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Jul

18

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This afternoon, Barnard students, faculty, and other community members received a welcome email from the college’s eighth president, Sian Leah Beilock.

Beilock expressed her enthusiasm at jumping into her new role, noting that “settling in slowly is not an option at Barnard.” She spoke highly of the college’s students, faculty, location, and alumnae, extolling Barnard’s “unique – and singular – position as a small women’s college associated with a major research university” and its commitment to “challenge assumptions, broaden awareness, and hone abilities to think critically.” Beilock also specifically spoke to the intellectual capabilities of Barnard students and the “lifelong community of women” that they form.

“I look forward to hearing from you, listening to you, and engaging with you,” Beilock wrote. “Together, we will demonstrate the power of intellectual leadership in the lives we lead, academically, professionally, and as citizens of the world.”

The email also included a video (which you can find after the jump) of President Beilock introducing herself to and talking with a few members of the Barnard community. Like the students she will soon lead, she walked through Altschul and the Diana, hung out in the quad, and tried a slice of Koronet pizza. New college presidents: they’re just like us!

Read Beilock’s full email after the break

Jul

13

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Update: The Bwog Editorial Board later received an email with the University’s statement on July 13, at 9:29 PM. We’ve appended the full text of the University statement at the end of this article, and have rectified any statements premised upon not having received this private statement.

According to the docket of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, “The parties in the above-referenced case [Paul Nungesser v. Columbia University] have filed a stipulation withdrawing this appeal pursuant to FRAP 42.” As related by the documents included below, the settlement was officially reached on Monday, July 10. Paul Nungesser, CC ’15, gained fame and notoriety two years ago in conjunction with a rape allegation against him by Emma Sulkowicz, CC ’15. Nungesser’s case, originally filed in April 2015, alleged that Columbia had committed a Title IX violation in allowing Sulkowicz to receive academic credit for her “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight),” a performance art piece in which Sulkowicz carried her mattress with her around campus in order to call attention to Nungesser’s lack of punishment by the university. This case was initially thrown out by the court on the grounds that Nungesser’s complaint did not fulfill Title IX qualifications, but was then re-filed last spring.

Although we have included the documents relating to the withdrawal of Nungesser’s appeal below as evidence of the settlement, there is no publicly released statement regarding this settlement from either the press release archive of Columbia University, the official statements of the Office of the President, or the statements of Columbia’s law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, which has released two press releases in the past regarding the initial dismissal of Nungesser’s suit.

In a Columbia Daily Spectator article released earlier today, two official statements are included. The quotes contained are now understood to have originated in a private statement transmitted by the University. Although we can now confirm the source of these statements, our journalistic judgement at the time of publishing relied upon the Spectator’s lack of citation of the source of this statement. This led us to confirm the settlement via publicly available court documents—documents which we found journalistically prudent to reproduce as evidence of our organization’s statements.

If any new information is received, Bwog will update this article accordingly.

Read the court documents after the jump

Jul

3

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Editor’s Note: This article describes and discusses details of sexual assault. All documents provided are Public Domain and come from the docket of the Southern District Court of New York.

According to the docket of the Southern District Court of New York, Defendant Columbia University and Plaintiff Amelia Roskin-Frazee will voice their oral arguments on August 8th regarding Roskin-Frazee’s lawsuit against the school. Though scantily covered by Spec and the New York Daily News, both the physical documents of Columbia’s most recent Motion to Dismiss Roskin-Frazee’s suit as well as Roskin-Frazee’s counterarguments against Columbia’s Motion remain unprovided and underreported. In this article, we will cover the full background to this case, the recent developments, and provide copies of all documents related to the suit.

Roskin-Frazee’s Complaint Against Columbia

Roskin-Frazee first provides a background to Columbia’s history of sexual assault, wherein the plaintiff alleges that Columbia “has a history of violating Title IX when responding to reports of sexual misconduct,” pointing to the 23 students in April of 2014 “filing administrative complaints with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (‘OCR’), alleging that COLUMBIA violated Title IX”; as well as the general history of Emma Sulkowicz and her “Carry That Weight” project; No Red Tape; and the protests against Dean Cristen Kromm in March of 2016. She further establishes the policies regarding Title IX and the University’s Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures For Students, which Columbia is alleged to have violated. These include standards of reporting any suspected incidents to the Gender Based Misconduct Office, the Office’s requirement to investigate “regardless of whether a complainant wishes to report the incident or not,” and the various accommodations intended to provide support and relief. These accommodations, specifically, include the moving of a student’s residence, the changing of a student’s schedule, the allowing of a student to withdraw from or retake a class without penalty, and the providing of tutoring or other academic assistance.

