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Apr

11

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A meeting room more crowded than usual in recent weeks

Voting on SGA elections begins today, and this year, Barnard students will be voting on whether or not they believe Barnard should divest from eight companies that are associated with or support Israel. These certain companies were singled out in Columbia University Apartheid Divest’s campaign for divestment due to their involvement in and profit from violence against Palestinians.

To be clear, the referendum does not automatically cause Barnard to divest from these companies if it passes. Instead, if it does pass, SGA will write a letter in support of divestment to the Barnard Board of Trustees. The text of the referendum lists the companies from which SGA would recommend Barnard should divest and specifies the reasoning, which varies from construction equipment companies that are involved in home demolition and settlement-building, to an Israeli utility company that restricts Palestinians’ access to water. The referendum does not use the words “apartheid” or “violence,” instead referring more vaguely to “violations of international law” and Israel’s “treatment” of Palestinians. It also does not make reference to CUAD.

The referendum came as a result of two contentious SGA meetings. In the first, CUAD gave a presentation to the council on divestment, and notably, SGA announced a referendum without CUAD having requested one. In the following meeting, Aryeh, one of Columbia’s pro-Israel student groups, gave a presentation to SGA about why they believe divestment from Israel is divisive and harmful. Again, the referendum is for SGA to “gauge student body sentiment” on the issue, which will then reflect how they as a council move forward with respect to divestment (after which Barnard’s Board of Trustees can choose to take into account or not).

CUAD proposed a similar referendum to CCSC last year in a tense meeting that lasted about four hours, but the council rejected their request.

Voting lasts until April 18th.

Editor’s note, 12:30 pm: The photo on this article has been changed from a CUAD flyer encouraging students to vote yes in the referendum to a more neutral image. The original photo suggested a Bwog endorsement of CUAD, which is not the intention of this article; this article is meant to inform students about the context and content of the referendum without presenting a bias for either position.

You can read the full text of the referendum, which details each company’s involvement with Israeli occupation, after the jump:

Apr

5

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Did you find someone to run off into the sunset with via Senior Scramble?

Didn’t get the Senior Scramble matches you were expecting? You weren’t the only one, and there may be a reason for that. Bwog has received numerous reports from seniors that they believe the Senior Scramble algorithm did not work correctly, and that they did not receive as many matches as they should have.

For the uninitiated (read: underclassmen), Senior Scramble is like Tinder before Tinder existed–Seniors each list 10 UNIs of people they would like to hook up with before graduating, and if any of those people list them as well, they’ll get an email notifying them of the match in time for 40s on 40.

Numerous seniors, though, have claimed that they didn’t get the matches they were supposed to get–we have received reports of people who believe they should have received more matches, which makes us think these people just have big egos, but interestingly, we have also heard of friends who agreed to list each other platonically who did not match.

So did the algorithm actually not work, or is the dearth of supposed matches due to human error (perhaps typing in a UNI wrong)? Are students saying they put people down that they didn’t? In a statement to Bwog, Senior Underground says that the code did, in fact, work correctly–after concerns were raised, the code was checked over, and SU maintains that all matches were sent out.

Think you were supposed to match with someone that you didn’t? Maybe approach them anyway–with the level of desperation at this school, it will probably work out.

tru wuv via Bwog Archives

Feb

6

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Alma Bwogger Rachel Deal sends an unsuccessful plea to JJs and the other Columbia dining halls to keep her ultimate drunk food, cereal, in stock at all times. In short: Get on Hewitt’s level. 

Cereal is one of my favorite foods, and I could eat it for every meal, probably. Need some breakfast? Cereal. Want something to supplement your Ferris salad? Cereal. Want a healthier dessert option? Cereal. Hungry before bed? Cereal.

Despite cereal’s obvious versatility, though, the only dining hall that keeps the cereal out for every meal is Hewitt (which is necessary because Hewitt’s options are often lackluster). Beyond this, too, JJ’s doesn’t have cereal at all, which seems like a missed opportunity considering all I ever really want to eat at 2 AM is Cheerios.

What happened when Rachel messaged CU Dining…

Dec

7

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Did you guys go to the “Columbia College Winter Celebration” tonight? Did you enjoy jockeying in an unruly hoard for free mugs and t-shirts as Deantini watched on with empty eyes? Did you feel like part of a community?

