News round-up: August 31: Welcome back to Morningside

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi in News 1 day, 7 hours ago

Now that you're all moved in, let's have a quick roundup of some recent happenings in the neighborhood.


  • Columbia opted to renew its contract with Summit — the security firm that staffs "off-campus" dorms like Broadway and Schapiro — instead of the non-union alternative Command Security. A member of SWS was quick to claim credit for the decision.
  • Also worth noting from that article: guards are apparently paid $14.75 an hour, and were previously paid $10 an hour, the same as students working in "on-campus dorms."
  • Campus Services VP Scott Wright met with Spec exclusively last week to tell them which spaces opened up as replacements for the lost Lerner board rooms. Our feelings are a little bit hurt.
  • Spec also has a description of the first two parts of the new three-and-a-half-hour-long consent education and bystander awareness programs that repaced Keeping Sex Sexy. A state school friend, upon reading the piece, asked me, "What is wrong with your school?"
  • The new Flex-only washers and dryers are up and running. Columbia has also replaced many of the wooden rocking chairs you know and love with more ergonomic plastic computer chairs.
  • Barnard celebrates its 125th Anniversary with new street banners.


  • The location-based discussion app YikYak is all the rage among Columbia freshmen and West Pointers who want to sleep with Columbia freshmen.
  • If you're looking for a fridge, microwave, or other household appliances, go to the Green Sale tomorrow in Wien at 10 AM.
  • Freshmen who recently fell in love with the Halal cart on 115th and Broadway unwittingly became obstacles for upperclassmen attempting to wheel blue bins into Schapiro.
  • Remember back when Housing actually brought out blue bins instead of using those cardboard bins that can barely support their own weight? So does the Blue and White.
  • A girl wearing a bikini moved into McBain yesterday.
  • Morton Williams raised their deli counter prices by a dollar in time for the new school year. Also, either Community renovated their exterior, or I haven't been paying enough attention to it in the past to tell.
  • Athletics, ever the optimists, rolled out new promo material — that was mandatory for RAs to use to decorate floor bulletin boards. One RA got creative and cut out the individual football players so they'd look like little paper dolls.
  • Some things never change.


  • Yesterday, a Barnard first-year submitted an op-ed to Spectrum criticizing Columbia's sexual assault policies, using the "stoplight" metaphor used in the new consent education programs. She used many of the same talking points by groups such as No Red Tape. Despite being on campus for less than a week, she's already had plenty of time to get to know sexual assault activists, from the Days on Campus protests, to the features in national journals and magazines, to "Disorientation Week" events.
  • If you're interested in finding more about The Lion, come to our first meeting in Butler 407 tomorrow at 5 PM, or our open house on Saturday at 3 PM.

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Is 116th and Amsterdam a dangerous intersection?

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi in Photo 4 days, 5 hours ago

Last night, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a car on Amsterdam between 115th and 116th Streets. Spec has the full story, with photos, here.

The article aptly notes that this is the second crash on the same block in the past month. On August 10, a Columbia Public Safety officer was struck by a car at the same intersection, leaving him in critical condition at St. Luke's.

Last year, collisions also happened at 116th and Amsterdam on April 22 and October 16.

I'm not well versed in city planning or traffic safety, so could an Urban Studies major help me out here? Is there a need for an extra traffic light or a yield sign somewhere?

None of the victims had any reason to be unaware of their surroundings — these aren't drunk students behind the wheel or dashing into traffic. It's possible that these crashes could just be an unfortunate coincidence. But when four accidents happen over the span of a year and a half in an otherwise relatively crash-free neighborhood, there needs to be a definitive answer as to why this keeps happening.

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Student-made Hyperlapse of Columbia during NSOP

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi in Video 5 days, 2 hours ago

Watch this talented Hyperlapse of Columbia's campus during NSOP, made by incoming GS student Dan Burkhardt.

Download the Hyperlapse app for yourself to make your own videos!


Why you REALLY aren't at a frat party

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi in Opinion 1 week ago

113th Street, the de facto Frat Row, during Bacchanal

My first brush with Columbia's fragmented, yet welcoming, social life was during NSOP week. After five days of largely failing to make any friends, skipping many of the mandatory events, and feeling isolated and alone, a high school friend texted me about a fraternity party (they dislike the term "frat").

