Wikipuffery, or Columbia's skewed encyclopedic presence

Posted by: Columbia Lion in Opinion Humor Features 5 days, 5 hours ago

Editor's note: The author of this piece is a self-described Wikipedia fanatic and claims to have read virtually every Columbia-specific Wikipedia entry (as well as hundreds of WikiCU entries), and this is his first piece for the new Lion. He is also considering scouring WikiCU for similar idiosyncrasies.

This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (October 2014)

The section on undergraduate admissions and financial aid, as of this writing, offers data from 2013 so it is pretty outdated. The class of 2017 was slightly more selective at 6.89% than the class of 2018, which would be the latest data available, that had a total acceptance rate of 6.94%, even though a fewer number of students were admitted overall. Proud Columbi-pedians would feel a pride-induced laziness to update the numbers, naturally. Thankfully, the class of 2019 is shaping up to be significantly more competitive than any class before it, so there is hope for newer numbers.

But this isn't really lying; it's just old numbers. After all, US News never updates their numbers anyway, so why should we care? Elsewhere in the Wikipedia entry on Columbia University, eager applicants can find descriptions and paragraphs full of puffery to entice them to apply... or something. Take the section on student Publications:

Columbia is home to numerous undergraduate academic publications. The Journal of Politics & Society,[131] is a journal of undergraduate research in the social sciences, published and distributed nationally by the Helvidius Group; Publius is an undergraduate journal of politics established in 2008 and published biannually;[132] the Columbia East Asia Review allows undergraduates throughout the world to publish original work on China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Vietnam and is supported by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute;[133] and The Birch,[134] is an undergraduate journal of Eastern European and Eurasian culture that is the first national student-run journal of its kind; Columbia Political Review, the undergraduate magazine on politics operated by the Columbia Political Union; Columbia Economics Review, the undergraduate economic journal on research and policy supported by the Columbia Economics Department; and the Columbia Science Review is a science magazine that prints general interest articles, faculty profiles, and student research papers.[135]

How many of those names do you recognize? If you aren't into reading this section over and over like some of us, perhaps only one sticks out, Columbia Science Review, because their marketing/PR seems strong enough that I see a flyer or Facebook post every so often. The others are pretty much unheard of by most students.

College Walk, or something

Just as an aside, many of the photos intended to showcase Columbia tend to be crooked or poorly lit. Or just not showcase the intended subject (in this case, College Walk) efficiently. At least they're licensed liberally.

Aside from the plethora of touristy-looking photos of various landmarks that litter the article, the page offers information that is often oudated and wrong, even with its active edit history. Under Broadcasting, it says:

Columbia Television (CTV) is the nation's second oldest Student television station and home of CTV News, a weekly live news program produced by undergraduate students.[146][147]

The site it links to in the reference tells you to go to, which loads a blank page with minimal HTML available, suggesting a parked domain. In the alumni section, actor Ed Harris is claimed to be an alumnus. Based on what I've seen on the internet, if you transfer away from a school you're not really an alum, it only counts if you drop out or graduate. Ed Harris transferred elsewhere so it's pretty much a lie (other schools do this too, more on that later). But my favorite line in the whole page is this.

and The Blue and White,[123] a monthly literary magazine established in 1890, has recently begun to delve into campus life and local politics in print and on its daily blog, dubbed the Bwog.

See the word "recently"? That was put in the hide the fact that The Blue and White was closed for over a hundred years. Now, I like the TBaW and have nothing against Bwog, but the puffery is palpable.

A surprisingly bitter and passive-aggressive line comes from SEAS's entry under the Facilities section:

While Mudd, nicknamed "the brick," is tucked behind the Fairchild Center, much of Columbia's buildings were designed by the famed McKim, Mead, and White architects. The campus is in keeping with Neo-classical design themes popular in the early 20th century. It retains old-world charm and originality not found at many of this nation's pseudo-gothic styled campuses.

"Columbia Engineering is so great that we don't stoop to your architectural plagiarism and implement our own form of plagiarism!"


Thankfully for our egos, this kind of puffery is easily found on just about every US college's entries (except for scandal-ridden for-profit or unaccredited schools), from what I've seen. "Lower-tier" colleges tend to boast features that put them on par with more renowned institutions. It seems as it is Wikipedia policy or tradition to portray universities in as positive a light as an entry can.


Bacchanal Battle of the Bands 2015

Posted by: Columbia Lion 6 days ago

Interested in being the student opener for Bacchanal 2015?

