Category: Columbia

After seeing the Commitment Time Management page on CSA’s website, senior Lesley Cordero sent this email to Dean Boyce to inform her about the issues with it. Here’s what she had to say.

Dear Dean Boyce,

As you probably know, the Center for Student Advising recently released this article on time management. I have some serious concerns about the content of this post that I want to share with you.

To quickly summarize, they essentially recommend/outline ~50 hours of studying and~16 hours of class time, totaling to about 66 hours (mind you, this assumes only 15 credits, which as you know you literally cannot graduate with in SEAS). Ignoring the rest of the content momentarily, this expectation lacks thought or concern for your students. Previously, I believed administration was just unaware or doubted how much time we dedicate to classes and school work. Given this post, it’s evident that they are, in fact, aware, which is actually far more alarming. Why is this outrageous workload not being challenged?

Aside from the ethical concerns of working students to such a high number of hours, compared to our peer institutions, we do not seem to outperform other institutions (two simple but powerful examples: number of Rhode Scholars here, number of Fulbright students here), so why is it that we’re working more? For reference, you can check this article on how Columbia students stay up later than all other universities. It’s also important to note that Columbia, not other Ivy League institutions or other top tier universities, had 7 suicides within a year’s time, likely as a result of some of the factors I review in this email.

Furthermore, overworking isn’t an efficient or healthy strategy for producing good work, whether that be research, projects, or just general knowledge learned. In this publication on worker productivity, you’ll see that an increase in number of hours worked has diminishing returns. Here, you’ll also see research on the effects of chronic stress which include diminished health and psychological capacity.

With all that said, I would also like to speak from own experience here at Columbia. I chose to attend a school like Columbia because I love being challenged. Learning, working on meaningful projects and work, excites me to no end, and I genuinely believed that Columbia would be the perfect place to spend my late teens and early twenties working to become my best young adult self.

Columbia has given me so much — friends I genuinely love, countless academic and professional opportunities. But it has failed to cultivate the excitement I came in with as an ambitious and passionate first year. School and academia no longer carries the same positive, growth-driven mindset it once used to. Instead, I’ve grown to associate school with chronic stress, tiredness, and a culture that never seems to keep its student body at ease.

I think this is particularly true for students of color, first generation/low-income students, and anyone whose identities this institution was not built to serve. As outlined in the post this email is about, those calculations are made with the “typical” student in mind, which tends to not be of color or low-income.

To highlight some of the striking misguided calculations:

1. Medical appointments counting for free time is inconsiderate to students with disabilities, many of whom have to spend a large portion of that “free time” on appointments. I, for one, do as a student with a neurological disability.

2. Even on a very simple level, small things like hygiene and professional development are more time consuming for students of color, women, and FLIP students. As a woman of color, I face unique challenges in how the world perceives me. Other students might be able to get away with being unkept — for women and especially women of color, we’re far more scrutinized.

3. 65+ hours of class and work disregards the limitations students with disabilities might have. For many, working long hours is not plausible and even detrimental to their health. As someone with remaining symptoms from a head injury a few years ago, it’s a sacrifice to spend so much extra time on work. I do it because it’s essentially a requirement, but it’s a sacrifice — a sacrifice I would argue isn’t fair to students like me.

4. I’ve had to take up work-study throughout the majority of my time at Columbia, and 8 hours is often a conservative estimate for low income students. Additionally, when you’re on a budget, getting food cheaply (or through free venues) is time consuming. Underestimating those serious challenges fails to appreciate the hard work low-income students put into being a student at Columbia.

There are countless other ways in which these calculations grossly misrepresent the experiences of many students at Columbia. However, I want to emphasize the danger of these misguided calculations. It’s not a matter of pointing out inaccuracies; rather, consider how this high demand workload affects its students and especially its disabled students and students of color. 9 hours a week of free time is not a number we should condone or be proud of.

Now that this post has been released, however, it’s time to radically reconsider the ways we can improve our culture on campus. This means more than suggesting time management skills or having stress buster events. This means institutional change. This means reduced requirements. This means financial aid for 9 or 10 semesters for low-income students.This means more psychological health services. This means more administrative support and listening to students.

I know you want the best Columbia possible. I do too, which is why I decided to reach out to you and share my thoughts and experiences on such an important challenge we’re facing as a community. Thank you for taking the time to read this email, and I hope to see a better Columbia soon.

