Bwog Year in Review
Written by Bwog Staff
One quick announcement before we take you on a whirlwind tour through your last four months: as of January, Juli Weiner will be taking over as Bwog editor, with support from B&W Managing Editor Katie Reedy. In the coming year, please route all your cares, complaints, praise, and sensitive information through them.
Thank you all for sticking with us. It’s been a pleasure.
2007 began with optimism, in the form of the class of 2011’s arrival on a newly refurbished College Walk, with Clipse to usher them in. In search of the ultimate bonding event, NSOP swapped The BlaZe for “Take One: Ultimate Team Challenge.” And 2011 missed the Labyrinth era by mere days.
No sooner had first-years postered their dorm rooms did the year’s first Major Controversy arise. The news broke that part-time blogger and full-time Holacaust-denier Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would touch down later that month, with a little help from Richard Bulliet. With Jim Gilchrist a not-so-distant memory, campus exploded in a sea of mass emails, opining, protests and flyering. The old gang at Fox News stormed the gates, and Chris Kulawik emerged to welcome them back. Spectator forayed into blogging, while Bwog did the best it could with text messages and a dying laptop battery. Ultimately, the event was tame by Columbia Major Controversy standards, though Bollinger’s chastising introduction of Ahmadinejad did earn the #1 spot in Time magazineï¿½s Most Awkward Moments of 2007 List. Mazel Tov, Lee and Mahmoud!
Next in a semester of sturm und drang came David Horowitz and the near-return of Jim Gilchrist–although Columbia weathered these without too much kerfuffle. Horowitz, in observance of Islamo-fascism Awareness Week, dropped by Lerner and calmly spoke to a crowd of College Republicans and disappointed reporters. As for Gilchrist, even the GOP admitted that a second Columbia honeymoon might not have been the greatest idea. Meanwhile, other nuisances persevered–lice invaded the heads of Barnard first-years while bedbugs took up residence in Schapiro.
Then came the late-blooming (but flourishing!) hate-crime crop. The spate commenced with the discovery of a noose pinned to the door of an African-American professor at Teachers College, followed by anti-Semitic graffiti drawn in a Lewisohn bathroom, sparking a stampede northward and more town-hall meetings than we could keep track of. More recently, a Carman dry-erase board found itself defaced by homophobic graffiti.
But the award for Most Major Major Controversy must go to the hunger strike. Six students–armed with only Gatorade, a hungry octopus, Barnard professor Dennis Dalton and a blog–released a lengthy list of demands. In addition, nearly 70 CU professors signed a “statement of concern” critiquing Bollinger’s handling of Ahmadinejad’s visit and the tenure process, which the New York Sun, in its as role as Columbiaï¿½s outsourced conservative watchdog, dutifully published. Camped out on College Walk for nearly two weeks, the Hunger Strikers (whose ranks dropped from six to four) made questionable progress on the Ethnic Studies front. They got nothing on Manhattanville, however, which has since been rubber stamped by the City Planning Commission and the full City Council. At this point, CU’s expansion plan may be beyond protest.
In tenuous tenure news, Barnard anthropology associate Nadia Abu El-Haj made it through alive and New Republic figurehead-editor Martin Peretz, himself a Harvard man, railed against Bollinger from the recesses of his paranoid blog. Joseph Massad may not have been so lucky.
Rare pockets of non-politicized academia brought more cheery news. The new Pass/D/Fail policy brightened our joy-starved hearts, and 2007’s crop of Rhodes Scholars included two Columbia men: Jason Bello and hamburglar George Olive. To get our minds out of Butler and off to exotic lands, we heard from Mongolia, Bolivia, Chile, Paris, and NYU.
Coming off a curious write-up in The New Yorker, the College Libertarians stole the spotlight from the GOP’s first-semester monopoly long enough to buy some chalk and express their undying enthusiasm for smallish Texan Ron Paul. The College Democrats retreated to Kentucky, where they campaigned heartily and successfully for Steve Beshear in the Governor’s race. Oh, earlier in the semester, some freshmen won too.
Back in Morningside, a deadly fight erupted outside Radio Perfecto. A few blocks south, in front of Furnald and on College Walk, a hawk–newly christened Hawkmadinejad–roamed campus, preying on pigeons and eyeing Chabadï¿½s 8ft!! tall menorah.
And finally, the semester ends as it began: with a new crop of admitted students. They’re calling themselves 2012 and they’re ready to party–or at least they’ve got a Facebook group saying as much.