Category: Announcements

The Columbia Lion wants candidates who will make a change. While many candidates brought up issues we care about: more student space, mental health improvements, and supporting students, we want a candidate who is going to do something that will make an impact. And while comforting words are nice, they don’t really do much. If we want to continue calling student government ineffective, fine, but if we want actual change, it’s time to take a risk and vote for individuals who have a passion for making change rather than people who are simply going to deliver big words and leave us with blank promises of goals for the future. For this reason, The Lion team is pleased to announce our endorsements for General Studies Student Council:
International Students’ Representative: Valeria Pizzi
Student Body President: Karlee Rodrigues
University Senator: Ramond Curtis
Veteran Students’ Representative: James Ward
VP Campus Life: Brett Kasner
VP Communications: Raisa Flor
VP Finance: Daria Greeno
VP Policy: SiLin Huang
Voting ends at 5PM today. Be sure to cast your vote through the link sent out by the Columbia Elections Board


William Essilfie, Editor-in-Chief

Arlena McClenton, Managing Editor

Joshua Burton, Director of Operations

Yael Turitz, Director of Campus Outreach

Michele Lin, Director of Technology

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!

Photo by Bradley Davison (CC '17)

Photo by Bradley Davison (CC ’17)

A few moments ago, President Lee Bollinger sent out an email providing details about the tragic accident that occurred in Honduras earlier today. More information can be found here.


The full message can be found below:

 I am very sorry to report that, earlier today, three members of the Columbia community died in a bus accident in Honduras.  Columbia College student Olivia Erhardt and Barnard College student Daniella Moffson lost their lives while volunteering for the Columbia chapter of Global Brigades, an organization providing medical and other support to struggling populations around the world.  Also lost in the accident was Abigail Flanagan, a nurse practitioner at Columbia University Medical Center and a General Studies student, who was a member of this humanitarian effort.  This terrible and tragic loss is all the greater because these individuals were dedicating their passion and very special talents to serving those in need.  No endeavor more proudly exemplifies the traditions and values of our University.

Other Columbia students were injured in the bus accident.  We are working to ensure that they are receiving all necessary medical attention.  Dr. Samuel Seward, Medical Director for Health Services, and other Columbia support personnel are on their way now to Honduras.  The students who were not badly injured and who are able to return to the United States are in the process of doing so.  We have contacted the families of all involved and are closely monitoring the situation to render all the help we can.

We are all deeply affected by this tragic event.  Counselors and specialists on the Columbia MorningsideBarnard, and Columbia University Medical Center campuses, as well as pastoral counseling through the Office of the University Chaplain, are available.  International students also can seek support or referrals through the International Students and Scholars Office.  Please take advantage of these services.

Our thoughts are especially with the students and their families who have suffered as a result of this accident.


UPDATED (1/14): The Undergraduate Deans have sent out an email announcing memorial services.

Dear Students,

As you read in President Bollinger’s and President Spar’s emails on Wednesday evening, Columbia College student Olivia Erhardt and Barnard College student Daniella Moffson died yesterday in a tragic bus accident in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, while on a volunteer mission organized by the humanitarian group Global Brigades. Abigail Flanagan, a General Studies student and nurse practitioner at CUMC, and the mother of Columbia College student Patrick Flanagan, was also killed.

This service trip involved students from all four of the undergraduate schools. Many of the students are still in Honduras. Columbia staff members have arrived in Tegucigalpa to provide on-the-ground support to students, and we are working collectively to ensure their safe return home.

We are all saddened by this tragedy, and we encourage you to rely on one another and your families and friends, as well as school and University offices for support. Please know that your advisers and deans, the staff at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) and Furman Counseling Center, and members of the Office of the University Chaplain, are all available to provide you with any support you may need in dealing with this tragedy. We have listed their contact information for you below.

The University will hold a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Tuesday, January 19, on Low Plaza, for the Columbia community to reflect and to remember Olivia, Daniella and Abigail. The University will also fly flags at half-staff that day in recognition of this great loss to our community.

The Lerner Piano Lounge will be available as a place for students to come together on Saturday, January 16, and Monday, January 18, between 2 and 4 p.m. Later in the semester, we will work with families and friends to plan additional memorial services.

Our deepest condolences go out to all who knew Olivia, Daniella and Abigail. They will be in our thoughts in the days and weeks ahead.

Peter J. Awn
School of General Studies

Mary C. Boyce
Dean of The Fu Foundation School
of Engineering and Applied Science

Avis E. Hinkson
Dean of the College
Barnard College

James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College and
Vice President for Undergraduate Education

Looking to make an impact on campus? Consider applying to join The Lion. We’re Columbia’s newest publication and the only one that pledges to post all submissions that meet our submissions policy. In addition to serving as a forum for campus discourse, we are developing products and tools to serve and connect the community.



Within our Journalism team, there are two different levels of writers:


As a writer for The Lion, you are expected to post at least once a month. Writers have general voting powers in our organization.


As a contributor, you can submit pieces whenever you like. Unlike a writer, contributors do not have voting powers within The Lion.

Technology and Design

Within our Technology and Design team, there are three different positions:

Developer :

As a Developer for The Lion, you will work on developing mobile applications and technical projects for the Columbia community.


As a Designer, you will help design graphics for articles, projects, and events for The Lion.


As a Photographer, you will capture images of the student body for use within articles, social media, and other Lion projects. You will retain full ownership rights to any photos you take.


Within our Operations team, there are two different positions:

Events Lead:

As an Events Lead for The Lion, you will help in designing and planning events that The Lion hosts in conjunction with other on-campus groups.

Special Projects Member:

As a Special Projects Member, you will work on developing new projects and ideas for The Lion.

Campus Outreach

Within our Campus Outreach team, we have the following open position:

Outreach Member:

As an Outreach Member for The Lion, you will help in growing our readership. You will work to collect data from the student body, flyer, and plan advertising campaigns.

Ready to join?

Join our team by emailing us at with a short note telling us about yourself and your interest(s). Those interested in joining our Leadership team will be contacted for more information.


With over 30,000 people in the Columbia community, it can be difficult to understand the individual struggles faced by some of our peers. Iris Washington, one of the staff members in Columbia Dining, is as risk of losing her home. As written on her GoFundMe page,

On July 29 of 2013 my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.she died July 24th of 2014 leaving behind a mortgage. My disabled daughter now lives in the home on a fixed income and can’t afford the mortgage. In April 2014 my daughter was hospitalized with a blood clot to the heart. In May she went under 4 hours of surgery to receive a pacemaker and after putting the pacemaker in there were unable to hook up one side of it. Long after the storm last week the house receive more damages the basement is flooded with water. And the Bank sold the loan to a collection agency and now the collection agency just notified me of foreclosure please help.

Iris, one of the people who normally works late nights at JJ’s Place, has worked in Columbia Dining for years and is loved by many of the students who visit. She is known for her peppy, yet sassy style and is one of the amazing people that works tirelessly to ensure a positive Dining experience for all.

If you are able and willing, you can help Iris by donating to her GoFundMe page here.

The Lion team would like to thank Alexander Birkel (CC ’18) and Keenan Smith (CC ’18) for alerting us to this story.