Commencement Circus 2007

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Now Bwog editor emeritus Chris Szabla reports on some of the more ridiculous elements of today’s pomp and circumstance.

jhjkThings being thrown/held by various schools:

CC: apple cores

SEAS: paper airplanes/annoying plastic clapping devices

GS: racing flags (because, I guess, they finally made it to the finish line)

Barnard: flowers and confetti

Nursing: pompoms (just…not right)

Architecture: balloons were all I could see, although the Record claimed they had plastic protractors

Business: monopoly money

Journalism: shredded newspaper

SIPA: national flags

Law: rubber gavels (people didn’t know they were rubber at first and apparently took cover)

Dentistry: toothbrushes

Continuing Ed: frisbees

Teachers College: mostly seemed to ape SEAS’ paper airplane thing

Some beach balls also bounced among the graduates. CC students mostly let fly their apple cores (and in some cases whole apples) at SEAS, though some held steady and waited to assault Barnard. SEAS counterattacked with a volley of paper airplanes and
fdfgreturned the apples. PrezBo looked visibly displeased when an uneaten apple whizzed near him.

As for the address, PrezBo bombed it with an untimely mention of “American Idol” (about a month late according to people who pay attention) interspersed with terribly unwitty self-deprecation. And concerning his references to the untrammeled prosperity of the world economy: huh? 

Best moment: PrezBo made a condemnatory reference to people who thought in “simple binary form”. Upon hearing the words “binary form,” SEAS erupted in wild cheers, and PrezBo rephrased awkwardly. CC could not conceal its laughter.

More photos from Sumaiya Ahmed (actually taken on Class Day) after the jump…







  1. CC Senior/Grad  

    Regarding those "uneaten" apple cores, lets just say at least 10 of them were over a month old-- rotten and disgusting. Sucks to those on the receiving end of said projectiles!

    • different cc grad  

      thats disgusting. is that really the kind of respect you have for your peers? because you know what, seas and barnard have been our peers and classmates and friends over the past four years. and thats really sad that at this time, thats how you would treat your friends. i hope i don't know you.

      i also hope i'm not the only one that is really bothered by the fact that we are the only school that aims our trinkets AT another school. everyone else just errupts with cheers and throws their things up, while we attack other grads. its actually a really disgusting tradition when you take five seconds to think about it. everyone there today worked really hard to get there, and we have to be such douchebags as to do something to make us feel that we are better. i know the apple cores are gross, but we should be respectful of the work that everyone else has done and just throw the damn cores up.

      neda - i hope you read this, and i hope you think about what your class's relationship is with all the other graduates before sending out an email like ddc did encouraging seniors to throw the apples at people...

      • please  

        deal with it. it was a moment of spontaneous fun. i was enjoying it tremendously, the hurling and counter-hurling of apple cores. sure it was 'rude' if this is meant to be a completely formal occasion, but let's be honest, class day is for the serious pomp, this is all about the absurd words of the various deans and the hurling of various projectiles.

      • And also...  

        We AREN'T the only ones who throw at other schools. I know I smacked by a thrown toothbrush after the dental school got their degrees, and I was sitting far enough away that it had to have been thrown in my direction rather than up in the air. SEAS also aims their airplanes at CC, but they don't fly as well as apple cores.

  2. huh?

    "Architecture: balloons were all I could see, although the Record claimed they had plastic protractors"

    Balloon Framing!!!

  3. the apple tradition  

    is absurdly asinine, disrespectful, and embarrassing. watching my friend get smacked in the head with a full apple during his own commencement made me livid. this tradition should be done away with immediately, and anyone who ever thought it was a good idea should, um, not share their ideas... ever.

    • CC Senior/Grad  

      C'mon, lighten up! Honestly, we're talking about gooey fruit, not rocks! I'm sure you're friend who got smacked in the head was seriously injured, and not merely embarrassed. That doesn't make for a good story either. Also, do you really need to "wash" apple stains out of the POS gown that you'll never wear again? I'm sure you're the kind of person who enjoys killing the harmless fun activities of others. You're probably the kind of person who was happy that "dangerous" "asinine" 40 on 40 turned into lametastic CU run 40 days.

      • mike

        Look, it's not a matter of serious injuries or not, the vast majority of the people you throw apples at *don't like it* and don't find it fun. If the CC seniors think apple throwing is so much fun, then that's all well and good and they can just throw the apples at each other instead of pissing others off on a day where everyone deserves to be celebrating and not having rotting fruit hurled at them.

  4. cc'05

    didn't have apple cores, blue books, or, um, anything. in fact, i'm pretty sure we were the only school at 2005 commencement that didn't.

  5. oOOoo

    prezbo made an american idol reference during this past matriculation too...i spy a hardcore fan, eh?

  6. next year

    seas will be throwing PCs, so watch your little heads, kids.

