PrezBo has just released a statement on the lifting of the lockdown in Boston, with no mention of the lack of alert last night. Boston is in Bwog’s thoughts, especially as an apparent standoff is currently going on, and we hope that everybody with friends and family remains safe and sound. CPS and Public Safety numbers appear in the email after the jump.
A crafty Bwogger working late into the night at the Diana picked up a copy of what appears to be the Creative Team’s latest “Creative Rundown” of this year’s Veesh. Bwog is withholding judgement for the time being, but there’s no reason you should do the same in the comments.
For the past few fall semesters, PrezBo has taught a class on free speech. This year, the class focuses on constitutional freedom of speech and press in the United States. Bwog was tipped a neatly chronological selection of the best out-of-context quips from our elegantly coiffured president’s only class.
9/24: “Get your note pads out—in three weeks, we are going to take back the fucking streets.”
10/1: “I am reintroducing caning to Columbia.”
10/22: “I’m an occasional user of cocaine. Not a regular user. I’m really offended.”
11/14: “As an idiot—I really don’t know anything about these First Amendment things.”
11/26: “I end up in an orange jumpsuit every time I publish something that the government doesn’t like.”
Here’s a sneak peek of the Autumn issue of The Blue & White, which will be out next week (damn you, Sandy!).
One blustery October afternoon, approximately 60 students shuffle into 501 Schermerhorn for class. Some fiddle with their water bottles, others heave hefty copies of Constitutional Law, Sixth Edition out of their bags. President Bollinger—for the next hour and fifteen minutes, anyway—will become Professor Bollinger. As he glances at the roster and starts to call out names, the classroom falls silent. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief when he’s settled on two students, a Mr. Fine and a Mr. Chen. Mr. Fine and Mr. Chen are not relieved. For the duration of the class, they’ll have to answer any question Bollinger throws at them, in front of their peers, TAs, and, of course, Professor Bollinger himself. “Mr. Fine?” He calls, smiling. The student raises his hand and begins to speak.
Bollinger is as much a campus legend as he is the face of the University. Many students know him from the parody Twitter account bearing his name, or his widely-discussed (and acclaimed) haircut, before they meet him in person at one of his famous Fireside Chats—that is, if they get the chance. A sighting of PrezBo strolling down College Walk is a gossip-worthy event, chronicled in exclamatory text messages to friends. Students want to know him, impress him, critique him, and so, with visions of trumping the LSAT dancing in their heads, they flock to his class.
Political Science W3285, or Freedom of Speech and Press, holds a certain cachet among Columbia students, thanks to its unique pedagogy and the man behind it. President Bollinger, who has taught the class for 25 years—first as President of the University of Michigan, and now as the President of Columbia—favors a loose version of the Socratic method, a manner of teaching typical of law schools.
Many modern adaptations of Shakespeare plays have come and gone. Some, such as Romeo + Juliet (starring Leonardo DiCaprio), have left their mark. King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe (KCST) hoped to achieve such glory, at least within Columbia, when they presented their ShakeShorts ShortShakes on October 25-27. Bwog’s very own dilettante dramatist John reviews:
ShakeShorts ShortShakes was comprised of five, fifteen-minute shorts, each by a different director. Renowned plays such as Hamlet and Henry VIII were mixed in with lesser-known poems such as Venus and Adonis. Given free reign on artistic liberties, each director cooked up a much-edited plot, peppered with wry and dirty humor.
Under Maitreyi Choksi’s direction of Julius Caesar, the “doomed” emperor masterminded his own assassination. Why? He could not bear the thought of a mundane death. The conspiracy upon conspiracy, coupled with Percy’s (Caesar) whisper of “Et tu, Brute?” and Chloe’s (Marc Antony) passionate rendition of the ”Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” speech, made for a Hitchcockian thriller.
Don’t shed those tears after our 21-16 loss to Dartmouth, Bwog is here to cheer you up with a double dose of Overheards and Overseens. Thanks to our
army of minions tipsters, we’ve gathered some snippets through the grapevine.
Freshman athletes on Lit Hum:
“I didn’t know, when I committed, about the whole liberal arts thing and talking about dead people and feelings.”
Experimentation led to comforting results:
Girl (to a guy): “I mean, I was a freshman, it was an experiment, and really it just made me more confident in my straightness.”
Bwog would like to remind everyone to maintain laundry habits:
Girl in Columbia tracksuit (to another girl): “She wore the same outfit twice in one week. Eww!”
Where was Machaon when you needed him?
Middle-aged man (to another) in front of Butler: “Here’s all the Greek guys. Syphilis.. herpes..”
In a history lecture, a professor asked how to resolve a certain financial problem in a company:
Girl: “Lower wages.”
