Join our new column as we examine possible additions to the list of banned items.

Hello, and welcome to the first-ever entry of Should It Be Banned?—we’re excited to have you with us! Columbia’s Prohibited Items List is certainly not a comprehensive list, whether it tries to be or not, so we’ve accepted the gracious services of a legal contracts expert to talk us through some possible additions to the list based on input from readers like you! We’ve done our best to collate and organize your queries, but don’t worry if we didn’t get to yours! We’ll be back next week, once Columbia kicks off its own housing lottery.

First up is a question about mechanical keyboards. “Clicky” is the particular adjective used by our reader seeking peace and quiet. Given that there are plenty of other keyboard options which don’t produce the same noise, we here at SIBB? conclude that it’s a worthwhile addition to the list. Our legal consultant suggests bringing a complaint pursuant to Section 24-218(b)(1) of the administrative code of the City of New York, but, well, that’s probably not the first course of action to take against a roommate or suitemate.
Should It Be Banned? ✔️

Next is a question about too-bright lamps. Columbia might ban halogen lamps, but it doesn’t have a luminosity measure for how bright a light can be even when, as our poor reader writes, one just needs to sleep. Homework until five in the morning for one roommate doesn’t benefit the other. That said, while Columbia can ban classes of items, it’s probably too much to ask that it inspects the total output of any and all lamps.
Should It Be Banned? ❌

Another submission leans to the literary: a poem written by the reader’s boyfriend, which makes single roommates sad. Emotional damage is something to avoid, and—no, no, there’s no reason to try and bring charges under New York Penal Code 245.00, no matter how you feel about it. Potentially prohibited items are a chance to speak with your neighbors if there’s a problem and—look, no litigation at either the college or city level.
Should It Be Banned? ❌

Addendum: Thank you for reading this far! Unfortunately, our legal counsel had to be fired under Rule 3.1 of the New York State Bar Association for bringing frivolous lawsuits. We’ve hired a new one.

Next, one reader writes in about a resin-casting kit. It’s true, the resin and silicone for crafting molds are frustrating chemicals to have hanging around in a shared space even if they are harmless generally. Something to take to the Makerspace, or anywhere with better ventilation than the Columbia housing—as anyone dealing with heating knows, the air in your dormitory is generally staying there.
Should It Be Banned? ✔️

A couple of you, inexplicably, wrote in about common items. So, to books (“I feel bad about not reading my own”), umbrellas (“misfortune”), brightly-colored posters (“they’re just, like, garish”) and glasses cleaner (“it’s a chemical!”) the answer is, well:
Should It Be Banned? ❌

Our counsel informs us that by “strictly limiting” the items Columbia students are allowed in the dorm, we’ll be able to impose a “more uniform” dormitory culture and avoid any unsavory conflicts. Just to be clear, we’re not a legal column, or even an advisory one.

Significant others? If they’re not your significant other (also not a relationship column here), they can be annoying, especially if they’re stealing your snacks and such, but the logistics of restricting them from Columbia housing might be tricky. Setting up some sort of ID-based tracker of relationship status and restricting dorm access accordingly is likely not a step most students are willing to take, even if it would simplify matters. That kind of monitoring is, frankly, strange anyway, even if it is permitted under Section 65(8).II of the state law…
Should It Be Banned? ❌

The next is a request from our counsel himself, actually. He suggests—hm. That all students should be banned from housing because we create too many problems, and that there would be no violation of housing policy if there was no one to violate it. The logic is hard to fault, but, well—

Addendum Two: The second counsel was sent away before he could start writing eviction notices for Columbia housing. We hope you understand.

Addendum Three: The column Should It Be Banned? has been placed on indefinite hiatus and will not be returning next week.

Prohibited Items and Behaviors via Columbia website