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When it comes to Bollywood, either you’re already a huge fan or you haven’t heard the music yet. This playlist is not only for first-timers, but also for those who want to discover different kinds of Bollywood music. It’s a mix of the old and new, with everything from Sufi tunes to dance floor favorites that you can never get sick of! Enjoy!

Interested in helping create playlists to share with the Columbia community? Email team@columbialion.com for more information on how to join the team.

Last night President Lee C. Bollinger held his Fireside Chat in his home for the undergraduate students who were fortunate enough to win the lottery for this event. Also in attendance were Tom Harford, Dean of Students in the School of General Studies; Cristen Kromm, Dean of Undergraduate Student Life for Columbia College and SEAS; Suzanne Goldberg, Executive Vice President for University Life and Professor of Law; Jewelnel Davis, University Chaplain and Associate Provost; and Caroline Adelman, Director of Media Relations with the Columbia University Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

The night focused on addressing the concerns of the university in an informal Q&A manner with President Bollinger, and occasionally the other faculty and administration members in attendance,  answering students’ questions and responding to their comments and concerns. A wide variety of subjects were brought up, some easier to address than others.

While Columbia University does pride themselves on having global connections, the University has “no immediate plans to establish relationships” with academic institutions in Iran. While it is something that President Bollinger “would like to see” happening soon, as Iran and their relations with the international community have undergone “very significant changes”, it is something that Columbia wishes to wait on institutionally initiating until they see how things unfold. Bollinger, however, does think it is “great” for  individual faculty members to engage with intellectual colleagues in Iran.

The ever-present problem of finding community at Columbia came up next. Bollinger did admit that this is an issue, specifically one that “higher power”  learning institutions tend to face, and stated that “anytime you’re in a really high-power intellectual environment… inevitably you end up spending a lot of time alone because a huge amount of learning is you and the book.” The isolation and stress studying can cause, coupled with the fact that Columbia’s New York location can “pull you away from the campus”, are the two main factors that affect community here in Bollinger’s eyes. He does believe, however, that the spirit of community has improved since he first arrived at Columbia fifteen years ago. With the founding of the Office of University Life, the establishment of university content and events (such as the World Leaders Forum), the building of Lerner, the creation of the Arts Initiative, and the improvement of Athletics, Bollinger claims that measures to build community have been succeeding. He did emphasize, however,  that any suggestions or ideas students might have are welcomed. Goldberg added that by creating community and intellectual events, such as the “Awakening Our Democracy” speaker series and Yoga Tuesdays, and establishing the Race, Ethnicity and Inclusion task force, as well as the Gender Based Misconduct Prevention task force, Columbia has made strides towards bringing the community together. Chaplain Davis also mentioned students can take initiative to get involved by attending open lectures and events at the Law and Medical Schools. Lastly, Kromm reminded everyone that one of the primary issues of building community is having adequate spaces in which to do so and that there are creative solutions to this space problem, such as holding events on the lawns and in the plazas.

Addressing another aspect of the university, its responsibility to prepare us for the outside world, Bollinger commented that he is “extremely interested in, and working on all the time, how to to make it more possible for students and faculty and the university to engage with the world.”  Believing “that your time here, especially as undergraduates, is utterly unique in your lives”, Bollinger claimed now is the time to “think about fundamental ideas and fundamental knowledge” as later when we “go into the world” there will be “a premium on narrowing down what it is that you know and do.” Columbia provides a liberal arts education, not a pre-professional one, and so they try to provide ways to prepare us for a world that the university “will not change fast enough for”, due to “the interconnection of the global economy”, the Internet, and “the mobility of people.” They have tried to do so by opening global centers to help students who are abroad and hope efforts such as these will “fill in opportunities for you to learn about your world because we can’t fully teach you about it.”

