On Monday, student Alix Prybyla brought to our attention a Columbia-released time management chart, which made recommendations such as spending 2 hours a week for personal hygiene, 2 hours a week for exercise, and 49.5 hours a week for homework/studying.
In addition, the page normalized 1.5 hours of free time a day, which covered extracurriculars, checking emails, and other “generally decompressing” activities such as, yep, “job searching” and “medical appointments.”
Especially in light of past suicide deaths and Columbia’s supposed emphasis on mental health, these recommendations were…interesting. More specifically, it seemed to fail to accommodate for basic human needs by allotting 17 minutes a day to personal hygiene (because we can shower and do a full load of laundry within that time), disregarded the disabled with the time allotted for medical appointments, and reinforced an intense academic culture by affirming 50 hours a week for homework alone as healthy.
Prybyla’s Facebook post about the chart has since garnered 63 shares and nearly 400 reactions, mainly from Columbia students.
However, after Prybyla emailed both Dean Valentini and Dean of Student Life Cristen Kromm regarding the information, Valentini stated that the page was outdated and written by “a single student.” He ordered the information to be taken down and, as of Tuesday, October 24, the web page is no longer accessible on the Columbia website.
At least there exists a faint glimmer of hope in this story. In a talk with Bwog, Prybyla wanted to make this clear to students: “Our indignation is what led to this to go to the administration. We have a voice on this campus: we have the power to better our community together. Our outrage and pain, our compassion and love for each other, this is what toppled this page down, and what started conversations among our administration.”
The removal of the page itself is a great move, but we’re left wondering, why did it take so long? The page itself was featured pretty prominently on the Columbia website and has existed since at least June 2016, according to web archives. The school should more critically reflect upon itself and the messages it sends to students, whether it be through websites or policies themselves. Failure to do so could potentially impart very real consequences upon the student body.
Below is Prybyla’s email correspondence with administration:
Below is the full original web page, with the time management chart: