Here’s your Saturday afternoon pick-me-up via a fellow student: Abigale Wyatt, GS, is a young officer candidate who was featured in”Breaking Through The Brass Ceiling,” a video from the New York Times. In the video she discusses the implications of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent announcement that the Obama administration would be lifting the military policy that prevented women from serving in combat roles. She goes on to discuss what it means to her to be a woman in the military. Let the inspiration influence you to get some work done today.
Last week, Elyse Pitock, BC’15, had a piece published in the New York Times Anxiety Column. This week, she has this interview published in Bwog. (Of which do you think she is prouder?) Here, she continues her important discussion on food anxiety.
Bwog: How did you get your writing featured in the Times? What is your piece about? Is it fiction as the NYT labeled it?
Elyse: The anxiety column welcomes open submissions. I sent mine in late October and heard back a couple weeks later. It’s about anxiety and how the rest of the world keeps going even if you’re not ready for it. There are fictional and non-fictional elements.
B: How did you decide on using the end-of-the-world metaphor?
E: I wrote it during Sandy so I guess after standing in line for gallons of water and hearing updates about damage I had disaster on the brain. It felt like an appropriate comparison because I think that many people with anxiety often experience everyday things in a very amplified and exaggerated way. To me, it expresses immediacy and hopelessness at the same time.
B: Why did you decide to write about your personal struggle with food anxiety?
E: Last year I made myself quite physically ill in response to what was happening inside my head. I didn’t really understand what was happening to me because the signs of mental illness aren’t as obvious as we are led to believe by books and movies. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and we need to talk about these things in a straightforward, non-romanticized way.
Most Columbian undergrads only live in the city for the nine cooler months out of the year. Those who have remained for the summer observe a city-wide, metaphysical transformation. Brief experience with the truly oppressive combination of ~100 degree weather and giant concrete/metal heatsinks forces a renegotiation of one’s relationship with basic infrastructure. “Urban jungle” takes on a new meaning once your glasses fog while descending into a sweltering subway stop. Gold Bond becomes the haute scent.
Beating the heat usually involves several strategies familiar to the average college student: discarding all but essential clothing, redefining “essential clothing,” crashing with the friend who is lucky enough to have a/c, and, predictably, lots and lots of beer. Ben Ratliff, CC ’80-something, suggests something that is, again, familiar; yet intuitively radical: going to Butler. In fact, Ratliff waxes poetic about the formal intimacy and intellectual serendipity of the experience to such an extent that he almost induces a pang of studious regret. Almost.
The heat comes quickly in the summer. By early June, working at home with no air-conditioning, I have no concentration. Everything feels close and impolite and loud.
So I go to Butler Library, on the southern end of Columbia’s campus in Morningside Heights. What began as a diversion has become a self-preserving summer thing: not just Butler, but the Butler stacks, the stillness capital of my imagination.
The Butler stacks are in a different sensory category, starting from the threshold: If you’re tall, you bow your head as you pass through the low door frame. They form an enclosed rectangular prism at the center of Butler — no windows, a bit cooler than the rest of the building. Two or three levels of the inner stacks can correspond to one floor of the outer library. All this reinforces the feeling that the stacks are something special: a separate province or a vital inner organ.
NBA champs via LiveNYNow
We continue to respect our heritage/amorous affair with our mother-magazine, The Blue & White by posting each issue of the magazine online. The latest issue, available this week around campus, is a cornucopia of delights: an interview with Dean Peter Awn; the quixotic quest for a Quidditch team; and a discussion of the institution of the Columbia presidency. This month, magazine Senior Editor and Bwog Editor Claire Sabel (with additional reporting by staff writer and Bwog Friday Editor Peter Sterne) reflects on Columbia’s year in the headlines.
Late December was, unfortunately, an auspicious time for student reporting. The NYPD’s undercover drug bust and the David Epstein incest case had shaken up Columbia, splattering the University’s name across the national media for stories that were to varying degrees degrading and embarrassing. Come spring, Columbia was in a prime position to bear the brunt of the press’s disapproval over another highly sensitive issue: questioning whether those academic institutions that had taken a stand against the military’s discrimination should be expected to formally engage with them after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
One expects Columbia’s critics would be ready to mobilize these scandals from the fall; contesting the obligation to invite ROTC back to campus could easily have been presented as further evidence Columbia students and faculty were over-privileged and amoral. While the attention garnered by the debate over military engagement was certainly unflattering at times, it was remarkably untainted by residual malevolence from the slew of highly-publicized scandals. The Operation Ivy League coverage was largely a class narrative, and stereotyped Columbia as an organization of arrogant elites, but never referred to Columbia’s outspoken politics or legacy of activism either. A close examination of the way Columbia was portrayed in the media during these two dramatic spells leads to some telling conclusions about what our university has come to stand for beyond the bubble.