Bollinger’s mention of “the mobility of people” led to the discussion of the complex problem of the student refugees and how the university plans to cope with it. Acknowledging that it is an issue that the university cannot influence as much as they would like, Bollinger does hope that it is something faculty and students can focus on and understand better and would like to find ways for Columbia to “have a bigger impact on significant world problems, of which the refugees are a prime example.” Bollinger does not know how the university will handle refugee students exactly, as there is no system in place, but thinks we might be able to get ideas of how to cope with it by looking at Canada’s programs, which are already in use.

The topic of discussion switched gears as a student asked Bollinger if he, as a scholar of the First Amendment, was worried about free speech in the context of universities. Bollinger responded that he was “not deeply worried” as there is “a huge amount of debate and discussion on campuses.” He rejected “the view that American campuses are just liberal bastions who are politically correct and won’t allow other points of view.” Acknowledging that issues do exist with this, Bollinger went on to say “that if somebody is offended by something they should be protected by the institution … [but] that is not the principle that this university lives by.” Columbia, instead, has a tradition of “openness”. Recognizing that some types of speech are not protected, such as threats and harassments based on race, ethnicity, or gender, Bollinger conceded that there should be places where people can “escape the debate … [such as] the home,” but maintained that “even highly, highly offensive and ridiculous words and hurtful words” are allowed to “be expressed.” To Bollinger, the problem is not “one of safe spaces” as that “oversimplifies the matters”; it is the matter of “how you conduct that free speech, how you interact with each other, [that] is enormously important.”

Another controversial issue which came up during the Fireside Chat was the stress culture and mental health issues of the Columbia community and how faculty pressure, prescription drug abuse, and insufficient access to resources tie into that. While Bollinger said that he was “not uncomfortable by it [the subject of the question],” he asked the student who posed the question if she “really feel[s] that way” and decided to “take a little survey” of the room to see who felt “that the academic space or zone has too much pressure.” Let it be noted that he did not do the same for the issue of community at Columbia. Bollinger then used his own class and teaching method of calling on two students for the majority of the class as an example of a class that places pressure on students to perform well, claiming that “that’s part of the teaching method.” He continued his survey by asking students to raise their hands if they thought faculty members “should step back and ask themselves, ‘Maybe I’m putting too much pressure?’” When hands were raised, Bollinger mentioned that he heard “that you take too many classes” and pondered why that occurs, if  “that [was] because of faculty or graduation requirements.” A student brought up that at Columbia one cannot take the minimum amount of credits for full-time students (12) and graduate on time, which was an issue this student was personally dealing with as a junior forced to take a heavier courseload in order to graduate on time. A first-year chimed in that she could not take five classes due to her teacher. The student had been sick and missed a few classes (and had gotten the notes from Health services to prove it), and while four of her teachers were supportive, one was not. This teacher told her that she “shouldn’t expect to get a good grade on this test”, refused to give her a one day extension, and said “this is what you should expect going to this type of school.” Her comment was not addressed as Bollinger decided to cover the other two aspects of the topic question instead. He said that “if you have an emergency, you should be able to see somebody right away” and that “if we don’t do that, you should let us know.” Bollinger then moved on to the topic of prescription drugs, saying that they “are terrible.”

Goldberg then also spoke on the topic of stress and stated that “stress comes from many places” and one’s changing relation to stress “is part of growing up.” She mentioned that the Mental Health task force is working to help students as well and that CPS has grown “in response to student need.” Harford mentioned that the school does recognize that GS students do have additional stresses as they pay tuition based on the number of credits they take and can’t necessarily get a refund for a class they paid for and dropped.

A student then asked if Uris would potentially be utilized to provide services such as daycare to GS students who have these additional stressors, but Bollinger said that Uris has already been slated to be given to the College of Arts and Sciences.

