Trouble in Squirrel Paradise: Bwog’s Internal Discord and Messy Journalism

(Full disclosure: Alexandra Avvocato is Bwog’s former managing editor.)

Yesterday evening, Bwog’s Features Editor Alexander Pines, Columbia ’16, announced his resignation from the board of Columbia’s primary news blog. His decision immediately followed Bwog’s coverage of a protest held on campus by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). In the 24-hour period after the publication of this post, the actions taken by Bwog’s board in response to a student’s safety concerns prompted Pines to immediately step down from the organization.

In an interview with IvyGate, Pines, formerly one of the four head editors on Bwog, narrated the events that led to his resignation on Friday morning. Regardless of which party is most at fault here, the internal problems of Bwog’s board have, at least on one occasion, affected its day-to-day operations and editorial consistency. (Although, to be fair, this is a blog that never took itself too seriously.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Columbia, where correlation equals causation

The administrative heroes over at Columbia decided that the best way to solve the university’s major sexual assault crisis and amend for their general mishandling of assault cases is to cancel a school-wide concert. Most publicly-reacting students have recognized this as yet another misguided move, and likely part of the school’s continuing War on Fun. The concert was supposed to be held this fall and artists were already secured; now the school has to pay the unnamed artists $55,000 for nothing.

Read the rest of this entry »

In Defense of the Ivy League

The current issue of the New Republic features former Yale professor William Deresiewicz going on for 4000 words deriding the Ivy League and other “elite” schools. This is not unusual: Deresiewicz has done this before and probably will do so again (there’s freedom in not getting tenure, it seems). But with a solid clickbait headline, the article made the rounds on social media and we decided to address some of the fallacies and paradoxes presented in his TNR arguments. Join us.

Bloomberg doesn’t want to go to your stupid graduation

Michael R BloombergIt seems Columbia engineers have a new graduation tradition: getting rejected by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. A letter from the school’s dean, obtained by (IG contributor Skelding at) Capital extended an invitation to the former mayor to speak at graduation, which he declined. The letter details that he was asked last year, too, but couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict.

The day of last year’s graduation, he “hosted a Jewish heritage reception at Gracie Mansion and subsequently accepted a lifetime achievement award at the New York League of Conservation Voters’ Spring Gala,” per Capital, which is the same excuse we give when we don’t want to sit through a long ass boring ceremony wearing a polyester robe outside on a humid May afternoon.

So Bloomberg didn’t make it up to Morningside Heights, but at least he didn’t offer to speak at Barnard graduation.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

What’s written on the bathroom wall

As has been widely reported, over the past week lists of alleged sexual assailants have been written across girls’ bathrooms at Columbia University. The story was initially posted by the Columbia Lion on May 9. Yesterday morning, Bwog published the story, explaining that they had been receiving tips about it since May 7 but hesitated posting due to legal worries. Bwog was in contact with administrators and legal council about how to handle the list.

Yesterday morning, they decided to publish — but only after the story had spread around campus and been picked up by outside news outlets. As Bwog EIC Sarah Faith Thompson (full disclosure: I was EIC before her and yesterday was asked by other Bwoggers for advice on some of the matters discussed here) shot back at a questioning commenter, “[Bwog doesn't] consider one list with blurred out names to be news. Lists going viral is news.”

However, this post was published without full approval from the board or staff of Bwog– it was written on a morning of finals week, after all. The post included one highly editorialized section:

We are incredibly disturbed that people think this is a legitimate way to deal with the issue.”

Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Students file Title II, Title IX, and the Clery Act complaint against Columbia and Barnard

A startling twenty-three students collectively filed Title II (Americans with Disabilities Act), Title IX (Higher Education Act), and Clery Act violation complaints against Columbia University and Barnard College. The violations, handled by a group called Our Stories Columbia, included in the complaints filed with the Department of Education include survivors discouraged from reporting, perpetrators allowed to remain on campus, inadequate disciplinary sanctions, and discrimination based on sexuality and mental health and wellness.

The press release (which can be found at the bottom of this post) includes stories from survivors, which range from a queer trans* survivor having their story doubted due to their gender identity to a survivor denied mental health accommodations and threatened with expulsion.

The complaint follows a year of raised awareness and discussion at Columbia and other Ivy League schools — along with an increase in the national discussion — and Harvard students filing a Title IX complaint at the beginning of this month.

Read the rest of this entry »

Columbia Daily Spectator to go digital

At a staff-wide meeting tonight, EIC Abby Abrams, BC’15, announced plans for the Columbia Daily Spectator to go digital-first, the first Ivy League daily paper to do so. The plan is not completely finalized yet — the board of trustees is voting on it this weekend — but is expected to go into effect in the fall. In a follow-up email sent to the staff, Abrams explained that the paper will print once-weekly on Thursdays, planning to “showcase in-depth news stories, weekend sports and arts coverage, and opinion content.” 

Read the rest of this entry »

Ivies under attack for sexual assault policies

Ah, springtime at an Ivy: students descend on the quad, thesis writers emerge from their caves, and — best of all — high school seniors attack campus with naïveté, un-jaded excitement, and a myriad of questions all boiling down to: Can my host get me alcohol? Is this the school for me?

Columbia’s first Days on Campus program — prospective student visiting weekend — for the Class of 2018 began today. Prospies were treated with a beautiful spring day and  blue and white balloons blanketing College Walk. But they’re also getting another dose of classic Columbia: protests.

Read the rest of this entry »

Columbia’s Sachems of the Class of 2014

The Sachems, one of Columbia’s two “Senior Societies,” are a low-key secret-ish society. Most Columbia students don’t even know they exist. The two societies aim to pull together the most powerful senior students on campus, with some taps based on hierarchical lineages (i.e. one student body president taps the next year’s, and so on for various clubs). We’ve no idea what they’ve been up to this year, but we do know who 14/15 of them are.

See our list, after the jump.

Come On Guys: Columbia Theta Throws Stereotype Themed Party

ugghhhh not again

Team Mexico via Bwog

Last night, Columbia University’s Theta sorority celebrated what looks like a good ol’ stereotype-filled Beer Olympics. Groups of girls dressed up as Mexican, German, Japanese, Dutch, French, and Jamaican, according to pictures obtained by Bwog and the Columbia Spectator. Bwog notes that the mixer was held in SigEp–though no pictures of the young men have surfaced yet–and should have been registered with the administration, per Columbia Greek life policies.

At this point you’d think these young women would know better than to participate in a culturally appropriative theme…or at least to not post the damn pictures all over Facebook and Instagram for all to see and screenshot.

Read the rest of this entry »