Bwoglines: The Dress Edition

"Was this the [dress] that launch'd a thousand ships / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?"

Either way the dress is ugly

After blowing up Tumblr late Thursday night, this dress made its way onto almost every other social media site and news outlet, quickly becoming one of the biggest topics of controversy 2015 has seen. Here’s what everyone’s saying about #TheDress:

The New York Times was of course one of the first major news sources to hop on the dress band wagon, giving us curious fashion analysts the background behind the Dressgate scandal. (New York Times)

Wired busted out it’s old copy of Photoshop to use the watercolor tool in order to let us know that the dress is in fact light blue, not white. They then offered readers “the science” behind why some people see blue and black or white and gold. (Wired)

Yahoo is turning this in to a horoscope-like feature so that readers can learn “what the dress says about them.” (Yahoo)

Finally, and arguably most importantly, Buzzfeed compiled a list of what our favorite celebrities thought the colors of the dress were. Enjoy. (Buzzfeed)

Photo courtesy of every news outlet ever

The Question Of Faculty Inclusion In The Sexual Respect Program


News Editor Eric Cohn raises some points of concern with Columbia’s new sexual respect program.

Recently, I contacted Dean Kromm asking her whether faculty and staff are required to go through any sort of sexual respect training, as is now required for students. In an official university statement from Associate Vice President for Media Relations Robert Hornsby, I learned that, although staff are required to go through some sort of sexual respect training, faculty are only “recommended” to do so. The university’s full statement can be read below:

“The first phase of the new sexual respect education program is geared to students. However, the University does require awareness and prevention training for staff on harassment and discrimination, which is also recommended for faculty. We are in process of reviewing and updating our training modules regarding this issue to best serve the entire campus community.”

My inquiry began after a tip sent to Bwog by a student who wished to remain anonymous alleging sexual harassment complaints against a particular professor since 2007. In addition to the concerns raised by student groups about Columbia’s new sexual respect program, this tip critiqued Columbia for its lack of a comprehensive sexual respect program for faculty and staff.

The tipster sent us a series of course reviews dating from 2003, highlighting the numerous complaints of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior from the professor. Our tipster requested that we omit the name of the professor and his department out of concern that the department might attempt to retaliate against her.

More on the accused professor and lack of a faculty sexual assault program here.

Here’s Your Quality Of Life Survey Drinking Game
Choose your poison

Choose your poison

So, Columbia’s second Quality of Life Survey is out. The subject matter is important – it’s a way for students to have a minuscule voice in the Hobbesian forces of the University of Columbia in the City of New York. But you know what’s even better than handing out statistics to the administration? Doing so while thoroughly buzzed! DISCLAIMER: Please drink responsibly; actually doing this will probably either get you CAVA’d or giving the admins some really weird data.

Take 1 sip when…

  • You find any bureaucratic language
  • You encounter any fashionable buzzwords
  • You are asked to rate some weird aspect of Columbia you’ve never encountered before
  • You make a gut judgment for a question
  • The survey makes you think back to that time you pulled an all-nighter for a CC paper/both printers malfunctioned/you actually used the showers in McBain
  • You rate your quality of life for something as “Very dissatisfied”

Take 2 sips when…

  • You are asked to evaluate something admins have no power over
  • You spend more than 30 seconds deliberating over a question
  • You write more than a paragraph of comments on an aspect of your quality of life (take another if it’s about printing)
  • A survey question is ambiguously worded
  • You rate your quality of life for something as “Very satisfied”

Take 3 sips when…

  • You find a typo
  • You find a factual error in the survey
  • You write in all caps to express your frustration about something (take another if it’s about printing)
  • You have trouble evaluating Columbia’s wifi because of Columbia’s wifi
  • You finish the survey
Nobody Asked Tats: DUFF Edition
You, probably.

You, probably.

Duff: one syllable, four letters, infinite questions. You’ve seen the trailer or heard the Spotify ads (dude, just get Premium, it’s $5 a month), and you can’t help but wonder, am I the Designated Ugly Fat FriendAfter a brief hiatus, Tats is back at it with your most pressing questions, answered.

Dear Tats,

I’m something of a film aficionado, and recently a film has been making many waves in the circles of art critique I frequent. I speak, of course, about The Duff. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and such a pivotal work of art begs the question: how exactly can I identify if I am the Duff? I anxiously await your response.

