From the issue: Gossip

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Here’s the Gossip from the November issue. 
We know, we know, none of you will pick up the issue now that we’ve gone ahead and given you the goods. Consider this an act of love.


And now, a look at some of the more illustrious job titles of some of our more illustrious faculty. 

Department of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt:

•  Robert Somerville—Ada Byron Bampton Tremaine Professor of Religion

• Ponisseril Somasundaran—LaVon Duddleson Krumb Professor of Mineral Engineering

• Walter M. Frisch—Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer Professor of Music

Department for the Journey to the Center of the Earth:

• Tuncel M. Yegulalp—Professor of Mining

Department of Longwindedness:

• Paul J. Anderer—Wm. Theodore and Fanny Brett de Bary and Class of 1941 Collegiate Professor of Asian Humanities and Vice Provost for International Relations

• Gareth D. Williams—Violin Family Professor in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University

• Jeanne Brooks-Gunn—Virg. and Leo. Marx Prof. of Child and Parent Dev.Ed., College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

Department of Redundancy Department:

• Richard K. Betts—Leo A. Schifrin Professor of War and Peace Studies and Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies

• Charles Armstrong—The Korea Foundation Associate Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences

Department of Multitasking:

• Joy Hirsch—Professor of Radiology, Neurobiology, and Behavior, and Psychology

The Department of Leave it to Beaver:

• Alice Kessler-Harris—R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History in Honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower

• Linda V. Green—Armand G. Erpf Professor of the Modern Corporation

• Franklin R. Edwards—Arthur F. Burns Professor of Free and Competitive Enterprise


Overheard, in anticipation of former President Clinton’s upcoming on-campus conversation with man of the moment Václav Havel:

Girl 1: “I am going to the Clinton thing and I am planning on having sex with him.”

Girl 2: “I bet he’s good.”




Overheard on College Walk, a 30-something woman to her small child:

“Alex, if you don’t come back here right now you cannot sleep with teddy tonight! I’ll take him away!”

“You can’t do that!”

“I will take teddy away! I don’t have time for this! I have to do my Econ problem set!”



Overheard at the Sundial:

“This school is nothing—my sister started doing coke at fourteen.”



At 11 p.m. one night in front of Radio Perfecto, a grad student dressed in all white and standing in front of his waiting limousine was seen smoking and talking to a middle-aged man.  “Listen man,” he said, “you’re the one who said you wanted me to kill you.”  Responded the gentleman, while flailing an oversized plastic sword: “I’m not afraid to die!  I’m not afraid to die!  I’m not afraid to die!”


On a Sunday night during the height of midterms, a girl was observed pushing a boy full-speed down the Lerner ramps in a K-Mart shopping cart as he screamed like a small child on a rollercoaster. As they enjoyed the social interactions that the ramps were designed to facilitate, everyone else in the building looked about ready to kill them.

When pressed to justify their actions, the students apologized, explaining that Barney’s doesn’t have shopping carts. 


The graduate student lounge for art history, located on the sixth floor of Schermerhorn, has two doors. There is a sign on each. The first sign reads as follows: “Do not use this door, use the other door.”  The second sign reads “Door knob broken, use other door.”  The second doorknob is not actually broken.

Confused grad students, failing to notice this last fact, have been covertly consulting battered copies of The Da Vinci Code for the past week, determined to find a way in.


A reasonably well-aged woman who was spotted driving her black sedan up to the Amsterdam gate rolled down her window and yelled:  “Excuse me! I don’t have my glasses!  What street is this?!”

Aren’t GS students adorable?


A B&W staffer returned from the gym, swiped into McBain, and made his way to the elevator. While waiting for it to reach the ground floor, he slyly took a step back in order to observe himself in the large panel mirror. After making sure that the security guard was looking in the other direction, he began to flex his freshly-pumped biceps.  A few seconds later, he heard the sound of a woman’s voice. “Don’t worry, honey. I noticed the difference.” 

The staffer looked back to see the female guard watching him on the security camera’s feed.  The elevator arrived, and he jumped in, but not before awkwardly responding: “Thank you, ma’am.”


Barnard’s yearbook, The Mortarboard, sent out an e-mail this month to all current seniors reminding them to have their senior portraits taken. When students called the supposed number to the portrait studio, however, they were connected with a phone sex line.  The message: “I’m so glad you called. Me and my horny girlfriends can’t wait to get down and dirty with you.”

Barnard students rejoiced.  Get it?!  Because they’re lesbians!!!


During a recent class taught by esteemed Professor of English Edward Mendelson, students were surprised when he entered the lecture hall, told them that he had not prepared a lesson, and that he was “just gonna wing it.”  The subsequent class on H.G. Wells’ Tono Bungay involved anecdotes and commentary repeated from earlier lectures, plus numerous negative comments about the book’s annotator—who was, in fact, Mendelson himself. After about an hour of winging it, Mendelson allowed his students to wing it as well—right out of class, fifteen minutes early. 


Strokos…it’s forgotten!


  1. Fact-Checker

    Gareth Williams' title doesn't actually include the phrase "at Columbia University", just as Jeanne Brooks-Gunn's doesn't include "College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University".

    Any time a professor is identified to the outside world one has to say where she teaches, so everybody on the faculty is "[Insert Title Here] at Columbia University" or, more specifically, "[Insert Title Here] [Insert School or Department Here] at Columbia University". You saw Profs. Williams and Brooks-Gunn identified this way and incorrectly presumed these were their official titles. This is also why your putative title for prof. Brooks-Gunn contains so many abreviations -- her title is spelled out fully just like anyone else's, but your information was copied from a document on which it had to be shortened due to space limitations.

    This isn't BW's fault, since these mistakes frequently appear in Columbia's bulletins and since one would think those publications would get it right. But regardless of who is at fault, they're still mistakes.

    By the way, Prof. Somerville's title is actually even longer than you think; it's "Ada Byron Bampton Tremaine Professor of American Religion".

    And I'm reasonably sure Prof. Hirsch is simply "Professor of Radiology and Psychology". She's affiliated with the center for neurobiology and behavior, but the center's name is not part of her title. Here again I think you mistook someone else's error for accurate information.

    I'm not sure why you listed Prof. Yegulalp unless it was because his Turkish name seems strange to you. There's nothing unusual about his title.

    Finally, I want to point out three great titles you left out:

    Robert Thurman -- Jey Tsong Khappa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies.

    Andreas Huyssen -- Villard Professor of Germanic Philology

    The hand-down most wonderfully named position at Columbia is currently vacant, and was lest held by the late J. W. Smit. He was the Queen Wilhelmina Professor of the History, Language and Literature of the Netherlands.

  2. Anonymous  

    Nice to know I'm so loved on this site.

    Bwog missed the most relevant man of the hour, Zvi Galil, the Dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor and Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Mathematical Methods and Computer Science.

  3. NOO!! *indignant*  

    WHAT??!! We don't have a Netherland studies expert anymore? Outrageous!

  4. it sounds better  

    when you say Jacobus Wilhelmus Smit

  5. dear god  

    I miss the surprise of actually getting the physical copy of blue and white and finding this stuff inside.

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