Article Image
Columbia Spectator Staff

The 700 copies of Jester magazine that disappeared this past weekend were recovered on Monday, found in all the places that the magazine is usually located-dorms, Lerner Hall, and Mudd, among others.

One thing, though, was off: all the recovered copies of the semi-semesterly humor magazine had a sheet of paper stapled to it, reading, "Jester of Columbia promotes scientific fallacies." Below was a list of "abridged errata," stating false facts mentioned in that issue. "Seahorses plainly exist," one grievance stated, referring to an article titled "E-Document: Expose of the seahorse hoax."

The flyer included the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal logo and mentioned a Web site,, which lists further ways in which Jester has endorsed erroneous science.

Several commentators on Bwog, the Web blog of the Blue and White, attributed the prank to Jester. "This is likely all contrived by the jester," one said. "Bravo jester... you invoke classic college hijinks."

Staff members from Jester-whose brand of humor editor in chief Sam West, CC '08, called "totally off the wall, absurd, not grounded in reality at all," in Jan. 2006-couldn't quite get their story straight. Some continued to place the blame on CUSJ, while one denied that the science journal was implicated at all.

"There is an all-out war between the CUSJ and Jester," said Alex Weinberg, SEAS '08 and a Jester editor.

"Justice cannot wait several weeks for bureaucratic approval," added West, in explaining why the staff would not involve public safety.

Two days earlier, before the magazines turned up, West wrote in an e-mail that he had "no reason to believe CUSJ was the 'culprit' in this 'caper.'" And Jester publisher Eli Goldfarb said late Tuesday that "there is no reason or evidence to believe that CUSJ was involved as far as Jester is concerned."

Gabriel Morris, CC '08 and editor in chief of CUSJ, said that Jester had taken the prank a step too far. "We had nothing to do with this. These are serious accusations, and they're punishable by established practices within student group guidelines proscribed by SDA, and we hope that we can move on beyond this."

-Julie Appel