reading a copy of Augustine’s confessions I found there. It had a romantic dedication written inside the front cover.”
  • “Visited a pal at Yale for her birthday. Finished a pitcher of sangria in five minutes with my pal’s roommate. Watched my roommate throw up via facetime.”
  • “Went on a weird tinder date // p sure he was drunk at 4 in the afternoon.”
  • “Crashed a Mt. Holyoke trip to NYC. No one suspected that I didn’t belong. Got a free ticket to the Heidi Chronicles out of it.”
  • “Hosted friends from California, who proceeded to flirt the shit out of my friends here.”
  • “​Got pelted in the face by snow in Boston while walking down Commonwealth Ave. Saw my sister for last time before her undergrad commencement in May. Got confused for a Colombian when asked where I was from and I answered Columbia, figuring that the people meant “what school are you from?” so a guy tried to talk to me in Spanish, and I didn’t understand a single word he said.”
Mozart And Tchaikovsky With The CUMC Symphony Orchestra
CUMC students know how to get down

CUMC students know how to get down

As our resident fan for all things sports and music, future medical-music fan Ross Chapman trekked all the way uptown to catch the CUMC Orchestra playing Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Read on to hear about the top medical students in the country being really good at something else, too. 

The Columbia University Medical Center, between its students, faculty, and staff, has a lot of great musicians. The CUMC Symphony Orchestra is a recently revived musical group up at 168th Street whose stated mission is “to bring together the diverse population of the CUMC community.” And that they did – the Alumni Auditorium’s ground floor seating was packed with Columbians and community members for the 3:00 concert yesterday afternoon. The group put together a very professional concert on, as their conductor informed us, just three rehearsals’ worth of time. Today, they presented Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto and and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.

The CUMCSO (acronym pending?) presented the concerto first, followed by an intermission before the Mozart. Most impressive to me about soloist Elliott Huang’s performance of the first movement (which was the only one presented) was the endurance of his virtuosity. The movement is 20 minutes long and has very little space for the soloist to rest. The impressiveness of the performance only went on as the concerto developed. The main theme is quaint and calm, but the elaborations and cadenzas can get furious, at times sounding to a bit more solely technical than musical. Huang played entirely from memory, and he seemed to prepare himself perfectly for the event – only at the very end did he begin to show signs of fatigue. The piece ended with a strong finish, in composition and performance, and the crowd was happy to see such a display of virtuosity from the soloist and the orchestra. About a third of the crowd ended up standing for the multiple encores, and it seemed like they were restless for more immediately. However, they would have to wait for the lights to dim again, because the short program still demanded an intermission.

Music to our ears

Housing Reviews 2015: East Campus (Highrise)

EC’s most flattering angle

It’s that time of the year again: spring everlasting winter! And that can mean only one thing—the annual installment of Bwog’s housing reviews.  And now the coveted EC high-rises.

Location: 70 Morningside Dr.

  • Nearby dorms: Wien and Plimpton. Stay home basically.
  • Stores and restaurants: Che Bella, HamDel, Appletree Market, SubsConscious, and in some sense (a hopeful if not particularly accurate sense, Max and Kitchenette.


  • $9,470 (same as Hogan, Woodbridge, Watt, Ruggles, Claremont, and Symposium)


  • AC/Heating: Yes, to both. Probably some of the best
  • Kitchen/Lounge: Suite kitchens feel modern and clean (at least for the first few weeks) and do come equipped with a dishwasher. Cabinet space is limited, given the number of people sharing, but it’s not completely unmanageably so. Microwaves can be found only in the floor lounges, which are on the whole unremarkable.
  • Computers/Printers: Labs with a printer on the 10th and 18th floors.
  • Bathrooms: One (for five people), with a shower, bathtub, two sinks, and a toilet in a stall. Cleaned on a semiweekly basis.
  • Gym: Two cardio rooms. A bit bleak, but appreciated nonetheless come winter.
  • Intra-transportation: Two elevators that are actually pretty fast and efficient.
  • Wi-Fi: Excellent.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: Suites renovated relatively recently have all-hardwood floors and a linoleum kitchen floor; for the rest, hardwood is covered by that classic college carpet.
  • Laundry: A ton of machines (“high-efficiency”) in the basement where there is never a long wait.

