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Nov

16

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I was googling the hours of Brownie’s Café the other day, and lo-and-behold, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of actually helpful Yelp reviews. You’ve probably read the highlights from our analysis of Yelp and Google reviews of Columbia University overall, but here’s the best (and worst) take on a specific, infamous (famous?) Columbia institution: Brownie’s Café. And yes, Brownie’s does have a four-star Yelp rating.

 

Oct

31

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Info on University Rules

Yesterday evening Bwog received copies of two letters written by Columbia faculty members, in support of students disciplined for protesting the Columbia University College Republicans (CUCR) Tommy Robinson event on October 10.

The letters are the latest in a range of efforts by students to defend themselves from what they view as unfair disciplinary action for a just and rule-abiding protest. Shortly after the protest and subsequent notice of disciplinary action, students circulated an online petition, which has received 4,850 signatures so far. On Monday, students released a statement of defense.

CUCR held another heavily protested event on Monday.

Jared Sacks, one of the 19 students facing disciplinary action, says the first letter is signed by Sulzbacher Professor of Law Katherine Franke, and “explains in detail why [these faculty members] were outraged by the way [students] were treated during the disciplinary process and how the rules administrator broke Columbia’s own rules…The letter was sent to the Rules Commmitee.”

The second letter says much the same thing, and is signed by over 100 Columbia faculty members. It, too, was sent to the Rules Committee, as well as to President Bollinger.

Read both letters below.

Oct

30

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A dumb fucking ambulance

At least three times a day, whatever I’m doing is interrupted by that new, moaning siren sound. What the fuck is it?

You know what I’m talking about. It’s high-pitched, like a siren, but it’s long, drawn-out, and sad. It doesn’t sound urgent at all. If I heard that siren, I wouldn’t pull my car over to the side of the road.

The reason it’s so fucking annoying is that it’s not a typical, regular, New York City siren, so I can’t just tune it out. But it also doesn’t sound siren-enough to signal an actual emergency.

It’s a new sound, and it only started this semester. Why was it introduced?

I finally caught a glimpse of the siren source the other day, walking home from class. There it was: an ambulance, crawling up Broadway, with lights flashing, and that stupid fucking siren sound blaring from the speakers. Was this ambulance in a rush? Didn’t sound like it. Were cars moving out of its way? Nope. If this were a real emergency, that would be a really dumb fucking siren to use.

So, I want to know, whose idea was it to start using these sirens, why are they used, and when will it stop?

Please comment below if you have answers or, like me, you’re belligerently annoyed. Everyone else on Bwog thinks I’m crazy!

Toy ambulance via clipartview.com

Oct

24

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The artful barriers surrounding the atrium

Who knew you could use your Columbia or Barnard ID to get into NYU’s Bobst library? Senior staffer Sarah Dahl has the scoop, thanks to her NYU connects. FYI, it’s pronounced B- OH – BST, with a long O, not like BOBst as in Bob’s your uncle

First things first about Bobst: Columbia and Barnard students can access the library year-round with a special card that’s pretty easy to get. Thanks to a library sharing system, all I had to do was prove to NYU that I am a currently enrolled student, and they printed me up a shiny purple ID card. #BleedViolet. Now I can come and go from Bobst as I please. NYU students have similar privileges at Columbia libraries, but their ID cards are made of paper.

Bobst is a lot bigger than Butler, but it’s also sadder. Twelve floors of study and administrative space is centered around a giant open square atrium. The walls overlooking the atrium are blocked floor-to-ceiling by aluminum screens. Three students have committed suicide at the library since 2003.

Bobst is much more prone to stealing than Butler: students often report laptops, electronics, and other valuables stolen, but the library only has one camera–in the lobby–and it requires a subpoena to look through the footage for your thief. I know all this because my girlfriend’s Macbook was stolen recently, from a dude sitting at her table. She left for five minutes to pee. I’ve left my laptop on a table in Butler for, like, an entire day.

