The Blog


Courtesy of Barnard Dining

In an email sent to students earlier today, Dean Hinkson announced some major policy changes.

Here’s a basic overview of new changes:

  • Barnard Students will have swipe access to JJ’s Place
  • Tuition is increasing
  • Housing prices are also increasing
  • Students will be able to swipe into Diana’s Second Floor Dining Room
  • Hewitt will be hiring a new Executive Chef
  • Barnard Housing to Open 6 Days before start of Spring Classes

The full email can be found below.

Dear Students,

We are writing to let you know that the Barnard Board of Trustees has approved the 2016-17 rates for tuition, fees, room, and board.  We know that any increase can be difficult for many of our families, so we wanted to take a moment to explain the details and our approach. We also want to make an exciting announcement about changes to the meal plan, and tell you about several key changes to our policy for winter break housing.

Tuition and Fees for 2016-2017

For the upcoming academic year, the total rate for tuition, fees, room and board will be $65,992—an increase of $3,251 from this year’s rates. This rise is directly related to societal increases in the cost of living and, for Barnard, reflects the growing costs associated with recruiting and retaining our faculty and staff, fully funding financial aid to maintain need blind admissions, implementing the new curriculum, and expanding a variety of services in response to student requests.

The breakdown of the total cost are as follows:

•       Tuition and the comprehensive fee will cost $50,394, including $48,614 for tuition and $1,780 for the comprehensive fee.

•       The price for multiple rooms will be $9,230 per year.  Rates for single rooms will be $10,712, and the rate for studio apartments will be $16,000.

•       The price for the Platinum plan (19 meals per week) is $6,368.

Meal Plan Changes

We are pleased to announce some exciting changes to the meal plan.  Over the past year or so, students have raised a number of concerns regarding access to dining facilities at Columbia, food quality, and operations during school breaks.  This past fall, SGA hosted a town hall focused on food services that identified, in a very constructive way, potential areas of improvement.  In response, we recently renegotiated our long-standing agreement with Aramark.  Under the new arrangement that will begin in fall of 2016:

•       The Diana Second Floor Dining Room will be open for meal swipes during dinner.

•       Barnard students will continue to have meal swipe access at John Jay and Ferris Booth.

•       For the first time, Barnard students will also have meal swipe access to JJ’s Place, adding a third Columbia location to our meal plan options.

•       This means that, in total, Barnard students will have meal swipe access at five locations on the Barnard and Columbia campuses: Hewitt, Diana, Ferris Booth, John Jay and JJ’s Place.

•       In addition, there will be a full-time, on-site Executive Chef at Hewitt who will be responsible for ensuring overall food quality and handling specific dietary needs of students as they arise.

We also know that some of our students deal with issues of food insecurity each and every day, which is unacceptable in a small and supportive community like ours. This is a difficult issue and together we need to be vigilant and proactive in understanding the magnitude of the problem on our campus and finding ways to fix it.  Currently, we plan to do the following:

•       Make meal services available whenever residence halls are open. Beginning this fall, students will have access to meal services on campus, either in Hewitt or Diana, during fall break, Thanksgiving break, spring break, and when residence halls open for the spring semester.
•       Change the structure of the convenience meal plan option by offering different combinations of meals and points that we encourage students living outside the quad to seriously consider.  Students will still be able to add meals and points in small increments throughout the year.

•       Work with Aramark, SGA, and other groups on campus to find additional ways of enhancing ongoing meal donation programs.

Winter Break Housing

Finally, we know that last year’s winter break housing policy was a cause of confusion and concern. We appreciate the thoughtful suggestions that SGA has made regarding how best to assist students during the holiday season.  Please know that while the College will continue to remain officially closed during the winter holiday season, we will make some important changes for next winter to accommodate student needs.

First, we will continue to keep Plimpton Hall open and available to students requiring housing during the break. Campus tour guides, varsity athletes, students with unsafe home situations, international students on Barnard financial aid, and students with academic responsibilities that must be completed on campus will all be eligible to stay in Plimpton during the break. The Office of Residential Life will implement an application process to review and respond to any requests for winter break housing, and will help students who do not already live in Plimpton to find an available room there.

Second, we will be opening the College’s residence halls earlier than we have in the past.  All residence halls will open to students on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 (six days before the start of classes), along with dining facilities, either at Hewitt or Diana Second Floor.  We will also open Health Services, in order to ensure that all students have access to services upon their return to campus after winter break.

We are confident that the combination of these measures—easier access to Plimpton for those who need it, and an earlier return for all students—will go a long way towards addressing the issues of food and housing insecurity among members of our community.