  7. from cc 2004

    all the schools throw something different each year. this year, cc 2007 chose something a bit strange, but that's the exception not the norm. i think my year we threw blue books, and the med school had blown up gloves. i think one year the b-school had signs that said "will work for food"

  8. mike

    Yeah, the apple throwing is really obnoxious. It's not enough that CC's means of celebrating is not just to cheer for themselves, but to specifically target other schools, but it's rotting *apples* for crying out loud. This isn't like flowers or toothbrushes that feel like a tap on the head at worst, it's something with some weight in it. I saw a few people in the Barnard & SEAS sections get hit in the face and it was not cool. The worst are the assholes in CC who WAIT for Barnard to stand for their degree and try to ruin their moment. I mean, really? You have to try and shit on Barnard right up to the very end?

    Anyone know the name of the person who sent the email encouraging it this year or, better yet, the email of the person who should be told not to encourage that next year? When did this "tradition" start anyway?

    • Thank you  

      I came to commencement to see my friends from Barnard graduate. I was extremely offended at the apple-throwing, the booing, etc. I'd like to think that four difficult years of academia would have led to having a maturity level over the kindergarten level.

      Apparently an Ivy League education isn't worth much nowadays.

  9. SEAS Student  

    The clappers were a bit annoying. As a SEAS student, I will readily admit we went a bit overboard. But it never was too disrespectful and I don't think it disrupted too much. Besides, we were the only ones who clapped for the random faculty medals and honorary degrees, since it didn't take any effort!

  10. rjt

    I can personally imagine nothing sweeter than the official graduation picture with me shaking hands and receiving my degree while an apple explodes against my cheek. Just me? Anyone?

    • No need to worry  

      since the crossing the stage and shaking hands is done on Class Day and not Commencement, and your degree is quite unceremoniously given to you in Lerner.

      Also, seriously Bwog, can we get some relevant pictures? The ones currently posted are lovely and well-composed, but have nothing to do with graduation.

  11. bc07  

    for the record, flying apples (WHOLE apples, as some of them were, not cores) are pretty darn painful when they come whizzing all the way across Low Plaza.

  12. CC07

    I was ashamed to be sitting with the students who boo-ed when Barnard was mentioned at one point during the ceremony. I am seriously disgusted and apologize for their stupidity.

  13. cc07  

    The apple thing is stupid. It's gross, and annoying to have to eat and then hold an apple, waiting to throw them. Come up with something better!

  14. mike

    Bwog, can you please immediately delete that last picture, which features actual students graduating? I don't need to see that shit! When I read an article about students graduating, I want to see lots and *lots* of pictures of adorable asian children and banners.

  15. Also  

    Whoever booed the Israeli judge receiving the honorary degree - grow up. The man is a guest of your university. Show a little respect, even if you don't like his country's politics. He's not a murderer or a hate-filled scumbag - he's a world-renowned scholar and a GUEST of Columbia.

  16. seriously  

    It's more than sad when the President of the university has to tell you to be polite after booing someone who worked really hard for many years and just happened to be on faculty at Barnard.

    • i couldn't hear  

      bollinger telling me to stop, as i was too busy booing, throwing apples, punching a beach ball and doing the wave.

      whatever bollinger. don't quote american idol 15 times in your speech and i'll start treating the days events with some seriousness.

  17. and

    public health threw condoms! it was the best one.

  18. Instead

    of apples, CC graduates should just hurl all the hipsters & pompous arty-farty pseudo-intellectual douchebags from their year in a symbolic gesture of internal cleansing (rather than external hostility).

  19. cc07

    1) Apples: Waving apple cores is cool. Throwing them is stupid. I couldn't believe that was sent in an email. Now I realize it was CCSeniors and not Student Affairs sending it. However, by the time degrees were being conferred, I was more than happy to throw it as hard as I could at the engineers. Enough with the fucking clappers already! They deserved it... throwing whole apples is just dangerous and stupid.

    2) Barnard- booing barnard, gs, etc. is just totally classless and reveals you as utterly insecure and immature. Good job.

    3) Chris, lay of the sardonic bitterness already.

  20. no more apples  

    Being hit by one of those uneaten apples felt like having a baseball thrown at my chest. One of my friends told me that she could hear the impact. I am deeply saddened and ashamed that such levels of immaturity exists at this school.

  21. new scandal?

    applegate 2007.

  22. cc '09

    reading this blog over the past few months, i've come to the conclusion (a pretty self-evident one, at that) that people at this school will bitch about anything. i mean, they're just apples.

    • you fool!

      you're right in that there will always be someone on this campus to bitch about something, but please cc 09, you weren't there, complaints about the fucking apples are entirely legit. there you are getting your degree conferred when a smelly, malicious object pelts you in the wherever. you can laugh at something absurd like matt sanchez, but this just sucked. and the kids that got really aggressive bout it (likely the same kids who booed, etc...) are exactly the kind of kids i went to columbia to avoid - idiots.