She’s Not All That

Dear She’s Not All That,

Listen, I am so glad you are exploring these difficult questions in this time of self-discovery. College is all about learning who you really are and embracing your identity, and if that means accepting your DUFF status, so be it. Listen, it’s important to know exactly who and what you are. After all, self-awareness is the first step to self-acceptance, and in the eternal Instagram responses words of Ariana Grande, “Don’t compare yourself to anybody else and try to love the things U usually hate on.”

That said, you can’t hate yourself if you don’t have anything to hate! So without further ado, here are the top seven signs that you, dear Not All That, are the Duff of your friends.

1. Your friends keep lovingly referring to you as “old girl,” “lazy,” “pathetic,” and “ugly slob.” It’s all in good fun though!!

2. At parties, you’ve developed a fun, extroverted habit of curling up into a little ball, hedgehog style, in the corner, so as to expose the least amount of vulnerability to the dangerous outside world.

3. Your parents have stopped asking if you’re seeing anyone and instead just send you acne cream and all-access passes to “health clubs.”

4. Your roommate just bought you deodorant.

5. Your yoga pants keep ripping and you can’t figure out why. On an unrelated note, you often fall asleep clutching a bag of Cheetos.

6. Sometimes when your Insecure Pretty Friend gets sad, she pokes your muffin top and pops your pimples. It cheers her up quite a bit, actually.

7. A fun Friday night activity for your clique is throwing mayonnaise and cream cheese at you until you break down and sob in the bathroom, desperately dreaming of a slightly less reductive, misogynistic, materialistic, capitalist regime.

On the other hand, to some degree, aren’t we all DUFFs? Indeed, what is humanity but a perpetual state of obese, unsightly shame, perpetually thrust upon us, one heteronormative rom-com at a time? Selfish, immoral, disinterested in goodness but to appear so, our state of nature is fundamentally hideous in its unceasing quest for immortality.

But hey, on the bright side, whatever else goes wrong, regardless of your DUFF status and how alone you feel inside these cold February nights, hearken back to Ari: “Please be good to U. Love youuuu tons.”

XOXO, Tats

Lookin’ good via Shutterstock.

Come Out To The Columbia Festival Of Winds
Like you're doing anything better

Like you’re doing anything better

This Sunday (i.e., tomorrow), the Columbia University Wind Ensemble will host its 7th annual Festival of Winds, a full-day concert featuring performers from colleges and schools from around the region, held in our own Roone Arledge Auditorium. Proceeds from the festival will go to support music education in New York City, where budget tightening has led many schools to scale back or outright cancel their music education programs.

The Columbia Festival Band under Cornell’s James Spinazzola will kick off the performance at 1:00pm with Jager’s Espirit De Corps. Next will come the NYU Concert Band playing works by Gabrieli, Schuman, and Perischetti; the Princeton University Wind Ensemble playing works by Ticheli and Shostakovich; the Manhattan Wind Ensemble works by Reed, Giroux, and Marquez; the ISO Symphonic Band works by Korsakov, Barber, and Ticheli; and the Columbia University Wind Ensemble works by Yagisawa and Maslanka.

The festival will end around 4:25 with a performance by all of the groups combined, of Percy Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry. A reception will follow for VIP ticket-holders.

Purchase your dirt cheap (or VIP) ticket today!

Musical propaganda via CUWE

Bwoglines: Legally Dubious Edition
"La Coiffeuse", safe and sound

“La Coiffeuse”, safe and sound

According to recently released figures, Colorado marijuana dispensaries sold 17 tons of the devil’s lettuce for recreational purposes during the first year of state legality. Since the practice remains illegal on the federal level, businesses involved in the pot business are having trouble storing the mountains of cash they’re raking in. (Reuters, CNBC)

Law enforcement is itself in the hot-seat in Chicago, where several former detainees have spoken out about “black site”-style conditions at a CPD holding facility known as Homan Square. Police at the facility (which is housed inside an old warehouse, because why not) are accused of moving detainees around to keep them isolated from visitors and of refusing to allow lawyers to see their clients. (Guardian)

