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img April 09, 20138:30 pmimg 28 Comments

In the new issue of your favorite magazine The Blue and White, on campus later this week, you’ll read about the denial of tenure to a favorite Barnard professor, get some insight into CUSH’s split from the IRC, and hear from the wisest cabbie in New York City. Whet your appetite with this piece by senior editor Torsten Odland, CC ’15, on Operation Ivy League and how quickly institutional memory fades at Columbia. 

In the early hours of December 7, 2010, the following students were awoken and arrested for drug dealing by NYPD officers: Harrison David, SEAS ’12; Chris Coles, CC ’12; Stephan/Jose Vincenzo/Perez, CC ’12; Michael Wymbs, CC, ’11; and Adam Klein, CC ’12. Specifically, they’d sold: marijuana, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and Adderall. The bust was the culmination of a five month long investigation of the students, from whom undercover NYPD officers bought $11,000 worth of drugs over the course of 31 deals.

In the Office of Special Narcotics’ original press release, they referred to the sting as “Operation Ivy League.” Though Police Commissioner Ray Kelly denies ever using it, it is the name that stuck.


Illustration by Anne Scotti, CC ’16

Students from 2010 remember “OIL” as a “big deal.” Operation Ivy League united the Columbia community in confusion; the atmosphere on campus in the days after the arrests was described to me as a “collective daze”—OIL was “shocking” and “upsetting” and everyone was talking about it.

The responses to “Five Students Arrested in Drug Bust, ‘Operation Ivy League,’ ” Bwog’s first article covering the story, demonstrate how intensely Columbia students felt about the issue: “My thoughts go out to the countless individuals in the Greek community who fight everyday to show the truly positive side of their fraternity or sorority, only to have actions like this essentially reset the process. It’s an absolute shame”; “My heart goes out to the desperately poor people from third-world countries who risk their lives smuggling drugs inside their bodies because they have no other option. My heart does NOT go out to Ivy Leaguers who got caught.”

For the Columbia students who were there, OIL was an unforgettable event, about which many still feel strongly, both in support of or in disgust with the arrested. It’s remained campus news for two years–—Bwog published updates about each of the accused’s court cases, and still keeps campus posted when Jose Perez appears on network news to talk about the dangers of Adderall.

Two years from now, almost all of the undergrads who remember the atmosphere on campus in the days after the arrests will have graduated. Which begs the question: Does Operation Ivy League matter to Columbia students anymore? Let me put it this way: In Columbia history, can we put Op. Ivy League in the same category as “that time Snoop Dogg played Bacchanal?” Did it permanently impact the lives of Columbia students, or is it another “legendary moment” that ultimately amounts to a memory?

Read on to find out…



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img February 26, 201210:35 amimg 0 Comments

Crouching under desk

Nuclear war? That was easy!

Do you recall that NYPD monitoring of Muslim student groups at area universities was kind of a big deal? It still is, and your peers are quoted attesting to that! (Associated Press)

You can expect some much-needed additional fallout from the New York Post’s attempt to report on the situation in the form of an offensive cartoon. (Gothamist)

And you can get better fries just about anywhere.” Perennial Columbus Avenue (among other places) favorite Shake Shack is licked by the acidic tongue of the Times food critic, and doesn’t fare (pun intended) too badly! (NY Times)

Why the academy does not consist of Netflix reviewers. Though some of these might in fact be more eloquent than what we’re used to at the Oscars. (Gawker)

The trial for the BP gulf oil spill begins tomorrow. Remember that? (CNN)

Effective anti-Soviet countermeasures via Flickr Creative Commons




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img September 26, 201010:05 amimg 4 Comments

Andrew Carnegie, Big Business OG

The owner of Tom’s is being sued by a former employee. (NY Post)

Big Business wants to know if we should all be eating like cavemen. (Gawker)

Google wants the whole country to look like Epcot. (Wired)

Columbia researchers have come out with the first independent estimate of the volume of the Gulf oil spill — 4.4 million barrels. (Columbia)

And congratulations to the men’s rugby team, who beat Harvard yesterday for the first time in decades. Huzzah!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons



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img February 20, 200710:32 amimg 60 Comments

Last night, the Columbia Republicans and Democrats met in Hamilton for a debate on energy policy. Karen Leung has this piquant dispatch (all opinions are her own–read Spec for the bland version).

sdfThe best moments of political analysis at last night’s energy policy debate came from Tedde Tsang, who spoke to no one. Tsang, three rows from the back, laughed quietly to himself whenever either side made a verbal screw-up. He sometimes made the effort to hoot.

At the front, Evan Thomas, CC ’08, and Dan Amrhein, CC ’09, spoke for the Dems. In their opening remarks, they attacked increasing oil dependency and lack of research funding for alternative energy under the Bush administration – their strongest points. They were supported by Thomas’s very active eyebrows.

The Republicans’ Tao Tan, CC ’07, and Dana Newborn, CC ’09, were forced to defend Bush’s track record. Or rather, Tan mostly left Newborn to the (difficult) task. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was her crutch, and both argued for private innovation as an alternative to state policy as a solution for oil dependency.

But the crowd, mostly Dems, wasn’t there for policy analysis. They wanted rhetorical piss and vinegar. One softball to their team – “Is the Bush administration doing enough to counter global warming?” – got a good half-minute of laughter. While substantive arguments were sometimes alluded to – props to Newborn and Amrhein for being the most effective on this – the real focus of the evening was on Thomas’s talking points and verbal barbs, and on Tan’s strange, just strange, outbursts. (more…)

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