The specific incidents Roskin-Frazee’s complaint alleges to have occurred begin with an October of 2015 sexual assault in her Hartley dorm room. At the time, the doors to at least some of Hartley Hall’s suites did not automatically lock, leading Roskin-Frazee’s suite to leave their suite door unlocked. As a result, the plaintiff reports that an unidentified man gained access to her specific room and committed sexual assault against her. Roskin-Frazee claims in her complaint that she attempted to schedule an appointment with the Women’s Health department of Columbia’s Medical Services, but could neither schedule an immediate appointment online, over the phone, nor as a walk-in patient. Exasperated, Roskin-Frazee scheduled an appointment for “flu-like” symptoms, where she then claimed to be “experiencing genital pain,” only to be told that she “shouldn’t have such rough sex again.” As a result of her lack of treatment, Roskin-Frazee contacted Columbia’s Sexual Violence Response Hotline (SVR), where she claimed that the SVR representative advised her to contact the police, and commented that “even though Plaintiff is lesbian, she should have been on birth control.” The SVR Staff Advocate she was later connected to “was unaware of Plaintiff’s rights and options under Title IX or any ability to receive academic or housing accommodations.” Despite this, the Staff Advocate set up a meeting with Roskin-Frazee the next day.

Click to continue reading the details of the lawsuit

Jul

2

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With May and June behind us like a booty, some of us may have forgotten about the nice little mole at the top of the Upper West Side. Sweet Columbia, we miss you like we miss the smell of fresh mulch in April. Okay seriously, for those of you who have been wondering about the happenings of our New York City college town, here’s an update:

  • Arguably, the best thing about June is that it’s Pride Month. The city is full of rainbows and celebrating its LGBTQ+ population. Columbia celebrated by lighting up the columns on Low Library in rainbow colors, as well as by opening a new exhibit at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library called “Pride of Lions.” The exhibit showcased the historic role that LGBTQ+ groups have played on Columbia’s campus – highlighting the fact that the very first collegiate LGBTQ+ organization actually started at Columbia, way back in 1966.
  • Columbia Law School broke the internet on June 8, the day of James Comey’s congressional hearing. During the hearing, Comey said that he had confided in a “good friend” about the going on of a shady meeting with President Trump. All Comey said about the identity of this “friend” was that he is a professor at Columbia Law School. Within minutes, the Columbia Law School faculty page had crashed. Oops.
  • Shariq Jumani’s Gofundme has reached 83% of its goal. In the last update posted by his friends and family two weeks ago, he had a tracheostomy to help with his breathing. However, he is recovering, and even woke up to interact with them.
  • Barnard has a new president (and a new Title IX Coordinator).
  • Vine closed!!!! In their voicemail, they said it’s just for renovation. Hopefully, they renovate their attitudes in addition to the countertops.
  • There is some construction happening in front of Butler. Facilities wouldn’t tell us what’s up, but we’re hoping for a moving sidewalk connecting Butler to College Walk. Updates to come.

Pictures and field notes after the jump!

May

12

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Gonna miss these sunrises

This spring has been full of drama. From CCSC overtimes to shit in unexpected places, Columbia doesn’t seem to be able to agree on anything. Bwog has been here to cover all of the action, whether it’s debates on the value of John JJ’s (*vajj’s) or students suing their school. Here’s a recap of this semester’s highlights, before we peace out for the summer.

To kick off the semester, we stirred things up a bit by changing our Bwoglines format. Columbia stirred things up more by flooding JJ’s Place. A back-up was created by converting John Jay to John JJ’s – more seating, less fooseball. We tried to come up with a better nickname than John JJ’s, but it didn’t really stick.

Barnard dorms were infested with mice, and Barnard contingent faculty were infested with anger at the administration. They threatened to strike, but a deal was reached before the deadline hit. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet talked to Columbia students. Our basketball team played some games (well, but not well enough to make it to the Ivy League Championship). Sorority and fraternity recruitment happened, and we tried to explain them.

Spec columnist and Federalist founder Neil Gorsuch, CC ’88, was nominated (and eventually selected) for the Supreme Court. The only people at Columbia truly happy about this decision was the Fed, which briefly marketed itself as “Columbia’s Only Newspaper Founded By a Supreme Court Justice. Seriously.” Meanwhile at the more local level of government, ESC VP of Policy Sid Perkins, SEAS ’17 tried – and failed – to get Legos installed in Carleton Commons. This failure pissed him off enough to initiate a long resolution on stress culture and student government’s relationship with the administration.

While we celebrated our eleventh birthday, students protested Trump’s Muslim ban, in what was perhaps the largest rally on campus this semester. The administration also expressed anger at the ban, albeit in a quieter and more formal manner.