Professor (sarcastically): “You should study economics.”
Two guys brofist each other in apparent affirmation of their major choice.
Bwog would be remiss if we forgot the alcohol:
Senior (sitting on Baker Field shuttle): ”Four more beers! Four more beers!”
In celebration of Homecoming, Bwog is hosting a contest for the best overseen photo of Prezbo. The contest will start today (10/20) and end next Saturday (10/27).
The prize is none other than your very own bottle of Bollinger champagne.
So fire up Instagram and send those photos to firstname.lastname@example.org!
All about angles via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, the Supreme Court began hearing the Fisher vs. University of Texas case. This case, concerning affirmative action at the University of Texas, threatens to overturn the 2003 Grutter vs. Bollinger, that upheld the use of affirmative action in admissions at the University of Michigan Law School.
Abigail Fisher, a white woman, brought her arguments to the court after being denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008. She believes she was rejected because of her race; she thinks her place in the student body was taken to create more diversity in the school.
The University of Texas has a unique admissions process. In 1997 they passed Texas House Bill 588. This bill instituted the “Top 10% Rule,” wherein the top 10% of every public school in Texas is granted admission to University of Texas. It came to being following Hopwood v. Texas, which showed that the university was not using affirmative action properly and could not use race in admissions.
However, a change came with Grutter vs. Bollinger. In PrezBo’s Freedom of Speech and Press class, he has been candidly discussing the history of affirmative action cases. “I’m an advocate,” PrezBo said last Wednesday. He believes that it supports diversity, which allows students to learn more from each other with differing perspectives. Just as a school wants students from every state and other countries, it wants people with different backgrounds. As he wrote in an article last week in the LA Times, “abandonment of the Grutter precedent would undermine the quality of education we can offer to all our students.” In class, Bollinger cited California Prop 209, which banned the use of race in the admissions process. After it was instituted, he explained, diversity at California schools crashed. He goes into details about this in the LA Times article.
He did not want this happening in Michigan. In fact, he did not want it happening across the nation; Bollinger understood that the ruling in Grutter vs. Bollinger would affect institutions everywhere. He ensured that, bringing together other schools. He then pulled corporations to defend the use of race in hiring. Gerald Ford wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about his college experience with diversity. Bollinger also turned to military academies for their support.
A few days ago, the NYTimes ran a profile of Glenn Hubbard, B-school president and “Romney’s go-to economist.” The piece included this nugget—that PrezBo tried and failed to give Hubbard the boot:
It’s been a well-kept secret, but faculty members say that in 2008, the president of Columbia, Lee C. Bollinger, wanted to bounce Mr. Hubbard from his job. Why? Nobody has offered an explanation, not even to the senior faculty members who were asked at a meeting to rally behind their leader by signing a petition of support. Neither Mr. Hubbard nor Mr. Bollinger would answer questions on the subject.
It’s not surprising that this isn’t out, because generally, by the time one hears of PrezBo’s plans, it’s a foregone conclusion that they will be carried out (cf. Manhattanville, ROTC). Here he was denied.
Job search via Shutterstock
EDIT: This video from a comment below is too good to not embed.
In the official email announcement this morning, PrezBo stated that Nicholas Lemann, Dean of the J-School, will not seek another five-year term. During his ten years as dean, Lemann oversaw “fundraising and capital improvements” such as in the new broadcast studio, student center, and café.
Working with faculty and the broader community of people interested in the School, Nick helped create a comprehensive and modern curriculum…The innovations included the decision to study and teach both the craft of journalism and the intellectual context for its practice, and the institution of a new Master of Arts in Journalism program stressing subject-matter expertise to complement the Journalism School’s core Master of Science program.
A New York Times article from last night noted that it is uncharacteristic for PrezBo himself to lead the search for a candidate. Typically, a separate committee provides three potential candidates. The article attributes this to the opinion that “journalism is in such a transitional phase” and that, in PrezBo’s words, the choice “was not only crucial to Columbia, but to the broader society.”
Lemann will continue to teach at the J-School and write for The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1999.
Lemann via J-School
Last night, lucky students (along with invited guests like CCSC President Karishma Habbu, ESC President Tim Qin, and members of the media) spent an evening in PrezBo’s house for one of his famous “Fireside Chats,” dining on fine cuisine (mini hot dogs, mini burgers, regular size chicken fingers, and cookies) and discussing the state of the university. Bwog’s presidential pyromaniac Peter Sterne reports.