Customs officials in Newark have recovered a $2.5 million Picasso while it was en route from Belgium to Long Island City. The painting had been missing since sometime between 1998 and 2001, because why would you expect anyone to notice when a multimillion dollar piece of art is whisked from a secure storage facility? (NY Times)

Former students of the embattled Corinthian Colleges for-profit network are refusing to pay back student loans issued by the federal government, arguing that the Department of Education failed to appropriately scrutinize Corinthian’s business dealings and pedagogical practices. (Business Insider)

Getting tired of that cramped dorm room? Paranoid beyond belief? Look no further: the Upper West Side triplex (evidently this is a word) apartment of Prince Nawaf bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia is for sale for a paltry $48.5 million. The apartment features a well-equipped fitness center and not one, not two, but three bulletproof panic rooms. At $4,600/sq. ft., the apartment is well above the norm for others residences around 71st street, but can you really put a price on peace of mind? (WSJ)

Hairdresser via NYT

SHIFT, Rules of Conduct, And Alumni Relations Talked About At USenate Plenary
As society, and all its problems, lies in human imagination alone.

Do you want to go Global?

As usual, admins gave statements and updates about things at the Columbia University Senate plenary today. It was shorter than usual, but we’re sure that you’ll find what the admins said interesting. Brought to you by Joe Milholland.

“One of the things we will be announcing, probably today, is a major effort to do research on young people and their attitudes and behaviors and so on related to issues of sexual harassment and assault,” said PrezBo at the February 27 Usenate plenary about SHIFT, the new sexual assault research program. “This will be one of the few, maybe the only serious effort to do research on these questions.”

At the plenary, Prezbo also talked about Columbia’s global centers. He said he was appreciative of the eight centers – he described the number as “not to few, not too many” – already in place. “It’s just absolutely critical that this university realize the interconnectedness of the world, the reciprocal influences of the world, the problems that have to be solved throughout the world,” said Prezbo on the need for global centers, saying that such goals could not be completed on-campus alone.

Learn about changes to the schedule of reviewing the Rules of Conduct in the jump!

Men’s Basketball Seeks Revenge In Final Home Weekend
"Seeks revenge" sounds like a really weird personal ad

Honor thy seniors

Sports Editor Ross Chapman brings us a look at Columbia Basketball and their Ivy filled weekend at home.

Coming off of a hot, sweeping weekend against one of the harder pairs of Ivy opponents, the men’s basketball team returns to Levien for their last two home games of the season. The Lions (5-5 Ivy) will host Dartmouth (3-7 Ivy) tonight at 8 pm before facing league-leading Harvard (9-1 Ivy) for a 7 pm showdown on Saturday.

Columbia will host the Big Green for their first matchup of the weekend. Dartmouth looked their best this season when they were 1-1 following a split with Harvard. However, since then, they have fallen to the bottom of the Ivy heap. One of their few wins did come against a demoralized Lions squad after their loss to Harvard two weeks ago. Now, the Lions will be fresh, and they still ride momentum from their last games. Dartmouth doesn’t have the same breadth of scoring threats that the Lions do, and their most recent weekend included a huge meltdown against the Tigers of Princeton. Columbia will be hungry for another vicious victory like the one they earned over Brown last Friday. In that game, Maodo Lo scored 35 points, setting an Ivy League mark for the year in the process. Alll three forwards also came up huge last weekend, giving the Lions a lot of variety in frontcourt sets guaranteed to keep the players fresh. Columbia on a hot streak is a definite favorite over the struggling Big Green.

The Harvard game is senior night, meaning that the Lions will officially recognize the accomplishment of the basketball upperclassmen. Cory Osetkowski has grown tremendously through his tenure at Columbia, developing from a defensive big man to a bonafide post threat through whom the team often runs their offense. Noah Springwater hasn’t seen much action through the second half of the season, but his three point shooting has defined him more than his stellar defense, which isn’t a bad thing for a player who shot over 43% for two seasons. Steve Frankoski has finally officially earned a starting job in the dense Lions’ backcourt by the certainty of his shots from the charity stripe and the three point line. All of them will be potential weapons against the Crimson. The last meeting of these two teams was another iteration of Columbia’s tradition of heartbreaking Valentine’s Day losses to Harvard [], and the Lions are not going to let Harvard get away with another one. The sold out Levien will be as buzzing as it has been all year. Columbia proved last game that they can break the normally stout Harvard offense, something very few teams can say. CU would love for nothing more than to secure wins against the #1 and #2 teams in the league by defeating Harvard this Saturday after defeating Yale last weekend. Columbia will play with more energy and drive on Saturday than they have all season.