We also had February, March, April, and a lil bit of May

May

12

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After reportedly consulting with advisors, faculty members, students, and the policies of peer institutions, the Columbia College and School of General Studies Committee has updated academic policy in the following ways to “enable all students [to pursue] deep and thoughtful engagement in their academici pursuits, adequate time for extracurricular… opportunities… and a healthy and fulfilling undergraduate experience”:

  • Students can only take a maximum of 18 credits per semester.
  • Students can only declare a maximum of two “programs of study” (e.g. two majors or a major and a concentration).
  • Students pursuing two programs of study can count certain courses towards both programs of study.

Students who have already declared more than two programs of study and/or have created plans for an academic schedule according to the previous policy can petition for exceptions after consulting their advisers and the Director(s) of their respective academic department(s).

The ~official~, detailed policy can be found here.

The policy will take effect this Fall 2017.

May

11

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What first-years campaigning for CCSC next fall will be like

We know. It was reading week, now it’s finals and summer and graduation are just a few hours away. You don’t want to hear about weird quorum rules and comma splices, you want to leave! But for incoming first-years, this isn’t the last day of spring semester – it’s one day closer to starting school at Columbia. To help that incoming class prepare for a foray into student government, Guest Writer Ufon Umanah has put together an overview of CCSC politics.

Here’s the thing. CCSC is not the administration, which can do most things. But CCSC, for better or for worse, became a conduit for many issues on campus, and there are many ways their advocacy might affect you. So whether you’re waiting to graduate from high school or waiting to toss reams of notes out the window, here’s a viewing guide for the antics of CCSC next year.

The State of Health

The mental health situation has always been bad at Columbia, but after a cluster of suicides last winter, mental health took central stage in student politics. It was the topic of an ad hoc town hall this semester. Every party running for Executive Board or Class Council had something about mental health and CPS. When CCSC considered adding a mental health and wellness representative, Vice President of 2020 James Ritchie argued that because everyone elected ran to fix mental health, creating said representative would be shirking the job they ran to do themselves. In short, they’re going to try to do something on mental health. We just don’t know if the administration will be responsive.

Divestment Do-Overs

CUAD announced in February that it would circulate a petition to get a resolution on the ballot for CCSC. On what, you ask? On whether to support CUAD’s campaign against Israel, specifically companies operating in the West Bank. After not gathering the 15% necessary to force a vote, the resolution failed in a dramatic 4-hour meeting on April 2nd. Following this, CUAD pledged to return with the 15% of signatures from the student body of CC necessary to force a ballot resolution. Things are sure to get even more contentious when CCSC is forced to address this again.

More on CCSC after the jump

May

10

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Why are the lines so long at Ferris? Where have the remains of Maggie the Magnolia gone? Why is it still cold even though it’s literally May? The fact that we’re pondering these questions instead of studying for finals means that it’s time for a Dark Night of the Soul. What a strange sad week it’s been.

All photos via Bwog Staff

May

8

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NoCo is a place where humanities students study, apparently.

For the past few finals seasons, we’ve revealed the exciting underbelly of the Libraries’ room reservation page. Between danmemes and cries for help, it turns out Columbia’s student body is fairly active in the wee hours of the morning. Whether it’s delirium or some sort of masochistic joke on the institution we call home, something related to finals and Reading Week™ really inspires a creative edge in our academic peers. Below you’ll find some of the more interesting titles and descriptions submitted in the past two weeks for room reservations in Butler. We’ve even got a few from NoCo and Lehman!

You can find the full room reservation page here.

Shady Work

See more reservations here

May

8

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If only Swedish Fish were the real key to studying

Good morning, Columbia! It’s the first day of finals week! Just a few more days of studying and then we can all go the hell home. You can do it. I believe in you. 

Bwogline: The lineup for Meadows Music and Arts Festival is out! This year, check out Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz, and more.

Study Tip: Did you know that omega-3 fatty acids can lower test anxiety? Maybe it’s time to invest in some of those weird fish gummies. No, not Swedish Fish—the vitamin ones you buy at Duane Reade.

Music: Need some high-energy jamz to keep you awake through those late night study sessions? Well you’re in luck, because LCD Soundsystem just dropped two new songs, and they’re fucking good. You’re welcome.

Procrastination: Get crafty. My latest obsession is beaded friendship bracelets. Find some lettered beads and let our your angst by spelling out phrases like “fuck finals” and “at least I’m not in SEAS.” Wear your bracelets with pride as you wither away in Butler; at least you’ll have some motivation every time you look down at your wrist.

Overseen: So, someone is trying to sell a snake on Barnard Buy Sell Trade. If you’re looking for a cute and quirky pet to adopt for the summer, you’re in luck.

Image via Candy Crate

May

7

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Columbia, columbia, we scream for thee

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream–actually, we all scream because we’re stressed af! Finals aren’t done yet (soon, though). Midnight tonight outside Butler (but also, everywhere), there will be a semesterly primal scream, wherein studious members of the Columbia community gather together to scream their hearts out. Don’t be bothered. It’s natural. It’s primal!