Room Variety:

  • The majority of suites are 5-person with three singles and one unfortunate double.
  • There per floor, one six person and one five person suite comprised exclusively of singles, highly sought after and coveted.
  • The sixth floor of EC has all doubles at 200 sq. ft. each.


  • You need to be mostly seniors, at least, to get a five person. Accept this, and move on. The cutoff last year was 26/2070.
  • The all single groups will be seniors. Last year’s five person single cutoff was 30/2913, but don’t get your hopes up. The year before it was 30/709. Miracles happen every day, but not for you. Last year’s six person cutoff was 30/389. This is typical.
  • 6th floor doubles go to sophomores that don’t want to get shafted in McBain.

Bwog Recommendation:

  • If your lotto number is so bad that you’re considering a 6th floor double, just pick whatever room is the biggest on your day. If that’s a 6th floor double, so be it. They aren’t the best, but are better if you’re living with friends. And you’ll have that New York City view.
  • If you’re a senior and didn’t get your first-choice suite, look to the 5-persons in EC during Senior Regroup; they’re hot commodities then.
  • Honestly, with the exception of the sixth floor doubles, if you can get in you already know how you feel about EC. You are a curious underclassman or an overeager prefrosh.

Coming up, after the jump: resident opinions and pretty pictures

Bwog Endorses TCPFABT

13516_1564058453847337_4970421760927303638_nAfter an arduous week of deliberation and contest, Bwog has decided to endorse The Community Party for a Better Tomorrow in its run for Columbia College Student Council. This is not a resolution that came lightly, it must be noted, but was made after innumerable meetings with candidates for all councils and Senate, as well as phone calls and late, antagonizing nights.

TCPFABT consists of five Dan(i)s:

  • Daniel Stone, President
  • Daniel Garisto, VP Policy
  • Danielle Crosswell, VP Communications
  • Daniel Chi, VP Campus Life
  • Daniel Bergerson, VP Finance

While we are especially motivated by their stance on institutionalized naptimes,* they present compelling green initiatives and thoughts on transparency, better use of the Lion Tamers, and significant student wellness considerations. Perhaps most immediately impactful is their goal to instate pizza vending machines, though long-term changes will too be achieved through more frequent study of students’ quality of life, taken via Quality of Life Pop Quizzes. Bwog has always kept students’ wellness close to its wretched heart.

We do urge TCPFABT to speak out on accessibility, though the party’s intention to cooperate between fellow councils via intermarriage demonstrates their potential here. After many off-the-record interviews with candidates for GSSC and ESC, parties and individuals with more concrete plans for the issue, we can rest knowing that the intermarriage solution should reap progress in terms of accessibility — whether that’s accessibility in actual physical use of buildings and campus or financial barriers, though TCPFABT’s stance on the student life fee, among other things, may be directly pointed toward the latter.

So this Tuesday, please vote TCPFABT for your Columbia College Student Council. We believe they will serve you well.


Taylor Grasdalen, Editor in Chief

Courtney Couillard, Managing Editor

Britt Fossum, Internal Editor

From our live-tweet reportage of the CCSC debates, we leave you with the following sentiment from the party:

  • Bergerson “takes his cues from admins.”
  • Crosswell “wants to transparentize student government.”
  • Chi “carries around candy in [his] pockets and throws it around.”
  • Chi “wants tattoo(s) of Roaree.”
  • Garisto has “no experience on CCSC. Been to 4 or 5 CCSC meetings. Goes to debates. Understands that being VP Policy is difficult.”
  • Garisto, as stated while literally lying down, “worked at Spec Opinion, knows best opinion on campus, experience with opinions will allow him to do well.”
  • Garisto, in his closing remarks, believes there will be “cooperation among the group because [they are all] named Dan.”
  • Stone “wants to open the tunnels. Tunnels open through the campus, to solve a lot of issues of accessibility.”
  • Stone “agrees with Peter [Bailinson, of It Takes Two CCSC party], would do exactly what Peter does. Peter’s weakness has been in free food department.”

