Posts Tagged ‘neil fitzpatrick’

Opinion | Dec. 9 11:58 am EST

A confusion of priorites at SEAS

Mira / flickr

As you may have heard, Columbia, the faculty of SEAS is not happy with Dean Peña-Mora. The New York Times published a letter yesterday that was signed by seven of the nine SEAS department chairs and a large number of tenured professors who requested that the dean be removed from office. The letter included complaints about Peña-Mora’s decision to double graduate class sizes in the hopes of increasing revenue to pay the salaries of more top professors. Hiring top professors is a way to improve the graduate school’s U.S. News & World Report Ranking, but the increase in class sizes came when the dean had already hired an outside consulting firm “to reclaim 25% of the school’s space for other purposes.” As a result, according to the letter, some grad students are now forced to sit on the floor or in the hall during class.

The general gist of the complaints seem to be that the dean has been sacrificing everything in the name of short-term profits, which in turn are meant to improve the school’s ranking. More »


Opinion | Dec. 3 10:09 pm EST

The difficulties of being a first-year at CU

Anja Hering / flickr

Last night I went to a poetry reading and dinner with my beginning poetry workshop. The class is comprised of mostly first-years, and at dinner we ended up talking a lot about what it’s like to be a first-year at Columbia. It reminded me of my own issues with adapting to the environment here and made me want to write about what seem to some pretty universal problems with a first semester at this school.

As the University never tires of telling us, every incoming class at Columbia is a model of diversity. But despite the various races, nationalities, interests, and (to some extent) socioeconomic backgrounds represented here, there does seem to be one thing that the vast majority of CU students have in common—a “Type A” personality. More »


Opinion | Nov. 28 1:14 pm EST

What are you doing next year?

Tracy O / flickr

A funny thing happened this Thanksgiving, Columbia. That three-year-old Standard Issue question of “How’s school?”—asked so often by friends, relatives, and kids you’re happy you haven’t seen since 12th grade— suddenly changed. It turns out that I’m a senior now, a fact which I’m more willing to blame on some kind of portal* in my McBain double than on the normal passage of time. But whatever the reason, the thing my relatives, friends, and former acquaintances wanted to know most (or pretended to want to know most) over this break was, “What are you doing next year?”

I’ve already written about my plans for graduate school, but I wanted to take this opportunity to write about what seemed to be the most common answers to that question this Thanksgiving—finance and consulting. More »


Opinion | Nov. 17 9:05 pm EST

To pass a class

merwing✿little dear / flickr

If you’re in Barnard, you may still be deciding whether or not to Pass/D/Fail. (Sorry, rest of Columbia, the deadline was at 5 p.m.) So here is the advice from our beloved bloggers for those who still don’t know what to do—remember to decide by 11:30 tonight!

Caroline P/D/F: Please/Don’t/Fret! Your life and character cannot be contained by an inked letter on a piece of paper, no matter how much that letter meant to you at the time.

Neil: Aside from the whole “you’re not allowed to P/D/F a language” thing and the fact that the Core plus your major requirements means you’ll MAYBE get to use it twice in your college career, the Pass/D/Fail option is a pure good. Like pumpkin pie and “The Rescuers Down Under.”

Emily: If you wish you had dropped it, PDF it like it’s hot. (It’s a little known Snoop song.)

Will: Pass/D/Fail seems like a really great option if you’re talking a course just out of a vague and general interest. But what about your ego?


Opinion | Nov. 13 4:30 pm EST

A quick thought on the Penn State scandal

Audrey / flickr

There have been a number of troubling reactions by members of our generation, Columbia, to the recent Penn State child-abuse scandal. Most notably, there was the riot in State College, PA after the firing of head coach Joe Paterno. I’d go off on how sickening that sort of confusion of priorities is, but Jon Stewart probably said it better than I ever could.

Still, there was another reaction that bothered me only slightly less than the riot—the insistence by some people that Paterno got what he deserved because he participated in some sort of long-term cover-up of child abuse.