  23. malcontent  

    there was booing for lisa anderson too...the fact that the same people who booed her were vigorously cheering aahron barak led me to conclude it probably had something to do with ahmedinejad...I mean, come on. how far back was that? the boos didn't even feel relevant.

    another golden moment: school of the arts dean saying "they have achieved...well...uh...what have they done?"

    overall the day was fun, unless you got hit by a whole apple. oof.

  24. barnard  

    effing apple cores. next year throw something that won't give your peers concussions!

  25. unambiguous  

    booing=pathetic and sad
    throwing apples=douchebaggery

  26. juicy

    Is it okay for alumni to read this blog? Or are we dorks for doing so?

  27. Come on  

    Oh, you got hit with an apple core? Cry me a river. I'm glad you're graduating.

    • mike

      I admit, when I heard about the apple cores beforehand I thought it was kind of cute, but in reality it's actually more annoying than you'd imagine.

      First of all, they're not just "tossing" the cores, most people were throwing them as hard as possible. Then they don't eat a lot of the apple, so there's usually a lot more than just a core. It's somewhere between getting pelted with a golf ball and pegged with a baseball (depending on how much has been eaten), neither of which is something you'd want to have happen to you while you're graduating.

      It's just a stupid thing to do from both ends. The CC kids have more maturity than to celebrate finishing their programs than to hurl fruit at the grads because they satisfied different requirements.

  28. seas '07  

    i could see how throwing apple cores could be considered fun and harmless, but there were more than i few douchebags sitting in the cc section who seemed to enjoy watching people get pelted by the apple cores/whole apples a little too much. so while i didn't really mind it at first, the fact that it somewhat escalated and there were several groups of people who were way too aggressive really pissed me off.

    also, what was up with all those barnard girls sitting in the cc section. have some pride in your school!

  29. well  

    if SEAS is really so much classier...why did they chuck the apples back at CC and Barnard?

    • Surprised

      I can forgive the cores, but I was more than a little disturbed to see ENTIRE FUCKING APPLES whizzing by. Some CC students are pretty stupid.

      And booing other schools? That's so high school.

    • mike

      I didn't say SEAS is "classier". I said CC shouldn't throw apples at people because they're better than that.

      Though, incidentally, I didn't witness any SEAS students throwing apples at Barnard.

  30. argh

    Well all you fucks complaining about apples should have been in the audience. Sitting by everyones diaper wearing 200 year-old-one-foot-in-the-grave granny and grandpa in 90 degree weather sucked!Getting poked and pushed by sweaty asshole Aunts and Uncles clamoring for a better view and the thousands of toddler brats testing your patience by screeching during every speech. Or perhaps the families of the engineering students gibbering as loud as they can on their cell phones during the entire ceremony in Chinese could shut the fuck up! I'd rather have been hit by one rotten apple however gross and stupid knowing I have a brand new Ivy League degree rather than dealing with everyones complete piece of shit family. I was happy to support you guys and see my loved one graduate, but what is up with the asshole stinky fucked up jerky families? They were behaving a lot worse than silly apple throwing kids.

  31. seas gal

    did anyone see the bra up in the air? now that was hilarious.

  32. you should add

    that we (seas) also were given blow horns by zvi

  33. Foog

    What is Bollinger going to do when he tires of spewing "progressive" cliches? Oh, wait, he's a robot and never tires. My bad.

  34. can

    we talk about how amazing Zvi Galil is? His bit to SEAS was so cute; "I love you"


  35. furthermore

    the airhorns seas was given out were def more annoying than the clappers but at least it helped the lazy kids support their classmates and make some noise for them.

    projectile apple cores are gross and hurt, so if you learned anything in 4 years, make sure you block to your right cuz CC is gunning for you.

    sorry CC you come in for a close second with the lamest shit this year. (nursing = worst)

    all in all commencement = fun. let's all just hug it out.

    and P.S. GS was sort of cute with their checkered flags.


    Can CC get foam Red Apples with "Columbia College 2007" written on them? You know, the rubbery foam things, like the LS gavels? (I'm assuming those were made of the rubbery foam stress ball material)...

    That way we have an incentive to keep them, throwing them won't hurt, and they're a nice memento (are we the only class that didnt get to take ours home?)

  37. why?

    I attended the graduation to see my daughter graduate from Barnard. I just could not believe my eyes that the Columbia College students threw the majority of rotten apples at all of the graduating students, and it seemed that Barnard was targeted in particular. My daughter has mentioned the degree of elitism, snobbery, and just outright immaturity of CC students, and has suffered for it. I now know what she means. Those who threw those apples should be ashamed of themselves - I wonder if anyone from your college protested against such a stupid irresponsible act.

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