*From the party’s official platform: “Mandatory siestas will be instated. Several rigorous studies compiled over the past 5 decades have shown that naps = very good. From 1PM-2PM Mon-Fri, Columbia campus shuts down. Gates are closed. Everyone drops what they are doing and takes a mandatory nap, except public safety. This counts as a mandatory class for all CC students (10 credits/semester). Being found awake will be detrimental to your grade.”

CCSC Considers A Public Safety Funding Proposal
Public Safety really needs this funding

Public Safety really needs this funding

Last night was the last CCSC meeting with this CCSC board as we know it. Before you get all nostalgic and cast those votes tomorrow, Joe Milholland, loyal CCSC fan regardless of who’s on it, brings you the latest CCSC business. 

On Sunday night, the Columbia College Student Council discussed a resolution that would change the way Public Safety charges for student events. Useantor Jared Odessky, who presented the resolution to the council, said it aims to implement an algorithm that would calculate the cost of an event. If Public Safety wanted to spend more money for security at event than what the algorithm calculated, the extra cost would be covered by an outside fund rather than a student group. Odessky described this as a “content-neutral” pricing system.

The resolution comes after student groups complained about being charged more by CPS for controversial events. There is a fund for CPS security at student events, but, for expenses over $600, groups have to apply, often after the fact, to get the security costs covered by the fund, and funding does not always come in.

Student leaders have been trying to deal with this issue since at least last year. This school year, the admins re-established a CPS advisory committee required by state law and composed of one-third students, one-third faculty, and one-third administrators. However, the committee only met once at the beginning of the second semester, and, according to Odessky, CPS dominated the discussion at the meeting for most of its time.

CPS admits that they charge more for controversial events, but they justify their actions by saying that the increased security is necessary at controversial events. Mariam Elnozahy, the current Vice Chair of SGB (the student governing board that oversees activist groups), mentioned that an event by the Caribbean Students Association was hampered by CPS expenses.

Class of 2018 President Ezra Gontownik asked about the event review process and excessive safety fees. Specifically, he was worried that students would be funding for over-charged security costs. Odessky admitted that CPS acts a business unit where they are both the customer and provider. Elnozahy mentioned that this has been an issue for a while but that the proposal was a “realistic” and “grass roots” effort to improve the situation. Elnozahy noted that public safety fees can change suddenly even if a group reviews the costs well in advance. Usenator Marc Heinrich mentioned that the security costs will ultimately come out of students’ pockets anyway.

On the subject of funding the costs, Odessky said he didn’t know where the funding will ultimately come from.

How’d the vote go?

Bwoglines: Tourism Edition
A Mary Poppins travel bag

A Mary Poppins travel bag

A new fence in front of the tourist section of the White House is coming along with a new President in 2016. (NY Times)

In an effort to address its low levels of tourism since 2011, Egypt has released a new visa law in which tourist visas will only be granted to groups traveling with a certified travel agency. (Al-Monitor)

No summer plans yet? May we suggest spending a couple of nights in the newly-tourist heavy Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas? (Arkansas Online)

Given an increase in tourism in New Jersey, it’s time for all you NJ residents to co-opt the typically Miami phrase, “I live where you vacation.”  (Daily Record)

Cliche stops via Shutterstock 

CUSS Presents: Colonial Columbia

To help us get through a long night of studying for the impending week, our dear friends at CUSS put together yet another brilliant video. Check it out below. Talk about a throwback Sunday, huh?!

Colonial Columbia from Bwog on Vimeo.

Looking Back From The Past With Les Délices
Delightful indeed

Delightful indeed

Baroque buff Henry Litwhiler shines rare appreciation on the elegance of Ohio-based group Les Délices.