They’re all big kids now via Columbia University Athletics

LectureHop: Justice Poetry
Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine, a poet and professor at Pomona College, was one of the speakers at Tuesday’s presentation

Whether it’s attending drunken FroSci lectures or showing up to Tunisian talks, Bwog loves to learn in the classroom and beyond. We sent Poetry Professional Briana Bursten to check out Justice Poetry: Readings and Discussion with Claudia Rankine, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Messiah. Read about her evening of learning and listening below!

A genuine feeling of reverence was evident as individuals from various ages and backgrounds crowded the Schapiro Center’s Davis Auditorium this past Tuesday for Justice Poetry: Readings and Discussion with Claudia Rankine, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Messiah. The evening of sharing and dialogue began with opening remarks from Barnard Associate English Professor Monica Miller. Miller explained that each poet would read pieces that thematically center on issues of justice, and that readings were encouraged to be broken up by anecdotes and explanations by the poets themselves.

The first poet was Claudia Rankine, a graduate of the MFA Poetry Program at Columbia and a current English professor at Pomona College. Rankine is the author of multiple collections of poetry, and she spoke with sincerity as she read three pieces from her latest book, entitled Citizen. Rankine’s attention towards racial issues and current injustices was particularly evident through her anecdotes, which were inserted between her readings. One of my favorite stories that Rankine shared had to do with a discussion that she had with one of her friends during a walk through their California neighborhood. Rankine spoke of a time when she asked this friend when she has “felt the most white.” Her friend told her of experiences on the East Coast when taking public transportation and how every time she boarded a subway or a train, there would almost always be a black man with an empty seat next to him. Rankine explained that her friend would always “feel the most white” when she consciously made the choice to take this seat. This anecdote was followed by the Rankine’s final reading of the night— an incredibly powerful poem about the symbolism of this “empty seat.” Rankine remained seated on stage while the two other poets shared their work.

Dawn Lundy Martin and Messiah Ramkissoon after the jump!

Poster Etiquette: The Ferris Stairwell

In an effort to passive-aggressively criticize people from the internet do our part to help foster the Columbia community, we debut our our public awareness campaign. Inspired by this recent effort undertaken by the MTA and your roommate with the post-its, Bwog will be publishing posters illustrating those immoral actions shockingly common at our fair university, starting this week with the Ferris stairwell free-for-all. Feel free to print them out and post them in prominent locations or just blearily scroll past as you drink your Friday morning coffee. Photoshop credit goes to correspondent and media manipulations specialist, Maddie Stearn. 

If there are behaviors you would like to see publicly shamed addressed, make sure to send in your suggestion to or feel free to simply comment below.

DON'T BE A DICK: Take one second to check above/below.

DON’T BE A DICK: Take one second to check above/below.

 Disastrous staircase via Shutterstock. Everything else via Maddie Stearn.

Bwoglines: Our Vices, Our Strengths Edition
I worry about us.

Clear lack of sleep? Coffee? The picture of perfect health.

In news we are going to try our best to interpret as good, a recent study reveals more than eight hours of sleep a night has been linked to a heightened risk of strokes. Let that comfort you, come your next all-nighter. (Los Angeles Times)

Then, the next morning, as you try to keep yourself up, rejoice in the latest health benefit being attributed to coffee: a lower risk of multiple sclerosis. (US News)

A young man in Brooklyn attempting to join ISIS has been thwarted by his mother, who refuses to return his passport. Helicopter parenting: not so bad after all? (New York Times)

Facebook, in an attempt to use its overwhelming influence over your life for good, is releasing a new feature for suicide prevention. (Huffington Post)

Finally, your Netflix habit is yielding exciting new research into decision paralysis, long a topic debate in science and philosophy both. (Pacific Standard)

Your Econ major future, via Shutterstock

Bwog Does The Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative (And Tells You About It)
This is what Lerner looks like right?

This is what Lerner looks like right?