We hope that this gives you a clearer sense of the College’s plans for the coming year.  The costs of providing the best possible education for our students continue to rise, but we are committed to doing our best to keep the increase as modest as possible, to expand services in the areas of greatest need and, as always, to maintain Barnard’s long-standing devotion to excellence.

Sincerely,

Rob Goldberg, Chief Operating Officer
Avis Hinkson, Dean of the College

By Yael Turitz (BC ’19)

I have a confession to make. I’m an addict.

No, I don’t struggle from alcoholism, or drug addiction, or even the newly psychologically recognized video-game addiction. I’m addicted to television.

I don’t mean to delegitimize the mental illness that is addiction. Thank God, I have never suffered from drug addiction or anything of the like and do not begin to claim I know what it feels like. And yet, I believe I too am an addict.

Addiction: “An unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something” (Merriam-Webster).

It’s 1AM on a Tuesday night and the man is turning his back on the only person who’s ever cared about him. His friend catches on, and suddenly it’s a brawl through the abandoned warehouse in Manhattan. With one knockout punch, it’s over. The screen turns black. I look over at my clock. 1:06AM. ABC’s Castle is over. My body is exhausted, but my mind is just getting started.

“Television is the bane of this generation.”

“The problem with today’s teenage population is that they spend too much time with their eyes glued to the television and never do anything productive with their time.”

“Studies have shown that people spend more time watching television today than they do working, or exercising, or having personal interactions.”

I’ve heard it all before. Grumbles of the men in my synagogue, the professors in my history class, my grandfather. But it can’t stop me.

My imagination thrusts into action. I take each individual character, major or minor, and imagine her background, his family life, his career plans, her goals. I forge relationships between characters, and I create new characters, to establish new bonds or to wedge distances between old ones. I get lost in my own mind.

I want to be a writer. Not a journalist, not an editor—a bona fide fiction writer. I know it’s crazy, idealistic, naïve- but nothing gets me going like a well-crafted story. My idols include people like Jane Austen and Aaron Sorkin.

When I watch an episode of the West Wing, I’m not aimlessly watching a laptop; I’m actively engaging with Josh and Donna and imagining just how beautiful Sorkin’s banter looked on a page. When I watched Downton Abbey each week (oh boy, here comes the loss-of-Downton tears), it wasn’t a time-waster; it was a gateway into a world of characters and story-lines I could mold in my mind. Episodes inspire me to do what I love.

It’s an addiction because it’s a need. Once I get going, there’s no stopping me. I need to see how my imagination from last week measures up against The Good Wife’s professional writers’. There’s an incredible satisfaction when I get it exactly right, and I get a bit smug if I think my story was better. Of course, many times I’m awed when the plot takes a twist I never saw coming. But I am only fully content when I’ve resolved this creative discourse going on in my head. Only then can I peacefully fall asleep.

Am I wasting my time? Sure, I could exercise more. (Actually, I probably should exercise more, but that’s beside the point.) And sure, sometimes I watch TV while procrastinating from doing work. But you know what? I resent the bad rap television has gotten. There are definitely shows out there- think Keeping Up With the Kardashians- that are a mindless waste of time. But quality television is not pointless. An episode of Homeland is just as gripping as Stephen King’s latest novel. Gilmore Girls’ script is as smart and creative as any Oscar Wilde play. And you can learn from shows like The Big Bang Theory or The Newsroom. I know many will hound me for attributing such greatness to the medium of modern television—but honestly, TV writers are some of the greatest creative minds of our time. And it’s not fair to them when we blatantly characterize their work as a “waste of time.”

I’m addicted to fiction, to plot-lines, to characters, to twists and turns. I get a high, all in my own mind, off of stories. Stories spark the creativity inside of me, and my passion for stories is fueled by shows on television. One day, I dream of being the one sitting behind the scenes as the cameras roll and the actors speak the words I’ve written. And one day, when you insult the medium of television, you’ll be insulting my hard work. TV writers deserve better than that. Our openness to creativity deserves better than that.

Also, if you need any series suggestions—hit me up.

 

Photo Courtesy Columbia Community Impact

In a brief email from President Bollinger, Bollinger has announced the passing of Bill Campbell, a Columbia alumnus and former member of the Board of Trustees.

The full message can be found below:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia Community:

I cannot begin to compose a statement that fully expresses the grievous sense of loss we experienced early this morning when Bill Campbell passed away.  Bill was a beloved alumnus, football coach, Trustee, former Chair of the Board of Trustees, and, above all, a friend and source of boundless joy and counsel to everyone who knew him.  Columbia will forever remember Bill.

We extend our love to Bill’s family at this sad time.  I will write again once I have more to share.

