Apr

17

WTF, Columbia: The White Board

Written by

So uncontroversial, right?

So uncontroversial, right?

In our continuing coverage on shitty things the university does to make life much more complicated than it should be, Bwog was anonymously forwarded the following email from a member of the Student Wellness Project.  Here, we get the hilarious and devastating tale of an innocuous white board, unjustly damaged.  If you have a story email [email protected] or use our anonymous form.

TL;DR: SWP member paid for a white board out of pocket when the budget wouldn’t cover it.  The board was to be used to community events by SWP.  They took effort to find storage space, only to hear it was mysteriously moved out of the storage space and, worse, damaged.  The SGO offered to store it for them and repair it–under the condition that it become a communal board to be used by anyone in the offices.  Now, in full:

“…now that we are all synchronized, I’ll just explain what’s been going on for the past semester, but I just want to start with an apology for my participation in what has been a confusing chain of events and emails. Thanks for getting us in sync.

In any case, the whole premise of getting the board was that we would need a storage space before we would get one. Our advisor, ****, who was extremely helpful in supporting and refining the initiative, therefore worked hard to get us a board and then a space. In email and in person, he then said he found a space for us in the cage area down the hall but that he could not find a public board for us to use/share, so I went ahead and ordered one. As SWP has a $300 budget, I paid $750 out of pocket, which may be why I seem combative (but really don’t meant to be!) My thoughts were that it would be worth it in the long run, so recent events make me feel a bit upset at my essential throwing away of the money (I don’t know if I feel comfortable applying for JCCC reimbursement until we prove that we are spending student fees productively, and unfortunately, due largely to my business with other initiative and in part due to these frequent logistical issues, we haven’t).

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, **** emailed me saying that the board was “kicked out of our space,” though I’m not sure by whom. At this time, he also said that the board was heavily damaged, which is unfortunate because I thought we had a secure storage space. When I followed-up about how it got damaged and asked if we could reach a temporary storage agreement with the SGO because we could possibly greatly benefit from having the board in our SIC next year, I received no reply but was emailed by ******** with the same set of options: store it with SGO or figure out something on your own. Now, I realize no one on this email thread did anything wrong and you are all trying to help, so my complaints are directed at no one specifically, but basically I was told 1) buy your own board since there is no communal board but we’ll keep it safe, then 2) sorry we actually haven’t been keeping your board safe and it was actually destroyed in a public hallway for the past few weeks, 3) we will fix the damage that resulted if you let us share the board. It’s a bit frustrating, and I was hoping that maybe we could make the board communal just till next year when swp would then fix it (we realized last night after wheeling it down that it’s not functional) and use it for planning within our SIC and launch it out from there. No one has replied to me after making this suggestion, and a new person emails me each time I do, so I’m guessing it’s a no, haha.

Ultimately, we can make the board permanently communal, but I am a bit frustrated with this process, and obviously don’t have many other options. I think the board would benefit the space, so I am happy to help and consider this my first alumni donation or something, haha, but I hope you see my confusion and frustration, as well.

As a final note, I am really sorry for what has seemingly become a big issue. I was only asking about the temporary communal storage option, but I realize that it is not. I also appreciate everything you all do and am sorry for making it more complicated! While I would like everyone to read through this email (sorry it’s so long) just to sync up and possibly determine what went so wrong in our coordination this time, I really appreciate everyone I worked with for going out of their way to help us with the board and just want to note that it seems to be more of a comedy of errors among a bunch of people working to improve student life.”

 Nothingness turned to something-ness via Shutterstock

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29 Comments

  1. CC '13  

    Okay, but like, who's speaking at class day?

  2. Dammit Columbia  

    Seriously? I had a lot of difficulty following the point of this post in the first place, but the sad thing is I totally get this is how things go down whenever you try to accomplish anything with our hilariously inept bureaucracy. It seems like every time I've ever needed anything from this school--other than my original acceptance, which I am actually very thankful for. I do appreciate what an honor that is---it's been one clusterfuck after another. This is embarrassing as shit that we're so basic as to be incapable of doing something so trivial without a convoluted email chain. Anyone wanna raise Stalin from the dead? I think it's time to purge the Columbia administration (through firing. Not death. Obviously. Although they do make me angry).

    Whatever, at least Ke$ho is out of here soon.

  3. bwog please  

    You should be doing more.

    It's not a big deal if you're just quoting funny things people said at Bacchanal, but if you're going to complain about the "shitty things the university does" to make life harder, you should be doing more to fact-check, instead of just quoting emails without attribution and no investigation. This blog post actually seems like a perpetuation of the negativity that plagues this school in the first place.

  4. Spec  

    On an unrelated note, does Spec delete comments after a while?

  5. Anonymous

    Wait this is actually hilarious though!

