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PrezBo’s Fireside Chat: Pre-Professionalism and Hors D’Oeuvres

Bwog’s very own Zoe Camp stopped by the presidential mansion Tuesday night to have a chat with PrezBo.

PrezBo’s fireside chat offered freshpeople a rather magical escape from the perils of dorm life. Lo, the mountains of hors d’oeuvres, the perfectly-arranged rows of chairs, the meticulously clean, downright palatial bathrooms – ladies and gentlemen, we’re not in John Jay anymore. And of course, there’s our leader, our hero, the man who makes our collective hearts gush like the grease from a slice of Koronet’s at 3 in the morning – Prezident Lee Bollinger. Tuesday night’s discussion was helpful to upperclassmen and freshpeople alike, providing key updates on Manhattanville, the recent rise in pre-professional programs, and the University as a whole.

PrezBo didn’t wait to be asked about Manhattanville. Rather, he launched right into a status report on the recently green-lit expansion, one that he hopes will cultivate “the same student spirit you get . . . when you go to Low.” Bollinger was particularly excited about the Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute, a new Neuroscience school that may see cross-exchange programs with the school of Economics, an initiative that Bollinger claims will “not only advance our study of the mind on a molecular basis, but also in a broader sense.”

PrezBo talked about a few issues in a “broader sense” last night. When asked about the rise of pre-professional programs in connection with graduate institutions, such as the new Financial Econ major and the recently added Business Management concentration, ‘Bo dismissed any fears that such tracks meant the end of the Core, insisting that such pre-professional programs are necessary to reconcile a traditional, liberal arts education with modern trends in pre-professional training and global thinking. In other words, he said, “Let’s ready Aristotle and think of contemporary problems.” No word on any new pre-professional besides Econ – and even though Bollinger tentatively expressed interest in exploring new relationships with the other graduate schools, he raised a question that no doubt many students can appreciate: “How do we make new things available without being too overwhelming?”

From there, the chat switched focus from larger campus issues to smaller inquiries. There was an relieving explanation of the change in CUarts management, which according to the Prez had nothing to do with marginalizing the project and everything to do with Provost Claude Steele’s involvement, saying “it wasn’t fair to have him manage it.” Another student brought up the longtime ban of ROTC on campus and whether or not a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would mean the program’s return. Prezbo’s answer: “if DADT is repealed, ROTC may be invited back.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t nearly enough time for a proper discussion of some controversial issues, like the decision to invite Ahmadinejad and Zenawi to speak on campus. Bollinger kept it short and concise- “I will always defend the right of this institution to invite anyone to come and speak – but not for political reasons,” he said – but one couldn’t help but feel as though the issue was pushed to the side.

As the chat wrapped up, one student asked PrezBo a funny question: “So, Mr. President, I want to know about you.” And while we didn’t learn the identity of Prezbo’s favorite HamDeli sandwich or whether or not Hawkma is actually his lethal, feathered spy, we did get a brief list of his to-dos concerning the University: making SIPA a premier public affairs school, building (surprised!) a global free press, and making Manhattanville flourish as part of the Columbia community, to name a few.

PrezBo ended the chat with two pieces of information – his plan to head to Paris tomorrow for Sciences Po business and his wish for the audience to polish off the remaining hors d’oeuvres.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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9 Comments

  • ummm... says:

    @ummm... prezbo selling out to ibanks above.. lets get more students hired at GS!!!!

  • wondering... says:

    @wondering... do people actually like prez bo? I look at his monstrous house at the very corner of campus as a symbol of how removed and elevated he is from everyone else (especially undergrads) at this school, but I feel like I’m alone in this

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Dude, every president of every university ever has this. He seems to care about making the future of this university as bright as possible, and that’s about the most you can ask of a university president. Plus he generally teaches a class to undergrads. I know how easy it is to feel like nobody in the administration gives a shit about anyone, but PrezBo is not to blame. He has lots of important shit going on.

      @roflcopter: no need to be an ass

  • roflcopter says:

    @roflcopter He IS removed and elevated. He’s the President of a massive university of 17 schools and 20,000 students. You’re a random, lowly undergrad. What did you expect? Him to call you to see how your Calc midterm went or if you wrote a good Lit Hum paper or what you’re up to for the weekend?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous No, but I am paying him $60,000 a year to go to this school; it would be nice to have one conversation with him or actually hear him speak besides in situations where he has prepared a speech once before graduation. I’m obviously not expecting him to ask me how my calc midterm went, pardon me for implying that. I just don’t understand why so many students love him. What exactly did he do for you?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Sick burn.

  • Alum says:

    @Alum The “Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute” is not, and will not be, “a new Neuroscience school”. It will be, and already is, an institute. Hence the name. The institute will have its own building in Manhattanville. The building is what will be new.

    There is likewise no “school of Economics”. There is a department instead.

    1. Zoe says:

      @Zoe Thanks for the clarification! Sorry I failed to mention that.

  • ... says:

    @... I hope the ellipses in “the same spirit you get… when you go to Low” indicate a dramatic pause to indicate PrezBo is rubbing his office location into everyone’s face.

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