Overheard: Dinner Plans
Happily wondering where his next meal is coming from

Happily wondering where his next meal is coming from

A tipster overheard the following exchange between two students in line for an advising appointment:

Junior: What year are you?
Where you trying to go after this?
Oh, uh, John Jay I guess.
For what?




Blissful shortsightedness via Shutterstock

CUSS With Us

Are you a talented, shining star? Have you ever wanted to go catfishing in Butler or get drunk on a piano? Is getting lost in the Teacher’s College or wearing a giant pumpkin head up your alley? If you’re enthusiastically nodding right now, today is your lucky day!

CUSS (Columbia’s only Bwog’s favorite video sketch group) is looking for comic actors to join its talented ensemble. Auditions will be held tomorrow (Sunday, Jan 25) in Hamilton from 6-9. Signs with the exact room number will be posted in the Hamilton Lobby on the day of auditions. Come prepared with a comedic monologue of your choosing (2 mins or less) or read from one of the sides provided.

CUSS Season 1 Trailer from Bwog on Vimeo.

More questions? Check out the Facebook event or email video@bwog.com for more info.

Nobody Asked Tats: Recruitment Edition
A "candid," as the youths call it.

A “candid,” as the youths call it.

Need bad advice? Interested in seeing your life go up in flames and down the drain? Never fear — our trusty editor Tatini Mal-Sarkar is here to save you from yourself your worst nightmare. Notorious for poor life choices, who better to guide you through the trials and tribulations of the college years? This session, we bring you our handy-dandy guide to that timeless question that likely had even Aristotle scratching his head: what should I wear for rush?

Dear Tats,

Literally all I have ever wanted in this life is to be a sorority girl – or a srat, as they are colloquially known. Next week is rush recruitment, and I’m quivering in my boots at the prospect of impressing a room full of beautiful, polished young women. Such gleaming, styled locks of hair! So many statement accessories! So much coral! So tell me, dear Tats, o proprietor of savory fashion advice, what exactly should I wear for this most perilous of events?

Sincerely, What’s Wrong With Bodycon?


Bwoglines: New Millennium Edition
Leap into something new

Leap into something new.

The National Institutes of Health awarded Columbia Professor Karolynn Siegel and her team $432,000 over two years to study participants’ arousal when using gay hookup apps like Grindr. (The Washington Free Beacon)

Airline staple SkyMall‘s parent company, Xhibit, has filed for bankruptcy. The firm blames the popularity of electronics for its rapidly declining sales figures. The magazine’s biggest creditors are, strangely, Delta and American Airlines; you’d think they’d have seen this coming. (USA Today)

The Jamaican senate is about to consider a bill to drastically relax the nation’s marijuana laws. The bill would decriminalize possession up to two ounces and legalize its use for medicinal and religious (i.e., Rastafarian) purposes, as well as open the doors for the creation of a legal ganja farming industry. (Guardian)

Meanwhile, President Obama said that he expects states to continue to experiment with marijuana legalization and that the federal government will try to stay out of their way. (Washington Post)

The source of a strange blue glow that appeared in the ocean near Hong Kong has been identified as Noctiluca scintillans, a toxic and destructive organism that reproduces rapidly when it comes in contact with farm runoff. At least we have pretty pictures. (AP via National Post)

The march of life via Shutterstock

We Tried The Peter Bailinson Diet
Only slightly less glamorous than our own correspondent.

Only slightly less glamorous than our own correspondent.

What better way to understand the minds of the great than through a diet consisting entirely of symbolic representations of their lifestyles? Inspired by this article at New York Magazine, we decided to apply the technique to true greatness: relatively well known Columbia campus celebrities. Correspondent and celebrity connoisseur Rachel Deal lived a (short) week on the Peter Bailinson diet and reaped the rewards. 


Since Peter is an RA (my RA) and therefore still on the meal plan, I decided to eat my first dinner inspired by Peter at Ferris. Unfortunately, all the tables were full (too early in the semester to order Seamless every night?), so I ended up at a table outside the room on Lerner 5 where CCSC meets. I ate a salad and an apple, and I took a picture of my meal, but I decided that maybe that was something Peter wouldn’t actually do (his Instagram has 0 posts, after all) and quickly deleted it.