Check out the cover photo for the Facebook event above–why is “and the opportunity to meet your deans” in larger font than the part about the free stuff they were giving out? To be honest, I care a lot more about marshmallows than I do about Deantini. Also, if a perk of an event is to meet our deans, maybe said deans shouldn’t be so damn aloof in the first place. There’s definitely a problem with our campus culture if people are so surprised when they see Deantini that they take selfies with him! I tried to post about this in the Facebook event, but my post wasn’t approved (even after I texted CCSC President Nathan Rosin demanding that he approve it–love ya, Nathan!).

Anyway, the shirts and mugs are pretty cool. Apparently the baked potatoes were good and the mac n’ cheese was bad. I left without trying any of the food because I was stressed and overwhelmed after sacrificing my personal space at the altar of materialism. I didn’t get there early enough for a beanie because I was at office hours, but let me know below what you think of yours!

Oct

4

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How do we look?????

We got to chill with PrezBo last night while he talked to students and answered questions at the Fireside Chat. Alma Bwogger Rachel Deal was there to tell you what he said and to get a pic with the man of the hour (who, as always, was squinting in the photo).

Last night, President Bollinger sat with students and answered questions at his semesterly Fireside Chat with the help of an array of administrators. In attendance were Vice President of University Life Suzanne Goldberg (who scuttled in late carrying a bike helmet), GS Dean of Students Tom Harford, Vice President for Campus Services Scott Wright, Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm, University Chaplain Jewelnel Davis, Vice President for Public Affairs Scott Schell, and Director of Media Relations Caroline Adelman.

The first question of the evening was unexpected–a member of the Columbia Vegan Society asked about meat consumption in the dining halls, saying that they had been trying to come up with new solutions with Dining, but he claimed that the Head of Dining had threatened “retaliation” if the Vegan Society were to stage a protest. PrezBo was confused, saying that he did not think anyone in the administration would threaten to retaliate against a student, and then Scott Wright talked about Green Mondays and the addition of 200 vegetarian entrées to the dining hall menus this year.

The next question elicited a familiar response from PrezBo–a student asked him to name one trend that is cause of optimism and one for concern that he’s noticed throughout his time as an academic administrator. PrezBo said he was optimistic about a “will to take on controversial issues in your generation.” He said he was concerned, though, about students caring more about “making money” than engaging with the world in a “public service way.” He did admit, though, that such a drive to make money makes sense with the insane amount of debt with which students are faced. He then delved into a longer speech about how he doesn’t understand the current generation of students–”What the hell is going on with you?” he asked. He then asked the students in the audience to attempt to explain their “generation,” which felt kind of uncomfortable.

DACA, Manhattanville, and more controversies after the jump

Oct

3

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The New York Times reported yesterday that a graduate student is suing Columbia over “deliberate indifference” to claims of sexual harassment. The student, who remains anonymous, alleges that William V. Harris, a professor of Greco-Roman History, forced himself upon her, and that when she reported the harassment to colleagues and university officials, they did not take the proper steps to investigate or stop the behavior. The student claims, too, that the University has long known about Harris’s allegedly predatory behavior toward female students but has failed to address it.

The student says that she met Harris at a lecture in 2014, and he offered to mentor her. The student claims that his behavior slowly escalated over the course of their weekly one-on-one meetings–she says he groped her multiple times and requested sexual intercourse. She also claims that he asked her to accompany him on a professional trip, but only booked one hotel room and tried to engage in sexual contact.

The student reported this behavior to the University, but told the Times that she decided to file the civil suit because she was displeased with the lack of progress the University has made in investigating the allegations.

Harris is currently teaching two undergraduate courses–Roman Social History and the Environmental History of the Ancient Mediterranean.

The University released the following statement to us:

We treat any claim of harassment or other gender-based misconduct in our community with the utmost seriousness, but we do not comment in the press on allegations made in legal complaints.

Mar

23

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You sure you don’t want to know which frats belong in which circle of hell?

You asked, and we delivered. Here is our official ranking of all of the fraternities on campus.

Our official rankings after the jump:

Mar

21

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Editor’s note: This article discusses and describes details of sexual assault.

