The Blog


If you have been living under a cave for the past year, you might want to keep hibernating. Presidential elections have always been contentious since the results determine control of an entire branch of government for four years.

This year, things have gotten rather grim. With two of the most disliked candidates in history running within the much-maligned two-party system, sitting at home sounds like a sweet release with few real-life consequences. After all, even if America picked the worst candidate and they implemented terrible policies as president, a university in solidly liberal New York is the perfect bubble to ride out that storm, right? No. The sentiment is nice, though.

For the outside world, this election obviously has implications for economic, social, and foreign policy and you should take the time to look those up on your own. However, whoever wins the presidency could have a direct effect on admissions, disciplinary, and financial aid policy here at Columbia for four years. To put that in perspective, if you’re reading this before the election as an undergraduate, this election determines policy for the rest of your time as an undergraduate at Columbia. The goal of this article and this series: Columbia and the 2016 Election, is to convince you, a student of Columbia University, that this election has direct consequences for you as a student here. For higher education, this election is a choice between Hillary Clinton’s maintenance of the status quo with minor adjustments or the radical shift of a Donald Trump administration, and those are two two different realities for Columbia and how it interacts with the federal government. Whether or not you vote this November, it’s critical as a student voter to understand these hyper-local factors as well as other factors that may be on your mind. With that, good luck with midterms, and watch this space.

Ufon’s mini-series, Columbia and the 2016 Election, will run through the November 8th Presidential Elections.

The Lion is the only Columbia publication with an open-submissions policy. To respond to this piece or to submit one of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com

Hey Barnumbia baes! ‘Tis the season for midterms, and that means all-nighters, anxiety, tears, and possible existential crises. It’s getting rough, and some of you, like me, might be doubting whether you’re truly qualified to be here.

I personally came from a small town where it was fairly easy to be at the top but also coming from a low-income family I always felt like I needed to “succeed” to atone for my parents’ sacrifices. So settling into the Ivy League environment was a bit of a shock for me as I realized I’d built so much of my self-esteem upon the shaky foundation of my academic success.

Here at Columbia, I’m surrounded by people who are not only intelligent and motivated and enormously involved, but also compassionate, open-minded, and welcoming. So to all you beautiful Barnumbians, I wanted to remind you that you are so bright in so many ways and have so much to give to the world.

The rigorous admissions process did not make a mistake. Sure, others have done more than you, but past achievements do not tell the whole story. In context of your upbringing, Barnumbia saw so much potential and brilliance in you. You absolutely belong here because you are going to set the world on fire. Getting a poor grade on one midterm, or even three, does not change that fact or doom your bright future. It just means you are getting settled in to a new life and are still adjusting.

Love and forgive yourself. Even if there are others who seem to be above you, remember that there will always be someone better, no matter how smart you are, and the fact that you have come this far should give you great pride. Your value is not derived from inborn talents or a grade on a report card, but by your love and compassion for your neighbors and for humanity and by your willingness to use your talents to make the world a better place.

And you’ve been doing great so far! Keep believing that you will continue to shine. Drink coffee and stay up if you must, but remember to give yourself time to rest and recover as well.

“Your very flesh [is] a great poem,” as Walt Whitman wrote, so read it well and let the words dance off your lips. Just keep going and soon you will look up and marvel at what you have done.

The Lion is the only Columbia publication with an open-submissions policy. To respond to this op-ed or to submit one your own, email submissions@columbialion.com.

Columbia University’s Alumni Association has released C-Moji, Columbia’s official sticker app for both iPhone and Android made for those who want to “share [their] love for Alma Mater.” With this new application, you have access to a slew of stickers to use to describe life on campus and show your Columbia spirit. This app comes just a couple weeks after Columbia students Dan Burkhardt (GS ’17) and Melody Yeung (GS ’17) released their iPhone app, CUStickers.

From C-Moji’s app description:

“Share your love for Alma Mater with these official Columbia emojis, brought to you by the Columbia Alumni Association.

What you’ll get:
– Over 30+ emojis and GIFs
– Notifications for new emoji packs around your favorite Columbia moments
– Keyboard and messaging integration
– Social Network sharing”

Once you have downloaded the application, you will have access to the entire collection of stickers through iMessage.

