It doesn't take a McKinsey report to know that Barnard is in financial turmoil, even if the administration seems to live by the motto "Keep calm and carry on." Barnard has initiated a number of blatant cost-cutting measures under the auspices of practicality. It forced all students living in the quad—even upperclassman—to have meal plans, supposedly to build community. It is beginning the process of turning the pool into office space because, hey, who doesn't want more office space? Most egregiously, it scaled back the sacred nine ways of knowing to eight and a half—half of the PE requirement is gone. Barnard, let's be blunt, it's time to admit that you have a money problem. Out of the kindness of our hearts, we have compiled a list of cost-saving ideas (free of charge) to help your vaunted institution get back on its feet. Some are simple, and will quickly line your coffers with stacks of Benjamins. As Barnard describes its famous floral mascot, "the flowering of the magnolia tree on Lehman Lawn has long been synonymous with springtime at Barnard." You know what else is synonymous with springtime? Raising a permanent red flag on the magnolia tree's lawn to cut down on maintenance costs. Then only opening it for prospective students. Then cutting down the magnolia and selling it for scrap wood. How about Barnard invest more money in Greek games, as did Columbia with Baker Field—because as we all know, our strong sports culture makes for great alumni donations. Some changes may seem a little more heartless, but as Machiavelli always said, the ends justify the means. Columbia students always seem jealous of Barnard's superior advising program. Why not rent out Barnard advisers to desperate Columbia students at the pay-by-the-hour rate of a billboard litigator? Barnard has received a lot of buzz recently for having Barack Obama speak at commencement—capitalize on that capital! Sell tickets for the commencement at $1,000 a pop, and find a corporate sponsor for the event. Just make sure to keep it hip so as not to lose the "cool" factor, like the 2012 Instagram Barnard Commencement. They surely have some money lying around after their recent merger with Facebook. Some of the more extreme measures may seem desperate, but clearly Barnard is getting extreme. Barnard should take a step toward forming a corporate partnership in order to initiate a bailout, say with a company like Goldman Sachs. Maybe if Debora Spar reached out to them and tried to sit on their board ... If that doesn't work, Barnard should look for some Seven Sisterly love. Start a "Help A Sistah Out" campaign and reach out to the five true sisters that remain. Worst comes to worst, Barnard has one last resort. Commission McKinsey for a recommendation to integrate the college with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It's clearly worked out for every other school that's tried it. If Barnard followed these wonderful propositions, it would go back to swimming in money—and swimming in its own pool—in no time.
Columbia Spectator Staff