Saturday’s concert, entitled “Myths & Allegories,” came as part of Miller Theatre’s “Early Music” series, which speaks volumes about the Theatre’s narrow sense of time. It was undoubtedly only with great difficulty that the Theatre capped the series with the baroque instead of extending it through the Ford presidency.

Of course, if the music is coming from after 1600 and before 1970, it had better be obscure. Bach may be permitted only with special lensing, and if we’re going to humor the 1700s there had better be a more-than-tenuous connection to a still-more-distant past. Thus we find ourselves with “Myths & Allegories,” a token program of baroque, graced by such household names as Jean-Féry Rebel, François Chauvon, Thomas-Louis Bourgeois, and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, and tied together by a concept, like any good modern program.

Mercifully, this concept was a concrete one: the story of Ulysses, “with a focus on a love triangle between the witch Circe, Ulysses, and his wife Penelope.” The link between the works in the program and the concept was at times tenuous, but that might be expected when one limits oneself to composers who lack substantive Wikipedia articles yet still produced pieces worth listening to.

Intentionally selecting such obscure composers, the group no doubt understood, carries with it the risk of seeming to put on airs. And whereas well-known composers have had their complete works picked apart by scholars, their pieces practically ranked by the global musical community, Friday’s repertoire was relatively untested, and consequently demanded that the audience—not music critics—answer the question: Is this worth listening to?

To my mind, the answer in each case was a surprising yes. It’s probably reductive to say that Les Délices selects obscure works for the same reason that your third-favorite WBAR show doesn’t play music you can find on iTunes. A group of their caliber and talent probably has higher aims in mind than winning the great race to obscurity.

Still, there is something beautiful in performing a piece many might have called dead, in giving not just a work but a person another shot at expression. We might reasonably question the artistic merits of Rebel or Chauvon—competence is a weak substitute for innovation, in the eyes of history—but there’s something undeniably romantic about preserving a labor that may have carried some significance for some people at some point.

But Les Délices went further. In Friday’s performance, the group bathed these rarely-heard pieces not only in the honor of (brilliant) performance but in context. By using each work as a step in the Odyssey‘s journey, Les Délices gave each piece meaning beyond its original intentions and in doing so joined the original composers in their creation. Even if the highly respectable technical abilities of the group are set aside, witnessing such a feat should fill anyone with awe.

Modern Frankensteins via Miller Theatre

Bwog Meeting Tonight!

Get your anchors ready girls, because tonight is Bwog’s Semi-Annual Big/Little Reveal!

This will take place during our weekly chapter meeting tonight at 7PM in Lerner’s SGO (Room 505). Anyone is welcome to attend and light refreshments will be served!

Join us tonight as we discuss housing and Bacchanal, and find out which one of these lovely members will be your big!

An Interview With NCAA Epee Winner Jake Hoyle

“We have potentially started a new dynasty at Columbia.”

Bwog: You’re a junior. You won the individual men’s epee title and led our team to an NCAA championship. You’re on top of the world… now what?

Jake: Obviously, it feels great to win the team and individual title as a junior. In terms of what now, it’s just the same thing that I’ve been doing for the last couple years to ensure that next year goes just as well. One feels great, don’t get me wrong, but two would be even better. Goals haven’t really changed.

B: How would you describe the team atmosphere?

J: Everyone on our team is really close, especially compared to other fencing teams. In terms of friendships and how we work together of fencing, we all get along really well. I’d say more than half the team lives with each other in doubles or suites. That’s something that started after I arrived at Columbia. We have a very large junior class, and before this class, we didn’t have a great atmosphere, it was pretty disjoint, we didn’t have full squads [multiple high-caliber fencers in every starting position) at every weapon. When our year came, it really pushed the team in a different direction, more towards being all-in for fencing, centering your student-athlete experience around the team. Now that our class has been here for two years, we’ve set an atmosphere on the team with very strong bonds, inside and outside of fencing… And Michael Aufrichtig is really coming into his own, he’s only been a coach here for four years, five years maybe. Him coming in and creating a new team and a new attitude definitely contributed to our success.