Best,
Lesley Cordero

Note: Since this letter was written, Dean Valentini has claimed that this chart was not in fact recent but outdated, as reported by Bwog

As we have these conversations about stress culture and mental health, we think it is important to share some of the resources available on campus to members of the Columbia community:

Counseling and Psychological Services – (212) 854-2878
Columbia Health – (212) 854-7426
Office of the University Chaplain – (212) 854-1493
Advising Deans – (212) 854-6378
Nightline – (212) 854-7777

If you’d like to respond to this piece / submit an op-ed to The Lion, please email submissions@thecolumbialion.com

Video made by Soorim Lee

The Columbia community goes all out for the holidays, and Halloween is no exception! Learn about all the events around campus that you can take advantage of this spooktacular weekend.

  1. CU Dining: Pumpkin Carving
    Time: Friday 10/27, 5pm-8pm
    Place: JJ’s Place
    Exactly what it sounds like: stop by and carve your own pumpkin!
  2. A Very Potter Spooktacular
    Time: Friday 10/27, 9 PM
    Place: Wallach 3 Lounge
    About: Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, and the House Cup! You don’t want to miss this!
  3. CMTS Presents: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
    Time: Friday 10/27, 9 PM – 11 PM
    Place: Diana Event Oval
    About: For those with a CUID, tickets are available for $2 online and at the TIC in the lobby of Lerner Hall OR for $5 at the door. Non-CUID tickets are $5 online and at the TIC or $7 at the door. Bring your best Rocky/Halloween spirit and grab a prop bag at the door for $3! Doors will open at 8:30 PM and the show will begin at 9:00 PM in the Diana Event Oval.
    Facebook Event
    Buy Tickets
  4. Hallowien
    Time: Saturday 10/28, 2 PM – 5 PM
    Place: Wien Hall
    About: Wien will be celebrating ‘Hallowien’ this Saturday so come through for insomnia cookies, pumpkin painting and a screening of ‘Hocus Pocus’
    Facebook Event
  5. The Shining: Free Halloween Screening!
    Time: Saturday 10/28, 10 PM – 1 AM
    Place: Lerner Party Space
    About: Join Ferris Reel Film Society and Columbia Undergraduate Film Productions (CUFP) for a fee late-night screening of the classic Kubrick thriller, The Shining! We will be having candy and Halloween-themed food at the screening, so come with a sweet tooth and an empty stomach!
    Facebook Event
  6. LLC Trick or Treating
    Time: Sunday 10/29, 7-9 PM
    Place: Wallach and Hartley
    About: Stop by the RA rooms to collect candy!
  7. Self Care Night
    Time: Monday 10/30, 8-10 PM
    Place: John Jay Lounge
    About: Take care of yourself during this weekend of celebrations. Come make lotions, listen to music, color, and other relaxing activities! There will be snacks!
  8. LLC and John Jay Hall Councils present… HALL-oween
    Time: Tuesday 10/31,  9-10:30 PM
    Place: John Jay Lounge & Wallach 1st Floor Lounge
    About: Ready for Halloween? LLC and John Jay Hall Council are collaborating to make your Tuesday night fun and spooky! Come by John Jay lounge for a spooky movie night and costume party and then continue on to Wallach main lounge for donuts, cider, pizza, pumpkin decorating, competition, and much much more!

 

Disclaimer: Blurb descriptions were mostly taken from event pages and newsletters.

Know of any other events around campus that we missed? Email us at submissions@thecolumbialion.com

Following up a previous email from Professor Goldberg, the University Provost has emailed students to make them aware of the Rules of University Conduct, likely related to recent protests of speakers invited to campus by CUCR.

In particular, he notes that students actively disrupting speakers are subject to being disciplined, confirming reports noted by Zack Abrams (CC ’21).

 

The full email can be found below.

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

 

As President Bollinger made clear in his Commencement Address last May, freedom of speech is a core value of our institution. The University is committed to defend the right of all the members of our community to exercise their right to invite, listen to, and challenge speakers whose views may be offensive and even hurtful to many of us. It is the duty of every member of the community to help preserve freedom of speech for all, including protesters.

 

This duty does not evaporate when the freedom we enjoy protects community members who invite speakers made famous by grotesquely unfounded and unethical attacks on people whose presence at Columbia, and in the surrounding Harlem community, contribute so much to the diversity that makes us great.

 

Two years ago, after broad consultation, the Columbia Board of Trustees adopted amended “Rules of University Conduct” to protect freedom of speech for invited speakers and their audiences, as well as for protesters. Since a number of controversial speakers are already scheduled to come to Columbia in the coming weeks and months, it may be helpful for members of the community, especially students, to keep the following points in mind.

