Author: wke2102

Photo Courtesy Daniel Stone (CC ’16)

In a discussion with the University Senate last Friday, President Bollinger responded to comments about the proposed placement of Henry Moore’s “Reclining Woman” in front of Butler Library.  In his response, he emphasized that the University will refrain from installing the sculpture during the summer and will instead seek community feedback in the fall.

Details of his announcement can be found below from an email sent by Daniel Stone (CC ’16), one of the lead organizers to prevent the statue from being placed directly in front of the library. Through petitions, multiple op-eds, and interviews with the BBC, thousands of students and impartial spectators  have commented on what has become quite the controversial woman.

Dear petition signer,

I’m writing to give you an update on the status of the Henry Moore sculpture. Last Friday, President Bollinger publicly acknowledged the sculpture installation fiasco for the first time. At a meeting of the University Senate, he uncharacteristically apologized about how the decision had been handled. If we are to go by what he said, there will be some sort of formal process in the fall that involves community feedback.

I highly recommend reading Bollinger’s statement (below). Even as someone who has done a bit of research about Bollinger and his history, I found it surprising.
(Also, Spec really sucks for failing to cover this news. If you know people on Spec, tell them that.)

Best,

Daniel

President Bollinger’s  Statement (Emphasis Mine)

I want to say something about the Henry Moore sculpture. So this is a mistake. And I don’t mean a mistake in the actual outcome, I mean a mistake in the way the institution has functioned. It’s nobody’s fault except mine because my responsibility is everything, especially those things that don’t go right. I would describe this as a classic – and I don’t mean this to be derogative of anybody – but a classic kind of bureaucratic mistake, that is, everybody around the institution thinking they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing, doing it in good faith and with enthusiasm, and we end up in a result where there has not been a sufficient collective thought process here and a decision making process that we are comfortable with.

So we put this on pause. We will have that process more and will figure out the right result. So it’s my responsibility. It is just the institution, one case I know of, tried never to let this happen, but somehow it happened and that’s where we are.

I’ll take questions in just a minute. Let me come back on this rather than take time today. I have to leave at two o’clock, I have a plane and we have a number of things. But I’ll try to give more on this in time. I just want to acknowledge that this is not the way – good faith, again, everybody acted well. A result that wasn’t sufficiently vetted through the University. I promise not to put up the Henry Moore sculpture during the summer while you’re all away. So summer powers does not include resolving this.

So, rest assured as you get through finals that this figure will not be gracing Butler anytime soon (at least not for the next four months).

Daniel Stone is a senior in Columbia College and was a former Managing Editor for the Columbia Lion.

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.

 

Photo Courtesy Finn Vigeland

At 3PM today, Columbia’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions announced that it had admitted 6% of applicants to the Class of 2020, the lowest admissions rate in CC/SEAS history. In data released to student publications, the Admissions office noted that over 36,292 applied for admission and that only 2,193 were accepted.

The full statement from Dean Jessica Marinaccio can be found below:

“Today, my colleagues and I are thrilled to welcome the newest Lions to the Columbia Class of 2020. This year’s 2,193 admitted students, selected from the largest applicant pool in Columbia’s history, amazed and humbled us with their exceptional accomplishments in and out of the classroom, their adventurous intellectualism and their commitment to a better society.

“The students admitted today, along with those admitted Early Decision, represent an extraordinarily diverse range of backgrounds and voices that we are excited to have at Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. They come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the territories and 85 countries around the world. As our applicant pool grows, the process of selecting next year’s class becomes increasingly challenging. But we are confident that the Class of 2020 brings that unique combination of academic ability, leadership skills and personal characteristics that have distinguished Columbians over the years, and it makes today truly one of the most rewarding days for us in the Offices of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid and Educational Financing.”

 

Congratulations to the incoming Class of 2020; the entire community is so excited to welcome you in the fall!

Left: an educated Black Man Right: The “thug” society sees

“Open the link. Let’s see the results.”