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

Photo Courtesy Columbia Divest for Climate Change

For nearly 96 hours, students representing Columbia Divest for Climate Justice (CDCJ) have been occupying Low Library. Our message is simple: we will not leave until President Bollinger publicly recommends divestment from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies to the Board of Trustees. While CDCJ has been careful to broadcast our ask and our campaign as far as we can, we think it’s important to explain why exactly we’re doing this.

First, why divestment? It is immoral for Columbia to be actively invested in, and profiting off of, the destructive practices of the fossil fuel industry. Science shows that 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground in order to prevent the climate chaos that would wreak havoc on vulnerable communities around the world, but this can’t happen when the top 200 fossil fuel companies spent over $600 billion on exploring new reserves in 2012 alone. Fossil fuel companies are morally bankrupt–some, like Exxon, have been directly tied to climate change denialism and the discrediting of climate scientists, while others contribute millions to lawmakers to obstruct meaningful policy on climate action. Divestment is our way of taking a stand to revoke the social and political license of these companies, so that they can no longer interfere with our transition to a low-carbon, non-extractive economy. Divestment is our way of taking a stand for a safer and more just world.

Okay–but why now? CDCJ has been engaging the campus community and administration for three and a half years now. We’ve had countless meetings with President Bollinger, the Board of Trustees, and the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI). Bollinger has indicated to us privately that divestment wouldn’t hurt the endowment, and that divestment make sense when companies are engaged in highly immoral activities. What’s more, campus consensus is clear on divestment: we have over 2,000 petition signatures, 350 faculty endorsements, and a referendum reflecting support from 74% of Columbia College and SEAS students to prove it. So why haven’t we acted? Publicly, Bollinger has remained silent about divestment, and all that the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing has achieved has been a formal rejection of our divestment proposal and a recommendation that Columbia create yet another committee to deliberate on university responses to climate change. As President and a Trustee, Bollinger has the power to prioritize divestment, and we demand that he does so by standing against the destructive practices of the fossil fuel industry.

Through this civil disobedience, we are telling him that time has run out for the University to make this decision. We are not willing to wait any longer when climate justice, the well-being of future generations, and the well-being of communities around the world are at stake.

Nikita Perumal is a senior in the School of General Studies studying Human Rights and was a participant in the occupation of Low Library. Due to personal commitments, she had to voluntarily choose to leave the occupation. More information on this can be found here.

To respond to this piece, email submissions@columbialion.com

In an email sent out to publications late last night, Columbia Elections Board has announced that Jeffrey Sollazzi has been disqualified from the School of General Students race for its one University Senate Position. In the email, CEB noted that he was disqualified for breaking election rules by attacking his opponent’s personal character and integrity during yesterday’s Elections Debates.

The full email can be found below.

After serious deliberation, the Columbia Elections Board has ruled to disqualify GSSC University Senator Candidate Jeffrey Solazzi from the race effective immediately.

The Elections Board does not take this decision lightly but the highly inappropriate conduct of the candidate in question justified its severity. The Elections Board was very explicit before and throughout the elections cycle that while a candidate’s ideas and proposals may be scrutinized, their personal character and integrity were unquestionably off limits to any attacks or any damaging actions on the basis of mutual respect. The Elections Board made it clear at the Rules Meeting held on Monday, April 11th by stating in the presentation “Do not attack the character of other candidate in any way.” The Elections Packets distributed to all the candidates also explicitly states that “it is strictly prohibited to demean any other candidate.”

Despite these repeated warnings of not attacking the personal character of another candidate, Jeffrey Solazzi during his live streamed debate publicly attacked his fellow candidate Ramond Curtis. Solazzi’s introductory statement was as follows:

“Hi my name is Jeff Solazzi, and I’m running for GSSC Senate. I’m someone that’s really committed to making the school better and I want the best for this school. If I didn’t think i was the best candidate for this position I’d step down. I’ve heard from Sean Ryan, next year’s chair of the Student Affairs committee that Raymond is crap.”

The last remark was not only a direct violation of the rules against attacks on personal character the Election Board has presented, but an extreme disregard for the integrity and fairness of the general election process.

Given the above reasons, the Elections Board affirms its decision to disqualify Jeffrey Solari from the GSSC University Senator race.

Best,

CEB

 

UPDATE (4/18): Jeffrey Sollazzi has shared the following response:

To whom it may concern, I have just been notified by the Elections Board that I have been disqualified from the election for my comment during the debate today. I apologize to the Elections Board, I apologize to the student body, I apologize to Sean Ryan, and most of all, I apologize to Ramond Curtis. After reviewing the remaining candidates, I give my endorsement to Ramond Curtis.