Author: LionSubmissions

Remi Free/Senior Graphics Editor

I fondly remember the first time I arrived at Columbia. There was a humongous smile across my face as the taxi driver drove my mother and me through the College Walk gates for CUE move in. All those months of high school paid off and I was about to start classes at a school I never imagined I’d ever attend. My mind was racing as I tried to meticulously plan my schedule and goals for the next four years. It felt like I found my new home and nothing could go wrong.

Fast forward two years as I was wrapping up sophomore year. I was running on five hours of sleep, stressed beyond measure, and profusely sweating as I moved my stuff out of my residence hall and into a storage facility for the summer.

Instead of all the happy memories I had when I first arrived to Columbia, my mind was just — bitter. I wanted out. I just wanted to move out and head home and get as far away from Morningside Heights as I could.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Columbia and all the resources it has to offer, but with all these benefits come the inevitable pitfalls of attending one of the most stressful and prestigious universities in the world.

As I progressed through each semester at Columbia, I slowly adapted to some of our school’s more detrimental traditions. I would stay up until the early hours of the morning working, overload myself with too many classes and commitments than I should have gone through with. I would fall into the constant conversation trap of discussing how many hours you spent studying in Butler on a given day as if that meant anything (news flash: it means absolutely nothing). Even as I tried harder and harder in my classes, I continued to perform below my own expectations and goals.

It didn’t help that some of my professors seemed to encourage students to engage in these traditions. In one of my classes, my professor seemed proud of the fact that he expected you to still perform poorly on his tests no matter how much you studied and that he hoped others wouldn’t help you when you struggled on your homework assignments. It got so bad that whenever they sent announcements to our class, I actually felt a sense of dread; I just wanted it to be over.

As I boarded my flight back home after leaving my storage unit, I felt myself feel happy and relaxed for the first time in a while.

So this upcoming semester, I’m going to do something different. I am not going to let myself fall prey to trying to underhandedly compete with others on how little sleep I got or how much time I spent sitting in Butler. Instead, I’m going to work on taking the classes I love, setting aside more time for myself and exploring the city. I actively intend to talk with my professors more and be more willing to tell them when I think they’re adding to Columbia’s already troubling stress culture.

When first year me arrived on campus, he looked forward to being his authentic self and not letting others get the best of him. Hopefully junior year me can make sure to bring that attitude and spirit back into fashion.

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

A brief note to people who voted for Trump to preserve their ‘conservative religious values’:

I am a devout (Brethren) Christian. I always look to preserve my religious values (which may be considered conservative) when I vote. Always. And I firmly believe that a Trump vote does not embody this.

When I look for a candidate who preserves my Christian values, I don’t look for if they oppose certain ‘taboo’ sins as considered by popular culture – but if they exemplify what a Christian is by showing a Christ-like love. This person is not Donald Trump. So please do not try to disguise your racist bias under your so called pursuit of Christ. Above all Jesus calls us to love him and one another (Matthew 22:36-40). His second greatest commandment is to love another and I would like to know how you believe Donald Trump is pursuing this doctrine.

I can see how coming from your place of (presumably white) privilege you can overlook his other flaws because nobody is perfect and you are pro-life above all. I’d just like to add that I’m very pro-life. Pro-life as in the lives of millions of immigrants (documented and undocumented) who fear for their safety, millions of LGTBQ who fear for their safety, millions of people of color (like me) who fear for their safety, millions of AMERICANS who fear for their safety. Pro-life as in the lives of millions of Americans who do not feel the love of Christ from someone you voted for. Someone you voted for to uphold your ‘conservative religious values’ which to me are ‘conservative values that are not at all religious but definitely borderline racist’.

So please, do not continue to spread the lie that your vote for Donald Trump was a vote to uphold your religious beliefs. Do not be fooled: your vote for Trump was not a vote for Christianity. It was a vote that supported Trump, as a sexually immoral, misogynistic, racist bigot. It was a vote for someone who definitely does not uphold Christian values.

The author proclaims to have ‘a conservative mind but liberal views’ because she believes that above all – Christians need to show Christ’s love first. She is a first year student of color at Columbia College for now, but like may students is considering transferring to McGill or really any other school in Canada if Trump becomes the misogynistic, racist leader he portrayed himself as being during the election. She is constantly praying for the state of this country (and is low key happy that she is not an American at this point in time).

I am scared.

I’m a 19 year old Black male in America,

and all I can say is,

I am scared.

What else are you supposed to say

when the country you love,

votes to say “I hate you?”

The Lion is the only Columbia publication with both an open-submissions policy. To submit a piece (of any length or form), email submissions@columbialion.com.

The following actually happened:

: “…I’m vegetarian.”

The room: *gasp* “A…a what? Did he say vegetarian?” “But what does he eat at JJ’s?” “Oh, that poor thing!”

Yeah, it’s true. Being a vegetarian kind of sucks in a country where meat is a staple food. I don’t eat chicken, beef, pork, fish, or any other kind of meat. Unfortunately for me, this means that I usually have less to choose from when I’m getting food to eat.

Back home, I had to be discerning about where I went out to eat with my friends. I had to check the menu for every local restaurant to try and find vegetarian options before I visited, and there were a lot of times where I couldn’t find anything. I never went on late-night excursions to Buffalo Wild Wings or KFC – there was no point.

But now that I’ve made it to New York City, I have a very different problem – there’s too much to choose from. Good problem? Absolutely.

For one, the dining halls have no scarcity of vegetarian and vegan food. John Jay and Ferris both mark numerous options every day as vegetarian and vegan. And what’s better, both are very clearly labeled – no longer do I have to partake in the ritual of saying, “Do you guys have anything vegetarian?”

 While JJ’s Place is geared towards burgers and chicken tenders and all that stuff (which looks delicious even to a vegetarian), even it has vegetarian options. You can get veggie burgers; you can get wraps without meat, omelets without meat, and obviously, those wonderful chocolate chip pancakes without meat. On campus, there is no scarcity of choice when it comes to finding vegetarian food.

When I go off campus into Morningside Heights and beyond, there are always vegetarian options within a block of where I’m standing. There’s so much food in New York City that statistically, there’s always a vegetarian option close by. And as with most food in the city, it’s usually good.

In most places, vegetarian food gets boring – the same old sandwiches, salads, and meals. But it’s not boring here. For once, I have choice; I have the luxury of variety.

Being a vegetarian at Columbia is way better than being a vegetarian almost anywhere else in the country. It’s nice, for once, to be in an environment where my dietary needs are fully catered to, and where I don’t have to constantly search and ask for options that suit my needs.  While the quality of food may be lackluster at times, I will always be thankful for John Jay and Ferris because I don’t want to go back to driving around in search of a Subway.

Columbia dining gets a lot of flak from the student body about what they serve, but this is one thing they got 100% right.

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.