I sat in front of my computer with the dreaded email that read, “Admissions Decisions have been released. Please login for your decision.” My friends and family had been supporting me over the past four months as I worked to polish all of my college applications. Now it was finally time to see the fruits of this collective labor. Pushing my fears of rejection aside, I clicked the link and to my delight, the sounds of “Roar, Lion, Roar!” roared from my computer and I saw the digital letter that stated that I was accepted to Columbia University.

Those months of hard work had finally paid off. On May 1st, I entered my high school proudly wearing my Columbia sweatshirt for National College Signing Day. It felt as if nothing could ruin my day at that point until I heard someone whisper to a peer, “He only got into Columbia because he’s Black.” Upon hearing that, I was insulted that someone would want to belittle my achievements because of my skin color. Rather than be happy for my success, I was only viewed as another minority student given an easier chance of getting into a top college.

In addition to facing misperceptions such as this in regard to academic achievement, Black male students are faced with negative perceptions of their race and character in the media. During the protests in Baltimore over the murder of Freddie Gray (a young Black man killed by police officers), media outlets actively chose to depict Black youth as thugs and criminals, bent on looting and destroying their own city. Instead of portraying one of the numerous scenes in which Black youth peacefully protested for justice for the murder of another young person of color, media outlets like CNN chose to only show video footage of pharmacies on fire, Black mothers beating their children, and Black students creating chaos in the streets. Yet when primarily White groups start protests over issues such as their favorite sports team losing a game, media outlets label them as mere disruptions – even when they cause more damage. For our current time period that media outlets have touted as part of the “post-racial” era, America’s media coverage of Black youth harkens more to 1968 Civil Rights-era protests.

This misperception of Black youth as criminals rather than as academics has led to nationwide movements to dispel these derogatory stereotypes. One movement, the “I, Too, Am Harvard” photo campaign has explored these issues by showing a set of photos in which Black Harvard students hold whiteboards with notes describing their experiences. These experiences have ranged from being called White all the way to being told that being Black makes being admitted to college so much easier.

Now, you’re probably wondering: What do protests and media portrayals of Black youth in places like Baltimore have anything to do with perceptions of Black students in schools?

While these two ideas seem quiet disparate, they both are entwined with the underlying American issue of racism. Even as our nation espouses national unity under the auspices of patriotism and accessibility to higher education, we fail to ensure that everybody has an equal chance at these opportunities. In a 2015 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, only fifty-nine percent of Black males graduated high school on time in comparison to a whopping eighty percent of White male students. For a nation based on the premise of every person having a fair chance to succeed, it is clear that this is far from the reality. And even worse, with a subconscious public sentiment that Black people are dangerous, ratchet, and/or inept, these statistics do not do much to help improve the image of Black people in America.

By being subconsciously characterized in a negative light in the public eye, the system has become cyclical: pushing Black students into poverty and out of the realm of higher education. But even when a Black student is able to escape this vicious cycle, they are still belittled due to these preconceived notions of what it means to be Black. From off-hand comments such as “You’re so White,” to “Being black must be nice… especially for getting into college,” it is abundantly clear that this “new” America has yet to accept the Black community, but rather still looks down upon it. In our “post-racial” nation, people still do not accept people of color as talented students, but rather as simple objects to represent diversity.

So when I heard that classmate say that my acceptance to Columbia was a result of my race, they were subconsciously thinking that the color of my skin defines my intelligence, and that nothing I could do would ever be as great as that of a White student. Even though this nation has made great strides in trying to reduce racial dispairites, we still have a long way to go. And the first step towards a brighter tomorrow is recognizing these pejorative misperceptions.

The Lion is the only on-campus publication that pledges to accept all submissions (even anonymous). To respond to this op-ed or send in your own piece, email submissions@columbialion.com

Over break, Eliana Pipes (CC ’18) and a team of students released a new video series, Meet me @ The Clinic, a show about a character named Dia, who is described as “a Youtube social justice vlogger trying to fill a void” and another girl named Nina, “a girl with a lot of questions and one big secret.”

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