B: You said, “compared to other fencing teams.” Can you elaborate on that?

J: Clearly, any team is going to be relatively close if they spend a lot of time with each other. But I do think that our team especially has a special bond with each other. I go to these meets, and the other teams are good, they have a lot of camaraderie, but I don’t see the same sort of relationships as we have. In fencing, you can take a timeout in the middle of a bout, and we use that all the time, much more than any other team, really. The advice that we’re giving to each other is great. Everyone has a lot of respect for each other, so we’re able to communicate well because we’re not afraid to say anything to each other.

B: Yeah, sometimes it’s hard for teams to have respect when some players are seeded higher than others.

J: We all train so hard at this, and it can be such an individual sport. Everyone on the team has accomplished something great at some point. You can handpick any fencer from the team, and they have an incredible accomplishment. And everyone knows that. You might be on a squad with someone on the cadet world team, or a junior Olympic champion. There’s a lot of mutual respect, because everyone’s already done so much, and once we get to Columbia, we’re all trying to achieve a collective goal.

B: How does it feel to bring back the legacy?

Bucket List: Arts, Morality And Political Professors
Is this the landscape of the future?

Is this the landscape of a better world?

Bucket List represents the immense academic privilege we enjoy as Columbia students. This week, learn about what your professors were like in the sixties as political activists, and hopefully get them to tell a good story in class. Our recommendations are below, and the full list can be found after the jump. As always, if we’ve made a mistake or left anything noteworthy off the list, please let us know in the comments. 


  • “Applied Geography for a Better World.” Monday 2:00-4:00 pm, Buell Hall East Gallery. Jack Dangermond. Register (Photo ID required at check-in).
  • “What is a Moral University in the 21st Century?” Monday 6:15-7:30 pm, 517 Hamilton. Jeffrey Sachs. Register.
  • “The Faculty’s Sixties: Professors and Politics, 1960-1975.” Wednesday 4:30-6:30 pm, Faculty House. Ellen Schrecker.
  • “‘Islamic Art’: Disrupting Unity and Discerning Ruptures.” Thursday 6:00-8:00 pm, 612 Schermerhorn. Nada Shabout, Zainab Bahrani.
  • “A+RT Show.” 6:00-10:00 pm, Groundfloor Gallery (343 5th St., Brooklyn). Frances Cocksedge, Ira Dae Young Kim, Matthew Lafferty, Ava Ravich, Oscar Russakis.

A week of intriguing events awaits you below

Housing Reviews 2015: Ruggles Hall
doesn't it look majestic

(the st)Ruggles

Location: 508 West 114th Street

  • Nearby dorms: John Jay, LLC, Carman, Brownstones, Broadway
  • Stores and restaurants: Strokos, Artopolis, JJs, Hamdel, St. Luke’s (important). It’s basically on Amsterdam, but the blocks immediately around it aren’t the most happening.


  • $9,470/year (same as Claremont, EC, Hogan, Watt, Woodbridge, SIC’s, and Brownstones. More money than last year.)


  • Bathrooms: Two full baths in the 6- and 8- person suites.  One full bath in the 4-person suites. They’re nothing special.
  • AC/Heating: No AC. Heating, but not individually controlled by rooms.
  • Kitchen/Lounge: Killin’. Each suite has a large kitchen with a full fridge, oven, stovetop, and microwave. Loooots of cabinet space. Probably the best communal space in all of the dorms.
  • Laundry: 5 washers and 5 dryers in the basement; not great considering all of the students who live here. The laundry room is in the renovated basement, accessible only via elevator.
  • Computers/Printers: Just one printer in the lobby. No computer lab. Bring a laptop.
  • Gym: 2 ellipticals and 2 treadmills, plus a TV.  The ellipticals go first. Not very large, but also not very used. New as of 2013.
  • Intra-transportation: One elevator, one staircase. Be sure to leave room in your schedule for transit.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: Hardwood hallways and rooms.

