#diversity
From The Issue: Outsider Culture
Illustration by Alexander Pines, CC '16

Illustration by Alexander Pines, CC ’16

Honoring our amorous affair with our mother magazine, The Blue and White, we hereby present an online-exclusive offering from the latest issue, on campus in beautiful blue print now. Staffer Katherine Whatley, BC ’17, gives us this insider’s take on Third Culture Kids (TCKs).

On the first day of the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP), everyone in our orientation group went around saying where they were from; Connecticut, Ohio, LA, New York. There were squeals and high fives when people came from the same place. Then, “I grew up in Tokyo.” Silence and stares followed by, “Wait, what! No way. That is so cool! What is it like in Tokyo?”

When I tell people I grew up in Tokyo, they’re surprised—and that’s not even the whole truth. I was born in San Francisco to an American father and Australian mother, and moved to Tokyo when I was two. I am fluent in Japanese. Mostly, I leave out the Australian part, just so as not to really flummox that girl from Jersey.

Really, every answer I could give to that question other than, “I don’t know,” feels like a lie, or a cop out. I don’t feel like I’m from anywhere.

I’m a Third Culture Kid (TCK). A TCK is someone who spent much of their childhood outside of their parents’ cultures, and thus doesn’t fully absorb any one culture. I feel connected to all the societies and peoples that I was exposed to during my childhood – in my case, American, Australian, and Japanese – but don’t feel I belong to any of them. Truthfully, the community to which I belong is not those who share my ethnicity or nationality, but with other TCKs. Sometimes it’s hard, at least at first, to make deep connections with students who grew up somewhere with one dominating culture and haven’t had the multi-national childhood that I had.

Katherine’s experiences between worlds continues (featuring sugary cereal, dirty subways, and more)

PrezBo Gets Press

Affirmative action has been one of the most hotly debated topics in higher education since the 1960s, as well as one of PrezBo’s most hotly pursued passions. Before taking the reins as Columbia’s president, ‘Bo.0 served as president of the University of Michigan, where his defense of affirmative action in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger made international headlines. While his work with issues of diversity is pivotal, he still strives to maintain a balance between sustaining Columbia’s educational mission and continuing his role as a first amendment scholar and firebrand defender of wide-open free speech. He believes that the two go hand-in-hand, maintaining that the press and the university are the best places to support free speech.

Yesterday, he published an op-ed in The Washington Post (where he serves as a director) on college diversity being at risk—specifically pertaining to the Supreme Court’s pending decision as to whether or not they will hear Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin. The case, in which a white student named Abigail Fisher asserted that she would have been admitted to the university if it weren’t for her race, has been ruled in the university’s favor by lower courts. In the piece, Prezbo stresses that the court hearing the case will be a blow to college diversity across the nation. He uses Columbia as an example for what a university should strive for in terms of diversity.

Consider Columbia, where our undergraduate student body has the highest percentage of low- and moderate-income students and the largest number of military veterans of our peer institutions, as well as the highest percentage of African American students among the nation’s top 30 universities. But our country cannot rely on private universities such as Columbia to realize these benefits. Far more students attend our great public universities, where a combination of declining state support and unfavorable ballot measures pose a serious risk to our model of higher education.

SGA: Guest of a Guest

These lil' guys make their toys only from conflict-free plastic.

Bwog’s A-list correspondent Renée Kraiem tells you what went down at SGA’s final meeting of the semester.

Last night’s SGA meeting, the last of 2011, began with a joyful round of Secret Santas and Channukah Harriets. The evening’s first guest complemented the inclusive theme of the evening.

She was Pamela Phayme, Barnard’s Director of Diversity Initiatives for Student Life. Ever heard of Barnard’s Biased Reporting Incident System? Yeah, nobody else has either—but that’s probably because it doesn’t exist yet. These days, the handling of a bias report varies based on the location in which the report is filed, and, obviously, communication between each reporting body is pretty minimal. Believe it or not, though, bias reporting isn’t the primary challenge that Phayme sees facing Barnard. The greatest issue is that of “micro-aggression,” or the little things that we do each day that point to the larger, often unspoken, conflicts among us.

The second guest to pass through the evening’s meeting with holiday tidings was Shelby Layne, BC ’13. Shelby stopped by to propose action from SGA on behalf of a not-so-micro cause that she has spent the semester investigating as part of a class called “Environmental Leadership, Ethics, and Action.” She explained that we, as Columbia students, shouldn’t support the conflict mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose minerals make up the electronics that play an increasingly macro part in our lives. Instead, we should look to companies like Dell, whose products don’t support conflict mines and with whom Barnard has a contract. Interested? Dig through Shelby’s blog. Even more interested? Shelby presents her project, hopefully on a Dell computer, at her class’s culminating panel tomorrow.

