Apr

25

Breaking: Columbia Councils Call for Formal Apology, Accommodations

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In a statement responding to Monday’s announcement that GS Class Day would be moved a day forward, prominent campus figures joined members of GSSC, CCSC, ESC, SGA and the Senate to call for a formal apology from President Bollinger. The statement praises the announced Travel Fund, but demands an extra ceremony on the original day in a different location. You can find the full letter and names of the student signees after the jump.

Feel free to add your signature in the comments.

Update 7:55 pm: You can also sign this change.org petition.

Standing Together with the School of General Studies

April 25, 2012

The sudden and unexpected rescheduling of the School of General Studies Class Day has placed undue financial and emotional burdens upon the students of General Studies and their families. We are heartened by the creation of a GS Class Day Travel Fund and hope that the administration will work to accommodate as many people as possible so that they are able to take part in the celebration of the amazing accomplishments of the graduating seniors in GS.

We are disappointed with the manner in which this change has been communicated to the GS student body. President Bollinger’s e-mail did not acknowledge the enormous emotional and financial burdens the move of GS Class Day places on the families and friends of GS seniors.  We request a formal apology to those students and their families that have been affected by the move. We also wish to see the creation of a smaller event during the originally scheduled Class Day ceremony, in an alternative location, to accommodate those individuals who cannot change their plans or wish to attend in addition to Class Day. This event should be paid for in full by the Columbia and Barnard administrations as a gesture of goodwill and understanding to recognize both the achievements of the graduating GS seniors and the support and sacrifices made by them and their loved ones.


Additionally, we are saddened by the conflict between the new GS Class Day time and the undergraduate Baccalaureate Service. The Baccalaureate Service is the only graduation event that brings together graduating seniors from the four undergraduate schools in an intimate setting to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and our passage together through Columbia. This is to be the first year in which all four undergraduate schools will have seniors speaking at the event, and we are hopeful that any GS students who would like to attend will be accommodated. Those who cannot attend will be deeply missed by their Barnard, Columbia College, and Engineering classmates.

Columbia is a unique and challenging experience for each and every individual who ventures through the Columbia gates, regardless of which school he or she attends. Graduation is a celebration of the culmination of the years of hard work invested to satisfy the requirements of a Columbia University degree. This would not be possible without the immense support of family and friends, the very individuals who wish to be present at Class Day. Every graduating individual deserves the right to be able to celebrate with those individuals in their life who have made this accomplishment possible.

Representatives and members from all of the undergraduate schools stand in solidarity with graduating seniors of the School of General Studies. Though there are four separate undergraduate schools, we stand as one undergraduate student body – celebrating the experiences and perspectives that every group and individuals add to this community. We wish to move past the animosity that has been presented toward various groups and remind students that we are here to support each other and wish that every member of our community feel included and welcomed.

Signed,
Logan Donovan, ESC VP Policy, 2011-2012, Author
Barry Weinberg, Student Governing Board Chair, 2011-2012, Author
Aki Terasaki, CC’12, CCSC President, 2011-2012
Karishma Habbu, CC’13, CCSC President, 2012-2013
Will Hughes, CCSC VP Policy, 2012-2013
Yanyi Luo, CCSC VP Campus Life, 2012-2013
Jared Odessky CC’15, CCSC 2015 President 2011-2012, VP Communications 2012-2013
Kenneth Durell, University Senator (2010-2012), CC ‘12
Ryan Cho, CC’13, Vice President Policy 2011-2012, President, Multicultural Greek Council
2012
Nate Levick, ESC President, 2011-2012
Tim Qin, ESC President, 2012-2013
Akshay Shah, University Senator, SEAS 2012-2014
Jim Huang, ESC VP Communications, 2011-2012
Siddhant Bhatt, ESC VP Finance, 2012-2013
Bora Kim, ESC VP Policy, 2012-2013
Mary Byers, ESC 2013 Class President, 2009-2013
Daniel O’Leary, ESC 2014 Class President, 2012-2013
Jessica Blank, BC ‘12 SGA President 2011-2012
JungHee Hyun Barnard ‘13, SGA President 2012-2013
Naomi Cooper, SGA VP Finance 2011-2012
Sarah Steinmann, SGA VP Communications 2011-12, SGA VP Student Activities 2012-13
Julia Kennedy, BC ‘13, SGA VP for Student Government 2012-2013
Mara Wood, SGA VP Finance 2012-2013
Rachel Ferrari ‘13, SGA Vice President 2011-2012
Stephanie Fernandez BC ‘14, SGA Communications 2012-2013
Malvina Kefalas, BC ‘14, SGA Representative for Academic Affairs 2011-2012, VP
Jacqueline Thong, GSSC Student Body President, 2010-2012
Jennifer Wisdom, GSSC Student Body President Elect, 2012-2013
Jose Robledo, University Senator, GS 2009-2012
Kyle Riggle, GS’12, GSSC Senior Class VP, 2011-2012
Scott Bacon, GS ‘13, GSSC VP Student Events, 2011-2012
Leah Greenbaum, CC ’12, Spectator News Editor, 2011
David Fine, Student Governing Board Chair, 2012-2013
Maryam Aziz, CC’13, Student Governing Board Vice-Chair, 2012-2013
Daniel Bonner, 2012 Hillel President, SGB Vice Chair 2011-2012
Arvin Ahmadi, CC’14, Ivy Council VP Internal, 2012-2013
Ben Totushek, GS 2008-2011, SIPA 2011-2012
Aly Jiwani, University Senator, SIPA 2012-2013
Scott Saverance, University Senator, SIPA 2010-2011
Robert Wintersteen, GS’12
Wilfred Chan, CC’13, Student Wellness Project
Margo Kulkarni, SEAS ‘12
Learned Foote, CC’11
Ryan Mandelbaum, CC ’13
Katie Johnson, GS ‘11
Iban Goicoechea, GS ‘15
Dominique Mosbergen, CC ‘11
Katharine Celentano, GS ‘14
Jia Ahmad, CC ‘11
Daniel Lagana GS ‘13

