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Photo Courtesy of Columbia Political Union/Columbia Elections Board

As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?
  2. If elected, what would your goals be
  3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it
  4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Below, you can find the candidate(s)’s unfiltered responses to help in deciding who you choose to vote for.  The Lion has yet to endorse any candidate at this time and the views below do not necessarily represent the views of our team. For more information, email submissions@columbialion.com.

N/A Party – Andre Adams (Prez) & Iqraz Nanji (VP Policy)

What motivated you to run for this position?

I decided to run for student body president because I am fed up. I am fed up with a student council does not take into consideration the opinions of the students that they’re meant to represent. I am fed up with the lack of resources that the school dedicates to the debauchery of its students. But most importantly, I am fed up with my empty, empty schedule. I mean seriously, when I’m not filling out student life surveys, I’m just sitting in my room, staring blankly the wall or at some dimly­lit screen, subconsciously counting off the seconds until I become subsumed into the singularity, and can frolic in eternity ­ man and machine existing as one. Beep beep, boop bop.

I just want something to do until then.

If elected, what would your goals be?

I don’t have any in particular. I think the Columbia community fetishizes “achievements” and “accomplishments” and “goals.” If elected, I do hope to fulfill the basic requirements and responsibilities of the position. Anything I do above and beyond that is akin to getting a grade above a B in one of my classes: it’s nice but I’m not particularly concerned about it. You know: it’s okay to just be okay.

In addition, I seek to raise the profile of The Lion, so that they can finally compete with the Spectator, if not Bwog.

What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?

I want to make Columbia great again. I think the most important step that I can accomplish in doing that is removing Barnard College from the University. For too long, they have trespassed upon our campus, taking our classes and soaking up our precious academic resources. Look, these people they think they can just mark across Broadway and take advantage of us. They get to graduate with the name of our university on their diploma. And what for? They didn’t have to sit through gratuitous Fro Sci lectures every Monday morning freshman year. Their discussion sections weren’t impeded by the bludgeoning yawns and shortcomings of student athletes. Hell, they didn’t even send their best applications to Columbia! It’s time to stop shuttling them across our campus in the wee hours of the night. It’s time to bury their zines in the rubble of their library. It’s time to make sure that our professors are capable of writing recommendations for CC students and CC students alone! Now some might say that my positions are “bigoted” or “exclusionary”, to which I would respond that I’m running for CCSC, not the “Student Government” of Barnard College. We must look out for our own. Some might say that this goal is unrealistic, to which I would say that we have already made promising progress towards restoring Columbia to it’s former glory. Barnard students are no longer welcome in our dining halls, and they’re forced out of their housing over winter break inevitably causing some of the displaced “students” there to freeze to death in the bitter New York winter. However, I believe

that this does not go far enough. We need a wall. A mighty wall. All wall running from 114th St. Up to 122nd St. At least 20 feet high made of steel and concrete. My understanding is that the administration played with this idea back in the 80s, although back then it was to separate us from Harlem. However, at this time I think it’s clear which of the two is the far greater threat to our very existence.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Haven’t been getting a lot of matches on JSwipe recently, so any tips for beefing up my profile would be greatly appreciated.

Photo Courtesy Blake Mueller

As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?
  2. If elected, what would your goals be
  3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it
  4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Below, you can find the candidate(s)’s unfiltered responses to help in deciding who you choose to vote for.  The Lion has yet to endorse any candidate at this time and the views below do not necessarily represent the views of our team. For more information, email submissions@columbialion.com.

Blake Mueller (CC ’18) – University Senate

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?

Unsolved problems.  I love to think of ways to improve how things are done, so each time I thought “Yikes, that could be better” or “Why is this not in-place already?” I encouraged myself to run. I decided that my input of time and thought necessary for these reforms were worthwhile, because I care about these issues and my fellow Columbians. I felt compelled to run so that I could be in a position to reform policies to make life here better.

II. If elected, what would your goals be?

Ultimately, to streamline Columbia’s bureaucracy and increase quality of student-life. Specifically, to name a few in no particular order, I know that my priorities would be: reforming UEM so that we have access to more space (by adding Uris and Manhattanville’s Lenfest theatre and lowering costs of Miller Theatre), reimplementing our ability to petition the Core Office, raising Dining’s health standards, relieving the Securities & Facilities Fund, rewarding CAVA volunteers with academic credit, raising lectures to 4 credit-points, reinforcing transparency in the Diversity Fund, and of course figuring out how to make Bacchanal great again.