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Bwoglines: You Betta’ Recognize Edition

Columbia University Professor of French Antoine Compagnon was awarded the prestigious Claude Lévi-Strauss Prize and an accompanying 100,000 euros last Tuesday for his excellence in social science methods (Note: This award is a big deal in France and is not distributed by the jean company) .(Spec)

On Friday, Obama urged colleges and universities to improve racial diversity on their campuses. The Times cited Prezbo’s two supreme court cases in their evaluation of the history of racial diversity on college campuses. (NY Times)

Facebook will open its first engineering office outside of the West Coast in New York City. Internships, anyone? (NY Daily News)

Daniel Day-Lewis was spotted for the first time in Abraham Lincoln swag, in preparation for his upcoming role in Lincoln. I drink your… confederacy? (Huffington Post)

Donald Trump will be hosting a GOP primary debate. Get ready for some ruckus. (Gothamist)

Getting Served via Wikimedia Commons

Bwoglines: Like You Need an Excuse Edition

This thing! Go back to it.

You can go back to sleep! The end of Daylight Savings has delivered another sweet sixty minutes to your day, so it’s now an hour earlier than you thought it was. Though it happens every year, one national news outlet or another perennially feels the need to narrate the history of this curious organizational phenomenon. The fundamental story is the same: the spread of long-distance rail travel meant that cities and states across America had to be integrated into one schedule to accomodate locomotive operations. In March the New York Times focused on the spread of time-keeping in early America, while today, the Chicago Tribune offers a fascinating sketch of a growing rift between urban and rural populations at the dawn of the 20th century.

Anyway here are some things for you to ponder, for whenever you decide to wake up:

Why do science and engineering majors have such a high rate of attrition? (NYT)

What should Occupy Wall Street do now? (Slate)

How can so many people run so many miles? (Gothamist)

Justin Bieber’s paternity suit?! (Guardian)

Should Columbia be more diverse? (Spec)

Swedish road sign via Wikimedia

Bwoglines: Multiplicity of Eyes Edition

Embracing a university policy that makes us vibrant, dynamic and exciting in news this morning, we have something for everyone.

You can't talk about diversity without the 'laughing students' picture.

How much we can credit the social media for the revolution in Egypt is questionable, but the latest news, a father-daughter reunion, is all Twitter. Add ‘reuniting long lost families’ to the site’s (still short) list of redeeming qualities. (Huffington Post)

For our cricket enthusiasts (all ten of you) who wish they could have made it out to the World Cup this year, maybe watching from your floor lounges is for the best. Too busy with midterms to follow your favorite team? Or perhaps indifferent, but enough of a ‘global citizen’ to feign an interest? Here are the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 match results thus far. And here’s something for the rest of you. (The Wall Street Journal)

The Oscars are finally on tonight! Watch for your favorite/some odd performances, to see whether ‘The King’s Speech’ really wins everything and, most importantly, whether Anne Hathaway and James Franco will really mess up tonight. (New York Daily News)

Last in our spate of diversity for the day, the UN imposes arms embargo on Libya and financial and trade sanctions on Ghaddafi. (The Wall Street Journal)

99 Red Balloons Columbians

Image via 99 Columbians

99 Columbians is a multimedia project created by Angela Radulescu, CC’11 and Bennett Hong, CC’11 with the goal of bringing together the diverse group of individuals that make up our student body. To check it out or get involved, click here.

“Passport to Columbia”: Columbia, The Mega-Country

Last night, Culture Editor Tony Gong went to CCSC’s massive multicultural event “Passport to Columbia,” and returned a little more appreciative of diverse foods, arts, and Columbia, the nation. His account of the night follows.

Some people (naysayers and cynics, mainly) don’t think you need a passport to go to Columbia. “Columbia is a university, not a country,” they may argue. Well, last night, the CCSC Campus Life Committee finally showed us that Columbia is actually a country with over twenty smaller countries inside of it. Correspondingly, we’ve got a pretty kickass flag (see picture to the right). And yes, you do need a passport to enroll, naysayers. More proof and pictures after the jump.

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No BlaZin’ Allowed

NSOP did away with the cannabis reference as they resurrected the BlaZelast year’s experimental cross-campus relay event –  for the 2011 set. Bwoggers Sara Vogel and Ellen Kessel were embedded with the troops on the new, PC-polished “Take One: Ultimate Team Challenge” and filed this report:

notblaze5

Surrounded by Orientation Leaders baiting their charges with a rainbow of free t-shirts, we couldn’t  help think back to sleep-away camp, and the rite of passage that was Color War. Bunks were severed , meals were silent, friendships were tearfully won and lost to the tune of team fight songs.

notblaze17We expected less drama and commitment from this jaded group for the evening’s “diversity event.” UTC reeked of good, clean, fun – the BlaZe’s soda-pong, whipped cream, and powdered donuts were nixed in favor of a bean-bag toss, a three-legged race, and CU trivia. “There were too many innuendos last year,” one NSOP committee member told us. “We wanted to keep it clean this year.” But despite it being a thinly-veiled ice-breaker, from where we stood the first-years seemed genuinely into it.

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