To the Editor:
It has been a few years since my old renegade days as Columbia College’s resident long-haired, pot-smoking, drifter-with-a-cause, but Spectator’s insightful August 26 orientation issue allowed me to briefly relive those hazy four years, and inspired me to share some of my own experiences at CC. First, my medical experiences: Soon into my first year, I fainted twice in gym class for no apparent reason. After Health Services misdiagnosed me with “exhaustion,” I wound up in St. Luke’s with late-stage pneumonia. Second, my administrative experiences: As a sophomore, I discovered the impossibility of getting academic credit by doing graduate coursework at SIPA even though I had procured the necessary permission to take the course, and as a senior, I spent many bureaucracy-filled days politely shuffling papers all over campus once I was alerted—two weeks before graduation—that my junior year study-abroad credits would not fulfill my graduation requirements. The truth was that I had taken many more credits than was necessary to qualify, and I did indeed graduate on time. But the burden was on me, though Columbia had the paperwork for more than a year. And lastly, secret societies. I was particularly perturbed by the discovery of at least two secret societies on campus, whose names, if not those of their members, can now be found on the Internet—the Sachems and the Naocoms. Their purposes may have been well-intended—who knows?—but sadly they were unaccountable, except perhaps indirectly through pressure from alumni. I would encourage you to do your own research, reach your own conclusions, and decide which kind of institution(s) deserve your future voluntary financial support.
Campus spirit need not only take the form of participation in sports, memorizing Glee Club mantras, chaining yourself to Hamilton Hall, or “chillaxing” on the steps of Low Library. You are the customer and you have the power. Use it thoughtfully.
Columbia College '90