The Bachannal Committee is currently accepting 5 minute video submissions for students/groups interested in joining the Battle of the Bands this year. Video links can be emailed to

Visit their facebook event for more information:

Applications are due by 11:59PM on February 13th. 

Good luck!


The new Columbia Lion

Posted by: Columbia Lion in News Opinion Features 1 week ago

Journalism is all about sharing what is important and delivering it in a way that is easily accessible for all readers. The Lion has been a source of interesting, unique news over the past few years and our new team is looking forward to continuing these longstanding traditions. 

 In aligning our goals with current market trends, The Lion will be moving most of its efforts into the mobile sector and as such, we are looking for students interested in joining us during these exciting times. We are a team of students from a wide variety of majors who care about creating and delivering news that is not only interesting, but is straight-to-the-point and does not fall prey to the current click-bait trend. 

 Our number one commitment is making sure that we listen to our audience and run a company that will make it even easier to understand what’s happening at Columbia and around the world. 

Columbia is a community of inquisitive, passionate thinkers willing to take risks (and even fail) and work constantly to make a positive impact in the world. We here at The Lion share these values and want to recruit students that will help us accomplish this.

If you want to gain some leadership experience in a fun, fast paced setting, email us at and let us know what you want to help with and we will get back to you ASAP.  We are recruiting social media gurus, programming lovers, journalists, artists, cinematographers, and anyone willing to help. 

We here at the Lion are thankful for your continued support during our transition.

Make sure to check in with us through our various social media accounts to see what we are doing and feel free to email us with any questions or concerns. We hope you like what you see!

William Essilfie

VP, Product Development 

The Lion


Announcing changes in our leadership structure

Posted by: Jake Davidson in Meta 1 week, 4 days ago


A Note from Jake Davidson, Founder and Owner of

To Our Readers,

I want to share some news about some forthcoming changes at The Lion.

As you've heard, recently, editor emeritus Sean Augustine-Obi attempted to sell the rights to The Lion for venture capital. After a review of his performance and a discussion about our editorial vision, Sean will be moving on. I thank Sean for his work as editor-in-chief this past year and wish him nothing but the best in his next projects.

It will be difficult filling Sean's shoes, and as part of streamlining this process, I will be stepping in as publisher to ensure the digital future of The Lion's brand. Additionally, The Lion's leadership will be restructured in line with our digital goals. I have appointed a VP Editorial, a VP Product Development, and a VP Technology, the first of hopefully many partners that share our commitment to the core DNA of our platform. You can read more about these changes on our about page here.

As the world increasingly moves to a web-first, mobile-first, tech-first, social-first landscape, outfits like The Lion must become tech company start ups Sillicon Valley disrupt breakshit VC Kinja iPad Googleglassdigitalfuture—sorry I blacked out there for a second.

Anywho, as The Lion transitions the bulk of its content to mobile and social, we will be selling the site URL,, to any willing buyers. Contact thecolumbialion(at) for more details.

These are exciting times for our publication which demand change. We hope you stay tuned and watch us go viral.



For sale:

Posted by: The Lion 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Illustration: Lian Plass

Well, that's all for us this semester, folks!

It's been a crazy ride, what with guillotines, and strategy guides, and secret societies, and even executive editors! We're glad that you decided to come to us for the past two years in search of Columbia news you want to read.

Unfortunately, due to the increasing cost of printing issues, a disruptive, no-holds-barred digital media marketplace, and (possibly) a threat of legal action if we don't cease and desist, the Lion is becoming the Elephant and looking for a place to die — in the arms of wealthy venture capital investors.

For the immodest price of $8,001, the rights to the Lion are yours. That means: every article, posting privilege, staffing decision, social media account, and even the URL itself are yours for the taking. The only things we keep are the intellectual property rights to the content we've posted, which will be hosted on an archive somewhere deep in the bowels of the internet.

And if you're concerned about the lack of high-quality, in-depth investigative journalism you've come to expect and love from the Lion, don't worry! We're sure that there's definitely going to be something to fill the gap. Or maybe not!

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

If you are interested in purchasing this publication, email If you would like to attend the funeral, call Sean.


Updated: Potluck House Black Lives Matter banner removed by administrators

Posted by: The Lion in News 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Photo via Gabriela Catalina 

Update (12/10), 2 PM: A Potluck resident informs me that the house received an email today telling them that Facilities is on its way to remove the banner, ostensibly for fire safety reasons.