Room variety:

color coded!

Floor Plan. Color-code represents suites.

  • On each floor:
    • One 4-person all-single suite (on even floors this is the RA suite)
    • One 6-person 2-double/2-single suite
    • Two 8-person suites (either 2-double/4-single or 3-double/2-single).
    • NOTE: The first floor has only one 8-person suite, with 2 doubles, 1 single, and 1 walk-through double. The first floor is weird.
  • Singles in 4-single suites can get as small as 85 square feet, some of the smallest on campus. But 6-person suites have 135 square foot singles, so keep the specific room you’re getting in mind.
  • Doubles don’t have the same variety, all being square and ranging from decent (170 sq. ft.) to good (200 sq. ft.)

What sort of room number do I need?

Bwoglines: Sporty Spice Edition
Sometimes we're all a little Scary Spice

Sometimes we’re all a little Sporty Spice

March Madness is in full swing which means that it’s time for another round of Liewitness News! Which school are you rooting for: University of Phoenix or DeVry University? (Huffington Post)

What scares a New Englander more than Tom Brady jumping off a cliff? Gisele Bündchen posting a Facebook video of Tom Brady jumping off a cliff. (Sports Illustrated)

A Texas high school principal recently forced a student with Down syndrome to stop wearing a varsity Letter jacket simply because “he isn’t on the team.” (USA Today)

The NCAA is really concerned with Indiana’s new “religious freedom law” which allows establishments to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. In case you weren’t aware, the Final Four is in Indianapolis, which is why the NCAA even cares. (CBS Sports)

7/11. 7/11. Seven twice. Man seven twice. As told by Serena Williams. (USA Today)

Sporty spice via Shutterstock

How To: Assert Your Individualism Around Campus
The lake is filled with the tears of the unworthy

The lake is filled with the tears of the unworthy

Navigating the mundanities of campus life can seem like a chore, in no small part because “the mundanities of…life” is more or less the definition of chore. Walking to a class or meal, operating an elevator or staircase, doing laundry—all while preoccupied by the Big Questions we’re meant to be confronting at an institution as illustrious as ours—can grow to be so soul-crushing and automatic that one neither wishes nor needs to be conscious at all.

Thankfully, there are some ways that the enlightened rebels of Columbia University can assert their self-possession even when embarrassed by their circumstances:

Do keep to the left or middle of a walkway, especially around corners. You know who enforces keeping to one side of the road? The policeThe man. Show the world you aren’t afraid.

Don’t march on the right with the neofascist herd.

Do contemplate the depravity of man’s position while sorting out which piece of chicken you want in the dining hall.

Don’t behave as a ravenous beast might, selecting your food with any sense of purpose. There is no purpose—the pigs around you will never understand.

Do take the elevator down from the third floor. Time is, like, a construct, man.

Don’t take the stairs. Ever.

Except: Do up your tweet game on the Ferris staircase. Bonus points for immortalizing the looks of horror on the faces of the plebs behind you with a selfie.

Don’t submit to the lockstep dictates of architects. To create a staircase is to mandate a particular pattern of behavior, to control the bodies of an entire public. Don’t let them get away with it.

Do commandeer a washer for 23 minutes for a single scarf.

Don’t force your neck’s best friend to wallow in the misery of a stain from the foie gras you were eating ironically.

Do fish around in your bag for your ID right in front of the Butler security desk, prompting some to awkwardly reach around you to carry on with their lives.

Don’t plan for the encroachments of the Public Safety state. Act like it’s a surprise that you have to scan into the library and maybe they’ll get the hint that you should be allowed to move through the world unfettered by the shackles of societal identity.

Do hold loud conversations in any hallway, anywhere.

Don’t be silenced by the drones at work in their classrooms, offices, and reading rooms. First Amendment, baby.

Proper brooding via Shutterstock