The Heights Is Back?

After The Heights succumbed to the Great Citibank Fire of January 2014, we feared we would never see it again. We keened and wept, depressed at the prospect of 1020 being stuffed with freshmen forevermore. We made a list of the bleak alternatives to having The Heights in our lives…

But then, today, we started hearing rumors. A Facebook post here, a private event held Sunday night there, all indicated that, like a phoenix, The Heights had been reborn from its ashes more splendid than ever. It seemed like happy hours were upon us once again.

However, when we called The Heights we just got a recorded phone message saying it had burnt down. And Spec says it will only be open by invitation on Friday.

Yet there’s a sign out front saying it’s open, serving drinks but not food. As far as we’re concerned, The Heights is back!

the heightsLest We Forget

Also, The Heights’ website says that “The Heights was founded in 1996 from the ashes of Nacho Mama’s Burritos which met its demise earlier the same year.” Is the location inherently fire-prone, or could the Heights be locked in an eternal cycle of rebirth and flame?

King’s Crown Recipients Tackle Sexual Assault

The King’s Crown Leadership Excellence Awards are coveted by some, as they are given to “students which have offered outstanding leadership to their community/ies with exemplary commitment and energy.” The awards ceremony began tonight at 6:30 in Roone, and some of the students being recognized are wearing red tape on their wrists in solidarity with recent attempts to fix Columbia’s sexual assault policy. Those wearing tape signed the following statement:

To the students, faculty, and trustees of Columbia University and Barnard College:

Tonight we are all honored, thankful, and humbled to have been nominated by our peers for King’s Crown Leadership Excellence Awards. Your support and recognition means a great deal to us. We are also deeply grateful for the work that so many others have done this year to make Columbia a safer, more supportive place.

This past year, students have pushed the University to take several important steps to reform the University’s inadequate, opaque services and policies for preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors on our campus. We want to recognize the years of work that both students and staff have spent and the positive changes that have taken place this year. But as we receive these awards, we need to say, unequivocally, that those steps are far from sufficient and that this work is far from done.

The system has been slow to change.

#tbt Greek Games Edition

This week’s #tbt is brought to you by the Columbia Spectator Archives and Britt Fossum, who kind of wishes she went to Barnard. Have anything you’d like to see featured? Send it to tips or use our anonymous form.

Bacchanal is a fairly recent development in Columbia’s history, starting only in the 2000s. But long before Bacchus was honored yearly with Keystone Light and lame outdoor concerts, the University still paid homage to the Greek Gods. Barnard College was once host to the greatest feats of strength and tests of skill since ancient Athens: the Barnard Hunger Greek Games. They ran continually through 1968 and now are honored only by a curious statue on campus and intermittent attempts at revival. Maybe the students found chariot races and elaborate opening rituals too silly to continue? Maybe the Freshmen were tired of losing to Sophomores over 60 times? Maybe it was because the student musical performers for the 1968 games were kidnapped by another student group?

Highlights from Spectator Archives (and one NY Times!) covering the much-anticipated event include:

  • “Greek Games is an attempt to authentically reproduce an ancient Greek Bacchanal.” 27 April 1965.
  • “DIGNITY TO PREVAIL IN BARNARD GAMES…Instead of trying to learn to walk in the Greek fashion, the students have practiced marching in an orderly and dignified procession.” 11 April 1917.
  • “But although they dedicated themselves to Aphrodite, it was the Goddess Fortuna who gave the class of ’61 the laurel wreath when two members of the ’62 hoop race relay team lost their hoops. 13 April 1959.
  • In 1958 Columbia students or “invading Barbarians” disturbed the games and required that “the Barnard gym was disguised as an Athenian Temple.” 21 April 1958.
  • “BARNARD SOPHS WIN THE HELLENIC CONTEST; They Had Zeus with Them at the Start, and Couldn’t Lose. STILL IT WAS PRETTY CLOSE Closer Than the Score, 36 to 25, Might Indicate — There Were Feats Both Mental and Physical.” 24 March 1906.
  • This entire 1944 article though: “Barnard Sacrifice Men for Greeks–Temporarily!” “Turn the Barnard Gym into a small-size Coliseum with hordes of blood-hungry spectators,” “athletic orgies,” and “Prometheus, the Athenian version of Thomas Edison.” 14 April 1944.
Colbert Report Filming Spoof of Fox News

the interrogation begins

Tired of Fox News? So is The Colbert Report, who is on campus right now filming students. We caught up with a CC senior who had just been interviewed for the segment to mock Fox News making Columbia students look stupid.