I like to imagine that Peter unwinds after a long day by drinking wine and eating popcorn à la Olivia Pope, so I put on my dad’s ratty L.L. Bean sweatshirt (since Peter is from Maine) and drank Diet Coke (ugh, life’s hard when you’re writing an article that your RA will definitely be reading) and ate Costco-brand pop chips.


I woke up late and decided to skip breakfast because I thought maybe Peter would be too busy with meetings to eat. I planned to wear my Bean Boots (New England!) but I realized I had forgotten to bring them back to school with me.

For lunch, I ate a salad and some tortilla soup at John Jay. For dinner, I tried the Indian food at Ferris. I then “de-stressed” again by drinking some “soda” with friends and eating a trail mix granola bar (I feel like Peter would like hiking).


I woke up early to go to a meeting (was chugging coffee during it) (I am basically as busy as Peter), and afterward I ate some Nutella toast and Cheerios at Ferris because Peter told me that he actually does eat breakfast every day.

Peter said he’s been eating a lot of Vine recently, but for lunch I was kind of in a rush, so I settled for some spicy salmon sushi from Café East. For dinner, I headed over to Hewitt (a more low-key atmosphere for a campus celeb like Peter) and had chicken tikka masala and a lemon bar.

That night, I hung out in my Carman double with a few pals (Peter was chilling in his own room only a few doors down!!). I listened to a little bit of Taylor Swift (My favorite song from 1989 is “I Know Places.” Peter, please text me your favorite, thx) before heading out to various late-night Morningside Heights establishments. I ended the night by chilling in the floor lounge with my friend from across the hall and scribbling something on Peter’s white board about wanting to drink wine with him.

Your life, on the Bailinson diet, via Shutterstock

Beat Cornell (And Other Schools) This Weekend
wait they don't look like they're on the same court

Maybe if you ask nicely, you can get their autographs

If you couldn’t tell from the basketball cupcakes in Ferris today, or the advertising in Dodge, or the Facebook event, or the mass e-mail sent from Roar-ee the Lion’s comfortable Florida home, Columbia basketball will have its home opener tomorrow. The women (6-9, 0-1 Ivy) will tip off at 4:30 pm against Cornell (10-5, 1-0 Ivy), while the men (9-6, 1-0 Ivy) start their game against the Big Red (8-9, 0-1 Ivy) at 7:00 pm. The Lions encourage you to come to both games, and they will likely enforce that enthusiasm by handing out all 300 “Beat Cornell” shirts prior to the early game.

The women have already won as many games this season as they did all of last season. The offense, ranked second in the Ivies, is led by sophomore Tori Oliver (17.9 ppg) and freshman Camille Zimmerman (15.1 ppg), who are second and sixth in the league, respectively.  The team also leads the league in rebounds, with senior Amara Mbionwu pacing the team’s physical board effort with 9.6 rpg. The team has reveled in drama this season; they won two games in a row in November in overtime and have traded double digit leads with the opposition in multiple games. Expect the Lions to excel in Levien – 5 of their 6 victories have come in Morningside Heights.

The men’s story, contrary to simplification, is not one about life without Alex Rosenberg. Neither is it about life without Meiko Lyles, Zach En’Wezoh, and Grant Mullins. More inspiring is how those missing 90 minutes per game have been made up. Junior Maodo Lo has rocketed to Ivy stardom since his buzzer beater last postseason, commanding the Lions offense and becoming the primary stealing threat in the league. Freshman Kyle Castlin has become a consistent driving threat, posting a 50% field goal percentage, and senior Steve Frankowski has staked his claim as one of the most reliable perimeter shooters in the Ivies. This team didn’t just hang around with #1 Kentucky – they scared the hell out of them. If they play like they did in Lexington, they win any game, anywhere, on their schedule.

Swimming and Wrestling will host competition this weekend, too!

