prezbo Archive

May

15

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75093_1376351192633922_1902545825_nIn an email sent this afternoon, PrezBo announced his support for the University’s divestment from companies engaged in the operation of private prisons.  A recommendation will come before the Board of Trustees in their next meeting in June.

On March 31, ACSRI (the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing) voted to recommend prison divestment to the Trustees, and this represents, in the words of PrezBo, the “culmination of thoughtful analysis and hard work by ACSRI and by…students, faculty, and alumni.”

PrezBo also touched on the issue of fossil fuel divestment, which ASCRI has been discussing since 2013, in today’s message.  He vocalized his hope that the “conversation” on climate change remain in the forefront, and he alluded that at an “appropriate time during the next academic year” this issue too will come before the Trustees.

You can read the full email below, after the jump.

May

13

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Robert Kasdin

Robert Kasdin

President Bollinger sent an email to students this afternoon announcing that Senior Executive Vice President Robert Kasdin will be leaving Columbia at the end of June. Kasdin will become the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Both former Dean Terry Martinez and Dean Kevin Shollenberger left Columbia in the past years to accept positions at Johns Hopkins, prompting a trend of admins leaving Columbia for the health care system. The real question is: which admin will Johns Hopkins scoop up next?

President Bollinger explains that this is “a time of significant change in our nation’s health care system” as Kasdin moves into his new position. He also asks for the Columbia community to congratulate Kasdin on his new role. President Bollinger did not name a replacement for Kasdin in his email.

Read the full email here.

May

1

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Mighty

Mighty

You wanna be on top? We compile the best — to the worst — of Columbia this past month. We were generously tipped this concept and accept the challenge. 

  1. Hillary Clinton. It’s no secret that she’s getting started. Former Secretary of State under #1 Columbia alum Obama and one-time First Lady began her second presidential run this April, angling for the Democratic nomination (and your vote) come 2016. She also made the keynote speech at the annual Dinkins Forum this week at Columbia; you can see photos of her visit here and tweets from the speech on our Twitter.
  2. International. Finals are a hard time for everyone, but made easier for those of the legal drinking age. There’s a story somewhere in those finals-week(s) sale spikes.
  3. President Bollinger. Has anyone heard from him lately? Let’s take the silence and lack of controversy as optimistic signs. Has anyone seen the Audi on Morningside Drive or College Walk? He must be in a good place right now.
  4. The Class of 2019. Whether you are a current Columbia student (and have joined one of the ’19 Facebook groups to remind yourself of a less jaded time) or yet pre-frosh (and a member of one of those groups to prematurely ingratiate yourself with some chronic stressed-out community), there lie good and bad ahead.
  5. Spirit events. Very neutral. There have been prospective student days on campus, senior fund tablings, and too many Barnard and (imminent) SEAS spirit days/weeks/freebies. Do the free water bottles, temporary tattoos, and T-shirts negate the hordes of high school tour groups? Does the bouncy house presently on Lehman Lawn warrant higher ranking?
  6. Dig Inn. Not looking so hot any more. Is anyone else getting tired of the weird chicken smell when they pass the restaurant? Is anyone else tired of plates over-saturated with olive oil?
  7. Seniors. We’ll miss you, but you’re on the way out. Hopefully on to great things, though maybe hung up on graduate school direction or future employment. Maybe still even hung up on theses. Let’s glean what wisdom we can from this Class of 2015.
  8. Dr. Oz.
  9. President Obama’s future Presidential Library. We’ll be bitter for a while.
  10. The spring 2015 semester. R.I.P. harried and hurried assignments, take-home quizzes, recitation sections, discussion sections, Met visits, labs, professor evaluations, midterms, TAs, taking 22 credits, taking 12 credits. We’re moving on. It’s been fun, but it’s basically over.

Man doing power gesture via Shutterstock.

Apr

17

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campus-nightThe Columbia Mental Health Task Force (MHTF) has just released a press release including their suggestions sent to President Bollinger later last year. Following the death of Joshua Villa in December, MHTF sent a memo to President Bollinger in regards to student concerns for mental health at Columbia. Some of the students’ proposals reflect the numerous opinions of Columbia students, including hiring more staff and offering extended hours for CPS. However, MHTF has still not received an official meeting with President Bollinger, as previously promised, to further discuss the memo. Co-founder of the task force, Sejal Singh CC ’15, praises the efforts of CPS to support students over the past semester, but Singh calls on President Bollinger to “lead a conversation” about fixing the gap between student needs and the actual services offered on campus.

To further educate the community on mental health issues at Columbia, MHTF will be hosting a Teach-In this Wednesday, April 22, at 8:30 PM in Pupin 214. All are encouraged to attend. The Teach-In will also allow for attendees to offer input on the proposals previously sent to President Bollinger.