Here are some examples of stickers available in the new application:

Photo from C-Moji App Page

Photo from C-Moji App Page

The app is available for free for both iPhone and Android users.

 

It is September 26. The aroma of glazed donuts lingers in the air as students scurry past the sundial, where a neatly clothed table with donuts is set up. Sure, that’s enough to lure Homer (not the philosopher!), but it’s reverberations of ‘it’s for a good cause’ that capture the attention of others. While many decide to flock to the table, enticed by the Krispy Kreme donuts–which are but a delicacy within the Columbia bubble–others are keen to learn how GlobeMed’s mission.

Standing behind the table, I assume the role of a de facto GlobeMed representative, engaging with customers about the modus operandi of the global health organization. The standard interaction lends itself to a description of GlobeMed’s partnership with a grassroots organization in Uganda, vis-à-vis monetary assistance made possible by a host of fundraisers, and hands-on work in the summer. However, it is in conversation with a law professor, and a visiting high-school student that my attention is drawn to the necessity of a paradigm shift from an organization that merely distributes resources to one that actively campaigns for global health advocacy.

This is an important distinction to be made, especially within a capitalist society that prioritizes top-down charitable practices that often do more harm than good by way of paternalism and a lack of nuance—with reference to cultural consciousness– in their implementation. This is where GlobeMed steps in their mission for global inequity. Instead of merely providing monetary assistance to GWED-G, their partner organization in Uganda, it actively listens to the concerns of leaders in the community to empower them to become agents of change. This ensures a healthy power dynamic in which GlobeMed responds to the needs of the community, and models its mission accordingly, rather than setting up a power dynamic where local leaders acquiesce to its set of demands.
The next time you smell donuts near the sundial, make sure you stop by and engage with the people behind the table. You’re sure to learn something new; if not, you can savor a glazed donut ‘for one dollar’!

To submit a piece for publishing on The Lion, email submissions@columbialion.com

The Chinese community has been cheesed off recently by the Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor, as the correspondent Jesse Watter came to Chinatown in Manhattan and asked stereotypical and racist questions. Social media exploded after the segment was broadcasted on national television, and Chinese protesters gathered demanding an apology. Yet, Bill O’Reilly remains standing by Jesse Watter and refers the outrage from the public as an “organized campaign.”

I watched this footage. I asked the same question as Ronny Chieng does on the Daily Show: how is this thing news? And among all the disrespectful things he did in Chinatown, what I find the most shameful is the moment when he questioned two old Chinese people who couldn’t understand English. He thought it was funny to show some awkward silence when talking to someone who didn’t understand the language, but what he actually did was challenge the most basic and fundamental respect and politeness this society values.

Language is important in shaping a community and identifying a community member. Common language is the basis for communicating, sharing opinions, collaborating and even debating. However, people are forgetting the fact that speaking is fundamentally an ability, just as walking or seeing. It should not be taken for granted that everyone in this country has enough language proficiency to express his or her opinions and utilize speaking as a way to defend his or her rights. As in O’Reilly Factor, when facing a man asking racist questions in a language they don’t know, the old Chinese people could not, even if they wanted to, retaliate the ridicule imposed on them. They could only respond to Jesse Watter with an awkward smile, half friendly and half puzzled.

And it is not them to blame. If we can respect people who can’t walk, if we can respect people who can’t see, why can’t we respect people who can’t speak? We have made great effort to make our facilities and infrastructures accessible to people who have special needs, yet it seems that we forget how to make our society accessible to those who have difficulties in speaking for their rights. We have emphasized making an environment comfortable enough for those who have physical disabilities, yet our community is shying away from those who can’t express their opinions properly.

The barrier of language may be more deep and severe than the barrier of race and identities, but there is less awareness of it, because the victims suffering from this do not have a voice and cannot confront the injustice they face, and so we may never hear their stories. It is difficult to protect their rights and keep them from bullying in terms of language. We can only count on our conscientiousness and our humanity. But for a civilized community, it is necessary.

Perspectives of a Math Major runs alternate Wednesdays. To contact the author to submit a piece of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com.