The last question posed to Bollinger had to do with the sustainability of restructuring faculty employment so that there are less faculty receiving tenure and a heavier reliance on adjunct professors–a problem which is spreading across the country. Bollinger went on to explain that “Columbia is going through a process of trying to recapture its institutional capacities” and is essentially still trying to make up for lost time when Harvard and other universities continued to grow while Columbia floundered. Columbia has done this, in Bollinger’s opinion, with the expansion of campus, construction of new buildings, successful fundraising, addition of University Life, and improved financial aid practices. To him, “Columbia can be, and in many ways is today, the greatest university in the world.” As “we live in a competitive world,” Columbia must recruit students and faculty and “make do” with the money it has. Bollinger doesn’t think less faculty tenure is a problem at Columbia, or at least not an intentional one; though he does acknowledge that it is a national problem.

Interested in the opinions of the students, Bollinger decided to pose a few of his own questions to the room during the last ten minutes of the talk. He asked students what they thought of the election, if it was a subject that came up often, and how students view America. Students discussed how they do or do not know people with opposing opinions to their own, the role of selection bias and the media in the election, what led to people supporting Trump, and how values have appeared to shift in society.

Ultimately, the Fireside Chat had a lot of material that was good tinder and sparked discussion and interesting responses from President Bollinger, and it will be interesting to see what (if anything) occurs due to the matters discussed.

While Columbia courses are advertised as mostly intimate and discussion-based, walking into your second (or even third, or fourth) lecture of the day is disturbingly common. Some courses, such as Introductory Biology, consistently reach over 200 students per section. Personally, 54% of my courses (by credit value) in the first two years have been large lectures.

In the engineering school, the percentage of time spent in Havemeyer 309 or Pupin 301 increases, with a close friend with a typical Biomedical Engineering major courseload spent a whopping 81% of her initial coursework stuck in a lecture hall. While humanities courses may admittedly have fewer lecture courses, a significant number of Columbia STEM students spend the majority of their time in lecture courses for their first few years here.

The central role that lectures play in today’s system of higher education cannot be overstated. Ever since parchment was precious and reading a skill reserved for the exclusive elite, any hope at educating the populace relied on the lecture for information transfer. The core format of the lecture would be recognizable to a medieval instructor, while the dramatically changed world outside would entirely unrecognizable.

The reality of a 21st century world makes information not only overwhelmingly available in written form, but also in new, innovative, and interactive formats. As creative ways of learning proliferate at an exponential pace, it is well past time for this ivy-league world-renowned institution of higher education to seriously reconsider consider the ineffectiveness of its most overused workhorse.

Columbia owes it to both its students and itself as a leader to take into account the increasing consensus in neuroeducation research that there is a better way to teach than through lectures. When considering the best way to teach students, we should be thinking about how people actually learn, especially when implementing neuroscience-based changes would hardly cost more and would simultaneously increase both professor and student satisfaction with our Columbia-brand education.

Over forty years of scientific research shows that a student can hardly pay attention to a lecture past its first twenty minutes, when Columbia teaches in 75 minute blocks, that interactive learning is over twice as effective as passively listening, and our nobel laureates could be better put to use actually interacting with the students they teach instead of being kept at arm’s length. Lectures are simply incompatible with the way we’re wired to understand our world.

There is a better use for Columbia’s highly-esteemed professors than wasting time repeating the same information semester after semester to half-empty classrooms of bored and distracted students. There are better uses for its bright and energetic graduate students than re-explaining the material to confused undergraduates.

It’s ironic that some of the best research on learning, the very research that shows how ineffective lectures are, is coming from the labs of Columbia professors who have to turn around and continue to teach in this outdated style. Our diplomas cannot only be valuable on the merits of Columbia’s history; there must be true learning behind our degrees.

Isn’t that why we came here, to learn from the best and brightest, to learn for the rest of our lives and not just for the next exam? In the next few columns, we will be exploring how recent research on attention, learning, memory encoding, and recall can redesign the Columbia classroom. Columbia has always been at the forefront of societal change; it only makes sense that we should be leading the revolution in higher education as well.

Uniquely Human runs alternative Mondays. To submit a comment or a piece of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com.