“So The Colbert Report is coming on with unreasonable demands—he holds up a picture of somebody and swooshes it by really fast and asks them to name which political official it was. The humor is that Columbia students are really smart and answer correctly, and he’s trying to make a funny shot and gets pissed off. So I was just interviewed to answer what are the three branches of government. I actually got 2 of them right the first time, and then they did the shot again where I got all three of them right—he said ‘Son of a bitch!’ and stormed off.”

How many takes would it take you?

World Premiere Of Evening-Length Dance At Columbia

Two Barnard seniors, Julia Discenza and Marjie Shrimpton (BC ’14) have taken on the challenge of creating, directing, and producing a collaborative piece of evening-length dance. What does evening-length entail in the dance world? An evening-length dance piece is a piece of choreography greater than 60 minutes usually that tells a self-contained story of some sort. But HERE isn’t just about dance, as the directors chose to incorporate elements of “music, film, and performance art to address the significance of place, space, and community throughout different aspects of the human experience.”

Their endeavor will be the first independent dance project of its kind that Barnard has ever seen. The directors decided to go above and beyond the scholastic requirements for their capstone project to create HERE, a piece that gained life and momentum from every artist involved. The piece is a conglomeration of short scenes inspired by “real and imagined spaces and places from the creators’ and cast members’ lived experiences.” The story of HERE is a story to which everyone can relate.

From co-creators Marjie Shrimpton and Julia Discenza:

“It has been an incredible adventure to conceive and create this work with a team of such gifted artists, and we hope to bring audiences on a transformative and exciting journey. The whole creative team has taken the idea to heart and made it their own, so the production is so much bigger than just our original vision. It’s been really thrilling and beautiful to see our cast invest themselves in our dreams for this work, and graciously contribute their ideas to our creative process.”

HERE performs Saturday, April 19th at 3 pm and 7 pm in the Glicker-Milstein Theatre. Tickets are $5 with CUID and can be bought online or at TIC.

From the Issue: Bluenotes
Illustration by Angel Jiang, CC '15

Illustration by Angel Jiang, CC ’15

Each issue of The Blue and White has three short pieces that depict some interesting tidbit of campus or New York life, in 300 words or less. This issue, Senior Editor Luca Marzorati, CC ’15, brings you the story of pirate radio in the city, contributor Nia Brown, CC ’17, presents the history of the Croton Reservoir Aqueduct, and contributor Alex Warrick, BC ’17, unwraps the mystery of the controversial “STUPID PEOPLE SHOULN’T BREED” bench on Barnard’s quad. The issue is on campus now, pick up a copy!

Who owns the air? This philosophical question is painfully real for some, including DJ Fresh Kid (AKA Sean Bruce, age 40) who was arrested last July in Brooklyn for operating a pirate radio station. The Fresh Kid was a regular DJ on the Fire Station (104.7 FM), which broadcasted Caribbean music in the outer regions of Brooklyn without a license. Because of a change in New York state law that designated unlicensing broadcasting as a class A misdemeanor, both the Fresh Kid and Solomon Malka, a Fire Station employee, could face jail time.

Fire Station’s collapse marked a shift in the decades-long battle between pirate radio and its legal competitors. Supporters of “big radio” and the Federal Communications Commission claim that unlicensed stations interfere with broadcasts, while pirate radio backers counter that they provide an essential service in underserved communities: only 51 percent of New Yorkers speak English at home, yet 86 percent of FM stations are in English. And besides, they argue, the air should be free. But the threat of jail time has forced many pirate radio operators into hiding, or online streaming.