Update (12/10), 6 PM: IRC banner has been taken down.

Update (12/11), 1 PM: Potluck banner has been taken down.


According to an email sent to all Potluck House residents this afternoon, administrators within the Office of Residential Life asked the special interest community to remove a "Black Lives Matter" banner that had been hanging outside the brownstone for the past few days.

The banner, hung in honor of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and the failure to indict the officers who shot them, was apparently in violation of the Guide to Living.

We have yet to hear back from the IRC, which hung their own banner with the words "Police =/= Safety, Prison =/= Justice," as to whether they received a similar email.

Police action has been a recent point of contention in Morningside Heights, as NYPD officers corralled a group of over 500 protestors last week, and the Office of Public Safety called police officers to monitor other demonstrations held near campus.

Read the full email to Potluck House below, and check back for any updates.

Hello Members of Potluck House,


I hope that this message finds you all well. I am writing to all of you as I want you to understand my upcoming request. Over the past few weeks, the climate around the country in regards to the Mike Brown and Eric Garner cases has been high profile. It involves a number of feelings which include anger, sadness, and an overwhelming need to act. Expressing these feelings both individually and as a community is very important and we, as a university have a full understanding of this. So when I make this request of you I want you to understand that it is coming from a place of community safety and not in response to the content.


The banner that is hanging outside of the house has to come down as it violates policies in the Guide to living. The specific policy is theRoofs, Window, Balconies, Fire Escapes, and Ledges Policy. You can find this information by clicking on the link but the actually policy prohibits “placing items, including banners and flags, on balconies, fire escapes or ledges or allowing them to hang outside the windows.”


I ask that you take the banner down today as placing things outside of the windows poses an element of danger when you live in such a congested area such as New York City.


With that being said, I also like to offer solutions. As an alternative to having the banner outside you could, for example, do a collective covering of the windows from the inside (message pointing out) throughout the brownstone.


As I stated earlier in the message, given our current climate, the need to express feelings and concerns is very important and I want you all to know that I am here to support you in doing this. The ongoing dialogue in regards to social issues is not just part of your college experience but an essential practice that should be a part of your everyday life. If there is anything that I can do to support you in this practice please do not hesitate to reach out and let me know.


I hope that you are finding the space to prepare for your finals and I hope that you have a successful end to your fall semester.


With Appreciation to Your Time and Your Understanding,

Update: Dean Valentini and the undergraduate deans (sans Hinkson) just sent out this email regarding the recent grand jury decisions. It announced that students may be able to push back exams and final coursework, just as Law School students were told yesterday. Barnard Students were not included in this email.

Dear Members of the Columbia Undergraduate Community,

The past few weeks have been a difficult time for many of us. The grand jury decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island have ignited much reflection and discussion across the nation and within our community – and we know that many of you have been deeply affected. The student tragedy on campus last week also had a profound impact on many of you. These events have caused feelings of distress, anxiety, alienation, and loss, and at an already stressful time in the semester.

We recognize the intensity of these feelings and the potential effect that these events may have on your ability to concentrate on your studies and fulfill your course requirements. As finals approach, we want to make sure we are doing everything that we can to support you. We encourage you to rely on the resources of the University, including your advisers, student life staff, the University Chaplain, and Columbia Psychological Services. No concern is too small to seek out help. These resources are here for you and we hope that you will take advantage of them.

CPS will have extended on-site, after-hours counseling in the Intercultural Resource Center, and in Carman Hall, from 6 to 9 p.m. today, tomorrow and Thursday. In addition, the Office of Multicultural Affairs staff is available to meet with any student who wants to drop in today through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Intercultural Resource Center, 552 West 114th Street, and the OMA office in 510 Lerner.

We are encouraging faculty to give accommodations in final exams to students whose academic work is being compromised by the difficulties in dealing with these recent events. If you feel your academic work is being affected, we encourage you to contact your advising dean in the Columbia College and Columbia Engineering Center for Student Advising or your academic adviser in the General Studies Dean of Students Office, who will help you work with your faculty members to discuss a plan to complete your coursework. For those in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, the Center for Student Advising is holding open office hours from 3 to 4:30 p.m. today through Thursday. For those in the School of General Studies, the Office of the Dean of Students is holding extended open hours from 8 to 10 p.m. tonight in the GS Lounge. For additional appointment times and open hours, GS students should consult the GS website.

