Category: Barnard

Photo Courtesy Abhinav Seetharaman (CC ’18)

All of us likely remember the moment we got into Columbia. We anxiously opened our emails, rushed to the admissions portal and got surprised by the video pop-up with congratulations. We made it. On May 1st, we all walked down our high school hallways with smiles as big as can be dawning Columbia gear and singing “Roar, Lion, Roar.” It felt like nothing could stop us. Those four years of studying every night, leading school clubs, trekking on service trips, and preparing for anticipated careers culminating with admission to one of nation’s most selective schools. We were in that 7%.

On NSOP, many of sat smiling next to our parents and guardians feeling that nothing could stop us. But eventually we hit some roadblocks.

After that initial month and a half, our rose-tinted glasses started to fade. And with that came the reality that Columbia was not going to be as much of a breeze as high school and that things were not easy. A lot of us joked that even though we got into Columbia, it felt like all we faced was rejection. From not getting that board position you wanted to not doing as well on that “Easy A” class as you thought you would. Many of us had to come to terms with the fact that life wasn’t getting easier — it was getting much harder.

Even on the internship hunt. Many of us expected “I have Columbia on my resume. I’m a shoe-in.” Instead, a lot of us received multiple emails and calls with the same dreaded line: “We had a lot of applicants this round and at this time we’ve decided not to move forward with your application.” It seemed as if Columbia wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. For the school we all adored and felt was going to give us all that easy one-way ticket to Managing Partner, it was anything but. But that’s the point.

At the end of the day though, having “Columbia University in the City of New York” on your resume doesn’t mean much if you don’t have anything to show from it. When Columbia admitted us, Dean Marinaccio wrote on the admissions portal  “We saw the spirit of a Columbian in you.” When we were admitted, Admissions Officers spent weeks looking at our accomplishments and seeing what we chose to do, how we were stretching and challenging ourselves, and how we actively sought to make a positive effect around us. And sadly, it feels like many of us have forgotten this.

Instead, a lot of us like to sit back and do nothing. How many times have you marked that you were going to an event and then an hour before decided against going, just because “you didn’t feel like it?” How many times have you made a commitment to a project only to drop out of it because “you just didn’t care anymore?” While this is by far not the case for everyone, it is the case for a lot of people. And I get it. Columbia is a challenging place with so many things to do and what feels like way too little time. But, at the same time, that’s why so many of us came here and why admissions officers fought for us to get in. They saw in us students who were willing to take a risk. Students who no matter how they felt about something were going to get it done and get it down well. And above all, students who cared about helping others and making a difference. They saw Columbians in us.

This year, more than 94% of people who will apply for admission will receive rejection letters. Many of these people will likely be qualified, passionate students who saw an opportunity to make a change with a Columbia education. As students here, we need to continue those ideas we all wrote about with passion rather than sit idle and rest on the laurels of Columbia’s name. This school only got to where it is because of the students and faculty here who overcame apathy and worked as hard as they possibly could to make a change. Now, it is up to us to continue that.

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

In an email to students this evening, Dean of Barnard College, Avis Hinkson, announced the rollout of the new P/D/F policy effective immediately for Barnard students. The major change of this new policy is that students will now be able to uncover grades from classes that they initially chose to Pass/Fail. This brings the new policy in line with the current standards in Columbia College.

The full email can be found below:

Dear Barnard Students,

I write to inform you that, effective Fall 2016, the College will implement a new policy regarding Pass/D/Fail.

This policy, passed by a vote of the Faculty on May 2, 2016, will replace the old policy for all students.

The major change that defines the new policy is the removal of the restriction against uncovering grades. Effective Fall 2016, all students who elect P/D/F will be able to uncover their grade until the program filing deadline of the semester following the one in which P/D/F was elected.

The new and current policy may be found at http://barnard.edu/registrar/barnard-coursework/pass-d-fail, and additional important details are outlined.

The Committee on Instruction (COI) and the Faculty are pleased with these changes and look forward to implementing the new policy.

Thank you, and have a wonderful semester.

Respectfully,

Avis Hinkson
Dean of the College

Someone recently posted on the Columbia/Barnard Class of 2019 Facebook page with Benjamin Sweetwood’s argument “Republicans at Columbia are scared to admit who they’re voting for”, asking for thoughts.

I have so many thoughts on this that I figured I’d write an opinion piece in response.

