Apr

26

University Statement on GS Class Day Controversy

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Last night, Spec published an official statement sent to them by the University to address “misinformation which we want to dispel” about the GS Class Day controversy. The statement is more notable for what it doesn’t say than what it says—neither the fund set up to compensate GS seniors for changed travel plans nor the petition (now signed by over 600 students, and liked nearly 2,000 times on Facebook) urging the University to hold an off-campus ceremony on the original day or the University’s fund to help are mentioned.


We are proud that President Obama will return to our campus for Barnard’s graduation, but the resulting consequences for other class day ceremonies scheduled for that day have spawned some misinformation which we want to dispel. From the moment we learned of President Obama’s decision speak at Barnard, our goal has been to accommodate this historic visit without undue inconvenience to thousands of our graduates and their families attending other Commencement week events. The University aggressively and thoroughly explored numerous scheduling and logistical options for achieving this objective with Barnard, General Studies and Engineering—the three schools with ceremonies that had all been scheduled on the same South Lawn location, one after another, on the same day. As Dean Awn has clearly stated, the option of moving the General Studies Class Day ceremony to a different campus site Monday morning while the main core of campus was rendered largely inaccessible would likely have been deeply problematic for graduates and their families.

Given these serious constraints, a collaborative decision was made that the only acceptable alternative that would best fulfill the tradition of Columbia’s graduation for General Studies was to reschedule the ceremony on the previous day on Low Plaza. We find the resulting inconvenience to graduating General Studies students and their families deeply regrettable, and we are committed to helping ensure that they do not have to bear the financial cost of this change in order to accommodate the unique aspects of presidential logistics for Barnard’s ceremony. The GS Class Day ceremony now scheduled for May 13 should only be about the exceptional achievement of the graduates, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure that that will be the case.

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43 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    Seriously, what bullshit. I cannot believe the Columbia administration is doing this to an entire school's graduating class. This is preposterous and unacceptable. I'm sorry, GS, but I think almost everyone at CC stands with you!

  2. anon

    That's some bullshit right there.

  3. Where's...  

    ... the apology? The explanation?

    "From the moment we learned of President Obama’s decision speak at Barnard, our goal has been to accommodate this historic visit without undue inconvenience to thousands of our graduates and their families attending other Commencement week events."

    If this was truly the case, wouldn't GS grads have learned about a scheduling move weeks ago?

    I'm so sorry Class of 2012, you don't deserve this.

  4. Anonymous

    Yes, let us inconvenience GS (a COLUMBIA school) to accommodate Barnard (NOT one of the COLUMBIA schools). Well of course that makes sense.

    • GS '13  

      1) Yes. They are.

      2) Don't be an asshole.

      3) Get over yourself.

      • Anonymous  

        Barnard is not one of the Columbia schools, it is an affiliate. I'm in no way trying to go into the whole CC is better than Barnard debate; I'm just pointing out that when you go to www.columbia.edu and click on schools, GS is listed as one of the school while Barnard is not.

      • CC'14

        Well, technically, he is right -- GS is an official college of Columbia and Barnard isn't, and I know of a lot of people who are really upset that GS has to suffer an inconvenience because of an affiliated college. Their concerns make sense and it's confusing for a lot of people.

        That being said, I realize his post comes off as a little douche-y and I acknowledge that Barnard is an invaluable member of our Community.

        • Agreed  

          It seems like it's unfair to give an affiliated institution priority over one of the 'technical' (for lack of a better term) bodies of the University. Especially when it comes to an event as important as this.

          • Anonymous

            Barnard students and Columbia students pay the same fees to use Columbia's lawns. We will all graduate together at University Commencement, wearing the same blue robes. When it comes to graduation, we all share the right to use that space. With that in mind, I feel terrible for GS and I wish they could have done a better job with logistics.

        • Anonymous  

          i wouldn't say invaluable. i think most people on campus would live if barnard were simply, as prez-bo's old email read (roughly), "the liberal arts institution across the street." we'd still love them - as we love our neighbors (i believe jesus taught us this).

  5. Kanye West  

    I just don't think that the columbia administration cares about GS people

  6. Anonymous

    I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you.

  7. Anonymous

    from the moment we learned of president obama's decision to speak at barnard there has been nothing but trouble. horrible comments against barnard, exacerbated disappointment from last year’s potus efforts and to this year’s cc graduates, and an inconvenience to the entire class of gs. so obama’s visit managed to directly or indirectly hurt students, graduates, and alumni of at least three out of our four undergraduate school. and that’s not even counting family members.

    i don't hate barnard, and definitely not obama, but sometimes i wish my school was led by the kind of people who had the balls to say - hey, you know what? thanks but no thanks. our goal here is to create the best environment for students and their families, not serve as a platform for an election pitch. if you care about barnard, come back next year. if you cared about columbia, you would have been here last year. we won’t vote romney, don’t worry.