We have also scheduled a community gathering at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday for all undergraduates. This gathering will provide a safe space to share, to listen, to engage, and to respect and support one other. We encourage all members of our community to attend.  Further information about the community gathering will be shared once details are finalized.


Peter J. Awn 

Dean, School of General Studies

Mary C. Boyce 
Dean of The Fu Foundation 
School of Engineering and Applied Science

James J. Valentini 
Dean of Columbia College and 
Vice President for Undergraduate Education

Correction: This post initially stated that the photo was from Potluck House's Facebook page. It was actually posted from a house resident's private account.


The Lion's study break drinking game

Posted by: Roarer Lion 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Because we are all degenerate anti-intellectuals here at The Lion, we came up with a DRINKING GAME to get you through those finals week study breaks. Because who can read Kant sober, anyway?

Take a drink when...

  • Your RA sends an email to the floor advertising a study break.
  • The email discusses stress culture at Columbia.
  • The study break advertises Insomnia Cookies.
  • Your friend invites you to a Facebook event for a their club's study break.
  • Less than 10 people are attending the Facebook event.
  • Someone at the study break asks you for your winter break vacation plans, of which you have none.

Take a shot when...

  • Someone from Residential Life sends an email to all of South Field/West Campus/The Block/East Campus advertising a list of study breaks.
  • The study break advertises Insomnia Cookies AND Chipotle BOGO cards.
  • You run into your hookup at the study break.
  • Your Stressbusters masseuse makes a snide comment about the knots in your back.
  • "Shake it Off" plays during the study break.
  • You're the only one attending your friend's club's study break who isn't in the club. 
  • Someone at the study break tells you about THEIR winter break vacation plans, umprompted.

Finish your drink when...

  • You get to the study break and there's no food left.
  • You run into your professor or TA on the way to the study break (and your paper/final project is late).
  • You run into your ex at the study break and he wants to get back together.
  • A puppy at the study break bites you, and you contract rabies.



Posted by: The Lion 1 month, 3 weeks ago


  • President Lee "EBOLLINGER" Bollinger has a "Dick Cheney" of his own?
  • That man is Robert Kasdin, a Senior Executive Vice President by day, a Manhattan socialite by night??
  • Kasdin served on the board of large corporation NORANDA ALUMINUM from 2008 to 2014???
  • What's going on here????
During Robby's time at CU, the endowment has gone UP, UP, AND AWAY! From 4.2 BILLION DOLLARS in 2002 to 9.2 BILLION DOLLARS in 2014.

What's the big deal? Is there buried treasure under MANHATTANVILLE...or something more sinister? NO WORDS from Lee "EL PRESIDENTE" Bollinger.

Noranda's investor relations hotline didn't give US a CALL BACK. Are we just POOR COLLEGE STUDENTS without PORTFOLIO MANAGERS to invest our TRUST FUNDS?
But enough blah blah blah here, just the facts:

Robby mysteriously vanished from Noranda's board in March 2014. The BIG corrupt media orgs didn't report on it. Only one publication with a shred of integrity, the NASHVILLE POST, has dared to blow the whistle and call Robby out to play...

Robby was SUPPOSED TO STAY ON UNTIL 2016...leaving 2 years early is not part of CU's track record. Even Lee "My speech is free, but my hair is insured for $3 MILLION" Bollinger got his grip on the university tightened for 2 more years...what's going on in LOW?
This news made me think, and I really thought long, and thought hard about this news...there could only be one reason.

Consider that Campbell Sports Center at Baker Athletics Complex, Columbia's premier athletic facility on the HUDSON, is made of metal. CU ordered it built in 2011, in the middle of Robby's time at Noranda.

Consider that Northwest Corner Building, the crown jewel of Columbia's commitment to scientific frontiers built in 2010, is made of metal.

Consider that the very extensive renovations to several Columbia dorms involve metallic objects. 

Something stinks here, and it is the smell of ALUMINUM.
You may think it's CRAZY that Columbia would get its metal from America's heartland when everyone knows you can get aluminum's ELEMENTARY, no pun intended.
But what if there's something even more important than aluminum in Tennessee? A family member? A childhood sweetheart? A secret lair?
Either way, it doesn't matter to's just the MOOLA.

When my great-uncle Steve (GOD BLESS HIS SOUL) still walked the Earth, he had a saying that he would say around the dinner table: SHOW ME THE MONEY! 

We won't ask for the DIRTY MONEY, but we demand to know: SHOW US THE CONTRACTS!


WHAT A SCARY THOUGHT...something to think ABOUT tonight.....


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