More After The Jump

Oct

5

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Trying to figure out this mysterious combination of numbers like

Ever wondered why your friends’ UNIs are all super cool and yours is lame? Or vice versa? So have we. There’s not much rhyme or reason to the assignment process, it turns out. Senior staffer Sarah Dahl got the scoop from Chris Dowden, Directory of Identity and Access Management for the Columbia Information Security Office.

My UNI is sd3005–which is unique not only because it slyly refers to the Childish Gambino classic, but also because it’s only two letters, instead of three. Luckily, as I’ve learned through my investigation, UNIs only include three initials if your middle name is registered with the university. Thank god mine wasn’t, because my initials are SMD.

On to the facts!

UNIs are given out by a computer, according to Mr. Dowden. “When a new student, faculty member, or employee arrives at the University, their name/information is entered into either the Student or HR system which in turn is transmitted to the system that manages and creates UNIs (the “Identity Management System”). When the Identity Management System detects a new person, it generates a new UNI.”

U O E N O

Jun

19

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Junzi is jamming

Junzi Kitchen, MoHi’s latest spot for fast casual food, had a soft opening last week. We sent Senior Staffer Sarah Dahl to check out Junzi’s Northern Chinese cuisine. The restaurant is having its official grand opening today (Monday), and also opened a New Haven location near Yale’s campus in October, 2015 (Columbia’s is obviously better!).

I’ve been eyeing Junzi’s windows all semester, waiting eagerly for it to open – and it didn’t disappoint. Junzi Kitchen offers a unique spin on fast casual dining. Different from other campus spots such as Sweetgreen, Dig Inn, or the Westside salad bar; Junzi serves up make-your-own noodle and bing dishes in Northern Chinese style. Bing is a type of wheat dough unique to Northern China, where it’s difficult to grow rice. Bing noodles and rolls (chun bing) are the bedrock of traditional food in Northern China, where Junzi’s founders are from.

Typical Chinese food in New York, and around the US in general, includes rice, different from the bing-only Northern Chinese style. Northern Chinese food also tends to be less spicy and somewhat lighter, according to several members of Junzi’s PR team with whom I spoke.

So how was the meal?

May

8

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“It’s not a graph, it’s a compass!” A typical Gadfly meeting.

Did you read about the gadfly in Plato’s Apology? Do you know the term just because you are hip? Or are you lost af? Whichever defines you, Bwog has a novel answer: become a PART of The Gadfly, a.k.a., Columbia’s undergraduate Philosophy journal, thanks to its recent revamp. Senior staffer (and Gadflyer) Sarah Dahl has the scoop.

The Gadfly is Columbia’s best new club, not only because it offers a welcoming and approachable community of young intellectuals, but also because you can see your work published, online, and soon in print.

Gadfly meetings regularly occur on Sunday nights somewhere in Kent, accompanied by Tostitos lime chips and, occasionally, wine (shhhh). Meetings are a mishmash of philosophical discussion and the nuts-and-bolts of gathering, editing, and publishing articles. Because the club/journal was so recently revived after a lengthy hiatus, current editors had to create an entire new website, as well as business model.

Editor-in-Chief Becky Novik (BC ’19) decided to revamp the journal early this year. “I just got into philosophy as a major and I wanted to see if there was any sort of outlet on campus for philosophy–be it writing or whatever” she said. “I naturally checked for a publication, and found a then-not-so-alive Gadfly magazine, and contacted their editors to ask how to get involved. They told me any which way I liked, since there wasn’t much of a publication at the time. So I made it my focus this year to revive the publication/club, reestablish connection with the philosophy department/school, and gather people who were interested.”

More Gadflying after the jump

Mar

30

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The weather this week has reflected our mood…

Midterms are almost done, but you’re probably feeling even more done. As a little motivation to get you through the final stretch, Bwogger Sarah Dahl has a playlist to conquer your midterm blues. 