Student-Faculty Advisory Committee On Race In Education Announced

President Bollinger has just announced in an email to Columbia students that a student-faculty advisory committee is being formed to focus on issues of “race, ethnicity, and equal justice in our society.” The committee will be headed by Suzanne Goldberg, the new Executive Vice President of student life. The full text of the email is shared below.

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

This week’s national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrives at a troubling time for America, at a moment of national reflection on the realities of race in our society. The present cause may be the response of the judicial system to the deaths of black citizens in encounters with the police, including in our own city, but those issues only touch on a far wider set of societal problems and concerns. The simple and hard fact is that, for all the real progress in the nation since the march from Selma and the passage of historic civil rights and voting rights legislation, we still as a country are afflicted by the profound and tragic legacies of a long history of invidious racial discrimination on the bases of race and ethnicities.

I have personally been involved with, and written about, the inequities in our public education system and the responsibilities and hopes of our universities in light of the past and present. Far from living in a supposed “post-racial” society, there is a pervasive re-segregation of our schools, so that many systems today, North as much as South, are as racially segregated as at the time of the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, more than sixty years ago. We do, indeed, have a long way to go.

Now, the question for a great research university like Columbia, whose students, faculty, and alumni have long played such monumental roles in the quest for civil and human rights and social justice, is: what can we do in the ways of research, teaching, and public understanding to contribute to the fundamental changes that still must occur if our nation is finally to transcend the past and live up to its founding principles?

To help answer this question I have asked our new Executive Vice President for University Life, Suzanne Goldberg, to convene a student-faculty advisory committee to develop a slate of programs to add to those that naturally occur on our campus which consider issues of race, ethnicity, and equal justice in our society. We should have discussions across campus to help us understand these critical issues better than we do. To be at Columbia is to experience the wealth of knowledge and expertise we have in these areas of our national life, and it would be enormously beneficial for us all to draw on that wealth and see what we can learn collectively.

Let us use these months ahead to apply the intellectual power and passion for improving our society in ways that not only make Columbia better, but also to realize the promise of our nation’s core principles and, as Dr. King memorably said, to bend the arc of history towards justice.


Lee C. Bollinger

Party Themes Advisable To Avoid

As you prepare yourselves for that rare weekend fueled by life and excitement (instead of the more typical desperation and pent up rage), take a moment to consult the following guide, lest you find yourself featured in our pages next Monday. Whether we have reached an age of new enlightenment, or have just discovered political correctness offers new outlets to express our clear intellectual superiority, cultural dickery just isn’t cool any more. So whether you are throwing a party, considering attending a party, or just sitting in your room resenting your lack of a social life, remember that the time of dinosaurs (and sluts) is past.

  • Jezebel/feminist journalism
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Cops and Robbers
  • Colonial Bros and Navajos
  • Black and White Party or alternatively BLACKOUT
  • White Party
  • Ghetto Fabulous
  • Morning After (Pill)
  • Hoe Down
  • Dinosaurs and Sluts
  • Raise the Roofie
  • Cupid’s Chokehold
  • Cinco de Mayonnaise
  • Eskihoes
  • 1% (Sorry St. A’s…)
Bwoglines: The Youth Claim The World Edition
Clearly qualified to run the world. Look at the selfie game.

Clearly qualified to run the world. Look at the selfie game.

Begin your day by considering the new cultural standard. Thanks to the design of a new hook-up app,  individuals, even regions, can now be graded on their skill at online dating. Enjoy that Manhattan received an A.  Enjoy that the Bronx received an F. Enjoy that this is the world now, thanks to you, the youth. (New York Daily News)

A discussion on this world and the issues it faces was streamed live on YouTube yesterday, held by those figures of greatest influence: our YouTube stars. President Obama was also there. (The White House Blog)

In an appeal directly to the youth, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei released a letter over Twitter yesterday asking young Americans and Europeans learn about Islam from original sources before passing judgement. (New York Times)

Chasing after a market borne of the insatiability of data hungry consumers (read: the youth), Google is entering the wireless service industry. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Finishing your morning off with the reminder that youth need not apply only to individuals and demographics, but to governments as well. Meet the Houthis, who have only just yesterday overthrew Yemen’s government.  Crazy kids! Welcome to the world stage! (Washington Post)