Let me begin by saying that I have no special affection for Joe Paterno. I’m impressed by the man’s football’s accomplishments, but that’s about it. I don’t know much about his character and I’m certainly not a Penn State fan (Go Michigan). Moreover, I think the fact that he lost his job is of little importance compared to the real issue here—the allegations of child-abuse leveled at former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. More »


Opinion | Nov. 9 3:09 pm EST

Well, so maybe soccer is our sport

Charles Roffey / flickr

I come to you today, Columbia, with the cold pragmatism born of an 0-8 start to the football season. I’ve waited four years for the Lions to be good—I never asked for an Ivy Championship, just for a team that could compete. I even spent a month as Roar-ee the lion hoping it might bring the team luck.* But today, sadly, it’s time that I admit the truth: We stink.

And I don’t just mean this year. We stink historically. We still hold the FCS record for most consecutive losses, and the last Ivy League Championship we won was 1961. The Organization as a whole peaked with a Rose Bowl win in 1934—that was 77 years ago, which, incidentally, is a very long time ago.

I don’t mean to get down on football. I do hold out hope that the right coach could turn the program around. But our historical troubles have got me wondering: What if we’re focusing on the wrong sport? More »


Opinion | Nov. 4 8:27 pm EST

Watch last night’s Conan

Neil FitzPatrick / Spec

I am tempted to just write the headline and have that be the end of the post, but I should probably explain myself a little bit.

I had the opportunity to catch the taping of “Conan” at the Beacon theater yesterday. It was awesome, as expected (partially because the funniest man in the world was the guest), but it was also important:

More »


Opinion | Oct. 29 2:40 pm EST

Eat, sleep, and be scary

Caroline Blosser / Spec

As my fellow blogger Neil FitzPatrick reminds us, Halloween provides a smashing (pun) opportunity to reconnect with the idylls of our childhoods, and reanimate (zombie pun) the whimsical, irony-less wonder of being young and armed with an empty pillow case on the hunt for the house with king-size butterfingers.

Thus, in the spirit of the season, I present the following lessons to be learned from zombies:

Eat: Hunger and malnourishment can lead to horrible consequences. Like this. (Beware—watch only if you have a stomach for gore.)

Sleep: Think you don’t need sleep? Neither do Zombies. Do yourself a solid, and get some (sleep, that is, not zombies. Although the latter could be interesting.) More »


Opinion | Oct. 28 11:31 am EST

Playing the part

jmatthew3 / flickr

For this week’s Quick and Dirty, opinion bloggers reveal their dress-up plans for Halloween.

Naomi: Candy corn—yellow pants, orange shirt, white hat.

Will Holt: When in doubt: Hunter S. Thompson.

Caroline: I may or may not have purchased an adult footie pajama set with paw gloves and a pin on the tail to look like Max from Where The Wild Things Are. Costume that doubles as pajamas = WIN.

Emily: In my senior year of high school I dressed up as a prep, and everyone told me how much better I looked than usual and asked if I was my sister. In my freshman year of college, I drew whiskers on my face and called myself a cat. Sophomore year, I visited a friend at the University of Texas, and was told that I had to be a Slutty Gypsy (I have since realized that this is offensive to both women and the Roma people). Last year, I went home and sat on my couch. But this year, I’ve got it all figured out. I’m going to be a preppy Slutty Cat sitting on a couch.

Neil: I’m going as Little Pete from The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Which reminds me, does anyone have a Hawaiian shirt I can borrow?


Opinion | Oct. 27 7:17 pm EST

Let’s fix Halloween

Jeff Golden / flickr

Halloween is broken, Columbia. It all started one fall day in middle school when I woke up and my idiot friends had become those kids—the ones whose half-assed costumes were just their excuses to smash pumpkins, who stole the bowl (not the candy) when people left a sign saying “take one,” who hid toilet paper in their pillowcases so they could mar the houses whose owners weren’t home.

More »