Meet Peter. Peter, a student in the School of General Studies is a Political Science Major and a veteran. He has recently been featured in various publications including the  New York Times and MSNBC for his current CrowdPac fundraiser to pressure Republican Presidential Nominee, Donald Trump, to release his taxes. We sat down with Peter to learn more about his fundraiser and ways in which students can get involved.

From your veteran’s perspective of the candidates, what are your views of the current presidential candidates?

There is a bit of a double standard in this current election cycle. Hillary has been held to a higher and separate standard than Donald Trump has which I think is problematic to our democracy. There’s a certain responsibility that the President as the Commander in Chief needs to have. As a veteran who has been to Afghanistan, this issue matters to me.

I am registered as an Independent voter.  I am not affiliated with either party, but trying to make up my mind as an Independent; however, Trump’s rhetoric has made it hard to be unbiased. As far as qualifications, we have a candidate who is a former Senator, former Secretary of State, and who is about as experienced as a candidate that we’ve ever seen and then we have someone else who is a celebrity.

I’m more about transparency. Ronald Reagan, who is a Republican, has a great quote: “Trust, but verify.” When it comes to a lot of Trump’s claims, I like it but I want to verify it. I’d really like to trust you Donald Trump, but I also want to verify it, so let’s release your tax returns.

Donald has done a great job about raising veteran’s issues by speaking incorrectly about them. In contrast, I don’t think that that’s the focus of my campaign; my goal is not to raise awareness, but to donate money to veterans charities. I want to use the political process to benefit veterans and reverse the system on itself.

What motivated you to start your fundraiser to pressure Trump into releasing his taxes?

This year at the Intrepid Museum, Trump and Clinton were questioned on veterans and their roles as a Commander in Chief. It was not a debate, but it was half an hour each to answer questions about military and foreign policy. I attended and I also got 15 other Columbia veterans to attend as well and we were pretty frustrated at the event because of the questions. Hillary got questioned for 10 minutes straight about her emails but when it came to Trump, nothing about his tax returns or his conflicts of interests with our national security came up, which to me is the biggest questions to ask a potential Commander in Chief.

Out of frustration from that event, I was inspired to start this campaign. The way it works is that you pledge money, but you will only get charged if the conditions of the fundraiser are met. The website [CrowdPac] was originally created for people running for office. Donors would only get charged once a candidate officially announced that he or she was running for office. I decided there was a unique way in which we could use this to make Donald Trump release his tax returns.

Trump claims to support veterans and even used them as an excuse to skip the last Republican Primary debate in January. He instead decided to do a fundraiser for veterans, because he claimed that veterans are so important that we need to raise money for them. Well if that’s true, I’ve raised 6 million dollars, which is more money than he had raised and it’s almost easier for him to donate this money; he just needs to release his taxes.

It’s important that he release his tax returns, especially if Trump has business interests or outstanding debts to a foreign country. Let’s say it’s Russia. Let’s say Trump owes Russian companies millions of dollars; if we as a country get into conflict or declare war with Russia, he would be absolved of his debts. There’s no reason for him to pay money to a country we’re at war with. This happens with every war and that to me is dangerous. That’s a direct conflict of interest with the country and our foreign policy and his business interests. His failure to release his tax returns is telling about him as a person and his potential Presidency.

People use veterans for props. I decided that being a Political Science student studying the campaign finance system, this would be a clever way to divert some of the money going to corporation’s profits to charities instead.

How did you react when Reid Hoffman (the Chairman of LinkedIn) pledged to quintuple all donations? 

Reid Hoffman pledged to quintuple the money we raised up to a million dollars, so a total of 5 million dollars. We were able to meet the goal and the money has been added. The fundraiser is now at over 6.2 million dollars.

After the Commander in Chief forum, I had an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show. I made an appearance and I guess he saw me on Twitter announcing my CrowdPac campaign and decided to support it; ever since them we have gotten a lot of publicity.

This campaign has done a great job speaking on veterans issues by being incorrect about them. My goal is to send money to groups that can help. There are a lot of things our government does well, but non-profits can help them. I want to use the political system to help veterans.