This playlist doesn’t actually contain any blues songs because I don’t feel qualified to recommend blues songs. Instead, it’s a mix of slow/sadgirl softrock and some more inspiring/hopeful ballads, plus Big Sean. You can get through midterms, you just have to believe.

  1. Fifteen, Goldroom ft. Chela- I shazamed this song when I heard it at the hotel pool over break, and it’s kind of a jam. Plus, don’t midterms lowkey-highkey feel like being 15 again (or worse??)?
  2. Cool Blue, Japanese House- You can at least imagine/simulate that you are calm with this one.
  3. HELP, The Front Bottoms- Because you need it.
  4. Constant Headache, Joyce Manor- If you haven’t had a constant headache this week, can you tell me what you’re eating/taking? Thanks.
  5. Fool, Frankie Cosmos- No better time than midterms to question your major…
  6. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman- …or wish  you had a fast car to get tf out of the city.
  7. So Good at Being in Trouble, Unknown Mortal Orchestra- A favorite of Bwog EIC Amara Banks.
  8. Always on My Mind, Marbert Rocel- There’s gotta be something on your mind besides your studies. (Another song I shazamed at the hotel. That playlist was on fire).
  9. Pure Comedy, Father John Misty- Donald Trump, or your life?
  10. LES, Childish  Gambino- Lower East Side (NYU). Wishing you were there.
  11. Twin Peaks Theme – Instrumental, Angelo Badalamenti- This is kind of a classic. And super sad. Without words.
  12. Avril 14th, Aphex Twin- Another wordless song, because we needed some Aphex Twin on this playlist.
  13. Liability, Lorde- If you haven’t heard it yet, the new Lorde song is really depressing and also really good.
  14. Big Beautiful Day, PWR BTTM- This banger from their new album will get you back on a positive track!
  15. Bounce Back, Big Sean- You may have taken some Ls, but you will bounce back (especially with this playlist).

Dreariness on College Walk via Bwog’s Instagram

Mar

27

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No Red Tape!

Campus group No Red Tape (NRT) is hosting a Survivors Week of events, talks, and performances aimed “to raise awareness about the issues faced by survivors of sexual and dating violence both on and off campus.”

Highlights include: today (Monday’s) 8-10 pm talk with Professor Christia Mercer on justice and incarcerated survivors. The event is in Schermerhorn Extension 754.

On Tuesday 8-10 pm, there will be a screening of the V-Day performance Acces|Ability in Hamilton 603.

Friday 2-5 pm there will be a Title IX rally on Low Steps.

Check out the whole list of events on the Facebook page, and invite your friends!

Photo via NRT/Facebook 

Mar

24

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Charles Murray in a tie.

Author and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar Charles Murray, widely criticized for racist views voiced in his book The Bell Curve, was shouted down by protesters at Middlebury in early March. Murray came to speak at Columbia last night without a hitch, despite a number of protesters outside Lerner. The event, hosted by the AEI Council at Columbia and co-sponsored by the Columbia College Republicans and Columbia Political Union, addressed whether elites are to blame for the rise of Donald Trump, and discussed his book Coming Apart. We sent senior staffer Sarah Dahl to report. 

Murray’s campus speaking engagement raises vital questions about free speech and the role of universities in promoting–or stifling–robust debate. Does Murray, who has espoused racist views, deserve an elevated platform to speak at Columbia? Does he deserve to be shouted down and turned away, as he was at Middlebury? Deserve is a difficult word, and not useful here, in my opinion.

Murray’s thoughts under the jump.

Feb

18

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A tasty scanned recipe

It’s nice when you can bake something sweet that also seems mildly healthy. It’s even better when you don’t have to pay (directly) for some of the ingredients! With a few Ferris bananas (thanks @CU Dining!) senior staffer Sarah Dahl cooked up some delicious banana bread.

My mom has a go-to banana bread recipe, which she scanned and sent to me (it now resides in my Dropbox for anytime access). It’s actually a food.com recipe from 2007 (why did my mom scan her printed copy instead of sending me the link? idk). But it seems like a family heirloom. In fact, the food.com description explains, “Got this recipe years ago from my friend Rachel. We used to beg her to make this for us in college!” Thanks, food dot com.