Signee list was updated at 2:28 pm, April 25th. 

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50 Comments

  1. Prezbo  

    I'm sorry :'(

  2. WTF

    Why the fuck is "Ben Totushek, Fight for Manhattanville" on this list? He's not a "student leader" in any way, shape, or form. "Professional whiner" is more like it.

  3. proposal  

    i think the least prezbo could do is to accommodate all the parents, who now have to come in early, in his mansion. there should be plenty of space.

  4. Anonymous  

    imagine if this had happened to CC...

    • i just dont understand  

      why pick on GS? 100% of GS students pay 100% full tuition, so 4 years here would be $200,000. Most GS students are here for 3 years so let's say $150,000, and that's $150,000 BEFORE taxes.

      Meanwhile, 50% of CC students pay 100% full tuition. GS guys are a major part of supporting this university financially.

      why are they so mean to them?

      • ignint financial aid recipient  

        Is it actually true the literally no one at GS gets a dollar of financial aid from CU? I know a lot of vets get outside support from the GI Bill, but I thought there was SOME assistance from Columbia itself for other GS students. If this is not the case, that really, really sucks.

        • the GS "scholarship"

          on average is about $2000 per semester. barely enough to cover one class.

          i came here with near perfect grades from Duke but I took 2 years off college for some other purposes and they wouldnt let me apply to CC. If I did, i'm sure i wouldnt be taking my GS classes part time while i work 2 jobs in the city to support myself. Otherwise the CC financial aid would've helped greatly and not to sound arrogant, but i do believe i'm competitive enough to be in CC not to mention my age too (20).

          • GS finaid facts  

            Because GS includes so many students in different situations (postbacs, vets with GI benefits, dual degree programs) it's hard to say for certain. Unfortunately Columbia can't or won't release more detailed information (some is due to legitimate privacy concerns).

            However it is known that 20% of the total tuition that GS pays is from institutional grants. Compare this to 41% for CC and 46% of SEAS (including grad students, so apples-to-oranges). http://www.columbia.edu/cu/opir/abstract/institutional_grant_aid_09-10.htm

            Based on the enrollment numbers (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/opir/abstract/2011_enrollment_fte_level.htm) the average grant is $5000 per year per headcount. Of course half are part time, some out of financial necessity (the postbac premed program is one quarter and they're all part time, which is just how the program is structured). The average grant is $7600 per full time equivalent.

            GS students pay $1,392 per credit (capped at 17 credits; above that is "free"). Plus fees, etc, the direct cost for one year at 12 credits per semester is:
            Tuition: $33,408
            Student Life Fee: $1,068
            Health Service Fee: $900
            Medical Insurance: $1,935
            Direct Sub-Total: $37,311
            Grant: -$5000
            Direct Total: $32,311

            GS estimates around $21,500 in life expenses including housing, commuting, and food, so we can figure it's about $53,800 total at 12 credits, plus university housing & health insurance, minus the average grant.

            (Of course some students are veterans with the GI Bill, so their tuition is substantially less. Others receive other aid, including Pell Grants and state grants. I know of no data source for this, but if you can find one please reply!).

          • Anonymous

            Where did your numbers come from?

            My very first year, the scholarship I received from GS was more than 3 times the supposed average you gave, and steadily increased each subsequent year. My EFC was the full tuition+expenses, so it wasn't based on need. I also am not a veteran, an underrepresented class or academic superstar.

        • GS finaid facts  

          Forgot to include this, but by the same numbers that got a GS estimate of institutional aid of $5000-$7000, the CC number is $15,500. The SEAS number is, again, hard to compute since it sometimes clumps in the undergrad and grad students, but I imagine it's in the same ballpark.