Update, 7:51 PM: MHTF also released their survey report, which can be found here.

Please find the entire press release from MHTF below.

COLUMBIA MENTAL HEALTH TASK FORCE RELEASES POLICY
PROPOSALS AND IDENTITY-BASED SURVEY REPORT:
Student Advocates Express Serious Concern About Inaction of Central Administrators

Today, the Columbia University Mental Health Task Force (MHTF) called on University President Bollinger to respond to a student policy memo on mental health concerns submitted to his office in early December 2014. The MHTF publicly released this memo of comprehensive policy recommendations, along with the results of a survey assessing student experiences with Counseling and Psychological Services’ (CPS) care for identity-based mental health concerns.

The MHTF’s policy memo (link here) addresses a wide array of student concerns with mental health care on campus, and includes a series of specific proposals to expand CPS staffing and space, extend drop-in hours to midnight and into weekends, emphasize more diverse hiring, strengthen the University’s crisis response, and create a mental health-related orientation program for all incoming students. Many of the proposals are informed by the findings of the MHTF’s identity-based concerns survey.

Read the rest of the press release here.

Apr

1

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Fuck you

Fuck you

Dermatologists hate her! This suburban mom uses cheap household ingredients to keep her skin looking like she’s still twenty-five!

Here are fifty-two bars of soap that look eerily similar to human beings.

You can’t ignore this shockingly heartwarming picture of a single mother making it on her own in the Big Apple.

Here are three things you’ll never want to read again if you went to Columbia University in the City of New York in the State of New York in the United States of America on the Earth.

Now for some actual news?

Feb

25

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We waited in line for this

Britt Fossum and Taylor Grasdalen happily represented Bwog last night

Last night, we were invited to President Bollinger’s first undergraduate fireside chat of the semester. Editor in Chief Taylor Grasdalen attended, and reports back here. (Please note that Internal Editor Britt Fossum also went, having won a seat by submitting the question “Do you read Bwog?”)

I must acknowledge that this was not my first Fireside Chat, though it was my first amongst other undergraduates. That said, the questions asked of President Lee “Ask Me Anything” Bollinger were nearly identical to those that I’d heard from graduate students. This tells me that whatever your school or year within Columbia, whatever your area of study, we’re ultimately concerned with the same things.

Let’s get “right into the thick of it,” then, as the first student to raise a question began. He asked about the difficulties of receiving a good or service from elsewhere in the University, particularly for a club, and how “departments have a monopoly on their own service.” Not only are costs incredibly high, but there’s an irrational amount of administrative work required. Bollinger had no answers, “[knows] nothing about it,” but had plenty for the next student.

This young panderer asked about the role of transparency in free speech, politics, and western democracy. Bollinger was happy to respond: “Every society has to discuss this kind of balance.” How much information are you willing to allow the public, after all? He considered the press and the public’s own roles in government transparency; while the press may publish whatever it can “get its hands on” with full constitutional protection, the “leaker” (he used Edward Snowden in example) may be prosecuted and receives no First Amendment rights under the Espionage Act. He felt that there’s been a shift “in favor of too much openness,” though citizens — the press included — must too be charged with representing the best interests of the government, for the sake of the country. It’s not only the editors in chief of The New York Times and Washington Post who have information today, but too the likes of Julian Assange, who certainly has no interest in protecting the United States. And on that note, the original asker said, “I’ll just take your class.”

Columbia Prison Divest, Manhattanville, money, and more transparency after the jump.

Feb

17

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Columbia-Butler-Library

A speed bump towards unionizing at Columbia

This afternoon, Capital reported that The National Labor Relation’s Board has denied a petition from Columbia graduate students to unionize. The group “Graduate Workers of Columbia” began organizing recently on campus to form a union. However, their appeal has been declined based on the precedent of a similar ruling against Brown University. The Board’s regional director, Karen Fernach, wrote that, as graduate students are not “‘employees,’” they cannot collectively bargain. The student group is eligible to file a request for review of the order to the NLRB.

Graduate Workers of Columbia, which would become part of United Auto Workers Local 2110, hopes to appeal the decision by filing for a review of the dismissal order at the national level.  According to Local 2110’s president Maida Rosenstein, there is a chance the national board, appointed by President Obama, would side with the students.

Rosenstein continued that there was nothing preventing Columbia “from agreeing to a voluntary process” with the graduate students.  However, in a written statement from a Columbia spokesperson, the university expressed its belief that “treating students as employees could adversely affect their educational experience,” in echo of PrezBo’s January statement to Capital that graduate students are “students, not…employees.”