 

  • It is a violation of the Rules of University Conduct to interrupt, shout down, or otherwise disrupt an event.
  • It is also a violation to obstruct the view of the speaker with banners or placards.
  • Individuals engaged in disruption will be asked to identify themselves by a Delegate or Public Safety Officer; it is an additional violation of the Rules to refuse to do so.
  • Delegates or Public Safety Officers will request that individuals stop disrupting (e.g., stop shouting, sit down, move to another location); individuals who fail to comply promptly with such a request may be subject to interim sanctions up to and including suspension by the Provost for the rest of the semester.
  • On receiving reports of a violation of the Rules of University Conduct, the Rules Administrator will investigate to determine whether a Rules violation may have occurred. The Rules Administrator may meet with students or others involved in a disruption to determine if an informal resolution is possible.
  • If informal resolution is not possible, the disciplinary process will continue with the Rules Administrator filing a formal complaint with the University Judicial Board. That Board will follow the procedures specified in the Rules of Conduct. Repeated violations of the Rules of Conduct will be subject to greater penalties.

 

More detailed information on University free speech policies and procedures is now available on the website of the Office of University Life.

 

John H. Coatsworth

Starting next week, late night package service will be available thanks to Columbia Mail’s new package offerings. Students will be able to send in a request by 3PM on the day their package arrives and request for it to be left in one of the 28 new lockers in the basement of Wien Hall. With this new option, students will be able to pick up their package after the Package Center closes meaning students with high priority items will not need to be stressed if they could not grab their package in time.

The full email can be found below:

Located on the lower level of Wien Hall, lockers will be available upon request starting Monday, October 16. How it works:

  • Lockers are accessible only when the Student Mail Center is closed.
  • Locker space is limited and so usage is prioritized for critical needs, such as:
    • medication (non-perishable only, lockers are not refrigerated)
    • time-sensitive materials (e.g. employment documents, identification)
    • items of high value (e.g. cell phone, laptop)
  • There are 28 lockers in total, the largest being 22x16x13.5 (LxWxH). Over-sized packages are not eligible for lockers.
  • To request a locker, students should reply to the email notification received when mail or a package has arrived.
  • Lockers cannot be reserved for mail or packages before they are received and processed at the Student Mail Center.
  • Students that are unable to reach high or bend down should indicate that a mid-level locker is needed.
  • The email request must be received by 3:00 p.m. the day the locker is needed in order to be considered.
  • By 5:00 p.m., Student Mail will send a confirmation email with a 6-digit pin to open the locker.
  • If the item is not picked up by 9:00 a.m. the following morning, the item will be removed from the locker and returned to the Student Mail Center for pick up. The student will not receive further email notifications.

As the Columbia University College Republicans prepare to host Tommy Robinson, a speaker known for his inflammatory remarks for a talk about “Europe and mass immigration,” Professor Goldberg, the head of University Life, has emailed students explaining the University’s rationale for allowing speakers such as Robinson.

The full email can be found below:

Dear Students,

There is much in the news about contentious speakers on campuses around the country, including our own. And while some students welcome these debates, others raise serious concerns about the negative impact of white supremacists and others who express hostile and derogatory views on race, religion and gender. These kinds of messages, as you know, contradict Columbia’s core commitment to the value of all members of our community and to diversity among our students, faculty and staff, as President Bollinger has often made clear.

Against this backdrop, here’s an abbreviated explanation of why the University allows student organizations to invite speakers whose views conflict so directly with our institutional values:  It is foundational to Columbia’s learning and teaching missions that we allow for the contestation of ideas. This includes expression of ideas that are deeply unpopular, offensive to many in our community, contrary to research-based understandings, and antagonistic to University tenets.

Without this policy, the University would be in a position of deciding which views our community should hear and which it should not. Perhaps needless to say, there is often not consensus about when speakers cross the line into being impermissible. Having University officials decide which ideas outside speakers can express on campus also poses serious risks to academic freedom.

Still, when white supremacist, anti-Muslim and similar speakers come to campus, Columbia has an important responsibility to make clear our values:  that we reject those views and maintain our commitment to fostering a vibrant community founded on the fundamental dignity and worth of all of our members, as our nondiscrimination statement provides. We also support research, teaching and other opportunities for community members and the public to learn more about the deep flaws in these speakers’ views. And our Rules of University Conduct, while protecting these speakers’ right to speak without disruption, also strongly protect protesters in expressing their views.

In the coming weeks, you will have opportunities to participate in campus conversations and also learn more about these issues, including at Awakening Our Democracy: Free Speech on Campus on November 1 (register here). If you have additional ideas for how we might strengthen our efforts to reject the messages of these speakers, short of barring student organizations from inviting them to campus, I welcome your sharing them.

Yours truly,

Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg
Executive Vice President for University Life
Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law

In addition to tonight’s talk, several students groups are hosting alternate events from Columbia University Democrats to various direct protests of the event.