Meet Your New Chris Colombo

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It’s on to MIT for outgoing Dean of Student Affairs Chris Colombo, where he will serve as the Dean for Student Life.

How excited is Colombo about the new position? He’ll tell you how excited: “It is with very mixed emotions that I share with you that I have accepted the position of Dean for Student Life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ”

While sad Colombo is in Massachusetts, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger will take over as Interim Dean of Student Affairs.

Full email after the jump

Dear Colleagues,

It is with very mixed emotions that I share with you that I have accepted the position of Dean for Student Life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Over the course of my 16 years here at Columbia, we have collectively built a Division of Student Affairs that has positively impacted the support and development of our students.  The success of our students is ample testimony to the commitment of each and every one of the staff members I have had the pleasure of working with over the years.

Choosing to leave Columbia has not been an easy decision to reach.  However, I leave confident that the work that we do is greater than any one of us.  Together, we have worked to increase the diversity and the quality of our student body, make financial aid more available to our students, and build a system of comprehensive advisement that supports the development of community among our students.  This has been accomplished through countless staff who have demonstrated innovation, professionalism and dedication to our students. I am confident that the good work done by our division will continue to benefit our students individually and the two schools we serve.

Kevin Shollenberger has agreed to assume the role of Interim Dean of Student Affairs for CC and SEAS. Kevin exemplifies the dedication to our student body that I feel is so characteristic of this Division.  As the Senior Associate Dean, Kevin has been called upon to assume increasing levels of responsibility and leadership for Student Affairs and has successfully led the Community Development team for the past several years.  I am certain that his leadership of this division will only further our good work.  

Over the course of the coming weeks, I will have more of an opportunity to thank each one of you for the contribution you make to our success. In the meantime, you have my thanks for your support and the support I know you will give to Kevin.


Chris Colombo

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  1. chiso  

    There you go MIT. That's definitely the right way to make your students less miserable, have your Director of Student Affairs come from the most happiest/student friendliest place on earth!

    sux 4 them

  2. ummmm  

    why is EVERYONE leaving columbia?

    kerry poyntner(sp?)
    ajay nair
    chris colombo
    austin quigley

    we should transfer, people. something bad is in the air

    • ...

      actually, i think they all left for higher positions or positions with greater responsibilities... and probably for more money. perhaps columbia needs to get on the ball in better retaining people!

    • Alum

      Austin Quigley isn't "leaving Columbia". He's just leaving his job as Dean of the College. He'll still be here as a professor, as he was before he became Dean.

      He'll have been Dean for fourteen years by the time he steps down, which is a very long time. Only one other division of CU has a Dean who is more senior (Mary Mundinger of the nursing school), and I can only recall a handful of deans over the past 25 years or so who have served nearly as long.

  3. oh and also  

    my advisor, lisa bianchi, left


  4. fuck  

    first Quigley bails on our ass, and now Colombo? Is 2010 going to have ANY deans we know at our graduation? wtf columbia

  5. great news!

    colombo is the most incompetent fucking man in the history of the world. good riddance. any school colombo is not a dean is better off.

    also, who cares that a bunch of mid-level incompetent administrators left. big deal. if all of student affairs quit, the university would be just fine.

  6. dude

    looks like martin short

  7. The prophecy!

    "Despite all of the potential benefits that could arise from a GS-CC merger, they would likely be blunted if the move is made under the purview of the Office of Student Affairs.
    Grant me a moment of speculation: Next year, it is likely that there will be a new dean in SEAS. Colombo, Quigley, and Awn are among the longest-serving administrators at Columbia and among the last hold-overs from the Rupp era. One can envision a scenario where all three retire in the next few years following the release of the heavily-anticipated report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education. This would allow Brinkley and University President Lee Bollinger to conduct a from-scratch restructuring mirroring the one that Rupp and former University Provost Jonathan Cole undertaken a decade ago."


  8. the guy on the right  

    looks like a cruise director. pina coladas for the new lerner pub?

  9. AGGGHH!!!

    What do you people not get? Colombo is a moron!!!! Why would you want to RETAIN him. He should have been fired long ago.

  10. dude  

    looks like clay aiken

  11. omg

    steve cojocaru is our new dean of student affairs!!!

  12. wtf

    who is steve cojocaru!!! and did students get this e-mail or just professors?

  13. hmm  

    Colombo is gone. Okay, fine - his last few years at Columbia sucked balls. But people, this could mean that Robert Taylor gets MORE power.

    FUCK. The reign of Sauron draws nearer

  14. whatever

    though i still have 5 semesters left at columbia, i really don't give a shit about who runs what part. honestly, no dean will ever make cu undergrad feel like a "crunchy-granola, let's all hold hands" liberal arts school.

  15. so our

    new dean of student affairs is a homosexual? or is this just a really gay profile pic?

  16. cupcake  

    a young bon jovi

  17. cutegirl4lyf

    honestly, who the fuck cares? colombo the detective was more entertaining.

  18. seriuosly

    not like you'll EVER see any of these people...

  19. Wow

    All of you people saying good riddance to Colombo don't even know what you're getting with Schollenberger.

    If he wasn't gay and had a lovechild with Kristen Scully, they'd spawn the anti-christ.

  20. DHI

    I thought Colombo only had the job because of his name anyway, so I don't really understand what they want with him at MIT.

  21. oh man

    i think kevin is badass.

    and really -- i worked with him all year, i would know.

  22. Disgruntled

    Almost four fucking years of volunteer work with the administrators in Student Affairs, and I'm not on the goddamn retirement email list?

  23. The King of Spain

    So Columbia got preliminary approval of its request to use eminent domain in Manhattanville.

    I think the demolitions are going to be awesome. hunger-striking squatters chained to columns?