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that WKCR, Columbia’s radio station at 89.9 FM, is not spared from the interference of pirate operators. In the northern reaches of Manhattan and pockets of Brooklyn, some hopeful WKCR listeners instead hear “Quisqueya FM”—a station aimed at Dominican listeners broadcasting from the Bronx at 89.7 FM—or “Love Gospel Radio”—a Caribbean gospel station run by Grace Assembly Deliverance Temple on Boston Road. Attempts to contact these operators were unsuccessful; perhaps many fear becoming the next DJ Fresh Kid.

Nonetheless, pirate radio remains a presence on the New York soundscape. Turn the dial just past the static, and a world of eclectic music awaits. Walking around New York with a portable radio reveals the depth of unlicensed transmissions: the drone of Hebrew prayers in outer Brooklyn; the mellifluent tone of a French Creole talk show in upper Manhattan; the sticky urgency of patois on the streets of the Bronx. In a city of a hundred tongues, the pirate beat goes on.

- Luca Marzorati

What about that Croton Reservoir Aquaduct?

Bwoglines: Conspiracies Abound Edition


Does the government have an imperative to keep graduate-level education so expensive? Maybe. (Slate)

Is Paul Ryan a phony? Yeah. (Salon)

Is Don Draper going to hijack an airplane? Maybe. (Slate)

Does sexism perpetuate the “confidence gap”? Yes. (Huffington Post)

Is there an entirely haunted island? YES AND IT IS FOR SALE. (Time)

Are all the big fast food developments — the Waffle Taco, the McRib, the Hot Dog-Stuffed Crust Pizza – just gimmicks? Yes. (Salon)

Hush hush little one via Shutterstock.

Online Selection IRL
He just got a blind McBain Double

He just got a blind McBain Double

Are you super weirded out by the prevalence of online selection this year? Do you have no idea what to do? Bwogger Anna Hotter’s got you covered.

While most of Columbia has already braved the apocalyptic mayhem that is housing, some wretched souls still don’t know which exact shoebox they will call their home next year. An astounding pool of 1,181 students opted for online selection, which means that many will not get that spacious Schapiro single they’ve been eyeing for months. Because Bwog is also lost in the depths of uncertainty cares about your future, we have compiled a list of the most viable housing options for your enjoyment. The number of available rooms noted below are approximations and may vary depending on circumstances.

Here’s what’s left.

Town Hall On Sexual Assault
Bwog is always early.

Bwog is always early.

***Trigger Warning: Discussion of sexual assault policy, and issues of sexual assault and gender-based sexual misconduct on campus.***

This afternoon, Taylor Grasdalen attended the Town Hall on Gender-Based Misconduct and Sexual Assault for Bwog. She reports on the administration, the students, and the newest concerns.

Today brought Columbia’s latest installment in its series of Town Halls on “Gender-Based Misconduct and Sexual Assault,” though that name itself was thoroughly questioned. Conducted—almost inaccessibly, perhaps—at noon today in Havemeyer 309, we heard from Senators Matt Chou and Akshay Shah, Michael K. Dunn, Senator Marc Heinrich, Terry Martinez, Sharyn O’Halloran, La’Shawn Rivera, Lisa Mellman, and Teacher’s College student Barry Goldberg, who were all consequently subjected to another fine Q&A session.

Despite the event’s significance on campus and to campus, it was not well attended in any regard. After experiencing the first Town Hall, where so many students wanted to partake that some were unable to even enter the space, today’s Town Hall had the exact opposite problem. Fewer than half the seats were filled; at noon, when the event began, there were maybe only fifty people in the audience altogether, the majority even obviously not BC/CC/SEAS undergraduates. I have to wonder if students were precluded based on the event’s time, as its lunch break timeliness certainly allowed many adults administrators to attend (Barnard’s Amy Zavadil was in the audience, and many other faculty and staff faces).