Amelia Roskin-Frazee, CC ’19, has filed a lawsuit against the University alleging Title IX violations. In a press conference this morning, she and her lawyer, Alex Zalkin, described Columbia’s inaction and mishandling of a Gender-Based Misconduct complaint she filed last year.

Roskin-Frazee alleges she was raped twice in her dorm room in Hartley during her first semester at Columbia. At the time, the doors in Hartley did not automatically lock, and Roskin-Frazee’s suitemates would often leave the suite door unlocked, allowing the man whom Roskin-Frazee believes to be a student to enter her room on the occasions of the assaults. Immediately after the first assault, she called Columbia’s Sexual Violence Response hotline, but she was unable to speak with a trained representative until an hour after she called. She says that she was also not informed of her rights under federal law, and that she was told that she should go on birth control (despite her being gay). She reported her first assault twice–to her academic advisor and to Professor Suzanne Goldberg, the Executive Vice President of University Life–and they both failed to report Roskin-Frazee’s claim to the Office of Gender-Based Misconduct. The suit also claims she was assaulted again a few weeks later, as she was treated at St. Luke’s for injuries related to the rape. The school did not begin to investigate her claims until the next fall, and during their investigation of the incidents, Roskin-Frazee says that the school did not interview anyone or review security footage or swipe-in logs. The investigation concluded 26 days later, with the University claiming that they could find nothing.

Roskin-Frazee is suing Columbia for damages, punitive damages, and medical and psychological expenses. “To be blunt,” she said during the press conference, “I am suing Columbia because I’m angry. I’m angry that Columbia administrators declined to investigate my first rape in October 2015, ignored when I was beaten and sexually assaulted for a second time in December 2015, and still fail to provide me with sufficient and prompt accommodations.”

In the past, accused perpetrators (such as Paul Nungesser, CC ’15 and another male student who remained anonymous) have sued Columbia for supposed Title IX violations, but Roskin-Frazee is the first survivor of sexual assault to file a civil suit against the school in recent memory.

We will update this post with the full text of the civil suit soon. We have also reached out to the University, and they will be releasing an official statement shortly.

UPDATE, 2:12 pm: We have received a statement from the University; you can read it, as well as the press release, below the jump.

UPDATE, 3:08 pm: We have updated the post with text of the civil suit.

CU statement, press release, full suit:

Feb

17

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Oops is right

Whoops!

According to the New York Times, Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health recently sent out acceptance emails to 277 prospective graduate students–except these students hadn’t actually been accepted into the school. About 75 minutes later, the School of Public Health’s admissions office sent out a follow-up email correcting their mistake. The accidental acceptance emails, they said, were sent out due to “human error.” Oops!

While this is frustrating for the prospective students involved, this sort of thing has happened before–as the Times explains, schools like Carnegie Mellon, Tulane, and Fordham have made similar mistakes in the past. We just hope whoever made said “human error” doesn’t get fired!

Feb

5

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pipes

Innocent pipes? Not quite.

Alma Bwogger and soon-to-be model Rachel Deal, has had enough of the facilities that hide in her wall and her nightmares. Please send help.

The pipes in my walls bang. Loudly. I wake up in the middle of the night, multiple times a night, to the wall next to my head vibrating as the pipes clang. It started happening in late October, I think, when the heat first came on in our building.

If you live in a building heated by steam (which most of the dorms are, I believe), you may be experiencing this issue as well. According to Digg, the cause of this incessant banging is sagging pipes (or pipes that weren’t put in properly in the first place). Steam condenses, leaving water that can’t drain because of said drooping pipes. Water droplets are then picked up by steam passing through the pipes, and they somehow ricochet off the pipe walls, creating that sound.

The only way to fix it, apparently, is to replace or adjust the pipes…and we know that’s not going to happen. I tried to convince Facilities, but they said there was nothing they could do.

There are a few things that I’ve tried to block out the noise: ear plugs (they always pop out of my ears? What am I doing wrong?), smothering myself with pillows (pretty effective but you can still feel the wall vibrating), and screaming over the sound (my roommate loves me). Have any other suggestions? Leave a comment below.

Image via Blog Tips

Jan

18

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Where we learned what Bad and Boujee meant to Donald Glover

Where we learned what Bad and Boujee meant to Donald Glover

Whether you took a plane from across the world or took a walk from a few blocks away, we’ve all returned to campus and are remembering how tiring (and wet) Columbia can be. Before we get back to working hard (or hardly working), here is a playlist to add some bump to your grind. 