Do you think Trump will release his taxes? Why do you think he has yet to release them?

I genuinely hope he does. I don’t understand how the campaign would let Mike Pence release his for 10 years yet Trump would not. I’m probably the last optimistic person on this planet that thinks he might release his tax returns. Considering that the reports out of the New York Times are not endearing, you would think he would release his tax returns to change the narrative. The fact that he hasn’t suggests he has something to hide and that’s deeply concerning.

How do you recommend students get involved? 

The biggest thing is if you don’t have money to donate, share the campaign with people who do. Share it on your social media and help get the word out. We’ve reached $6.2 million and I’d love to reach $10 million by October 19th. With every dollar raised, there’s that much more pressure on Trump to release his tax returns. And now instead of rewarding Trump for doing something he already should have, there is a benefit for veterans. And it also means that there’s now an explicit cost to not releasing them. Now if he doesn’t release them, it will have cost veterans 6 million dollars. Clearly those tax returns are worth something.

Anything else?

Get out and vote. This is why we have fall break. Get out to vote.

I don’t speak for all veterans nor anyone else in the military, but I think that ’s it. Every president since Nixon has released his tax returns. Why shouldn’t Trump? We can’t let him get by this double standard.

To support Peter’s CrowdPac fundraiser, click here.

Know of a Columbia affiliate working to make an impact in the world? Recommend them for an interview with The Lion by emailing submissions@columbialion.com

Last Tuesday, Shaun King visited Columbia’s campus to talk about police brutality, Black Lives Matter, and the state of America. The event involved a lecture, a Q&A session in which student leaders asked questions submitted by students and other members in attendance asked questions from the floor.

King’s main argument was that human society isn’t steadily getting better as most people think; instead, progress is something that contains both peaks and troughs. Though the audience general seemed to agree with the points King made, there were two notable exceptions.

During the Q&A session that was open to the general audience, one student approached the mic with the statistic that four times as many white people than black were killed by the police. Due to the inaccurate statistic, King refused to hear the rest of the student’s question. Another student approached the mic with a similar stance.

“You mentioned before that quality of life is decreasing,” he said. “Can you define quality of life?”

King answered his question, but not to the student’s satisfaction. He soon left the mic only to face a hostile crowd. Since the majority of the crowd seemed to be sympathetic to King’s message, the Lion was curious about what the two dissenters had to say.

In a vast majority of these cases, police are acting out because they see an actual threat, not just a random, abstract vague threat,” one of the dissenters said. He agreed that implicit bias does exist, but not in a majority of cases.

Both conceded that there were some cases that were unfair, like the case of Eric Garner and “the guy in Florida who had his hands up when he got shot,” but they were sure that “in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like there’s not an institutional racism problem.”

“I wanted to really delve deeply into the evidence,” he continued, “I didn’t see that.”

As a source of evidence, both students mentioned this Washington Post article, titled, ‘Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no’.

On the surface, the event might have seemed like a monologue instead of a dialogue, but several students approached the dissenting students after the event to talk about their views.

“Most unarmed black men who are killed by the police see no justice,” a pro-Black Lives Matter student argued. “The issue is that people [the police officers] don’t go to jail.”

“There are ways to engage with someone who is threatening that is not “I’m going to shoot them and kill them,” another student argued when someone suggested that most of the black shooting victims had attempted to harm the officer beforehand.

As a resource, one of the pro students suggested that the dissenters read “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander.

“There’s a higher probability that when a white man is killed, his murderer will be taken to court and go through the process of justice than it is for a black man who is killed by a police officer.”

Though the conversation was heated, both sides listened to the points the other made.

Later, one of the dissenters voiced his main concern.

“If you have respectable people like Shaun King saying, “The system is out to get you and the system was built to tear people of your race down and kill you, what are you going to do? You’re going to tear the system down.”

He chuckled. “And I like the system. I think it works pretty well.”