After extensive testing on the Canadians, The New York Times launched its dreaded paywall today! The gray lady now requires non-subscribers to fork over fifteen bucks a month for digital content. Bwog had lotsa questions, so we talked to the trusty keepers of information, Columbia librarians.
According to Journalism librarian, Chris Ergunay, NYT subscriptions—current and historical— come from a variety of vendor subscription arrangements (ProQuest, Factiva, etc.). Columbia libraries will continue to offer these resources, some with permalinks, to all Columbians and even alums (we know you’re out there). But don’t expect the NYT layout. Unforunately, Ergunay adds, there isn’t an academic library subscription for the NYT in website format available at the moment. ProQuest Historical Newspapers does have page maps of NYT but only for issues printed from 1851-2007, not for more recent years. Depending on how all this goes, the CCSC Policy Committee will reevaluate the amount of paper copies it orders.
Still, as you’ve probably heard, there are loads of loopholes to the porous paywall—some even used by NYTimes writers! Scandalous! According to the Times news release, “readers who come to the Times articles through links from search [arrivals from Google are capped though], blogs [us!] and social media like Facebook and Twitter, will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly limit.” Of course people will just set up Twitter accounts to tweet every news story everyday. Despite all the attempts to scam the system, Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. remains unfazed. He claims “mostly high-school kids and people out of work” will try to circumvent the paywall. Seems kinda optimistic…
Without getting too Core crazy here, the great paywall predicament does raise interesting moral questions. Since the Times intentionally left holes in the wall, is it really unethical to take advantage of them? Or is NYT just hoping you’ll be generous. Free linking makes you popular, but money makes you rich. A Time (yep, without the “s”) blogger offers an all-too relevant example: cheese tasting. When you’re gorging yourself on Westside cheese, where’s the line between sampling and scrounging?
Mauve reader via wikimedia.
Because Antoine Dodson is getting his own show! Bwog predicts several new techno remixes to follow. (NY Daily News)
And, kids these days are getting high on bath salts! No, seriously! (Gawker)
And also, there are primates on College Walk! Well, not exactly. But there were. Sort of. One 2011 Sundance documentary explores the experience of a chimpanzee named Nim Chimpsky (ha!) whom Columbia-researchers attempted to teach to communicate in the 1970s. (LATimes)
And last but not least, cat hoarders in Brooklyn! Two Williamsburg fifty-somethings who were busted last summer for detaining and torturing almost 100 cats just became the first couple indicted in NY for animal-hoarding charges. (NYPost)
Just kidding—there’s one more reason! It’s the season of exploding manholes! There have been at least nineteen manhole fires since New Years Day, says ConEd. Cue double entendre here. (NYTimes)
Image via Wikimedia
The New York Times published a story today that calls last week’s bust of a drug ring involving Columbia students “unremarkable, but for one thing: [the] Ivy League clients.” Below, we highlight some relevant new information that our (full disclaimer!) very own Eliza Shapiro helped report:
- The original anonymous call to Crime Stoppers that prompted the investigation happened towards the end of the Spring ’10 semester, “leading the police to begin an investigation that focused on one Columbia student in particular: Harrison David.” There is still no public information about the context or content of that call.
- Harrison David “unwittingly led undercover officers to everyone else charged in the indictment.” He connected an undercover cop to his dealer, Miron Sarzynski.
- Most of the drug purchases were in “relatively small amounts,” such as an ounce of marijuana or “a few pills” or Adderall or ecstasy.
- Concerning disciplinary actions resulting from things such as the smell of marijuana, Shollenberger says that Columbia’s “threshold of proof is much lower than law enforcement’s for us to move forward.” However, he noted that it is not Columbia’s policy to actively search dorm rooms for drugs.
- Shollenberger also commented that the rise in the recorded number of disciplinary actions taken as a result of drug usage possibly went up recently due to recent changes in policy, such as increased training for RAs.
- Some personal info about the suppliers: Lagares, a supplier of cocaine to David, operated a Mister Softee truck. Sarzynski and Asper, marijuana suppliers from the East Village, were dating and eventually “planned to start a juice and health food business one day.” On her boyfriend, Asper says: “Miron is small potatoes. I thought the police had bigger fish to fry.”
- The Times also notes that given the depth “notorious New York City drug cases, these suspects seem somewhat unremarkable,” and that “illegal drug use is an issue on virtually all university and college campuses in the United States, and Columbia is no different.”