  1. Cranes in the Sky by Solange – “It’s like [the Barnard crane] in the sky.”
  2. Am Bet’alaa Feek by Nancy Ajram – A song of longing for when you’re trying to get off that seminar waitlist.
  3. Caroline by Aminé – An upbeat tune that will get you ready for your 8:40 (ugh).
  4. Pray by Terror Jr – Like the moody boy in your CC class, this song talks about the connection between sex and religion.
  5. Vesperae solennes de confessore in C Major, K. 339: IV. Laudate Dominum by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – A different sort of prayer than the former (s/o to Music Hum for introducing us to this piece).
  6. Bad and Boujee (feat. Lil Uzi Vert) by Migos – The source of every Instagram caption of the past couple of weeks…it’s a good song, though.
  7. Star Roving by Slowdive – The first Slowdive release in 22 years, this song is good for wandering around campus on a grey day like today.
  8. Mad by Solange & Lil Wayne – More Solange because this album is excellent (as is this Lil Wayne feature).
  9. Party Monster by The Weeknd – A dark tune for winter weekend nights.
  10. If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys – “I don’t want nothing at all/If it ain’t you, baby/If I ain’t got you, baby”–a song for reuniting with friends after winter vacation.

Dec

14

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buy sell memes

Bwog’s personal favorite meme from the group

Former Editor in Chief Rachel Deal sat down with sophomores Christina Hill, Sam Nussenzweig, and Evan de Lara, three of the admins of the the Facebook group columbia buy sell memes, to talk about meme-making, procrastination, and campus culture. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Bwog: How and when did this Facebook group first start?

Christina Hill: It started on Monday of this past week on December 5th. It happened super randomly. Lauren Beltrone [another admin who was not present for the interview] was the first one who was like, “Let’s just make a meme group,” and so she made it and added us as admins.

Bwog: How do you all know each other?

CH: I knew Lauren from high school, and then the three of us here knew each other because we lived on the same Carman floor last year. So we all, in our group chat, we’d always send memes.

Bwog: Why the buy/sell format?

Evan de Lara: I think that was an accident.

Sam Nussenzweig: Well, no, it was based off of Barnard Buy Sell Trade, right?

CH: I told Lauren that it should be buy/sell because I had seen some other meme Facebook groups that were buy/sell. I think it’s funny. I think it adds more options for people to, like, write descriptions or whatever.

Bwog: I was wondering if it was related to the idea of meme-making as “meme production” and how some people talk about that in terms of Marxist theory.

EDL: We definitely didn’t think about that.

SN: Yeah, we haven’t learned Marx in CC yet.

More about the admins’ moderating philosophy and their favorite memes after the jump.

Oct

11

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Do we look cute in this pic with PrezBo?

Do we look cute in this pic with PrezBo?

Last night, PrezBo emerged from his cave for an hour to chat with undergraduates and squint in photos. Editor in Chief Rachel Deal brings you a report of what was said, along with a cute pic she took with the President of the University himself.

Last night, PrezBo took some time out of his busy schedule of commuting back and forth from his vacation home in Vermont to entertain questions from a select group of undergrads at his semesterly Fireside Chat event. Also in attendance (in order to assist with questions) were GS Dean of Students Tom Harford, Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm, Vice President of University Life Suzanne Goldberg, University Chaplain Jewelnel Davis, and Director of Media Relations Caroline Adelman.

Overall, President Bollinger’s demeanor was lighter and more playful than it usually is when he is engaging with students in a formal setting. Nevertheless, he still gave some answers that felt insufficient.

The discussion focused around questions about creating a greater sense of community on campus and reducing stress for students, which President Bollinger said he believed to be related topics. One of the first questions was from Nathan Rosin, CCSC Vice President of Campus Life, who asked what PrezBo thought about the lacking sense of a cohesive Columbia community.

“I’ve heard this from the beginning,” President Bollinger said in response. He explained some of the challenges that the University has faced in creating a greater sense of community, saying that in high-power academic institutions in general, students end up spending a lot of time alone anyway. Furthermore, because we’re in New York City, students are pulled away from campus. He cited the creation of the Office of University Life as the most significant step he has taken in trying to change the current situation. Goldberg, who heads the office, talked about how they have created programming for undergraduates’ “intellectual lives” (like lectures), various task forces, and this semester’s “Yoga Tuesdays” on Butler lawn.