Feb

6

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It will also engender these snazzy suits.

Just look at all this crazy good conduct. This is what the new rules will no doubt engender, yes sir.

It can be tough to keep up with politics, between the national stage, the local stage, the crazy beauty pageant that is 2016, and the USenate. Fortunately, CCSC bureau chief, and Obama’s most secret staffer (because why not?), Joseph Milholland has at least the last covered, with notes and commentary from the latest meeting.

At the February 6 University Senate plenary, senator Angela Nelson spoke about a future timeline for the changes to Columbia’s rules of conduct and briefly indicated what the committee was looking at for changes to the disciplinary procedure. “Based on feedback that we’ve received at the townhalls, the committee is discussing different options, one of which might be an internal panel or a system where all the charges would be heard,” said Nelson.

For most of the address, senator Nelson, along with Columbia College senator Jared Odessky, spoke about how the rules of conduct work now and gave some updates on what it will be doing in the future. The committee, according to Odessky, is “splitting into three working groups” to discuss the three sections of the rules: violations, event management, and disciplinary procedure. The committee’s planned timeline is to have a draft of proposed changes for public view by March 14, a town hall on March 27, a discussion about the rules in a senate plenary April 2, and a plenary vote on May 1.

Odessky admitted this is a “short timeline by senate standards,” but justified the timeline because the university has been discussing this for a long time and new rules are needed by the next school year.

Questions, comments, thoughts, concerns, and other updates, after the jump.

Feb

4

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unnamed-2

SWS members

Earlier today, Student-Worker Solidarity brought a letter to President Bollinger asking that the University cut its ties with Teach for America. SWS has joined together with organizations from other universities in an effort to remove TFA’s presence on campuses across the country until it reforms its practices in three major ways, which SWS outlined in their press release.

You can read both the Press Release and letter sent to President Bollinger below:

SWS Press Release and Letter to Bollinger

Feb

3

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This afternoon, President Bollinger announced that Peter E. Pilling will now serve as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. Pilling will replace the former director M. Dianne Murphy after she announced she would be stepping down from the position in September. Pillings has had experience in the field in his positions at Villanova University and Brigham Young University.

Pillings is currently the Vice President at the collegiate sports marketing company IMG College.  Today’s email states that one of Pillings’s priorities once he begins at Columbia will be, among other things, to improve the performance of the football team.  He will arrive on campus on February 23 to aid with the search for a new football coach, with Murphy remaining in her position until April 13.

The full email reads:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Peter E. Pilling as Columbia’s new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. Peter has spent his career working at several of the most respected college sports programs in the country. His wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm will help Columbia Athletics build on a recent record of historic achievement and reach the new levels of excellence that we expect in everything we do as a great university.

As will soon become clear to our community of students, faculty, alumni, and friends, Peter brings to this important assignment not only professional expertise in sports management, but a deep and abiding commitment to the academic, research, cultural, and civic mission of higher education. He impressed everyone who has met him with his vision of the role athletics, health, and wellness can play in enhancing the educational experience of all our students, as well as his respect for the unique values of the Ivy League in the larger landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

Peter comes to Columbia having held high level positions in the distinguished athletic departments of Brigham Young University, Villanova University, and other public and private colleges and universities. He is currently Vice President at IMG College, a collegiate sports marketing company, where he has had extensive experience in serving the athletics departments of Division I schools including Brigham Young, Texas Christian University, Baylor University, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Read the rest of the email after the jump.

Jan

27

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photo1We received a tip earlier today that gives us a clue into what students have been up during this lovely Juno grace period. Drawing a phallic image in the snow? Now c’mon guys… that’s just a dick move. Read the tip below, and send us pics from your snow day activities via email at tips@bwog.com.

Hello Bwog!

Last night my friends and I got really drunk and decided to pace onto Butler Lawn. In the snow, we traced PrezBo’s imagined size of his own dick! We thought that you would enjoy!

XOXO,
Gossip Squirrel

 

Dec

18

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Really, guys?

Really, guys?

A few questions for those at the helm of the University this holiday season. Preferably to mull over during family dinner.

Of President Bollinger, we ask:

  • How exactly will Columbia be a “good neighbor” in Manhattanville?
  • Will you call the cops on us every time we congregate in groups of three or more?
  • How will you create community among students who feel so divided and hurt by their status or identity?—racial, sexual, economic, social, or otherwise?
  • How many more students could join the Class of 2018 if we were to direct your $700,000 raise toward financial aid?
  • Will you attend any of the spring’s town halls, maybe field a few questions on sexual assault policy at Columbia? We’ve really missed you at the past few town halls!
  • Are we global enough for you?

