Hey Columbia! After God hugged us with sunlight for the past few days, he thought it would be fun to change things up a bit. But at least it's not snow - for now. Anyways, carry an umbrella today - you'll need it.
Before Elegance Bratton became a Columbia student, documentary filmmaker, successful photographer, and US Marine, he was homeless for ten years.
His mother could not accept that he was gay. He was forced to leave home and became one of the many homeless LGBT youth of color who live in major cities all over the nation and whose predicament has been largely ignored in discussions of Gay Rights.
Since the summer of 2011, Bratton has been working on a film that he hopes will raise awareness of homeless LGBT youth of color. Pier Kids: The Life fuses Bratton’s story with the narratives of three queer youths of color sheltering near the piers, a stone’s throw from the site of pivotal importance to the Gay Rights Movement in 1969, Stonewall Inn.
The raw footage is still being edited, but through the efforts of producer Nathan Proctor has raised over $40,000 on Kickstarter, and the pair is optimistic that the film will be finished next year.
Telling his story through film has been both painful and revelatory, he explained in an interview. “The note that keeps coming up for me is terrible bliss. It’s terrible, it’s terrible to be without, but for me making this film is blissful because I get to experience my life again and feel that all these things I lost contact with, all these things I had to cut off, I get to have them again. So blissful, but terrible.”
However, since John Jay is one of the few dorms that still uses the Ving cards, upcoming renovations make it unlikely that this is ever going to happen again. To shed some light on the situation, Kristina Hernandez, Director of Marketing and Communications for Campus Services, sent us this email today.
As residence halls are renovated, the plastic Ving card system is being updated with electronic locks which use the University ID card. This summer, planned renovations include John Jay floors 12 – 15. We will replace the doors and locks in the student rooms on these floors. Additionally, we plan to renovate McBain floors 7 and 8. The doors and locks will also be part of that renovation. Finally, we will continue door and lock replacement in East Campus with the West Townhouses and as part of the 20th floor renovation. For a list of planned summer projects, visit the Housing website: http://housing.columbia.edu/housing-options/residences/renovation-projects.
Yesterday, members of the CC Class of 2017 Council held a town hall (ironically, not in Lerner) about the impending Lerner renovations this summer, soliciting suggestions about how we want our student center to look. While some of the suggestions, like putting a fountain in the center of Lerner, were less than serious, others were pretty pointed critiques of the difficulty of delineating study space from student group meeting space, as well as issues involving reservations and third parties to which the university rents out space.
Although no admins attended the town hall, CCSC plans on bringing this input to meetings with Honey Sue Fishman, Lerner Hall Operations Executive Director. One more town hall is a possibility, but in the meantime, the council will send out a Google form to get a wider range of opinions.
Just spotted. Abby Porter (CCSC '17 rep), Peter Bailinson (CCSC VP Communications), Sejal Singh (CU Dems President), Andrew Ren (not currently on CCSC), and Liam Bland (CCSC '15 rep) being photographed in front of Hartley.
The group dispersed upon seeing your dear reporter, who is inclined to believe that this jolly fivesome was simply enjoying one another's companionship on this lovely spring day, and so strongly wanted to preserve the moment that they had someone with a big fancy DSLR come along to join them.
Correction: This post originally named Jackson Tse (CCSC '15 rep), rather than Andrew Ren, as being in this photo. We apologize and regret the error.
UPDATE (1:08 PM): Hillel's current president, Hannah Spellman, has emailed us a statement, which we've posted below. Seffi Kogen declined to comment further on behalf of Hillel, as he is no longer on their e-board.
UPDATE (11:14 AM): A member of SJP has posted this statement about the banner on Facebook. The post has been updated accordingly.
UPDATE (11:06 AM): LionPAC has posted on their Facebook page that Barnard President Deborah Spar had removed the banner in response to emails from students.
Last night, students hung a banner from Barnard Hall depicting a united, borderless Israel, and advocating for "Justice in Palestine."
The banner was signed "C-SJP IAW," referring to Columbia student group Students for Justice in Palestine and the annual Israeli Apartheid Week protests and counter-protests that occur on College Walk (complete with mock wall) between members of pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian student organizations. The event typically gets plenty of media coverage, including a number of op-eds in the Spectator.
The banner prompted a response on Facebook from former Columbia/Barnard Hillel President Seffi Kogen, who posted that Barnard students had "approached [him] with emotions ranging from annoyed to distraught." He went on to write, "C-SJP's banner, brazenly displayed on the front door of Barnard College, entirely erases the Jewish State from the map. While I hesitate to use the term too loosely, I am at a loss as to how to categorize this display as anything less than anti-Semitic."
A later post by SJP member Feride Eralp defending the banner takes a different perspective, claiming that SJP "went through the necessary bureaucratic channels and processes and requested that a banner be put up in order to give voice and presence to its week-long events as part of Israeli Apartheid Week. [...] At any point our request could have been denied, but this was not the case. Had it been rejected, it would have been an act of censorship and an infringement on our freedom of expression as a student group at this university."
Eralp goes on to say that the banner was an effort to "publicize the events and conversations we are having this week" and "reach out to the campus as a whole." According to Eralp, SJP has "been accused of being unwilling to engage – specifically within the framework of the 'dialogue' project."
What Eralp is referring to is the "Dialogue Week" proposed by Hillel, as shown in UEM registrations for Low Plaza and the Sundial. (Hillel has registered the Sundial for the next three days from 3-6 PM, and Low Plaza from 12-2 tomorrow. Meanwhile, SJP has reserved Low Plaza from 2-6 PM Monday through Thursday.)
According to a comment on Kogen's post, a member of Barnard Facilities has since taken the banner down, but the timestamp suggests that it was left up for several hours. LionPAC posted an email response from Barnard President Deborah Spar, which states that Barnard would be "reexamining [their] policies on student banners going forward," and that she "understands [students'] concern that in hanging the C-SJP banner next to the official Barnard College banner it inadvertently gave the impression that the College sanctions and supports these events."
The College Walk protests are scheduled to begin this afternoon.
In 1966, Professor Daniel Bell published The Reforming of General Education. The following is a short excerpt about the social makeup of Columbia College taken from that book.
The student body, heterogenous in composition, has a cosmopolitan flavor rather than a unified character […] since the end of World War II the College, in its geographical and social representation, has come to have a distinct national character, though the weight of ethnic group composition remains.
This variegated background manifests itself in three broad social types characteristic of the student body: a group for whom Columbia College is primarily an Ivy League school—a place to achieve some prestige and some social polish, and make contacts for future career; a group whose ambitions are fiercely scholastic and professional; and a minority group of campus iconoclasts, political and esthetic, who in classic fashion react to the orthodoxies of university life by emphasizing individual temperament—in the past, this last group has included people as diverse as the underground man Whittaker Chambers, the monk Thomas Merton, and the poet Allan Ginsberg.
To identify the three groups in this fashion is not to make invidious distinctions among them. Each has had a positive and a negative component. The first has produced men who attained redoubtable political and professional distinction as well as those who have been lounge lizards and social sponges; the second has had its dry pedants and narrow professional practitioners as well as some of the most distinguished minds of their generation; and the third has had its share of intellectual fakes and poseurs as well as some of the most sensitive and interesting personalities of their time.