May

4

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Us asking Ann to let the band in

While 2017 has unofficially been dragging us through the earth for the past four months, we have yet to truly be roasted. That all changes tonight—Orgo Night is finally here! Bring some water and aloe vera to Butler 209 outside of Butler, and apply to burns as needed. See you there!

Orgo Night Spring 2017 by Bwog on Scribd

May

4

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Where Columbia had its first beer seems to have had its last.

Last week, we found out that beloved senior night bar Bernheim & Schwartz is closing its doors. While the real reasons for the closing may be unknown, we have an idea… 

If you’re under 21, you’ve probably been told a million times not to go to Bernheim & Schwartz—word on the street is they’re super strict on fake ID’s. The bouncers don’t hesitate to confiscate your fake, leaving you shit outta luck if you only have one copy (or already had your other one confiscated elsewhere). This, we believe, is why Bernheim closed.

Think about it. If you go to 1020 on a Friday night, it’s completely packed. Yes, half the bar is probably freshman, but those freshmen are buying drinks. Underage students are never going to willingly choose to go to Bernheim because they know they won’t be able to get in. Without the population of several hundred (if not thousand) underage Columbians recklessly pumping money into your bar every weekend, you are undoubtedly going to fall behind. Bernheim lost all of its business to its MoHi competitors because they denied all of the underage revenue.

Yes, carelessly accepting fake IDs is a tricky move on the bar’s behalf. Fines for getting caught (let alone legal charges) are enough to deter plenty of bars from letting in minors. But in Morningside Heights, there simply isn’t the backup demographic of 21+ people that you’d find downtown. If you’re over 21 and living in Morningside Heights, you’re either an old professor or a grad student. Professors don’t go out. (Well, most don’t). Grad students definitely do, but not nearly as often as wild freshman (and grad students typically know better than to waste all their money at bars). Relying on a bunch of stressed out, international Columbia Law students to sustain your bar every weekend is a foolish move.

It’s unfortunate that weekly senior night wasn’t enough to sustain Bernheim. Where will the rising seniors go now? Are they gonna move the party to Arts & Crafts? We guess we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, let adults everywhere mourn the loss of Bernheim & Schwartz—underage kids certainly won’t be upset. Turns out it’s not where Columbia had its first beer, after all. RIP BoSchwo.

NOTE: Bwog does not encourage illegal activity of any kind.

Image via BeerGuideNYC

 

May

2

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Early this afternoon, Barnard students and staff received an email from Interim President and COO Rob Goldberg on a new Council on Diversity and Inclusion. This Council is being established as a result of the Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion’s work over the past year. Its goals include to “expand the dialogue about diversity, inclusion and equity” and “advise Barnard’s senior leadership and the Board of Trustees on ways to create a more inclusive community.” If this sounds a bit vague, you can read the Council’s charter for more elaboration.

The new Council will consist of three students (representing the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020), three faculty members (representing tenured, non-tenured, and renewed and renewable faculty), two administrative staff members, two collective bargaining unit staff members, two trustees, and two alumni. The students will serve one-year renewable terms, while all other members will serve one- to three-year renewable terms. Current plans are for the Council to meet on Thursdays starting on September 14, with times rotating between 9 to 10:30 am and 4 to 5:30 pm.

Nominations for the Council can be made from today until May 15 on this Google form. The committee members will then be selected by Interim President Goldberg and Debra Minkoff, sociology professor, Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development, co-chair of the Task Force, and initial chair of the Council. Any questions about the Council can be directed to presidentsoffice@barnard.edu.

Read Goldberg’s full email after the jump

May

2

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Getting up close and personal

Orgo Night in Butler 209 from Fall 2015.

This morning, Bwog received a tip from the CU Marching Band. Attached was a letter from the CUMB addressed to Ann Thornton as well as the Columbia community, demanding change after last semester’s act of censorship by the school which kicked the Band out of Butler 209. In their letter, CUMB stated its grievances yet again: Columbia tradition is fading, this act of censorship was neither negotiated nor discussed, and trying to get rid of Orgo Night proves that the administration is “actively trying to silence [their] voices.” According to CUMB, Ann Thornton has advocated for frisbee parties in the library, blatantly disregarding the Orgo Night debacle. Also, when CUMB alumni began creating a pamphlet in defense of the Columbia tradition, Thornton along with other administrators released a statement that claimed that they were collaborating with students for Orgo Night, which the Band claims to be false.

While the future of Orgo Night might remain uncertain, one thing seems clear: CUMB is not going down without a fight. Want to see the letter for yourself? You know what to do.

The full text of the letter is after the jump.

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