Students brought all kinds of gripes to the president, from inadequate advising to the lack of a formal linguistics major. Some were old news to PrezBo, such as student unhappiness with advising, which, he recalled, has come up at every fireside chat for the last few years, though lately “students have been less unhappy” about it. Some issues surprised him. When someone brought up Columbia’s dubious distinction as the most stressed school in the U.S. (according to last year’s Newsweek ranking), PrezBo seeemed incredulous. “It’s not the most stressful university in the country, is it really?” he asked the assembled students, who all replied, more or less, that it was. “Well,” he acknowledged, “I don’t know what to say.”
But he had anticipated most questions. When someone asked about the problems facing the Arts Initiative, he had an polished answer at the ready: the arts are “underinvolved” in the university, so he’s committed to the Arts Initiative; yes, it was started in his office but has since been moved to the School of the Arts; yes, the University will remain committed to the initiative; no, the rumors about the School of the Arts defunding the Initiative are not true; but of course, in this economy you have to acknowledge that budgets will be cut; and so on.
The economy did not dominate the discussion, but it came up repeatedly. After one student questioned why Columbia wasn’t more pre-professional—teaching students the skills that employers wanted to see—PrezBo asked whether students were concerned about their job prospects and student loans. “Be honest about this, I know everybody wants to say they are [in debt, but] how many view the debt you will have as [something that] really worries them?” he asked the audience. Surprisingly few hands went up. In general, observed one student who proudly declared he had taken a sociology class, students at Columbia are “pretty much guaranteed to be in the middle class” when they graduate, despite the recession. “Part of our education, though, is looking beyond our own perspectives,” noted another student, who had probably taken an anthropology class. “I feel like the weight of what might be happening to people our age at other schools should be felt by us.”
- Remember when J.P. Morgan lost more than $2 billion of other people’s money by irresponsible trading? Well that’s caused a lot of people, including politicians, to urge Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of the company, to step down from his position on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York—but not PrezBo. He’s been subject of controversy, because he supports Dimon. He went as far as to say Dimon’s critics are “foolish” and posses a “false understanding” of how the board works. (NYT, LA Times, Business Week)
- After Paul Krugman sarcastically insulted Estonia’s economy in a blog post, Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves rebutted him on Twitter. Not only did he disparage Krugman’s Nobel Prize, but he bitingly accused him of reducing the conflict to a “Princeton vs Columbia thing.” (NYT, Twitter)
The latest in this summer’s slew of super prestigious and important accolades: Business Insider has named PrezBo as one of New York’s Top 10 Best CEOs To Work For. Cool and collected as always, he sits at the number six spot, sandwiched between the CEOs of J. Crew and Coach. Here’s their original accompanying PrezBio, in which it was erroneously stated that he ended Columbia’s ROTC program:
Bollinger is the only non-profit CEO on the list. Before Columbia, he was president of the University of Michigan. He was raised in the small town of Baker City (pop. 9,828), in eastern Oregon.
Lee is popular on the Manhattan campus, and is affectionately known as “PrezBo” by his students.
He has faced controversies over allowing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at the school, and for ending the school’s ROTC program.[Update, 6/1: This sentence has since been removed 'cause he didn't do that.]
Under his presidency, Columbia has remained one of the top overall schools in the country, and its business school ranked 5th in the nation last year.
The praise is all well and good, but we can’t help but wonder: for the love of god, how could they forget to mention that hair?
No more autographs, please, via Wikimedia Commons
Actually, he didn’t—at least not on his first attempt. As a parting gift to all of you graduates who made your way across the metaphorical road yesterday—pause for dramatic effect—we wanted to share the following series of photos, sent to us by an anonymous tipster who spent Monday afternoon watching the Obama motorcade and its aftermath.
The PrezBo Parable: Because You’re Not All Alone Out There In The Real World
Today was the first day of the rest of your lives, or so we hear. For your own records, enjoy this photographic evidence that you did in fact put on the robes and get the degrees. Also, you can watch all 167 minutes here.
Send your own photos to email@example.com, and we will add them!
Choice Quotes from PrezBo and the Deans
- “It’s a well-known fact that the smarter you are, the more you procrastinate.” – PrezBo
- “Standing before you in sections eight and nine, which must be an indexing error because Columbia College students only sit in section one…” – Deantini
- “If you ask me what makes Columbia great, I have a very, very long list.” – PrezBo
- “Under the watchful eye of Nike, with the leadership of Athena, in the splendor of the Diana, and with the wisdom that comes from at least nine ways of knowing…” – DSpar
- “I’ll wait for another day to make the case that Columbia is now the greatest university in the world.” – PrezBo
- “[GS grads] are deeply indebted to the Columbia faculty, and to their banks, for this superb education.” – Dean Awn
- “You, the class of 2012, are the most intelligent and attractive graduation class we have ever seen. Definitely the most attractive, in any event.” – PrezBo