#law and order
Department of Education Dismisses Fall “Steering” Complaint

Recall last October’s allegation that the chair of Barnard’s Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Rachel McDermott, “steered” a Jewish Barnard student away from taking one of Columbia Professor Joseph Massad‘s classes lest his reportedly pro-Palestinian slant make her “uncomfortable.” The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) began an investigation in response to a complaint from Kenneth Marcus of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, who is connected to both the OCR and the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR). In 2006 USCCR investigated Columbia for antisemitism, and maintains a page devoted to receive antisemitism complaints.

Earlier this week, OCR dropped the investigation. In a letter to President of Barnard Debora Spar, the OCR noted that neither the complainant, nor the student, nor the OCR could find evidence contradicting McDermott’s denial of steering. (more…)

Check Your Expectations: Chomsky Edition

Looks like the administration is expecting more of the commotion we saw the last time Chomsky was here. The linguist/philosopher/cognitive scientist/activist etc. returns to Columbia tonight at 6 pm in LeFrak for another round of controversy.

Update, 4:20 pm: We hate to be the bearers of bad news if you were hoping to beat the crowd, but…

Well, at least the weather's nice

You were warned

According to the Center for Palestinian Studies’ site, “Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Preference will be given to CUID holders. Doors open at 5:00 PM. Event will begin promptly at 6:00 PM. Barnard and Columbia students are encouraged to arrive early.”

Top photo tipped by Chomsky Line Expert Hans Hyttinen

Morningside Heights…It’s Vancouver!

Tha Heights is the Cinema Capital of the Universe. First Law and Order, then Gossip Girl, now Law and Order again! Mystery, intrigue, crime and punishment: Law and Order Criminal Intent is filming at UTS today.

Ice-T Was Here!

Along with the rest of the cast from Law and Order Special Victims Unit. Amanda Cormier caught Detective Tutuola and Medical Examiner Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) walking past 1020 just before noon, perhaps choosing to take their lunch at the Hungarian instead. 


More pictures of the pair, the scene of the crime, and what looks like Chris Maloney after the jump. (more…)

Law & Order SVU Reclaims Its Turf

Having heard that a soup company is muscling in on their filming territory, Law & Order SVU returned to Morningside last night to film at 111th and Broadway.


No word on which characters were involved, but we kinda hope it was Munch.

SVU on Broadway!
 - Photo by JCD

No, the crime franchise isn’t adding a musical (although it now has a UK spinoff). Rather, trailers for Law & Order SVU are outside Milano Market right now! Although neither Milano nor any of the other establishments along the block are closed for filming, fear not: parking notices indicate that the trailers will be there until 10 p.m. 

Justice Served at 120th

A tipster informs us that Law & Order (or possibly one of its spinoffs) is once again shooting around Union Theological Seminary, at the corner of 120th and Claremont. Unfortunately, the brilliant floodlights that are apparently completely necessary for filming have stymied attempts at a photo.

Some things never change. Ever.

Fiat Justitia

Bwog informant “please remove my name” forwarded us an email from one litigious young graduate who slipped and fell in front of the library a few years ago. Naturally, she’s suing Columbia and currently in the midst of trying to amass other slip victims to stregnthen her case. It is, after all, the American way.

However, she’s having trouble finding and getting in touch with fellow accident veterans, but she’s positive they exist — she’s even witnessed someone else slip in front of Butler as she was waiting for her own ambulance. “In our discovery claim against Columbia, they claimed there have been no previous reported complaints, falls, or injuries in that area, which I find very difficult to believe.”

Full letter (personal information redacted) after the jump. 


Columbia and Graciela Chichilnisky: A Legal History

Meet Graciela Chichilnisky, an econ professor who was just awarded a $200,000 settlement from Columbia, which is roughly the amount of your tuition or any one product from Nussbaum & Wu. She has been suing Columbia on and off since 1990 (back when some of you Terrible 12s weren’t even born!), claiming gender discrimination and unequal pay, claims that were also previously settled in 1995 for $500,000. As a result of the earlier suit, Chichilnisky’s salary was raised from $60,000 to $110,000.

So then, in 2000, Chichilnisky stopped teaching math and started working exclusively in the econ. department because Columbia was terminating the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization, which she had chaired. She found that her office in the Mathemetics building was hers no longer. “It’s almost impossible to believe this is happening,” she told Spec. “The destruction and removal of one’s office space, without notice is like a violation of one’s physical space.” Columbia repsponded that the school is crunched for space and that Chichilnisky wasn’t making full use of her math office.

She filed another lawsuit claiming that her pay was less than that of her male counterparts, and that in dismantling her office, Columbia “has retaliated against her by breaching the terms of the settlement.” In turn, Columbia filed counterclaims, charging that Chichilnisky had a secret second job — she was the founder and CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation — and that she never disclosed that to anyone in Low. According to CU, this was a breach of the previous settlement agreement.


Weekend Rentals: Jurisprudence Edition

Other than the economy and the presidential candidates and of course, IvyGate’s triumphant return, the big news story of the week was the Supreme Court, which handed down a number of controversial decisions, from issues concerning the death penalty to the Second Amendment. For those of you want more of a judiciary fix, here are some weekend rentals from Film Rental Correspondent Brandon Hammer to satisfy your palate.  

The History Buffs: Inherit the Wind (1960) 

Based on the play of the same title, Inherit the Wind is the dramatized story of the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial, in which John Thomas Scopes was put on trial for teaching the theory of evolution. The case created such hype that it drew two of the most famous lawyers of the time, three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense. Though all of the names are changed (Bryan becomes Matthew Harrison Brady while Darrow is changed to Drummond), the story is nonetheless an interesting examination of the conflict between those who have very different views of the governing principles of the United States. Moreover, despite the film’s age, its subject matter — from what it is acceptable to teach in school, to how two friends can maintain their relationship amid social and political competition, to the battle between urban and rural — is still quite relevant.


FBI Warning

FBI Hat Kurt Kanazawa takes a journey into the realm of one of Career Services’ less orthodox clients.

On behalf of a dare, from myself mostly, I decided to actually open and critically consider a “Career Services” email. The Gmail crystal ball spun, and lo and behold I found myself staring at the career event of a lifetime — “FBI Information Session, TONIGHT @ 6 PM!” In the heat of the moment, I truly felt that Fate was beckoning me to take this epic journey to EC/Career Services. In a sense. Really, I shamelessly beckoned myself.

But, on a rainy Wednesday night, I descended the stairs of the Career Services inferno and quietly slipped my way into the conference room. After positioning myself next to the extremely active radiator, I first began to take in my surroundings. Up at the front, standing ominously by the slide projector, were three middle-aged women, all wearing stately black suits. With my acute deductive skills, I deduced that these were the recruiters from the FBI, and presumably another attempt by our wonderful government to downplay the image of male-dominated workplaces — truly admirable.


Layin’ down the law

We here at Bwog were literally convulsing with excitement when we heard t
hat a Columbia alum was nominated for Attorney General (Princeton you  are soooo wiretapped…). If you’re like us, you can pass your congratulations along to mmukas@law.columbia.edu –Mukasey was a lecturer in the Law School, and team-taught a seminar on Advanced Trial Practice in the Fall of 2006. Could his teaching tell what to expect during his upcoming 18-or-so months as the nation’s top law enforcement official? Law students?

And yes, this is the least grainy picture we could find of him online.

Sunday Evening Special

Whacko Alums Who Amuse and Inspire

Wayne Allyn Root, C’83, is considering running on the Libertarian ticket during the next presidential election. More importantly, he has gotten rich by peddling crap, and he knows it. Nevertheless, after a career involving sports news, TV production, gambling, and writing best-selling books such as Millionaire Republican (part of subtitle: “Why Rich Republicans Get Rich”), Root has remained true to his… background and feels comfortable admitting he’s a real “S.O.B. (Son of a Butcher).” We wish we could make this stuff up.

PLUS: Read the first paragraph of Wayne’s bio to see what he thinks of his former classmates at “the most liberal college in America”.

Like Real Life… With More Gun Violence

Apparently Law and Order have spent too much time in Morningside Heights: art is starting to imitate Columbia life. Guess which events of the past semester have inspired an upcoming episode of the show, at least until the embryo part, in the following synopsis from the official site:

STUDENT SHOT DURING ASSEMBLY FOR RIGHT-WING POLTICAL SPEAKER – Judith Barlow (Guest Star Charlotte Ross), a controversial speaker participates in a Question and Answer at Grammercy College when the stage is mobbed. Someone in the crowd fires a gun, leaving one student dead. Detective Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) and Nina Cassady (Milena Govich) question the victims friend Malcolm Yates (Guest star Louis Cancelmi), an older PhD student who creates human embryos to harvest stem cells. It is discovered that Yates has Parkinson’s disease and finds Barlow’s tactics as a direct threat to his job and life. Yates’ attorney, Bernie Adler (Guest star Ron Silver), is from the ACLU, during the trial Silver infuriates the jury by calling everyone racial epithets, which angers the judge. S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterson and Fred Dalton Thompson also star. TV-14 DL

And Now Something Legitimate

On a sobering note, Bwog received a bit of solemn news over the weekend regarding the death of a GS student. Apparently Eric Posner, GS’06, one of the most outspoken MEALAC defenders during the controversy several years ago, was in Jerusalem visiting family when he passed. Rest in Peace.

Get Your TV Cameo, NOW!

Sara Vogel says:

Just in case you didn’t know, they’re shooting Law and Order up at 116th and Broadway right now, the trucks and trailers extend past Barnard!

Because Not All of Us Want to Sell Our Souls

Friday’s New York Times has a strange article which reports that law school applications have been declining across the board for the first time since 1998. For Columbia, that meant 335 fewer people got in line this year for a chance to spend 120K burning the midnight oil at Diamond Law Library outlining briefs like Ass v. Viacom.

The cause of this decline? Boston Legal.