Archive for July, 2011

Spectrum | Jul. 20 12:06 am EST

Frontiers creator David Helfand moves to…Canada?

Courtesy of Quest University

A local Canadian newspaper reports that Astronomy Chair and infamous inventor of Frontiers of Science David Helfand is now the full-time president of Quest University outside Vancouver. A “founding tutor” of Quest in 2007, Helfand has commuted back and forth between universities ever since, and according to a Quest spokesperson, is now on a long term leave of absence from Columbia with “zero foreseeable responsibilities” in Morningside Heights.

Helfand’s most memorable quote from the article, perhaps only meant to share warm sentiments about his new position, comes across a little like a backhanded critique of his time at Columbia. “‘I have been lecturing at Columbia for a third of a century,’ said Helfand. ‘But I feel I only began truly teaching when I came to Quest.’” Apparently restructuring every CC student’s education by creating a new compulsory Core class doesn’t count as teaching. Will Frontiers survive with its designer away in Canada or take the path of Gateway as a requirement of the past?

Look for a full story from the News Desk.


Spectrum | Jul. 19 2:52 pm EST

While you’ve been away…


Spectrum | Jul. 19 10:44 am EST
drug bust

BREAKING: Harrison David pleads guilty to felony

Jasper L. Clyatt / Spec

UPDATE (1:42 p.m.): Check out the full news story here.

Jessica Stallone reported from the courtroom, where the Columbia Five had another court appointment today.

Harrison David, SEAS ’12, plead guilty this morning to one count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance of the Third Degree, a felony. He will be sentenced to six months in prison and a concurrent five year period of probation.

This is a lesser sentence than the plea deal prosecutors offered him four weeks ago that would have sent him to a year in prison, and less than the federally mandated three-year minimum prison term he would have faced had he been convicted of the felony.

Assistant District Attorney William Novak said, “While it will be less incarceration time, the additional three years of monitoring time will be in the interest of justice.”

With good behavior David may have his sentence reduced to four months. David has already served two-and-a-half weeks of the sentence because of the time he spent in jail back in December.

Matthew Myers, Harrison David’s lawyer said, “I think it was a fair resolution. He’s respectful, has a very bright future, and has never been incarcerated before” adding that he thought the original plea bargain offered four weeks ago “was somewhat harsh.”

Check later for a full news update of the court appointment. The rest of the Columbia Five (Columbia Four?) maintained not guilty pleas.


A&E | Jul. 17 7:21 pm EST

Libyan author who lived in exile will teach at Barnard this fall

Courtesy of Facebook

Although Hisham Matar was born in New York City, he spent much of his childhood in Tripoli, Libya. In 1979 his father, a Libyan representative to the United Nations, was accused of being a reactionary to the Libyan revolutionary regime and was forced to flee to Egypt with his family. There, Hisham spent a number of years in exile, before moving to London where he resides to this day.

Now, Matar is an award-winning author whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Financial Times, and The New York Times, among several other renowned publications. And this fall, he will teach an English class at Barnard. Spectrum had the opportunity to sit down with Matar and ask him about his new course, his childhood, and what it was like living in exile. More »


Spectrum | Jul. 17 3:00 pm EST

Columbia turns two hundred and fifty seven

Two hundred and fifty seven years ago today, Columbia’s first president, Samuel Johnson, began offering classes in the new schoolhouse attached to Trinity Church in lower Manhattan.

The first class comprised only eight, or possibly seven, eager freshmen. To secure admission, they had to “be able to read well, and write a good legible hand; and that they be well versed in the five first rules in arithmetic; i. e., as far as division and reduction; and as to Latin and Greek, that they have a good knowledge in the grammars, and be able to make grammatical Latin, and both in construing and parsing, to give a good account of two or three of the first select Orations of Tully, and of the first books of Virgil’s Aeneid, and some of the first chapters of the Gospel of St. John, in Greek.” [King's College: An Interactive History]

Spectator wishes Columbia a very happy two fifty seventh.

In honor of the occasion, enjoy a recent find from the Spectator archives: a photograph of the original King’s College charter, signed two hundred and fifty seven years ago.*

File photo

Full text of the charter after the jump. More »


A&E | Jul. 15 5:59 pm EST

It’s Summer Restaurant Week in NYC!

orzzxd / flickr

Listen up! It’s that time of the year again. New York Restaurant Week is back, this time with over 320 participating restaurants. The deals are still the same: restaurants are offering 3-course prix fixe meals—$24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner. Go ahead and indulge at a fancy restaurant for a fraction of the price.

Restaurant Week runs until July 24, so hurry up and book a reservation! Noteworthy Upper West Side options include Terrace in the SkyDovetail, and Shun Lee West.


Spectrum | Jul. 14 8:01 pm EST

OH MY GOD, HARRY POTTER COMES OUT TONIGHT (we must mark this occasion)

Harry Potter forever changed the way we look at among other things, giants, charms, goat bellies, and broomsticks. Tonight, that alter universe makes one final appearance, and with that, ends a 14-year journey.

To maintain our ties with that better world, we’ve marked a multitude of Columbia locations, branding them as the alternative, meta-universal (or intercontinental?) equivalent of select Harry Potter locations. Here we go, one final time, ’cause Spectrum <3 Harry Potter.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Columbia & Harry Potter

More »


Spectrum | Jul. 13 4:14 pm EST
the economy

Glenn Hubbard talks about his role in Inside Job and why raising taxes won’t fix the deficit

If you’ve heard of Hubbard, you probably best know him as either author of your Principles textbook, dean of the Business School, Bush’s chief economic adviser, or the “give it your best shot” guy who didn’t come off so well in the 2010 documentary Inside Job.

Recently, we came across a neat interview he held with Fortune magazine and pasted some of the excerpts from that interview. Check it out. More »


A&E | Jul. 13 10:38 am EST

Joe Coffee owners to release coffee book

Courtesy of Joe Coffee

Coffee and books are a dynamic duo. Ahem, coffee table tomes anyone? Joe Coffee is hopping on the cart of success: brother and sister owners Gabrielle and Jonathan Rubinstein recently announced their upcoming book, Joe: It’s All About Coffee, to be released in 2012. We asked Gabrielle if she could spill some details about the book, but she said she had to remain tight-lipped until closer to the release date. Illustrated and investigative, the book will explore the back story behind the coffee business, like “growers, buyers, roasters, baristas, and drinkers.” Gabrielle and Jonathan are authoring the book alongside food writer Judith Choate—the book will be published by Lyons Press. Keep your eyes agog for more details in a few months!


Spectrum | Jul. 12 7:02 pm EST

Freshman housing assignments—some news and some advice

File Photo / Spec

According to a representative from Housing Services, freshman housing assignments will be released sometime before July 15. After freshman assignments are finalized, Housing will get started with summer transfer requests.

To commemorate the dawn of a new era, here’s some splendid advice about living at Columbia as a freshman, provided by Spectrum’s new Daily Editors.

Something you should know about living at Columbia your freshman year is… More »