After waiting a few minutes in line outside — a far cry from the hour-long wait at 1020 — I was ushered inside. The dancing was awkward, the beer was warm, and the floors were sticky. I had a good time.

Now, as a junior, I've mostly graduated from what some describe as a social scene mostly enjoyed by freshman and those in Greek life. But I still look back fondly at that stage of my life at Columbia; that party, more than the "Consent is Sexy" sketch or the LLC programming, was the most fun I had all NSOP.

A little less than a year ago, Bwog posted an article called "Why You're Not At A Frat Party," which catalogued the fall of Greek life as a defining part of Columbia social life, beginning in 2010. I had a few issues with it at the time, namely, that there were still plenty of Greek parties on campus, even the week of NSOP. Sure, not as many as in my freshman year, but still enough to give new students a glimpse of the irresponsible decisions you can make each weekend at Columbia.



And now, check out the administration's guide to Columbia

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi 1 week ago

Probably Alma Mater's Facebook cover photo | Photo credit: Columbia College

Finished reading our Guide to Columbia? Good, because we have an even longer guide in the form of the Student Resources site, created last semester.

Made by Columbia College staff with input from CCSC (Columbia College Student Council) and SWP (the Student Wellness Project), the site has convenient categories pertaining to everything from registering for classes on SSOL (Student Services OnLine) to campus media (that means us!)

The site is primarily geared towards CC students, but that doesn't mean you can't use it if you're in SEAS or GS. (Sorry, Barnard...)

The full list of admin-run resource websites can be found below.


Class of 2018, check out our guide to NSOP!

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi in Meta 1 week ago

Dinner on Low Steps during Orientation

Low "Staircase" | Photo credit: Student Affairs

It's officially the start of NSOP, and with that comes ceremonies, "mandatory" events, and a whole lot of asking about the first 12 books of the Iliad.

If you are lost, confused, or otherwise clueless about what to do during this mystical time of year, check out our Guide to Columbia (formerly our NSOP Guide) to get some pointers about what to do. Protip: your first NSOP frat party will be hot, sweaty, and will probably be shut down by midnight.

Read the full Guide to Columbia, in all its unadulterated, infinite scroll, glory, here.


Overseen in a Nussbaum elevator: Rooming with a Speccie?

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi in Photo 1 week, 1 day ago

A tipster sent us the following image, overseen in a Nussbaum elevator. If you know anyone in GS who's interested (or any Speccies who are looking for a roommate), email us and we'll put you in touch.


#NewSpectrum is live

Posted by: Sean Augustine-Obi in Meta 1 week, 1 day ago

After all the hype (mostly from us), Spectrum's new $5000 website is live.

Following a brief period of downtime early Sunday morning, Spectrum unveiled its new website, without much fanfare — or as much as a tweet. This is a far cry from the #NewSpec social media campaign in 2013, when Spectrum was previously redesigned. We're not sure what the difference in tone means, but it does seem to represent a sort of compromise between the members of Spectator's Managing Board who encourage a stronger online presence, and those who wanted to get rid of Spectrum altogether.

Featuring a glossy new aesthetic and a new logo, NewSpectrum puts the formerly thumbnail-size images to the forefront. Much like the Spectator website, the most recent headline-worthy article gets top billing, with more recent posts right underneath. The site redesign also does away with the  prominent Spectator section header, replacing it with a button that opens a drop-down menu. On the other hand, each of the Spectrum sections have been resized in an asymmetrical two-column layout that takes up most of the page.

One key difference between old and new Spectrum is the choice to abandon the "Meta" section, which primarily focuses on internal Spec news, like the changing of the guard to a new Managing Board. It's been replaced by "2875 Broadway," which is a more useful name in case you forgot where Spec's office is. It is worth noting that we cannot do the same, since naming a section after a room in Woodbridge would just be weird.

No word yet on what the new Eye site will look like, or if it's coming at all, but we all know Spec's the type of organization to get their money's worth when it comes to big-ticket purchases.

See the redesign at and the old design at


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