I’m a stand-in for Rachel, and my suitemates love this bread. Here it is:

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • One and 3/4 cups flour
  • One and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the oil, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas.
  2. Add the baking soda and flour.
  3. Mix well for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. (My suite’s oven is ridiculously hot and baked it in like 30 minutes so be careful).

Recipe courtesy Lilikari23 and Food.com, scanned paper courtesy Sarah’s mom

Banana bread featured image via jules from Wikipedia

Feb

16

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Students protesting outside Barnard in 1974

What’s the deal with Barnard’s contingent faculty? What is contingent faculty? What was the strike threat all about? Bwog staffer Sarah Dahl got a chance to hear from one of the union organizers last night, and is here to write about it. The following reflects her own opinions.

“The College has consistently maneuvered legal delays and stalled negotiations to prevent the workers from achieving a decent contract…we are striking because we want the rights that are basic to the dignity of working people.”

This language comes from a 1974 pamphlet distributed by Barnard’s clerical workers. Secretaries and administrative assistants unionized, went on strike, and eventually gained a livable contract through their relentlessness.

The benefits they asked for, and the dismissive attitude of the college don’t sound all that different from today’s negotiations between Barnard’s union of adjunct faculty and the administration.

The contingent faculty union BCF UAW-2110 had been asking for new benefits for over a year, with little budge from the administration–until now, when the union prepared to go on strike. Late last night, after days of intense negotiation, they finalized a new contract.

Before that contract was decided last night, I got to attend a Student Worker Solidarity (SWS)-organized event in Barnard’s 616 lounge, where I learned about the history of worker’s rights at Barnard, as well as some of the finer points of today’s negotiations, from professor/union organizer Sonam Singh. Singh has been a contingent faculty member in the English department at Barnard for five years, and he teaches first year English. Many contingent faculty teach core Barnard classes like these, as well as courses in the college’s renowned dance program, architecture department, and others. Almost two-thirds of Barnard’s faculty are non-tenure-track. The majority of them are women.

Contingent faculty unionized in early fall of 2015, and the college took four months to even begin negotiating. During that time, they hired well-known union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis.

Without a new contract, non-tenure track professors have no job security, work for extremely low salaries, and lack decent benefits, like healthcare and maternity leave. Many of these employees teach without a contract, unsure if they’ll be rehired from one semester to the next.

What is happening?

Feb

13

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Famous people in the Diana Event Oval

Yesterday evening, Gloria Steinem and a host of other activists came to Barnard to participate in a panel on making change in the wake of the Women’s March on Washington. The event was part of the Athena Film Festival, and preceded a screening of the film Dolores.

I was beyond excited to hear Gloria Steinem speak yesterday, but the real treat was hearing from the other activists present. Sunday evening’s panel included labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, Women’s March organizers Carmen Perez and Paola Mendoza, writer Jamia Wilson, and two Barnard students, Camila Puig Ibarra and Naomi Tewodros (both ’17).

The panel was refreshing it its willingness to tackle contentious issues and engage in self-criticism. The March organizers talked about the important discussion of intersectionality that spawned from the Women’s March. Carmen said she saw it as a catalyst that ignited a spark for change and activism. She and Paola continue to fight the fight, along with many others. Just prior to the panel, the two had met with leaders in Silicon Valley to discuss activism in the tech sector.

Dolores brought up an issue close to home–that of the Barnard’s contingent faculty union’s tireless efforts to gain better benefits and pay, and the uncompromising stance of the administration. With the February 21 strike imminent, Dolores spoke of the necessity to support and fight alongside our adjunct professors.

See what else she had to say!

Jan

26

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Barnard students stand with protesters in front of Bikers for Trump sign in Washington, D.C.

Columbia and Barnard students hit the streets in both NYC and Washington to protest Trump on Saturday, January 21. We sent senior staffer Sarah Dahl to our nation’s capital get the scoop on why students attended the Women’s March there, what they thought of it, and what their goals are looking forward.

