We sought an explanation for the additional fees that some non-lab classes require.

If you’ve ever taken an individual music lesson through the Music Performance Program, a studio art class, a creative writing class, or a handful of other classes, chances are that you’ve had to pay a small fee to take the class. Compared to tuition, these two-digit sums are trivial, yet they are an inconvenience nonetheless. Further, what are they even paying for? The classes don’t require any extra materials, and even if they did, shouldn’t those be covered by tuition?

For an answer to these questions, I reached out to the registrar’s office and asked them if they knew who decided what classes required extra fees and why. An official from the office, who asked that their name remain private, told me that the fees were implemented by the deans, who deliver their decisions written on parchment at midnight on the night before registration opens for each semester.

One former Columbia employee with knowledge of the situation, who also asked that their identity remain hidden, told me that the deans select the classes randomly at a top-secret meeting held biannually. At this meeting, the deans engage in an elaborate game of blindfolded darts played in the nude in which the entire list of courses is posted around the room. The practice, which dates to at least the days of Eisenhower’s University presidency, is part of an elaborate sadomasochistic ritual in which members of the administration compete with each other to cause the maximum inconvenience and frustration possible for their students.

Although I was not able to procure any physical evidence of the darts game, security video footage that I stole from Lerner showed the deans entering PrezBo’s mansion late at night carrying what appeared to be bandanas. Bwog has to decided not to air the footage due to a mythic curse placed on the tomb of Seth Low, where all campus security footage is stored.

Course registration via Bwog archives.