Reason 10,343 to be happy you don’t go to NYU: the Times takes a look at college life in the city, you know, the downtown-city, where you never (!) run into anyone.
Victor Suarez, CC’11 and Laura LaPerche, CC’10, shot a feature film in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas called “As Luck.” It will be released in Bangladesh next year. Congratulations, dudes! Watch scenes from the movie:
Crazy cowboy philosopher and Columbia Department Chair Professor of Religion Mark Taylor came out swinging today with a New York Times opinion piece condemning his own job. The longtime gloom-and-doom prophet of educational decay made his stand against the tenure system, calling it a financial and intellectual blunder and accusing its defenders of acting purely out of self-interest.
Yet for Taylor, a man who once claimed that, “Graduate education is the Detroit of education,” these are soft words. And at least he has an alternate plan—seven-year renewable contracts for high-performing professors.
We shot Taylor a few questions about his seven-year plan. He responded: “The seven year idea is my own and I have been promoting it for more than a decade. It does not have a chance at Columbia or most other places.”
Tenure…it’s a movie!
The New York Times is reporting that federal investigators uncovered the existence of some crazy shit at a prestigious Columbia brain-scanning lab: Scientists regularly injected patients with a commonly used low-level radioactive substance that might have had traces of dangerous chemicals. Then some staffers tried to cover it up by forging documents. Um!
An internal investigation released on July 6 concluded that no one appears to have been harmed—many of the studies focused on imaging the brains of schizophrenics and other people with serious mood disorders—but the research at the lab, the Kreitchman PET Center on 168th street, is on hiatus, and some heads have already rolled. David I. Hirsh, Columbia’s executive vice president for research who, according to a letter from PrezBo posted in the comments, resigned on July 9 and will step down when a successor is named, told the Times, ”we are fundamentally reorganizing the lab’s management and operations in response to what the F.D.A. told us.”
More from the article (which, as of now, is the top story on the Times home page):
The F.D.A.’s latest investigation, which took place from Jan. 5 to Jan. 21, listed six categories of violations. It found that since 2007, “at least 10 batches” of drugs had been “released and injected into human subjects” with impurities that exceeded the level the lab had agreed to set. At least four injections “had impurity masses that more than doubled the maximum limit implemented.”
The report highlighted an equation that the lab routinely used, resulting in injections that exceeded the limit for acceptable impurities. The lab did not adequately check “the identity, strength and purity of each active ingredient prior to release” for injection into patients, the report said.
The first building to go up in Manhattanville will be the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, which will be used for brain research. Budum-ching!
In the words of our tipster: you stay classy, Columbia.
Professor and former Provost and Dean of Faculties Jonathan Cole discusses why no one knows that American universities are the “envy of the world.” (WNYC)
The Times reviews Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu at the Italian Academy on Wednesday.
Researchers at the Medical School study a cocaine vaccine. (Spec)
Coyote phones home. (NYT)
On the other hand, Ollie’s filed for bankruptcy. (Crain’s)
Right now, smack-dab in the middle of the Times’ front page, there’s a feature by film reviewer A.O. Scott on actress Greta Gerwig, who graduated from Barnard in 2006. Ms. Gerwig is currently co-starring in the movie “Greenberg” opposite Ben Stiller, but has also appeared in the feature films “Kicking and Screaming” and “The Squid and the Whale.” She’s found a huge (if apathetic?) fan in Mr. Scott, who writes that Gerwig “may well be the definitive screen actress of her generation, a judgment I offer with all sincerity and a measure of ambivalence.”
The Travel section in Today’s Times features a “local stop” in Morningside Heights purporting to give an itinerary that mirrors the weekend afternoons of real Columbia students. The only problem? When was the last time any student you know went to, for example, A Cafe or the Ding Dong Lounge? Another dubious sign: the article both begins and ends with the phrase “Ah, college.”
To be fair though, a more accurate article would probably include far more time in Butler than most tourists would be willing to endure.
Numerous tipsters have highlighted the featured article in today’s Times arts section, about the still-under-construction Northwest Science Building, and its architect, Jose Rafeo Moneo. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the many difficulties that the project has faced, including building on top of the gym, complementing the Manhattanville expansion, and, um, anonymous commenters.
Yes, to demonstrate that “not everyone is happy with the results,” the Times cites a comment from an old Bwog article. “[I]n 2007, a poster called “arch. major” wrote, ‘McKim, Mead & White will roll over in their graves,’ adding that the building made Uris Hall, the widely derided main building of Columbia’s business school, completed in 1961, ‘look like the Pantheon.’ ” Good thing there isn’t an article on Harmony in the works.
- Photo: schmuela/Flickr