III. What is something that you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?

How Columbia handles the Securities and Facilities Fund (SFF). It is more important than how obscure it sounds. The Class Student Councils divvy up this money for the recognized clubs on campus. The recognized clubs register their events via UEM in order to host them, and if CUPSD deems that an event merits more security then clubs draw on the SFF. This process harbors two huge problems, because it often proves cost-prohibitive which empowers CUPSD to effectively stifle both our Freedom of Speech and our Freedom of Fun by limitation of clubs’ ability to host events. Since this process is less-than-clear, CUPSD can choose to restrict any event on whatever basis because we don’t know their justification for regulation.

For example, look at two events just this year: “After Charlie Hebdo: French Laïcité [secularism] and Islam: Can the “Republican” Model [of government] hold?” and Bacchanal. The latter event faces increasing bills for “security measures” to an extent that threatens event’s existence, since their budget can only live if it has a cheaper lineup, or if it increases income (student life fees) which would in-turn cost the Student Body more. This obviously is outrageous. What are they protecting us from? How do stringent crowd-control measures contribute to our safety? The former event was scheduled to take place in early November 2015 but it was canceled in response to Da’esh’s attacks on Paris. While this would’ve been a wonderful event, costs for security due to its “controversial” nature proved prohibitive. The would-be hosts (Maison Française and a few Institutes—European, Middle Eastern, Religion/Culture/Public Life and some others) did not see why they should dedicate so much money to a single event, as they have other programming, scholarships, fellowships, etc. that need funding. It is a shame that the very events that we so deeply need for debate and fun are the ones that face proscription. It is essentially a pricing-model for censorship, since these added-costs are inherently penalizing, they act as a controversy-tax and it has an arbitrary basis.

I refuse to let Columbia’s Public Safety ruin our campus environment for the sake of “security” like Robespierre’s Public Safety ruined the French Revolution. Security is doubtlessly important, but we did not come to the greatest university in the greatest city in the greatest nation in the world to be regulated; we came to be educated and invigorated.

Luckily, I have come up with a simple yet powerful reform to protect our Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Fun. I propose that if any club faces a security-bill from CUPSD for more than $600 (what it costs to host an event in Roone w/ 2 guards) then CUPSD ought to pony-up the additional costs, as well as attach their reasoning for the added-security. This does several things: it protects our Freedom of Speech since no event would face prohibitive costs, it forces CUPSD to be more cost-effective (they’d be less likely to demand more security-measures unless it’s absolutely necessary since they’ll pay for it) which saves money, and it enables our Freedom of Fun since we’ll have more events, and it keeps CUPSD accountable since they could no longer hide behind unpublished rationales.

IV. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

I earnestly hope that they would tell me their questions or suggestions about my policy-positions, and that they would give me their votes if they think that I would be a good advocate for them.

 

 

As of today, Ollie’s has reopened at its new location at 103rd and Broadway. In an email sent to The Lion, an employee noted that there are no plans to return to their 116th and Broadway location.

 

The full message is attached below.

Joshua,

Our 103rd & Broadway location just opened today! Unfortunately we will not be returning to our 116th location.

Regards,
Billy

A link to the new location’s menu can be found here. The Lion team has also reached out for word on if/when online ordering will be available at the new store.

Happy eating!

 

Photo by James Xue (SEAS ’17)

As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?
  2. If elected, what would your goals be
  3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it
  4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Below, you can find the candidate(s)’s unfiltered responses to help in deciding who you choose to vote for.  The Lion has yet to endorse any candidate at this time and the views below do not necessarily represent the views of our team. For more information, email submissions@columbialion.com.

The entire process behind student government is farcically corrupt. They make excuses but it’s true.

The elections board is now part and parcel a part of the Columbia Political Union. Their irrelevant club has decided that their debates with audiences of twenty people justify them absorbing the body that manages all of our elections. And unfortunately they are completely and utterly incompetent. They barely advertised the process as a whole. I saw registration hours before the deadline. Huge registration errors left half the positions empty. They let someone sign up for multiple positions and other people just ignore mandatory meetings. We don’t need a privately run “election center,” we need an election that functions at the most basic level. They were this bad at their jobs in the fall, and it has only gotten worse, but still they are being allowed to push this on us. That’s accountability at Columbia.