  24. purple

    Perhaps they could get rid of the terrible voice recording that you hear when you call the Registrar. "This is the Student Service Center..."

  25. Former CCSC

    Colombo was good and a great guy but Shollenberger is awesome... I used to sit in meetings and wonder how long it would take for him to take over...

  26. ...

    wow... these types of post are probably what has actually driven these people away. i transferred to this school to be in the city... and i'm constantly amazed by the spinelessness, immaturity, and disgusting hate coming from you all. the blatant entitlement, brattiness, and overblown egos of you all make me regret ever coming here.

    in thinking about it, if they were as horrible as you all say they are, why would they ALL be picked up by great schools? and maybe they didn't leave because of the lure of a promotion, but to get away from the students -- you are not as socially skilled or cool as nyu students, smart as MIT students, and grounded as Penn students. get over yourselves.

    • EAL  

      Well that was your mistake. Had you come to school solely to be in the city, then you should have gone to NYU. That place has no campus to speak of. And unless you think making constantly esoteric indie music references and the hipster lifestyle is somehow socially skilled and "cool", you're welcome to transfer there. Personally, I think we're far more socially skilled than NYU students, who probably couldn't socially interact with anyone not living in Greenwich or Williamsburg (or some other artsy area) and not interested in radical yet impractical Marxist beliefs. But hey, these are just stereotypes, right? The same sort of stereotypes on which you base your scathing denunciation of fair Alma.

      And I'm sure that Dean Colombo spent a good portion of each day reading every post on a student-run blog in order to evaluate whether he should stay or not. Rubbish.

      • I agree

        number 41 totally freaked out. And it wasn't even someone posting from campus?

        Oh and Colombo regularly read the bwog and its comments and would frequently comment on them. He also now seems genuinely interested in revamping advisory system, though I dont know his past with it

  27. Cynic

    Colombo was a disaster as dean of students. He raised parochialism to new heights, fiercely defending his administrative turf. He approached his job as an administrator, rather than an enabler, of student activities - on his watch, the administation consolidated control of what students do on this campus. In a flagrant conflict of interest, he worked for years on a doctoral dissertation on Columbia's disastrous student advising system - advancing the theory that a first-year/sophomore student advising center was needed for students early in their life at Columbia, and a separate junior/senior center was established for their last years. The problem was that the system was dysfunctional, thoroughly loathed by students, and made it impossible to develop a long-term relationship with any particular dean, forcing students to start from scratch again and again. But Colombo defended the system for years, because he had no choice - he was invested in its success, for his entire doctorate rode on it. In the end, he folded before overwhelming evidence of failure, and acceded to the changes. But his vanity kept a broken system in place for years.

    He's leaving now because Quigs is stepping down; it's not coincidence. No new Dean of the College would possibly keep him on in his current role. One can hope that he'll be replaced with someone like Roger Lehecka, his predecessor and a man who always put the interests of students above his own concerns.

    As for Quigs staying on as a professor, I'll believe that when I see it. Such an announcement is pro forma - administrators stepping down from their posts always announce that they're staying on. Sometimes it's true - Bob Pollack is still around. Sometimes it's not - George Rupp also proclaimed that he'd return to his love of teaching, and that lasted just long enough for him to find a new job elsewhere. We'll see.

  28. Kevin


    You don't actually care about students. You actually just want to get your money and screw as many people over as possible.

    Remember when you freaking made me write 40 pages worth of a response for disciplinary purposes and DIDNT READ A PAGE OF IT? my advice didn't matter. You probably used the group of our responses to get your job. Dip. Shit.

  29. Happy Alum

    Ding dong, the witch is dead
    Rub your eyes, get out of bed
    Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead!

    Shollenberger may be just as much a force for bad at Columbia, but at least he'll be less competent at it.

  30. Dean  

    gaygaygay = NOT one of my favorite people.

  31. ...  

    there does seem to be an outflow of administrators which is interesting. not that most of you care, but mary mcgee in gs left her role as gs dos this summer for some small liberal arts college.

    • well

      #11's excerpt from Hirschland's column hits the nail on the head. With McGee, Colombo, Quigley, and Zvi all stepping aside, the situation is perfect for PrezBo and ProBri to reshape Columbia education as they see fit. Note that Brinkley is a Princeton/Harvard man, and Bollinger is Oregon/Columbia Law. Neither of the men shaping Columbia's undergraduate future has ties to the historical Columbia College.

      And just because JH wrote that column I'm going to nitpick it: "heavily anticipated"? Really Josh? Anticipated by who? Does anyone even remember that this task force is underway? Do they even have students on this or is Brinkley indulging in his Cheney fantasy a la the energy task force?

  32. hey

    why didnt i get this email?

  33. SEAS

    At the SEAS dinner last year he told us that we were the sexiest engineers in the world about 15 times. And now he does this...backstabber lol.

  34. Anonymous

    Chris Colombo represents the single most corrupt individual at Columbia University that I have ever encountered. After being harassed several years ago by a CC student, Joe Rubinstein, Chris Colombo coddled and protected this criminal because his father graduated from Columbia. My harasser had a documented history of harassing other students, engaging in drugs and alcohol on campus, and displaying anti-social behavior. Yet Chris Colombo hired an attorney at the expense of every student on campus to protect this individual, threatened the victims with expulsion, and personally sent me the most repulsive emails I have ever received from an official at Columbia. Because Mr. Colombo was complicit in aiding and abetting my harasser, he is a criminal himself. Completely incompetent at his job, Mr. Colombo should have resigned in shame, along with several other administrators at Columbia. All I can say is good riddance, and my deepest sympathy to MIT.

  35. Anonymous

    Let's not also forget that Shollenberger is as likewise unethical and corrupt as out going Colombo.

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