Eminently punchable youth via Shutterstock

Barnard’s First Open Forum On Transgender Admission Policy
Opening the gates

Opening the gates

This afternoon, Barnard College hosted its first community open forum to discuss the potential implementation of a transgender admission policy. Led by President Debora Spar, the forum offered an open and private space for both current Barnard students and alumni to share their thoughts on the college’s pressing issue. While President Spar began the forum requesting that press not report on the specific content of the session, she encouraged members to share their personal experiences from the event. Bwog Managing Editor Courtney Couillard attended the forum and shares her personal experience as a current Barnard student.

Alumni and students filled the Diana Event Oval this afternoon to participate in what seemed like a discussion only Barnard can be bold enough to host: the implementation of a transgender admission policy. Barnard is labeled a “women’s college” and is nationally recognized as a leading college for women to engage academically and socially during their time at college. While most discussion tables around the nation have a mixed population of men and women, Barnard has given permission only to women; women may be the leading voice in a conversation without having to wait their turn, for a man to speak first. This is the beauty of Barnard, and it is one of the main reasons I applied to Barnard as an early decision applicant. I enjoy being challenged on a daily basis in my classrooms to better understand gender and sexuality, and this afternoon’s forum was simply a continuation of the challenging conversations Barnard women are accustomed to.

President Spar began the session by introducing three questions that would guide the discussion of the afternoon:

  1. Should the college consider trans women for admission?
  2. How should the college support the trans men and gender non-conforming student community on campus?
  3. How should Barnard define its status as a women’s college in a world of evolving gender identities?

For over two hours, Barnard women of all ages debated these questions and discussed how we as a collective community will ultimately answer them. Some attendees voiced strong support for the implementation of a policy, citing other minorities who have gained an accepting place at Barnard in the past. Others disagreed by questioning legality issues and the very definition of what it means to be a “woman” applying to a women’s college. Alumni voiced gratitude to students for explaining the complicated definitions and issues of transgender men and women; students gladly reciprocated with patience to explain why they found this forum’s topic important for all current and former Barnard women.

While I cannot go into any specific content of the forum, I can say that it was a powerful discussion on a topic that can be both difficult yet salient for the college. If you are a Barnard student and would like to know what your peers have to say on this topic, I encourage you to attend the next student forum even if you do not intend to speak. All other members of the Columbia community should fill out the online form. We should continue to discuss what the Barnard community seeks to create with the implementation of a transgender community, and we must take the time to understand the other sides of the debate just as much as our own opinion. Barnard has never been known to step down from an important issue on its campus. We must acknowledge that although this conversation may make us uncomfortable, it is important that we continue on with this conversation for the sake of both current and future Barnard students.

Classes To Drop Before You Die
Us in these classes

Us in these classes

The add/drop period for Spring 2015 is upon us, and Bwog is here to help you in this trying time.  Here we provide for you a list of classes to avoid at all costs coupled with our very own CULPA-style reviews.  As always, feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comments.

  • Keith Sanborn, Culture Through Film and Media
    “A film class that is three hours long to accommodate the self-necessitated and self-praised tangents of Professor Sanborn’s lectures to his “lucky” audience—the professor-personality doppelgänger of Woody Allen.”
  • Maja Cerar, Music Hum
    “Professor Cerar is as gentle as a butterfly and about as useful as a teacher.”
  • Louis Brus, Intensive General Chemistry Lecture
    “He’s a smart guy and all, but at the end of every lecture he harped about climate change for a good twenty minutes. Doesn’t he know some of his students are true Texas Republicans that don’t believe in climate change?”
  • Anthony Donoghue, Introduction to Statistics
    “Don’t let the seductive Irish accent fool you: every class is taught like it’s a chore, and Donoghue hates chores.”
  • Various, University Writing
    “Boring as heck, required of all undergraduates. A soul-sucking mire of terrible writing and even more terrible peer-review comments.”
PSA: Barnard Community Forum On Trans Admission Policy Today

Head over to Diana this afternoon

This afternoon President Spar will host Barnard College’s first community forum on the potential implementation of a transgender admission policy. In response to the call from students for a transgender policy, President Spar announced this past December a series of community forums to address the issue. The first forum will be held this afternoon at 4:15 pm in the Event Oval in the Diana Center (LL1). The forum is open only to current and former Barnard students as a BC ID is required for admission. President Spar also requested the event be closed to “press or external communities,” and recordings or photographs of the forum are prohibited.