    • Anonymous  

      i don't wish this sometimes. i wish this all the time. very well said

    • BC'12  

      This trouble was largely self-inflicted. Are we really going to say obamanard is because Obama was coming and not a sign of a relationship we need to better here on campus? The admin needs to a better job executing this, but, to say that Obama coming to Barnard's graduation isn't spectacular and the "best environment" for Barnard and Columbia as a whole seems inaccurate. The president coming to graduation is extremely memorable no matter what the intention of the speaker is.

  8. Anonymous

    Sounds like the Secret Service was too busy screwing Colombian prostitutes to realize they were really screwing Columbian students.

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

  9. Studying

    What are these whistling and parade noises that have occurred several nights in a row? Is this take back the night? Does that happen more than once?

  10. outsider

    i'm sorry, i know it sucks, and life happens. but oh my goodness y'all are all so whiny.

  11. Anonymous

    "From the moment we learned of President Obama’s decision speak at Barnard, our goal has been to accommodate this historic visit without undue inconvenience to thousands of our graduates and their families attending other Commencement week events.”

    What utter crap. Maybe you should have scheduled Barnard's graduation ceremony on the sunday afternoon then. When no other school is graduating. They get a badass speaker, isn't it fair to ask that THEY make some compromises in exchange for having the PRESIDENT speak at their graduation? This has nothing to do with the Barnard/Columbia argument, it just seems so unfair. Or if Obama can only do that time, do it at another location. Or do GS after CC's class day on tuesday. Basically ANYTHING ELSE.

    • Anonymous

      Well OK that was a lie, apparently the business school is graduating sunday morning which is why the GS ceremony is on the steps not on south lawn and the PHD/MA ceremonies for the school of the arts are in the afternoon. Too many schools. I can't help but wonder tho if it had been ANY school other than GS that got fucked if they woud have come up with a better solution. Especially if it had been SEAS or CC...

  12. CCer  

    I'm a student at CC and a large number of my friends are in GS and I feel terrible for what is being done to them. General Studies was created for the nontraditional student, but what people don't realize is that every person in GS is an unconventional student. Almost every person in that school did something with their lives before they decided to pursue their college education. I can only imagine what kinds of difficulties they've had to face getting to where they are today. The least these awesome students deserve is a graduation that celebrates their endeavors. This is something that should be celebrated with those closest to you, namely friends and family. If that doesn't happen, is it all worth it?

    In cultures around the world, there are rites of passage that occur in people's lives. These rights of passage are meant to be shared with everyone to show a person going from one part of life to the next. Graduating from college is one of the last rites of passage in people's lives and taking away the ability, even if it's a few students who are affected, to celebrate it with their families is cruel. After everything they have done to be where they are, it is just not right. The students of General Studies deserve far better and everyone knows this.

    I was talking about this with my dad and if he, my mom or my sister were not able to attend, it would make the four years that I've spent here absolutely not worth it, especially if the school I'm attending was responsible. The biggest reason I'm doing this is to make my family proud and if I can't share this important moment with them, my time here would feel incomplete and I won't forget something like that. Good luck at trying to get future donations from this graduating class and me. Wait, you don't consider them a part of the University, so it doesn't matter.

    Here's a idea, and I wouldn't mind doing this at all. How about Columbia College share class day with General Studies? Sure it's going to get crowded, and it will take much longer, and I'm sure we can push back a few the ceremonies following by an hour or two, but if GSer's can have all their loved ones with them, I say it's worth it. Why doesn't Columbia College show a little grace by helping our fellow Columbians?

    • Anonymous

      The problem is you're focusing on the things in life that don't really matter. When I was a kid I had hopes and dreams. We all did. But over time, the daily grind gets in the way and you miss the things that really matter, even though they are right in front of you, staring you in the face. I think the next time you should ask yourself "Am I on the right track here?". I don't mean to be rude but people like you I really pity. So maybe you could use the few brain cells you have and take advantage of the knowledge I have given you now. Good luck.

      • anon  

        wow, you're cynical. Life hasn't been the rosy picture you were promised as a kid? Don't go bitching on other people just because you're not happy.

        Family IS important. In fact, it's probably the most important thing in the world. Isn't it natural to want to make your family proud? There's nothing wrong with that goal/desire. It is not misplaced, and if that is what makes him happy, then it is the right path. Don't assume that just because you gave up on hopes and dreams everyone has, don't assume that your path is the right path.

  13. Anonymous

    Having sat through the CC ceremony before you do NOT want to add more names to be read out its painful as it is. But there's nothing that I can see AFTER the CC class day on the tuesday so couldn't they delay taking down the tents etc by a few hours to allow GS to do their ceremony afterwards...

  14. obama  

    Sucks for GS! Stupid people screwing up scheduling and stuff....I would be so pissed. Like, once Obama was announced as a speaker, didn't anyone say, "hey, let's schedule him on a day when there will be no one but Barnard students."? hmm....sucks....Barnard isn't THAT good. I would understand if Obama was speaking at GS and moved Barnard lol.

