Mar

25

Of Human Bondage: What’s in a Name?

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The naming of buildings at Columbia has always been a project undertaken with the greatest care. Indeed, the majority of buildings on campus carry the names of prominent alumni who have contributed much to the university and to society at large. One is hard-pressed to find a building on campus without a family name of some significance attached to it. Yet, Barnard has deliberately deviated from this fail-safe approach to the naming of edifices at Columbia, in its choice to name the new student center currently under construction at the heart of its campus, the Nexus. While Nexus may not even be the final name of the building, Barnard has suggested that it would consider selling the naming rights to the highest bidder over the Internet, many have claimed that the choice of the word “nexus” for a campus center is quite suspect. Some Bwog tipsters have  even recently suggested that the ignominious name of the new Barnard campus hub actually derives from the Latin root meaning “bondage in slavery or debt.” Bwog set out to clarify if Barnard’s new campus center will indeed be a campus hub of human bondage by emailing Barnard’s Media Relations Director.  Her response after the jump:

“Thanks for your question.  The word nexus does come from the Latin

word meaning “to bind,” but today it is commonly used to refer to a center

or focus of something.

The Nexus on campus was named with this definition in mind.  As a multi-use

building with space for classrooms, offices, dining facilities, student

organizations, art and architecture studios, theatrical productions, public

lectures, and other functions, the Nexus is expected to become the center or

focus of academic and social life on campus, as well as a cultural

destination for all New Yorkers.  Hope this helps.”

Only time will tell if this colossus of a multi-use center will be the hub of West Broadway’s academic and social life, or if indeed the Nexus will be true to its Latin roots and eventually become a monolith of intellectual servitude at the hands of destitute college women.   

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22 Comments

  1. please  

    for the love of anything holy, please stop. just shut it down, bwog. shut it down.

  2. umm

    The Borg mothership/base is also called the "Nexus".

  3. The King of Spain  

    As long as we don't get stuck with Zerg.

  4. XENU  

    THE NEXUS IS FOR THETANS

  5. ZvS  

    "a cultural
    destination for all New Yorkers."

    Ambitious.

  6. Alum

    "One is hard-pressed to find a building on campus without a family name of some significance attached to it."

    Really?

    Mathematics
    Philosophy
    Computer Science
    Engineering Terrace
    Faculty House
    President's House
    International Affairs
    Journalism
    University Hall
    Casa Italiana
    Casa Hispanica (OK, that one is technically off campus.)

    Those are just the ones with no names at all. Presumably others have names that just aren't "of significance". Some of them are the names of important figures from Columbia history who didn't help pay for them:

    Butler
    Carman
    Hamilton
    John Jay
    Kent
    Pupin

    And I'm reasonably sure that St. Paul neither had any Columbia connection nor donated any money.

  7. names

    I don't think Computer Science or Engineering Terrace qualify as separate buildings. Journalism might as well be called Pulitzer.

    • Journalism

      Pulitzer donated the money to build Journalism to Columbia under the strict conditions that the building not be named after him.

      • Alum

        True, but the building could have been named after a subsequent donor. This may yet happen someday.

        Several buildings on campus (Hartley, Greene, Lewisohn) are named after donors who paid for renovations rather than for the original construction. Others (Wien, Buell) are named for people whose donations weren't used for the building at all.

        • Alum

          Oops. My reference to Hartley in comment 17 should have said Wallach. Hartley has always had its present name, in recognition of a donor who helped pay for the building.

          Wallach was originally named Livingston, in honor of early alum Robert Livingston (Class of 1765) who wrote portions of the Declaration of Independence. It was later renamed for Ira Wallach (Class of 1929), who wrote a check for $3 million.

    • Alum

      Computer Science was built 20 years after Engineering Terrace. Moreover, the two buildings are not connected; one must either go outside or through Mudd to get from one to the other. CS sits on top of Engineering Terrace, but that does not make it part of the same structure any more than the new science building will be part of the same structure as Dodge gym.

  8. The Borgnard  

    Intelligence is irrelevant. Attempting to look attractive is futile. You will be assimilated.

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