Though New York had it’s own sizable protest last Saturday, campus organizations made preparations to send students to D.C. Barnard’s Athena Center ordered three buses, and at Columbia, Beyond The Box chartered a bus. Leading up to the march, Barnard Res Life hosted two separate poster-making events in dorm lounges, and Teacher’s College held a poster-making party.

The chartered buses were accessible, as they left directly from campus, and feasible, as they departed early Saturday morning and returned late Saturday night, negating the need for overnight accommodations.

Momo Arbeit BC ’19 said that the buses were a large factor in her decision to go to D.C. “Barnard was offering a really attractive deal,” she said, adding,  “Also I’d never been to a protest outside of New York.”

Students cited a desire for solidarity and sense of purpose as main reasons for attending.

“I wanted to support everyone who came out,” Momo said.

“It was great to be with my family, and march for what I believe in,not just because it’s historical, but because I felt like I needed my values to be shown. I don’t approve of Trump’s policies, and I’m one of the many that don’t,” Marie Sgouros BC ’19 said, who attended with her mom, aunts, and a friend.

Grace Mueller BC ’19 agreed, “I definitely wanted to show solidarity and make our voices heard.”

Students did have criticisms of the march.

Kelsey Smith BC ’19 said, “It was a very general march. With past marches on Washington, like the Civil Rights march, there were very clear objectives.”

Marie said, “This may not be directly the organizers’ fault, but I felt like there weren’t enough people of color at the march. I think there’s going to need to be more of a discussion about how we get diversity out to these types of marches.”

Grace added, “There was a lot of white feminism, and kind of exclusive signs focusing on anatomy that’s not inclusive of trans women. Also signs saying ‘tiny hands can’t build a wall’–I know that’s an emotionally appealing thing to say, but I think there’s so much truth to simple facts–that Trump wants to have an alternative reality. One of the most powerful signs I saw was, ‘the president of the United States has sexually assaulted women.'”

What happens next?

Dec

8

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The sun came out tomorrow for protestors at Standing Rock.

The sun came out tomorrow for protesters at Standing Rock.

After months of major, peaceful protests by indigenous peoples against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation water supply, the pipeline will been diverted. What does this mean, and what are conditions like in and around Standing Rock? Senior staffer Sarah Dahl recently caught up with Barnard sophomore Jessie Lee Rubin who, along with fellow students Yasmeen Abdel Majeed, Maggie Anderson, and Rachel Culp, just got back from the camp. For more information, here is a statement from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

How did you get there? We flew very early on Thanksgiving Day out of Newark to Bismarck (with really cheap student tickets) and then got a ride to the camp. We were there for about six days.

What made you decide to go? We really only wanted to go if we felt like we could give more by going than we were taking. Because of this, we raised about $800 (through Facebook statuses) before we went. [All this money went to the camp; the students paid for their plane tickets and borrowed their own supplies]. We were able to order a good number of supplies (including a windmill) from the organizers’ wish list, in addition to the volunteering we did once we got there.

What were living conditions like at the camp? We stayed in a tent, surrounded by thousands of other supporters. (I heard that at its peak, there were about 10,000 people there!) The first night we spent at Sacred Stone camp, and the rest of the time we spent at Oceti Sakowin. We had to bring multiple sleeping bags each because it was so cold, we would wake up in the morning with our sleeping bags covered in frost! No joke–I wore five pairs of socks to bed every night. We mostly brought our own food, even though the camps have communal mess halls, because we didn’t want to use up resources if we didn’t have to. While we were there, we attended a great talk on decolonization; the speaker argued that white allies’ entitlement to resources such as food and firewood at Standing Rock was a form of colonial violence. I tried to organize my stay around avoiding, if not combating, this dynamic as much as I could–using as few of their resources as I possible, and centering my trip on helping in whatever way was requested of me.

Who did they meet? How can you help?

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