In regards to the event being solely open to the Barnard community, Dean Avis Hinkson addressed the restriction in an email to Barnard students this morning, saying, “The forums are only open to members of the Barnard community because this is a pivotal moment in terms of how we define ourselves. We want to be sure that any policy decision is based on our collective voice.”

Several more forums will be held this semester to cater to different audiences beyond just students and alumni, including faculty, staff, and parents. The goal of the forums is to allow for members of the Barnard community to openly share their thoughts on the implementation of a transgender admission policy before any actual implementation takes place.  Admission for transgender students to the college is currently reviewed individually for each applicant, and this new policy would do away with admissions’ current approach.

In addition to the forums, Barnard also offers an online form for all members of the Columbia community to share their thoughts on the potential policy.

Read President Spar’s email about the forums here.

Matthew Serpa, GS Student, Has Passed Away

This morning, Dean Harford emailed GS students with news of Matthew Serpa’s death.  Bwog sends its deepest condolences to all those affected.

We remind you of the relevant on campus services in light of this saddening news: Counseling and Psychological Services, Furman counseling, the Office of the University Chaplain, and Nightline Peer Listening are all available for support.

Here is the email that was sent to GS students:

Dear Students,

It is with great sadness that I must share with you the news of the passing of GS student Matthew Serpa who first enrolled last semester and was studying history and political science.  Born in Arlington, Virginia, Matthew served in the U.S. Army for four years and deployed to Afghanistan prior to attending Columbia University.  I know that all of you join me in sending our deepest condolences to Matthew’s family and friends.

Whenever we lose someone within the Columbia community, we are all affected by it, whether or not we know the person well.  Such a loss can bring about feelings of grief and may bring back memories of other painful losses. Please know that your academic advisor, the staff at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), and members of the Office of the University Chaplain are all available to provide you with any additional support you might need at this time.  We have listed their contact information for you below.

With sympathy,

Tom Harford
Dean of Students
School of General Studies
Columbia University
Counseling and Psychological Services
8th Floor Lerner Hall

Office of the University Chaplain

GS Office of the Dean of Students

Suzanne Goldberg Appointed Executive Vice President For University Life

Suzanne Goldberg

Previously both a Law School professor and founder and director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law,  as well as President Bollinger’s Special Advisor on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Professor Suzanne Goldberg is taking on a brand new role as Executive Vice President for University Life. She will retain her Law School positions, but will end her advisory role.

The new role, according to an email from Robert Hornsby, entails working with the campus community at large to advance the academic and communal experiences of everyone at Columbia, including students, faculty and staff. The University Life office will “serve as a primary place of engagement for issues of campus-wide concern…,” among performing other functions.

Read PrezBo’s full email about the change after the jump.

Bwoglines: What A World Edition
Adult males legally selling newspapers in the subway in the 1990s.  What a strange and unfamiliar world!

Adult males legally selling newspapers in the subway in the 1990s.

A large fire destroyed an apartment complex in Edgewater, New Jersey last night.  You may have seen the inferno blazing for several hours across the river.  A few firefighters were hurt, and there were no additional injuries. (NJ.com)

Sheldon Silver, speaker of the NY Assembly for more than twenty years, has been arrested on corruption charges.  Time for another edition of Bwog’s beloved conspiracy theories? (New York Times)

The subway used to be a strange and scary place in the ’90s. (Gothamist)

Nicolas Cage starring in bin Laden-inspired comedy.  Our favorite odd couple! (NY Daily News)

No Cake for Hate 2k15! (KFOR)

’90s kids via Shutterstock