And it is far from just them. The student council has had insiders tie up the entire process. This election is a complete sham, the council members divided up the spoils months ago. There isn’t even a real second ticket running for exec board and two exec positions are just anointed with no-contest, let alone the lack of serious (or any) competition across the board. Friends told me months ago who would run and who would win and evidently they were right on both counts. Members are committed to this remaining their special little club regardless of how much they consistently fail all of us. At least the Class of 2017 President had the sense to not seek another term after giving open seats to his friends and sabotaging everyone else. How can a club with almost no integrity claim the legitimacy to fight for us, assuming they even want to?

I don’t like a lot of the more cavalier activists any more than anyone else, but at least they yell, shout, and scream when people face real problems rather than just sit in a circle and spit crap for an hour every week. Maybe if there was single leader on this campus they wouldn’t have to turn all the way to changing the Core to fight discrimination, assault, and food insecurity.

And know that nothing will never change if there if there isn’t a student press that can do its damn job. All we have is Spec and it doesn’t just suck, #Specislegitimatelyaterribleorganization. How many worthless freshman op-eds about discourse does it take to fix our campus? Apparently they’ll just pumping them out until they find out. It’s not like they actually pay their work study reporters to find real news or police the student government and elections. And their days are numbered because no one here has the guts to force the administration to protect press freedom.

This really is just a cycle of incompetence because of which we all are going to suffer. This may seem harsh but our campus and its students aren’t a joke and we can’t be played like this.

Don’t let all of them get away with it, rain on their stupid parade. Don’t just check “none of the above,” check “f#ck this process and everyone involved in it.” I do not want this job and believe me, I won’t take it.

UPDATE (3/29/16): This candidate has withdrawn their candidacy for the University Senate.

Photo Courtesy of Color Code

On Thursday, the ColorCode committee learned that Columbia University Computer Science professor Satyen Kale assigned to his Machine Language (COMS 4117) class a competition “to produce the eponymous cyborg law enforcer.” Drawing on data from the NYPD’s “Stop, Question and Frisk” records, students have been asked to create a machine learning algorithm to “decide when a suspect it has stopped should be arrested” based on characteristics ranging from “sex” and “race” to “suspect was wearing unseasonable attire”, “suspicious bulge”, and “change direction at sight of officer”. Stop­ and ­Frisk is a violently racist program that allows police to stop, question, and frisk any pedestrian who arouses “reasonable suspicion.” Numerous studies and investigations of the NYPD’s own data have shown that Stop­ and ­Frisk disproportionately targets Black people. It has torn apart Black communities in the city and contributes to a system of mass incarceration and policing that brutalizes, incarcerates, and kills Black people across the nation. The program has even been deemed unconstitutional by federal courts.

That a Columbia professor would ask students to implement a program that reproduces and aids Stop­ and Frisk policing with zero acknowledgement of the violence and harm inflicted by the actual program­­–and in fact suggest that machine learning algorithms like this constitute “the future” of machine learning applications— is an egregious example of racist, ahistorical, and irresponsible pedagogy. Data are not apolitical. Algorithms are not objective. To teach technical skills without also teaching anti­racist, anti­oppression developing principles is unforgivable, despicable, and dangerous. For us, as students of color who also are coders, entrepreneurs, and engineers, assignments like this confirm feelings of exclusion and isolation accumulated over many semesters here–­­­being one in a only handful of Black students in a lecture hall, for example, or graduating from SEAS not having had even a single Black professor. It confirms the department and university’s disregard for our wellbeing as students of color, which always is intertwined with the wellbeing of our communities.

Moving forward, ColorCode demands that this Machine Learning assignment be revoked, and that the professor issue an apology addressing the concerns above. We demand that students in the class be provided with alternate ways to receive credit. We demand that the professor and the department acknowledge these concerns, apologize, and make significant, structural changes to ensure this does not happen again. Finally, we support the demands of Mobilized African Diaspora/BCSN and in particular add our voices to demand that the School of Engineering commit to hiring more Black professors and underrepresented professors of color.

ColorCode is a group focused on getting people of color into the technology sector. To respond to this op-ed or submit one of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com