To me, it is definitely an issue when a group of students feel voiceless or unwelcome/unsafe speaking up on campus and in class. I think it is an issue that people, and especially people in power (like professors who have power in a classroom setting) can be dismissive of views students have just because they can be categorized as “conservative” or “republican” views—or as any “type” of view, really. It can definitely create further issues when a community or campus becomes in an echo chamber and is not considering outside views.
While I believe professors, who are in positions of power, should be welcoming to all ideas, or at least conversation about all ideas, this is obviously not always the case. For an in-class-related situation, I believe professors should take time (whether during or outside of class) to respond and analyze the students’ views and—if they don’t agree with their student—respectfully explain or discuss how their views and their reasoning differ and to explain why they’d dismiss the comment a student made in class. Maybe the professor fundamentally disagreed with the student and had no patience for outside ideas—that’s bad teaching. If the professor fundamentally disagreed with you and had time constraints for their lesson plan, which they wanted to get through with the whole class that day, but are willing to talk with you and/or whoever else is interested outside of class to dissect your comment further—that’s good teaching. Granted, if the school community seems hostile towards conservative or unfavorable or unpopular views, it’s understandable a student might not feel as safe going to office hours to discuss an issue further with their professor or to discuss it with peers outside of class. And that’s an issue the community may definitely want to address.

That being said, political views can be very heated and polarizing, inside or outside the classroom. Sometimes rather than starting a meaningful and healthy debate about why we hold different values and beliefs on specific issues, it’s easy for people to respond by dismissing the other side’s views or by mocking it. (You see this problem all over the media, and I believe this is a HUGE issue in this country, one which truly drags our national discourse further and further down and away from meaningful, substantial, healthy debate.) Especially when every time someone hears an opinion from the other side than theirs and then does have a debate, if everyone usually stays on the same sides after the debate, people can find that process both discouraging and infuriating. Why put themselves through that again? This is why people often avoid mentioning politics altogether and why some families decide to make political conversations taboo during holidays. Though I recognize this as a strategy of self-preservation, I think it’s unhealthy when everyone goes back inside their own echo chambers. Especially in an academic setting, I believe there is definitely a need for spaces where people can speak freely and openly and talk with people who see the world differently than they do.

Okay. So, let’s check in here. I feel like most people can agree with everything that’s above this line. But the world isn’t so neat and reasonable. Here’s where this issue gets more muddled:
As I’ve said, people can get very heated and passionate and divided over political views. Now, in this 2016 presidential election, there is a LOT to be heated and passionate about. I personally feel that on so many issues in this specific election—with all that Donald Trump has said dealing with minorities (Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, African Americans, women, small business owners, etc.) and with the violent suggestions and dismissive ways Donald Trump has dealt with people who HE doesn’t agree with—to many people, hearing that someone would vote for Trump is like saying that person agrees with Donald Trumps views in that arena. Now, if you support Trump, that literally means you support him and want to see Trump—who holds and represents these views—in charge of your country. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are as racist or sexist or xenophobic or anti-free speech as Trump. It doesn’t mean you agree with EVERYTHING that that man says. But I think there is a good argument that it means you are at least privileged enough to vote for him anyway, despite those hateful things he stands for. And that might be why you’re getting targeted in class and on campus. Which I’m not saying is okay, because it’s not a crime to be privileged. You shouldn’t be made to feel unsafe on campus. But I think it is an issue to be privileged and ignorant of how your privilege affects the rest of the world. Or at least, the United States, which is the country/presidential election we’re talking about here. And that’s how you’re coming across to a lot of your classmates.

Honestly, I personally do not understand how people can vote for Trump, knowing how he treats people and what he stands for. I am curious, though. I know some people from my hometown—not from the Columbia community—who would vote for him because they don’t want to see Hillary Clinton get elected. And I still don’t fully understand their point of view, either. (I haven’t decided completely who I will vote for yet. I am dissatisfied with my choices). But at least I can talk to the people who do or do not want to vote for Hillary about it! At Columbia, I don’t know who I would talk to for the conservative or Republican view, because that voice definitely does seem silenced and taboo here at this very liberal campus. I honestly suspect part of that might be because at this very liberal campus of ours, a large percentage of people here value the lives of minorities and less privileged communities enough to be horrified that the Republican party nominated Trump for president, and maybe this highly educated campus doesn’t have enough Republicans who are so strongly committed to their beliefs as to look past these huge faults of Trump. I imagine that Republicans exist here who do not support Trump, but I don’t know them personally either. This divide may have happened on campus before Trump, but it certainly hasn’t been helped by him. I can’t speak about my experience (or lack thereof) with Republicans on campus for years before this election, because I only joined this community last fall.

Let me say, Donald Trump has said things that I totally agree with! Not many, but a few. The thing is, he says whatever the hell he feels like with no regard for the consequences. And though I sometimes admire people who are like that, that is not a quality I look for in a leader, especially not in the leader of an entire country. Especially when he doesn’t take himself seriously—he mocks and ridicules people’s responses. I believe the most change happens on local and state levels, but I am honestly rather fearful of how he would treat this country as an elected president. I am fearful of what that represents about our nation. I am already horrified by how he is treating our country today and by how poorly he has treated local businesses in my home state of NJ in the past, not paying small-business contractors and getting away with impunity.

