Category: Campus News

Today, Provost John H. Coatsworth sent out the following email to Columbia in regards to “Responding to Post-Election Issues and Concerns”. In particular, he reaffirmed the University’s plans to protect students and guaranteed increased financial aid for undocumented students who may lose work permits due to policies proposed by President-elect Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. The full email can be read below:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

The presidential election has prompted intense concern for the values we hold dear and for members of our community who are apprehensive about what the future holds. Some of this concern is focused on possible changes to immigration laws and to the federal enforcement of those laws. Some is due to possible changes elsewhere in federal law and policy. Reports of bias crimes and harassment occurring since the election are also deeply disturbing, particularly so when those who feel threatened are part of a community like ours, committed to tolerance and reason.

President Bollinger has asked me to work with the University administration and our community to develop a response to these concerns. I am writing to share information about relevant policies and our plans for ensuring that every person at Columbia feels safe, is able to proceed unimpeded with their studies and their work, and understands beyond question that Columbia’s dedication to inclusion and diversity is and will remain unwavering.

First, the University will neither allow immigration officials on our campuses without a warrant, nor share information on the immigration status of undocumented students with those officials unless required by subpoena or court order, or authorized by a student. Moreover, New York City continues to be a sanctuary city, with special protections for undocumented immigrants, and Mayor de Blasio recently affirmed that local law enforcement officials will continue to operate consistent with that commitment.

If the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) policy is terminated or substantially curtailed and students with DACA status lose the right to work, the University pledges to expand the financial aid and other support we make available to undocumented students, regardless of their immigration status. It is of the utmost importance that federal policies and laws do not derail the education of students whose enrollment at Columbia and other colleges or universities is made possible by DACA. We subscribe to the view of the Association of American Universities that “DACA should be upheld, continued and expanded,” and we will continue to express that commitment in the future.

To provide additional support, the Office of University Life is hosting a series of small-group, private information sessions specifically for undocumented students in our community, including DACA recipients, to offer support and guidance regarding possible changes in the law. Affected students can contact the Office directly for more information. Separately, our International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) is scheduling information sessions and is prepared to provide assistance via its telephone helplines to any of our international students with questions or concerns. For more information about resources, support, and reporting options regarding discrimination and harassment, please visit the Office of University Life website.

The commitments outlined above emerge from values that define what we stand for and who we are as a University community. Indeed, Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science have amplified their commitment to undocumented undergraduate students pursuing their first degrees by continuing to meet their full financial aid needs as has long been our policy and also by treating applications of undocumented students no differently than those of students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The experience of undocumented students at the College and Columbia Engineering, from the time they first seek admission through their graduation, will not be burdened in any way by their undocumented status.

This is a moment for us to bear in mind how important it is to protect all who study and teach in our community and to defend the institution and the values it embodies.


John H. Coatsworth

Remington Free/Senior Graphics Editor

In a letter submitted to Bwog late Thursday evening, the Columbia Wrestling Team has written an apology in response to the discovery of messages from the 2017 team member’s GroupMe that contained explicit, degrading content targeting various groups of people.

The full message can be found below:

To the Columbia community:

All of us apologize, without reservation or condition, to all members of the Columbia community for the creation and dissemination of the inappropriate, vulgar and hurtful text messages which have affected so many members of our community and the overall University. In particular, we apologize to our fellow students, the faculty members who teach us, and the campus administrators who work so hard on our behalf.

As a team, we want to make it clear to everyone that we understand the fact that these offensive text messages are inexcusable. These messages do not represent our core values as a program, our coaching staff or the athletics department. We sincerely apologize for the hurtful things that have been said, the damage done to relationships we hold dearly, and the harm this incident has done to Columbia University’s reputation and public image. We are truly very sorry.

We tremendously regret the harm that this has caused the Columbia athletics program; many members of the athletics family dedicate their time to make sure that all student-athletes represent the university in a positive light, and are active and productive members of the university community. We are sorry for betraying their trust and not being mindful of their strong example.

We also apologize to our alumni and supporters, as we have let you down and have disrespected the entire collegiate wrestling community. We apologize to our coaches – for putting them in a difficult position and jeopardizing their professional careers and personal well-being, as these messages do not (and never has) represent them or their values whatsoever.

More importantly, we want all people who were insulted or felt threatened by the messages to know that we could not be more remorseful for the harm that this situation has caused. Our team aspires to be leaders on campus and in our community. We know that we must contribute to campus life in a way that makes everyone feel safe and celebrated regardless of our differences. We are disappointed in ourselves because members of our team stood by as bystanders as opposed to speaking out on behalf of those individuals and groups which were being talked about in such a negative and hostile manner. We will strive to do everything in our power to help everyone feel safe, accepted and valued as all members of the Columbia community should be.

We realize that what was done is extremely wrong. There is no excuse for this behavior. All of us have gained an entirely new perspective on how hurtful the comments made by members of our team truly are. These messages are not just words or playful jokes between teammates. This has been a wake-up call for our team. A culture change was obviously needed – and, rest assured, it will take place. We are prepared for any deserved repercussions from our actions.