By now everyone has heard of the newly required Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative. But how many have actually completed the requisite seminar, art project, movie screening, or “activity?” Bwog Internal Editor Britt Fossum managed to get a spot and reports back on the effectiveness of the session.

Sick of hearing classmates and friends complain about the Respect workshops they weren’t registering for, I decided to make my life easier and fulfill the requirement as far ahead of the March 13 deadline. The option that fit best into my schedule and seemed the most relevant for me was called a “Mindfulness Group” on Tuesday of this week. The description on the website was simply, ” For students interested in cultivating non-judgmental awareness and being more present for one’s experience,” which appealed to me. I didn’t want to sit through something as passive as a film screening and all the workshops had filled up within the first few days of availability, so this seemed the perfect choice.

The group was held in the Lerner CPS office conference room, and even though I thought I knew my way around I still got lost looking for the right room and was almost late to the 11:00 session. Thankfully I made it on time: a sign on the door said that the room would be locked starting right at 11 although the leader of our session let people in up to the ten minute mark. Attendees sat in chairs arranged in a rough circle around the wall. Most of the people attending the session seemed to be a bit older than college aged–mostly graduate or law students based on the conversations.

Our leader introduced herself as one of the psychiatrists at CPS and that she had chosen to lead several sessions of mindfulness workshops for survivors and those whose lives are effected by sexual violence. She assumed at first that our group was supposed to be made up of survivors as well–the group quickly corrected her saying that the description on the website was open to anyone who wanted to cultivate mindfulness. She was a bit surprised but then said that the meditation we were going to do would be useful for anyone. She asked the room if anyone knew what mindfulness was. Several people called out answers and she came to the conclusion that mindfulness is “intention, acceptance, and completely non-judgmental.” She then asked if anyone had a meditation or yoga practice. Several people, myself included, raised their hands. She smiled and said that we probably already knew what to do but that she was going to guide everyone through a meditation for the rest of the session.

Read on after the jump.

Say What? Global Edition

Because Nick Magazine never took any of our submissions (and we’re still a little bitter about it), we wanted to give the Columbia community the opportunity to play a very special edition of our favorite Say What? series.  In the comments section, give these two figures of global import something to think about, and our favorite response may get something special in return.  You have the power!

 Image courtesy of Columbia College Today

#TBT: Politics And Protests

The Columbia University Archives currently have a fantastic online exhibit about the protests of ’68. Anna Hotter brings you some highlights of the action.

Faculty and administrators gathered in 301 Philosophy to discuss the situation.


Occupation of Hamilton and President Kirk’s office below

Bwoglines: The Faux Edition

Xzibit is “going to go down to hell to kill the devil so he can make some Satan skin boots.”

We all knew it, but didn’t want to admit it. Unfortunately, the Huffington Post made it official; Pimp My Ride was 100% fabricated. Huff reveled that there was no surprises involved in Xzibit’s pimping. Everything was staged. In fact, the homes that the contestants were filmed in, were often homes rented by MTV to act as a set. That being said, none of the contestants have a bad word to say about the Xperience. (Huffington Post)

Yesterday, the police arrested three men charged with plotting with the terrorist group ISIS. Two of the men were traveling from JFK airport to Istanbul and then continuing on to Syria, and the third was funding the trip from Florida. One of the men, Abdurasul Juraboev, tipped Homeland Security by posting on a pro-ISIS website, threatening to kill President Obama, as well as bomb Coney Island. (NBC)

Botched butts. Last year Kimberly Smith was as arrested for performing illegal butt enhancing surgeries, yet the problem somehow still prevails. Doctors have been injecting silicon into patient’s rear end’s to archive the “Kim Kardashian” look, but unfortunately, this is extremely dangerous. There have been cases where the injected silicon (sometimes diluted with motor oil) has traveled to the heart, bloodstream, and lungs. Also the end result doesn’t even look good. (NBC)

Donald Trump is “more serious than ever” about running for president. To quote Trump,“People around the world are laughing at us. Look at China, they’re killing us, taking our jobs. We have weakness in the Middle East and with ISIS. We have incompetent people running the country and I’m tired of it.” Sorry Donald,  the entire country is rolling their eyes. (Washington Post)

Keeping it real via Shutterstock