Read about stress culture and free speech after the jump:

Oct

9

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“You have dreams sometimes about finding yourself splayed out on the Claremont sidewalk again, shivering and sweaty.”

Bwog’s month of Halloween continues! This time, Claremont Queen Rachel Deal brings you a horror story (loosely) based on her experiences with the oven in her suite.

It started when your suitemate tried to make a Trader Joe’s frozen pizza. She turned on the oven, slid in the pizza–a few minutes later, you all felt like you were moving in slow motion. You could hear the sound of the fire alarm pushing through the suffocating syrupy air. The next thing you can remember is that you woke up on the Claremont sidewalk, rain drizzling onto your pajamas. It happens whenever you turn on your oven.

“Something’s wrong with the oven,” you say on the phone to Facilities. “Whenever we turn it on, the fire alarm goes off, and the air feels thick, and then…”

“And then what?” the man on the phone asks.

“And then…well, I can’t remember,” you say. Your forehead feels tight with confusion. “I just…it’s like I wake up outside and I don’t know how I got there.” You try to remember having left the building, and your body feels sticky, like you’ve been walking through fog.

Facilities begrudgingly sends someone over to check it out. The man opens up the oven, turns it on, and…nothing. The air is still, the suite quiet. You stare at the oven expectantly, and the man stares at you.

“There’s something wrong,” you say. “I promise. When we turn the oven on, it’s like everything stops….and then somehow I end up outside.” The man from Facilities raises his eyebrows.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” he says. “If the smell of the oven is bothering you, you can get an exhaust fan from Hartley.”

You don’t get the exhaust fan from Hartley, because who wants to carry an exhaust fan all the way from Hartley to Claremont? You avoid the oven, locking yourself in your room when one of your suitemates feels the need to bake cookies or something. You have dreams sometimes about finding yourself splayed out on the Claremont sidewalk again, shivering and sweaty.

Oct

1

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As stated at the University Senate Plenary in May, Columbia now requests that each campus news source register its journalists. By signing an agreement and submitting the contact information of its staff, a publication can receive press credentials which would “protect” its journalists from facing disciplinary action due to violations of the Rules of Conduct. The deadline to register was yesterday, and we are making this statement to express our confusion and discomfort around the new policy.

There are a couple of reasons why this policy makes us uncomfortable. Firstly, we were not notified of the application and deadline for applying for press credentials–if the University seeks to protect journalists, why would they not make us aware of how to comply with this new policy (especially when we are named in the policy)?

Secondly, we find the division of “registered journalist” and “bystander” to be inefficient, unnecessary, and unfair. Our staff ebbs and flows–writers can join Bwog at any point during the semester, and if a new staffer is the only person who is free to cover a protest (and they haven’t been registered yet), they should not have to risk punishment. Any journalist covering a protest without prior registration with the university opens themselves to the threat of disciplinary action–this includes a new staffer who joins us mid-semester, or a tipster requesting credit for a photo they submit.

Furthermore, this policy is not necessary. Having unlabeled journalists at protests hasn’t been a problem in the past, and requiring us to register now is unsettling. The notes from the April University Senate plenary mention Public Safety’s handling of a journalist being different than its handling of a bystander, as registration will allow them to “identify [us] during a demonstration, and treat [us] accordingly.” While these rules could be in place for our protection, we are concerned that the manner in which bystanders will be handled is going to change.

Ultimately, we believe that this policy unjustly widens the definition of who is culpable at protests in allowing these “protections” to pre-approved members of publications only. This is not a “mechanism for protecting student press,” but a way of restricting and silencing students’ voices.

We debated for a long time whether or not we should register our staff. Although we don’t agree with this new policy from the University, we ultimately decided that in order to best serve the Columbia community, we need to be able to access and report on protests safely. We do not agree with the division of “journalist” and “bystander”–all students should be able to observe and record activism on campus without the threat of punishment–but we feel that we don’t have a choice but to comply.

Sincerely,

Rachel Deal
Editor in Chief

Amara Banks
Managing Editor

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