Sharyn O’Halloran moderated today’s meeting, eloquent despite inexperience with speaking into a microphone. Matt Chou and Akshay Shah were the first to speak, breezing over the details of data that will soon be released — data of aggregate anonymous statistics, a number of interim measures, reported information on the responsible parties, and sanctions on such responsible parties, upcoming changes in sanctions, and the average number of days that each case takes. I wish I could have heard more of these details, but we quickly moved on  to hearing from Terry Martinez. She really wanted to let us know—to paraphrase the best I might—that it is neither truthful nor helpful for us to question the commitment of the “people in this room” to the cause we’d gathered for today, which may or may not have been a problem at the previous Town Hall.

This did not set a very positive tone.

Days On Campus: An Alternate Perspective
steps on steps on steps

Good thing no one took him to Ferris.

One staffer’s prospie loves Bwog so much that he even decided to come to one of our meetings. We liked him, and thought we’d ask if he wanted to write an article about his experiences at Perspectives on Diversity and Days on Campus. So, continuing this year’s trend of posting about the pre-frosh, Evan Morris, CC ’18, gives you this look at the accessibility issues at Columbia’s weekend for admitted students.

To everyone who tried to make Columbia accessible this weekend: Thank you. You tried, but crutches and this campus just don’t mix well.

I arrived as stupidly eager as everyone else. I thought I was well prepared. Armed with my access map, permission to use the elevator to upper campus, and my experiences getting around with a cane during Columbia’s summer program for high school students, I figured I would be fine. The weekend was only so long and I had access to a wheelchair just in case.

I had no idea how many little problems would add up to make this weekend exhausting and painful. At every turn, there was something that I had to sit out or work around because of my disability. My first night (that is, the same day as Bacchanal) was annoying but manageable, though I got my fair share of sad looks as I stumbled up the steep bus steps on the way to our quasi-mandatory boat tour. The three stories of stairs up to the boat proper, though, were the worst. I assumed that because the average Columbia student might not be on a boat on a typical Saturday night, the organizers wouldn’t be terribly familiar with the accessibility of the venue.

Sorry Dan Savage, it doesn’t always get better.

Overseen: A Poop In Lerner

Much has been made of the modern architecture of Lerner Hall, but the true reflection of the function of a building can be seen in how its occupants actually use it. A tip early this afternoon shed some light on precisely what purpose Lerner serves these days.


Quoth one Bwogger: “Can this building get any shittier?

Academic Awards Committee Recognizes Columbia Professors
Professor Khalidi is teaching History of Modern Middle East in the fall.

Professor Khalidi teaches History of Modern Middle East in the fall.

Every year, the Academic Awards Committee of Columbia awards the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching to a professor with exceptional “humanity, devotion to truth, and inspiring leadership.” This year, it went to Professor of Mathematics Robert Friedman, who has taught in the math department for over 20 years. He chaired the department for three years and was recognized for his clarity and mentorship skills.

The Committee also presented the annual Lionel Trilling Award to Professor of History Rashid Khalidi. The award, given to a faculty member who’s published a book in the last year, was in recognition of Khalidi’s book Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. Khalidi is presently the editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and the book discusses the relationship between narrative and perception of the US-Israel-Palestine dynamic.

The official awards ceremony will be on May 5, from 6-7:30 p.m. in Faculty Room in Low.

Access the brilliance in your backyard via Columbia

A Shifty Look At Secret Societies

A couple weeks back, the Internet (i.e. IvyGate) blew up a list of this year’s Sachems, to much discussion of how much secrecy exactly is involved and needed. Chief of Staff Writers Julia Goodman tells you why, despite their philanthropy and goodwill, Columbia senior societies neither have nor need full secrecy.