          Remember, though, that CC/SEAS pay a flat fee per semester while GS pays per credit. If a GS student decides to take an extra class (15 credits instead of 12) that's an extra $4,176 with no adjustment to the grant.

          • one thing to keep in mind though

            CC financial aid is based on "need". 50% of CC is paying full tuition because their parents can foot the entire bill. So that averages out the number. The actual grant of an average CC'er who is part of the 50% receiving any aid is around $36,000. And all students with family income below $75k (i think?) get FULL TUITION.

            GS's financial aid is not need based. They even say it isn't. That means the same CC'er with income below 75k who is getting 100% financial aid and graduating with ZERO loans in his package will be getting only $4000 when he transfers to GS and that assumes he makes 3.0-3.5+ every semester.

        • Another GS-er  

          GS students also lose scholarship money (plus grants like PELL and TAP, presuming the student is eligible) if they take fewer classes / can't afford paying for them. Conversely, should a GS-student want to take an additional course, the scholarship money pretty much remains the same, +/- $100ish. The fewer classes a GS-student takes, the longer it will take for them to graduate, but every extra semester = another set of student fees, which is perhaps a drop in a bucket, but they add up! Compound all of this with maxed-out federal loans (and in most cases, private loans).

  5. Steele Sternberg CC'13  

    Signing on!

  6. Anon

    Wondefully put. I'm glad to see that everyone can put aside all this undergraduate school rivalry and support GS. :)

  7. Anonymous  

    It'd be great if there was a way the rest of us could put our names on this too.

  8. Anonymous  

    This Just in! Mitt Romney announces Prezbo as running mate!

  9. President Lee C. Bollinger  

    Thank you for all the concern that you students have shown for your fellow classmates in General Studies. Though Columbia, Barnard, the administration, and I will not apologize for what is undoubtedly an Act of God, I feel that the least we can do is to find space to accommodate both ceremonies on Monday.

    In order to ensure that commencement is a success, we will speed up the gentrification...err.... community enhancement of Manhattanville to make space for the ceremonies.

  10. Aaron Johnson  

    CC '14

    100 names by dinnertime. Lets do it!

  11. Anonymous

    Why not just use the Barnard campus?

  12. Anonymous  

    zharenette and papps

  13. Kristopher John

    Well put - please add me to the list:

    Kristopher John GS '07

  14. Anonymous

    Why don't we just have the Barnard graduation with Obama actually at Barnard? Then GS can have the Columbia campus to themselves.

  15. GS Equal Treatment  

    GS Equal Treatment endorses this resolution. We truly appreciate the student body's support, as does everyone else involved in this mess.

    We are also working on holding an event to solicit signatures in person or discuss administration transparency with other schools.

  16. Tabes Bridges, CC'12  

    Signed.

  17. Barack Obama

    Oh my bad GS.

  18. Anonymous  

    Please add my name to the list

    Angelica Hoyos GS' 13 GSSC Working Students Representative

  19. law school student  

    the undergrads should try to get the graduate students involved too... then it would become an entire student body movement as opposed to merely an undergrad movement. i feel like the grad students would probably be sympathetic, as many of us hate the administration and bureaucracy as well.

  20. Bullshit

    Barnard can move their ceremony, either location or time. It's awesome for them that Obama is coming, but other schools should not have to suffer(especially GS, since they are generally treated like crap, such as paying ala carte per credit, including if it was dropped and the person never even went but missed a random deadline)

  21. Anonymous  

    anyone know when phi beta kappa inductees are notified?

  22. Please add me to the list!  

    Margaret Yukins
    BC '12

    Apparently, they'll be closing the 116th subway station for the Obama security. If that's not inconvenient for the entire NEIGHBORHOOD (let alone Columbia students), then I don't know what is.

  23. Baffled CC '14

    Can someone (perhaps a graduate or a student who is more educated on this matter) please explain to me why we don't just demand a change/revamping of the entire CU administration at this point? I'm sure PrezBo has a few loyal minions (although I am not familiar with any personally) but it's quite apparent he is a controversial figurehead who is not that well liked and who has an arrogant "fuck the student body" attitude about him, that EVERYONE is aware of.
    I'm not understanding why he is our president and why his post can't be changed with a true, passionate leader who will concentrate on our Morningside (NOT manhattanville) campus, rather than trying to establish Columbia outposts on every fucking continent. Next he'll be in talks with Gingrich to create Lunar CU...
    I've only been here a few semesters, but maybe some good will come out of this shitty incident and we can reclaim our beloved school once and for all from the goddamned bureaucrats that people have bitched about for years?! With the money we pay and the stress we endure, this should be the happiest place on Earth next to fuckin' Disney World!
    Really starting to regret not going with Stanford.

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