Of President Spar, we ask:

  • What’s the point of expending millions on a new library when your students hardly have a place to live?
  • Is Barnard’s consideration of trans* students really such a “complicated issue”?
  • How likely is it that every Economics major at Barnard might receive an internship with Goldman Sachs? We hear you’ve got connections!
  • Could we maybe start a Barnard fund for bikini waxes and blow-outs?
  • JJ’s Place? PLEASE?

Questioning_authority_dot_jpeg via Shutterstock.

Dec

15

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"Stop punishing survivors and activists.  Be the leader on our side!"

“Stop punishing survivors and activists. Be the leader on our side!”

This morning, student members of the Carry That Weight campaign delivered a mattress to PrezBo’s office in protest of the $471 fine they were charged after the Day of Action on October 29, when 28 mattresses were left on PrezBo’s doorstep.  The mattress was designed to look like a mock check made out to PrezBo and was delivered along with a statement read by a member of Columbia Carry That Weight.

Although Carry That Weight will pay the fine, their statement criticizes PrezBo for his lack of response to the Carry That Weight campaign and argues that their $471, rather than paying the maintenance workers who dealt with the 28 mattresses, will “go into the bank account of a University that has silenced [them].”  As a final message, the letter calls on PrezBo to “be courageous” and to work with activists to make the campus “safe for everyone.”

You can read the entire statement—and see additional pictures—after the jump.

Dec

12

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To have and to hold

To have and to hold

Joe Milholland reports back with the latest from the University Senate.

At the beginning of the December 11 University Senate plenary, Executive Committee Chair Sharyn O’Halloran talked about the protocols for the University calling the police. At every protest on campus, she stated, VP of Public Safety James McShane notifies the police. However, for the police to be asked to come on campus because of a demonstration, there is a procedure O’Halloran described as “very elaborate.”

Specifically, PrezBo is required to consult the Executive Committee and decide if the demonstration poses “that a demonstration poses a clear and present danger to persons, property, or the substantial functioning of any division of the University.” O’Halloran quoted this from page 139 of the University charters and statutes. This rule goes on to state (although O’Halloran did not quote this) that the president “ shall take all necessary steps to secure the cooperation of external authority to bring about the end of the disruption. The President shall make public his or her decision to the fullest extent possible as soon as it is feasible. Nothing in the above shall be construed to limit the President’s emergency authority to protect persons or property.” O’Halloran called the criteria for calling the police onto campus a “pretty high threshold.”

Advisory Committee Socially Responsible Investing Chair Jeffery Gordon talked about proposals to divest from the fossil fuels and private prisons industries. Both he and PrezBo have met with students from the private prisons divestment group, and on January 20 there will be a panel discussion about private prisons. With regards to fossil fuel divestment, Gordon said the ACSRI only rejected a specific petition from Barnard-Columbia Divest, and the committee is looking at other methods to deal with fossil fuel divestment.

Fossil fuels, MOOCS, CourseWorks, and more after the jump.

Nov

25

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Pro-commitment

Pro-commitment

According to an article in Capital New York (on Capital Pro, excuse us, subscription required) by former Bwog editor-at-large Conor Skelding, President Bollinger promised Barnard-Columbia Divest a decision on whether or not he will divest from fossil fuels by the end of the academic year. According to Skelding’s article, PrezBo made the commitment to a decision at a meeting with the group on Monday morning. The full article is reprinted below.

Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger has promised to decide by the end of the academic year whether the university will divest from fossil fuels.

Bollinger made the commitment during a meeting Monday afternoon with Barnard-Columbia Divest, a group of activists whose goal is to divest the endowments of Barnard College and Columbia University from fossil fuels.

Karina Jougla, a member of B.C.D. and a Columbia junior studying comparative literature, attended the meeting at the president’s mansion on Morningside Drive.

“The commitment is that we will have a yes or no answer,” she told Capital. “There’s really no guarantee as to the outcome. Although from the tone of the meeting it was encouraging to me that President Bollinger seemed very open and interested in consider fossil fuel divesment.”

A university spokesman confirmed the committment in a statement to Capital.

“President Bollinger committed to a full exploration of the University’s role in the ongoing discussions around the reduction of fossil fuel emissions, with an understanding that divestment is one possible, but not the only, alternative to review. He committed to resolve the question of divestment this academic year,” the statement said.

A university official said the amount the school has invested in fossil fuels is not public.

To be clear, the commitment is not to a divestment of fossil fuels, but rather a decision on the matter. Barnard-Columbia Divest intercepted PrezBo to ask for the meeting during his annual 5K Fun Run on October 24, and he’s now giving the issue some due attention. Now, we just have to wait on this solution promise “commitment.”

BCD for Climate Justice logo via their Facebook page.

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