It’s been a few weeks since IvyGate revealed a list of the members of the Sachems. And a lot of people are still wondering what exactly the big deal is about senior societies. Well, for one thing, they’re secret…at least more secret than St. A’s, which isn’t saying much. But unlike St. A’s, or other exclusive “societies” like frats and sororities, most Columbia students don’t hear much about the Sachems and Nacoms. Nacoms traditionally take the secrecy element much more seriously than Sachems, which may be why a member of the Sachems leaked the list of members, but no matching Nacoms list has surfaced.

Ostensibly, the “secrecy” is really just an enhanced version of privacy—the societies want to remain secret so that first-years don’t start campaigning for the position, or so that they know their members are not just joining to put it on their resumes. In fairness, this is a problem that plagues many other positions of power in student groups. But then again, many graduating members do put the affiliation on their resume, and some Sachems, at least, don’t keep things secret once they graduate. So, why all the secrecy for current members? For one thing, it’s cool to be in a secret organization fighting for good! Isn’t that why the X-Men do it?

In all seriousness, though, before 1952, Spec published the list of new members each year. They stopped doing it as a form of protest against the societies, not because the societies themselves insisted on it. That protest seems to have actually increased the societies’ power, though, or at least their mystique to the rest of the student body. The “secrecy” is a way of maintaining a low profile, but if it only serves to make people more curious, then it is not serving its intended purpose. It shouldn’t really matter if the members are secret, as long as they keep a low profile. If the Sachems and Nacoms once accepted a more open way of doing things, why shouldn’t they still?

Perhaps the privacy has helped the groups do more good while on campus, and it can certainly be argued that they’ve done a lot. Though, again, they tend to keep things private, the Nacoms are known to have donated a CAVA ambulance, while the Sachems started a scholarship fund and helped found the Double Discovery Center (a tutoring organization). And, through secrecy, the groups have managed to avoid some of the pitfalls of campaigning that CCSC and ESC have fallen prey to. Then again, that could also be because no one except current members gets to decide the next group, and there are often “lines,” which tend to pass down to the same position, such as whoever is president of a particular student group. Those who are not part of those lines, or don’t catch the eye of the senior societies for other reasons, will never even be in the running.

So, what should we do about it?

Where Art Thou?
Is this what u were talking about, Claytie?

Is this what u were talking about, Claytie?

Scheduling is the worst/best thing ever. Shrug off some of your extreme class FOMO with other ways to learn cool things (they exist!), courtesy of Arts Editor Madysen Luebke.


  • The New York Historical Society is holding an after-hours viewing of their Bill Cunningham Facades exhibit, along with a screening of Bill Cunningham New York, all for free with an RSVP!  The event starts at 6 pm.
  • Columbia Stages presents The Big White Door by Claytie Mason Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm at Riverside Church room 5T.  Tickets are free!


  • Columbia Classical Players and The Piano Club are holding their second event together Thursday at 8 pm in the Wallach Lounge!  Come hear pieces that these musicians have been working on all semester, and then join in the jam sesh and make music with them afterwards!  Plus, the event is free!
  • Miller Theater presents Tower + Bach, an evening of music by these two composers.  So if you need one more performance to write that Music Hum paper about, get your $7 ticket with CUID and get to the theater for the 8 pm show!

And the weekend’s hardly started.

Bwoglines: You Thought It Was Over Edition

Not today, you crazy young thing you.

Remember last year’s Gillian Flynn craze? Well, they’re making a movie (shocker), it’s being directed by David Fincher, and it has Ben Affleck. Here are some enlightening thoughts on the 96-second trailer. (Vulture)

Oppose de Blasio, and support the horse carriages!.. a sentence we never thought we’d hear ourselves say. (NY Daily News)

NYPD just said it would shut down its “Demographics Unit,” which basically just spied on Muslim groups. How very 2003. (NPR)

Someone thinks SAT scores actually matter. We know. We’re weirded out too. (Slate)

And of course, the requisite weather reference: It snowed/hailed last night, and you sighed exasperatedly, looking nostalgically at your sweaty Bacchanal attire. Put the Hawaiian shirt away, kiddos; it’s sub-50 today. (NY Times)

This man is why normcore exists via Shutterstock