  6. Fact checking...  

    It's true. I'm in SWP, and this email was sent by Steven Castellano to the rest of the group and many others when deciding what to do with the board.

  7. but wait  

    who pays $750 for a white board?

  8. Yeah...

    Why am I not surprised?

  9. MechE  

    what sort of damage. You could patch it with Idea Paint.

    • Anonymous  

      no, really, we can fix it. Did someone use permeant marker on it. There stuff is easy as hell to get off whiteboard.

      • Anonymous  

        It's in SGO right now. It's tilted, the wheels are falling off so it doesn't roll, some bent and missing screws, etc.

        • MechE  

          That's Easy to fix. Email me. [email protected]

  10. Idea: Dry Erase Markers on Lerner Glass  

    Hey,

    I have an idea. It would be cool if you guys encouraged students to use the class in the ramp lounges and on the ramp going towards the broadway entrance as whiteboards. It would make up for the lack of chalkboard access while studying for finals. I know there is an issue with people not cleaning after they are done but maybe it could be a reading week only thing.

  11. Anonymous  

    1. promise students you'll keep their expensive shit safe
    2. kick out the shit and let it get damaged
    3. tell them you'll like, actually keep it safe for them if they give you the shit
    4. profit

    • Anonymous  

      actually though. this discussion is becoming about wellness in general when really it's a story of admin being shitty per usual, it could have happened to any group.

      My email would have been a lot less kind.

  12. Sometimes I need help  

    Dear SWP,

    Take that $750.

    Find a licensed therapist/psychiatrist who will donate his time/work for cheap.

    Write up a one sheeter/pamphlet/email with some basic guidelines for symptoms of stress/normal range of emotions vs. signs of the onset of mental illness.

    Include a Columbia-specific guide for how to seek help for yourself
    and how to seek help for your friends.



    I don't need a white board.

    I need online appointment scheduling for CPS (because sometimes I can't talk on the phone when I'm depressed).

    I need more conversations with adults. (Meetings--mandatory or otherwise-- with someone who will notice that I've pulled all my hair out.)

    I need CPS to talk to me before they reveal personal details to my professors.

    I need a reviewed policy on mandatory leaves of absence (and the threat thereof).

    I need Columbia to hire more therapists for CPS and keep longer walk in hours and make those hours obvious.

    I need an advocate and I sure as fuck don't need a white board.

    • 13  

      Didn't you read the email? It wasn't SWP's money, it was the personal initiative of one of their members. No need to shit on a person who spent a ton of personal money on something they thought might bring some brightness to the campus.

    • CC'13  

      I went to the SWP wellness summit, and they are indeed working on CPS reform. SWP is a very policy-minded group, which is its main focus, but that does not mean it doesn't try to approach wellness on multiple scales. This was a community-building experiment that failed largely because SWP was pursuing other initiatives and because of administrative ludicrousness, as explained in the email.

    • Anonymous  

      Hi “sometimes I need help”,

      SWP member here!

      Trust me, I feel you on basically all the things that you just mentioned. The good news is, we’ve actually been fighting for these exact things for over a year now. We’ve had countless meetings with admins, talks with the head of CPS, and yes – we have also been pushing hard for review on mandatory leaves of absence policy. We’ve been pushing for academic reform, mental health reform, you name it. We actually care a TON about these exact issues, because they affect a huge number of students on campus and contribute to structural student health problems on campus.

      As for the $750 – I think someone else may have mentioned this, but this was an extremely kind personal initiative by one of our members, Steve Castellano – none of it came out of SWP’s already meager budget. It’s kind of sad how much of a mess the whiteboard has become, but the idea of it was to have something that could encourage dialogue and conversation around campus in a visual way.
      One last thing – you should check out the Stressbusters Support Network guide – it’s a great pdf that contains a lot of great info on how to stay well at Columbia.
      We really want to advocate for you – so if you want to talk, let us know, our meeting times are posted online.

      Thanks a ton for caring enough to write this comment.

  13. anon  

    That is the worst TL;DR that I have ever seen.

  14. Anonymous  

    im so high this didnt make sense

  15. Anonymous

    Best ending: "I really appreciate everyone I worked with for going out of their way to help us..."

    Wow. Just wow.

  16. youre complaining about a white board?

    store it in your room.


    talk to the performing arts groups who dont get enough funding to perform or are shut out of theatres and spaces because outside groups want to rent them.


    this isnt the first or last time the university screwed students over but this is a pretty stupid example. there actually *are* communal storage areas --] club leaders all received applications to store space in the sda cages or in the 5th floor of lerner.

    honestly, try being a club treasurer. do that for a week and then write an article about that.

  17. Anonymous  

    lol this shouldn't divide us just cause some people get more screwed over than others, but it seems from the email (not "article") that he did ensure spacing in those exact cages before it was forcibly removed.

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