To summarize:

  • I do think that it is problematic that Republicans, as a minority on this campus, do not feel safe expressing their views here. I want students to feel safe and welcome on this campus. I also think some professors could probably do a better job addressing conservative views, especially those brought up by students.
  • Because many students feel unsafe expressing Republican or conservative views, the whole community loses a chance to have meaningful conversations about both sides of these political issues.
  • -At the current time in our country right now, the elected leader of the Republican Party represents a lot that I cannot support. I can value Trump supporters as people worthy of respect and love, but honestly, I don’t know or interact with any Trump supporters, at least not in settings where we’re talking about politics. Probably because #1, I’m picky with my friends and who I surround myself with and I don’t think anyone who shares my core values could in good conscience vote for Trump. (My father and siblings are liberals or independents. My mother, however, has been a Republican at least all my twenty years of life, and with this election she quit the Party. She cannot and will not support Donald Trump.) And #2, the second reason I don’t know many Trump supporters is because I go to a very liberal school where Republicans apparently feel silenced. It’s not a good thing. I would love to talk with a few Republicans who support Trump. Maybe I will make an effort to find some this year. But will I spend my energy trying to make Trump supporters feel more welcome on campus? Honestly, no. I will spend my free time and energy on working towards bettering the lives of people who are less privileged than Trump and his supporters.

Those are my thoughts. Thanks for sharing this article, and your viewpoint. I honestly appreciate it, and wish there was better, more respectful dialogue on campus and in our national media.

Grace is a sophomore at Barnard College studying Urban Studies with a focus on Education Studies and Chinese/English Translation.

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

In an email sent out to the Columbia community earlier today, Columbia has announced that starting in a few weeks, Columbia ATMs will be switching from Citibank to a new system supported by Santander Banking.

The full message can be found below.

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Photo Courtesy of the Varsity Show

Last night, members of The Lion went to watch the Varsity Show’s 122nd production. We’ve compiled our take as well as comments we collected from students at the performance to help you decide whether you should go watch the show.

Comments from Lion Writers:

Upon entering Roone, we were handed the show’s booklet styled in what appeared to be a Blue and White Magazine. As we perused through the booklet, the show’s creative team divulged detailed interviews of the cast along with a breakdown of the show that hinted the show would be starting fashionably late (16 minutes to be exact) and a whole host of other humorous content. But even though the guide indicated the show would conclude by 10:18PM, it did not end until 10:48. We don’t know what happened there, but we were more than ok with that.

The show was absolutely phenomenal. From start to finish, the show captured the audience’s attention and with a good dose of humor, recanted many of the motifs commonly found in Varsity Show productions. Bar some sound issues with the microphones, it was quite clear how much effort went even into the smaller details of the show. Even when approaching controversial topics, the writers successfully created jokes that poked fun of the issues, but were not controversial to cause backlash or offend students and staff.

It was also nice to see a same-sex relationship featured as a major component the show. As far as we are aware, this is the first instance of this in a Varsity Show production and it was nice to see. The audience felt the same way based off the loud cheers that emanated throughout Roone.

If we had to pose a criticism, we would say the show was a bit too ambitious. In trying to incorporate so many issues into one two and a half hour production, it felt like several details were ignored. For instance, Jenny Park, the protagonist (played by April Cho CC ’17), refers to being a first-generation student, but this plot point is not really fleshed out. In addition, the show clearly tried to update itself to incorporate more topics given the addition of references to the proposed new sculpture set to be installed in front of Butler Library. It would have been nice to see points like these incorporated into the production that were more than just a few comments.

Overall, we would highly recommend going to the show. It was an ambitious production, but it definitely lived up to much of its hype.

Comments from students and alumni:

To better understand student reactions to the production, our team went out and polled students from a variety of academic years and backgrounds about their reactions. Check out what students said below.

“I want someone to look at me the way Professor Wilkenson (Henrietta Steventon) looked at that wine bottle” – SEAS ’17

“Is it bad I could easily imagine Dean Kromm prancing around campus in colonial wear?” – CC ’18

“Lin-Manuel Miranda, you have some competition coming from uptown” – CC ’18

“I actually thought I would die laughing when they all started singing ‘There’s a dead white man inside us all’ ” – CC ’19

“How do these people have the time to write and create an entire musical in a semester? That was phenomenal. I cannot imagine the amount of work that went into making that.” – CC ’17

“I liked the part where George was expelling students and then became ambivalent to the show.” – SEAS ’18

“Who did the reading for today? I’m sorry, I meant, Who wants to talk about the reading we were supposed to do? That’s was too real. Literally what every CC class is like”  – CC ’18

“Their take on campus activism was spot on.” – SEAS ’16

“How does a dead white man get into Pith and I’m still on the damn wait list???” – CC ’18

“I couldn’t stop laughing after Professor Wilkenson (Henrietta Steventon) yelled at Shreyas Manohar’s character to check his privilege after he desperately asked for help” – CC ’19

“I liked the show from two years ago a lot more” – SEAS ’18

The Varsity Show is performing through May 1st with showings at 2PM and 8PM. Be sure to buy a ticket (starting at $7) from the TIC or online here.

Have a comment or response you want to share? Comment below or email us at submissions@columbialion.com.