  15. Anonymous  

    I'm sure this was considered, but it seems like a GS graduation at Baker on the original day would have worked much better - plenty of schools graduate at their athletic facilities, and I'm sure that Columbia could pull it off with little time to spare. Not the original grandiose backdrop, but at least it wouldn't incur such cost to student and their families.

    For what it's worth, every Barnard student I know feels pretty horribly about this. We take enough shit, we hate to see others dismissed by the CU community the way we sometimes are. (Newsflash: BC students had as much say in any of this as anyone else, which is pretty much nil. Please don't take it out on us!)

  16. Obama Supporter

    This speech is most important for Obama to champion his pro-fem image during the election season. And second most for Prezbo to feel relevant that the Prez is speaking at his domain.

    Cancel Obama, go on as planned.

  17. Almost every

    group I'm in at COLUMBIA has amazing Barnard leaders. In almost all of my classes there are awesome Barnard ladies. We would notice it if they were just 'across the street', and our lives would be less rich for it.

    It continues to astound me that any undergrad from any school thinks they deserve a say in this issue which is, at its most basic level, economic and administrative, but also so much more...Barnard, I love ya and I don't care who knows it!

    • Argh

      Why wouldn't this post in the right place?

    • Anonymous  

      Because when you say that undergrads shouldn't have a say in the administration of the university they're paying for, Bwog breaks under the weight of your indolence and stupidity.

      This university is made a better place when it has a vocal and critical student body that urges for reform and progress at every turn.

  18. Anonymous

    "The GS Class Day ceremony now scheduled for May 13 should only be about the exceptional achievement of the graduates."

    Should it only be about the exceptional achievement of the graduates? That would certainly be the case under normal conditions. Shall we be unfaithful to ourselves and pretend we have a dignified graduation? That all our families and friends are present and happy, prepared for the occasion? Or, at the very least, that the university accords to us the respect that we accord to it?

    I was never a believer in the idea that General Studies was treated like a second class school. Yes there were differences, but in my mind they seemed relative to the circumstances of non-traditional students rather than a systematic bias. Perhaps I was naive, but I don't think that way anymore--this slight has changed my mind.

    The administration's initial negligence and consequent irresponsibility is repugnant. It is clear that they believe the excuses they've provided obviate any need for a simple apology. Furthermore, it's clear that they either don't understand the meaning of their actions or they do but don't understand the consequences it has for them.

    I'm confident in my class of '12, that we are a capable and intelligent group, that we'll remain dignified and at the same time hold the university to account. If their attitude won't change, they must be made to regret it. If the institution is so recalcitrant that it can't admit to a basic mistake, then it's our duty to provide the incentive not to repeat this insolence for future classes. Our failure not to will undermine our school and our university.

    I hope all classes agree that something must be done if the administration cannot accept its responsibilities. However we agree to hold them to account, let us do so with the gravitas, discipline, and respect we expect from them.

    • I disgaree  

      When there are a tens of thousands of dollars put into this investment to reach the point of graduation, there better be a damn sure accountable reason on the University's end when they screw things like this up. Gravitas, discipline and respect are nice but when it boils down to it, this is a slap to the face and a vacationing on the responsibilities and a lack of regard for hundreds of GS students. To say it is anything less is a farce and a lie. The University should be excoriated for this, but I guess its fine and nice to have your lasting moments of this place trampled upon.

  19. Anonymous

    "...the option of moving the General Studies Class Day ceremony to a different campus site Monday morning while the main core of campus was rendered largely inaccessible would likely have been deeply problematic for graduates and their families."

    So the conclusion was reached that changing the day and making families rearrange their schedules would be *less* deeply problematic? What the what?

    I'm also curious to see how they'll follow up on how "committed" they are "to helping ensure that [the families] do not have to bear the financial cost of this change." When can people expect their checks?

  20. Anonymous

    Barnard has their own campus, and so do we. Let us use ours; they can use theirs. Or Baker Field. Or any number of places for that matter.

  21. anonymous  

    Administration does not view GS in the same light as the undergraduate schools. It's sad, because they are brilliant people, many have had very successful careers before coming back to school, and all have enriched the lives of those they have met. Also, technically, GS is a part of Columbia while Barnard is only an affiliate school. Barnard is the same as JTS or TC. JTS has its own set of schools, just like Columbia has its own set of schools (CC, SEAS, GS), but they are associated with other schools just as Columbia (that's what it means to be an affiliate school). Now, when you associate A with B, that does not make A = B, that does not mean A is in B. Barnard is not part of Columbia, Barnard is associated with Columbia, we're FRIENDS not FAMILY. If every school Columbia was associated with claimed to be part of Columbia, we'd be the largest University EVER. There are other liberal arts schools affiliated with Columbia (look to all the 3-2 Combined Liberal Arts Affiliate Schools). Would you say Bard College is part of Columbia just because they are affiliated with us? No. Barnard, I know Columbia is awesome and all, and Columbia, I know Barnard fulfills the political ambitions of individuals wanting to specifically target women, but it is just wrong to hurt your own schools for an affiliate. Apparently blood is not thicker than water.

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