Every member of this team has already learned – and will continue to learn – from this experience. We will do our best to contribute to pursuing social justice. We will continue to strive to represent our sport and school which we love with pride and integrity. We ask for your continued understanding, and pledge to be better contributors to the university community.

With respect and humility, we once again offer our sincerest apologies to all for our irresponsible behavior.


The members of the Columbia Wrestling team


The original letter can be found on Bwog’s website.

On Wednesday morning, President Debora Spar released an email to the Barnard community about her plans to resign as Barnard’s president. The full email is below:

Dear All,

I am writing to let you know that earlier this morning I informed Barnard’s Board of Trustees of my intention to resign as President of the College, effective March 5, 2017.  Later that month, I will be moving down Broadway to become President and CEO of Lincoln Center.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this was a tough decision to make, and to announce. I love Barnard — its students, faculty, staff, and alumnae — and had fully intended to remain on campus until June of 2018, when my contract expires.  But this new role at Lincoln Center will give me an incredible opportunity to engage with the broader communities of New York City, and to think creatively about the future of one of our nation’s most precious assets:  the performing arts.

These are strange times to be embarking on such a big move.  Over the past days, I have been more impressed than ever by the importance of Barnard’s mission and the depth of this community’s commitment to women’s education, women’s empowerment, and social justice for all.  I have been deeply moved to hear our students’ concern for the world they are inheriting, and their determination to harness their energies to make it a better place. I am deeply grateful to my faculty and staff colleagues, who have rallied around our students and worked with them to explain an ever-more complicated and confusing environment.  I have been blessed to be part of this community for nine years, and to have learned from such an extraordinary group of people.

During my time at Barnard, I have had the great privilege of meeting and working with women who are truly of substance, and of grit. I have spoken with alumnae who served on battlefields and picket lines, and who led — in their own ages and ways — the fight for women’s rights.  I have read and heard the work of our incredible faculty, whose scholarship ranges from the forests of Papua New Guinea to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. And I have watched our students fight for what they believe to be true, and right, and important. All of these experiences have touched me in profound ways, forcing me to grapple with my own understanding of what it means to be a woman, and to live a life that matters. I am grateful to all of you who have both pushed me and supported me, and to everyone at the College who will continue to build Barnard’s legacy.

As I prepare to depart next semester, I realize that there is a great deal happening on campus.  None of this work will stop, or change in any meaningful ways.  Construction on our new teaching and learning center is well underway, and the project is still slated for completion in August of 2018.  Our capital campaign, The Bold Standard, is on track to reach its ambitious and unprecedented goal.  The Task Force on Divestment and Sustainability is about to complete its recommendations for the Board’s Committee on Investments, and the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion will be presenting its findings at the start of the new year.  I will be staying on until the March meeting of the Board of Trustees, which will enable me to work with the Board on both of these crucial issues.

I will also work closely with the Board to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. The intention is to announce an interim president shortly, and then to begin planning for a full-fledged presidential search. Jolyne Caruso-Fitzgerald, Chair of the Board of Trustees, will work with faculty, staff, and trustees to designate a search committee and collect input from all constituencies on campus.  She will announce further details of these plans shortly. In the meantime, the College is lucky to have a stellar senior staff in place, and I know that each of my colleagues on the President’s Council will continue to lead their areas with the wisdom and professionalism they bring to their jobs each day.

It has been my honor, and my pleasure, to serve as Barnard’s president.  The College is a special place, and its mission has never been more important than it is today.  Last week, at one of the desserts I host for seniors, a group of young women stayed on for a while, sitting in my living room and discussing how they could organize in the wake of the election to fight for climate change, and reproductive rights, and the social justice they want to see.  I was sad when they left, feeling their pain and knowing that this dessert — one of my favorite events — would be one of the last I would host.  But I was also grateful, proud, and hopeful.  Barnard students are extraordinary.  Barnard’s commitment to research, to scholarship, to teaching and mentoring, is unparalleled.  And our community will continue to shape and change the world.  Thank you for allowing me to be part of it.


Debora Spar

Correction (11/16) : A previous version of this article misspelled President Spar’s first name. Her first name is Debora not Deborah. The Lion regrets this error.

Columbia University’s Alumni Association has released C-Moji, Columbia’s official sticker app for both iPhone and Android made for those who want to “share [their] love for Alma Mater.” With this new application, you have access to a slew of stickers to use to describe life on campus and show your Columbia spirit. This app comes just a couple weeks after Columbia students Dan Burkhardt (GS ’17) and Melody Yeung (GS ’17) released their iPhone app, CUStickers.

From C-Moji’s app description:

“Share your love for Alma Mater with these official Columbia emojis, brought to you by the Columbia Alumni Association.

What you’ll get:
– Over 30+ emojis and GIFs
– Notifications for new emoji packs around your favorite Columbia moments
– Keyboard and messaging integration
– Social Network sharing”

Once you have downloaded the application, you will have access to the entire collection of stickers through iMessage.

Here are some examples of stickers available in the new application:

Photo from C-Moji App Page

Photo from C-Moji App Page

The app is available for free for both iPhone and Android users.


Couldn’t snag a ticket to tonight’s talk with Shaun King? The Lion will be live blogging tonight’s talk. Check out updates as they happen here.
Continue Reading..