PrezBo’s Fireside Chat: Let Them See Dogs

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Bwog’s David Berke ventured into the PrezBo abode for the latest fireside chat.

President Bollinger hosted another fireside (though there is no fireplace) chat this evening, bringing undergraduates to his mansion for an hour-long discussion of campus concerns.

The catered event, with ornate hors d’oeuvres and apple cider poured from stylish silver dispensers by black-tied staff, showed no signs of budgetary cutbacks. After fifteen minutes of hobnobbing in the wood-paneled parlor, students were ushered to their seats.

Bollinger stood in a confident contrapposto pose, a hand on his hip. He kicked off the evening with a sweeping statement about the state of the world.

“It’s an interesting time,” he began. “In one sense, there’s a profound crisis…on the other hand, there’s a new wonderful administration bringing hope.” More after the jump.

He related the current economic downturn to student’s own lives and job prospects, noting the increased interest in public service produced by the unforgiving job market.

For the question and answer portion of the chat, concerns about financial aid and tuition dominated the discussion. The first questioner asked if PrezBo foresaw any student loan forgiving programs to help graduates cope with the dire economic climate.

“So far, we are not in the crisis deeply enough to rethink policies at the level,” he responded, adding that University coffers are already strained to the limit. At times, PrezBo was starkly candid about financial issues. Responding to why the University pockets the extra money it makes when students study abroad, he responded, “It’s because we have become dependent on your money, and we don’t want to give it up.”

The crowd appreciated the candor, laughing at the remark.

He gave similarly well received but bleak answers to questions about freezing tuition and upping General Studies financial aid. Since most questions were monetary, the chat became repeated variations on the study abroad answer.

Intermixed were inane queries about the difficulties of founding a club baseball team and if the administration wanted to squash Greek life (The answer was no, but, even if they were planning to decimate Greek life, do you think they would say it?).

The two most interesting questions were about selecting Commencement speakers and Ivy leaguers’ roles in fomenting the credit crunch. Bollinger hinted quite heavily that the University, as well as alumni within the administration, is lobbying to persuade Obama to give Columbia’s Commencement address. In response to the question of Ivy League culpability for the financial crisis, Bollinger’s tortuous answer evaded a strong stance, instead emphasizing that the situation “is everybody’s fault.”

During the course of the hour, Bollinger also promised a dramatic improvement in academic advising and expressed contentment with progress of the athletics program. As during the last talk, Bollinger seized on a nebulous question about his “goals for the University” to kvell over the Manhatttanville expansion.

The chat ended early with many unanswered questions: “My wife and I are going out,” Bollinger explained. Apparently Thursday is not only a weekend night for students. Before he left, Bollinger brought down one of his new puppies to trot for the crowd, which cooed over the peppy dog. He only displayed the dog for a couple of minutes, quickly departing for his night on the town.

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  1. Awww:  

    Oh my gosh. That was the most adorable puppy ever. I

  2. Nobler  

    There is a fireplace. If you are in the center looking at PrezBo, it is on the left wall.

  3. no questions  

    about 40s on 40? jesus christ.

  4. nice photoshopping  

    please tell me the woman in the background is MrzBo.

  5. freshman  

    boy to Prezbo: "Anytime someone is getting on your case about funding, just whip that puppy out..."

  6. ok...  

    ...this has been said many times before, and I don't want to be disrespectful

    but I would bang Prezbo so hard.
    Three words: Silver Fucking Fox

  7. two things

    1) my father apparently has a video of PrezBo's dog peeing on the carpet of the mansion. Should I post on YouTube?

    2) That photo is the best ever. I want it on Bwog always.

  8. RL  

    Dear Spectator,

    In his February 12th editorial, "Enviro-Radicalism at Columbia," Jonathan Hollander describes the negative effects of the elimination of trays from John Jay Dining Hall in order to illustrate what he perceives as the short-sightedness of Columbia's environmental initiatives. If Hollander actually patronized John Jay, however, he would be aware of 3 things:

    1.) Hollander cites an increase in "spills and broken dishes" and the consequent "cost of broken dishware" as downsides to the elimination of trays from John Jay. He is of the opinion that such "inconveniences [...] outweigh the environmental benefits," namely, the decrease in water demanded for dish-washing. As a twice-daily patron of John Jay, I have yet to see a spilled plate this semester. If such an incident occurred last semester, it was so rare that I don't remember even one instance of it. As for broken dishware, I can say unequivocally that I have never seen such a thing happen. Even if the odd plate were to break, it would be with such negligible frequency as to have about the same effect on John Jay's finances as a modest abuse of the peppermint bowl.

    2.) Hollander criticizes the Eco-Reps for "enforcing a policy of self-busing" and thereby robbing John Jay diners of the services intrinsic to their meal plans. In the academic year so far, the Eco-Reps have been present a maximum of 5 times, out of more than 200 meals. On each occasion, it has been to collect and weigh the amount of wasted food, and staff were on hand to clear the diners' plates for them.

    3.) Hollander says that, "without trays, students are being forced to make several trips to and from their tables, turning an already crowded place into chaos." In this statement, Hollander implies that, because diners are no longer able to carry multiple plates at once, they must return to the serving area several times to collect their meals. A look at the conveyor belt during a busy meal, however, proves that the elimination of trays has not curbed the egregious amount of wasted food. If diners learn how much food they can reasonably expect to consume during a meal, instead of overestimating, it is quite possible to collect a meal in one trip. Furthermore, while eating in John Jay sometimes necessitates a short wait in line at peak times, the experience can hardly be described as chaotic.

    In his "Reasonably Wrong" editorial, Hollander uses outdated or fabricated evidence to prove a point that is consequently baseless. I hope that the Spectator will hold its columnists to a higher degree of scrutiny in the future.

    Richard Lenz, CC'12

    • frankly  

      Mr. Lenz, considering you never experience life with trays, you have no fucking right to comment on the situation.

      If some people require multiple dishes to carry their food, they may need to make more trips as a result of this policy. You can't put your soup onto your plate. And some people wasting food shouldn't mean that all people must be inconvenienced.

      Dining promised that there would be trays for those who asked for them, yet they have none on hand. Dining promised that cost savings from this would be passed onto students, yet the cost of a meal has gone up. Do not defend the absurd. Frankly the eco-reps' presence there is irritating; I don't want to have to eat next to people's garbage. Stop defending an undemocratically imposed change motivated by administrative self-interest.

    • ...  

      q: what is the difference between a lens essay and a lenz essay?

      a: a lens essay walked on the moon, and a lenz essay fucks children.

    • oh man...  

      i feel sorry for the kids in your lit hum class. you sound like a tool.

    • EAL

      Jon Hollander is awesome. You're not. End of story.

    • dumb  

      your little rant is now googleable using your name. stoopdiz.

    • uh,,  

      I am in your lit hum class, and want to put you out of your misery every day

  9. Study abroad student

    and broke abroad. Not fun! give me my tuition back!

  10. Inane Question Asker  

    Was the bwog reporter who sheepishly stared at his computer screen during the whole fireside chat too thick to realize his fly was undone the whole evening??

  11. hhahaha  

    bwog, you forgot to mention the guy that fell asleep and started snoring so loud that I could hear him across the room! Amazingly, he is a close acquaintance of mine.

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