LETTERS FROM THE EDITOR
INSIDE THE ISSUE
A Columbia initiative has placed hundreds in University jobs. But many local residents have never heard of it.
October 25th, 2018
Francia Fernandez emerges from the underlit, green-tiled foyer of the Grant Houses public housing complex on Broadway as a subway train rumbles overhead. In a baby pink headband and grey sweatpants, she is stepping out just to run some errands. We converse outside the building, her dyed-blond ponytail swishing, the cadence of her Spanish musical. Although she currently holds a cleaning job, she is seeking new employment. I point to the Columbia Employment Information Center, the boxy one-story building directly next door, and Fernandez tells me she has never heard of it. She seems surprised. “Do they have cleaning work?” she inquires, knitting her eyebrows. I nod. “Okay, I’m going to go tomorrow and apply for a cleaning job at Columbia,” Fernandez replies with determination, as if she has already marked it into her calendar. As we part ways and she walks to the 125th Street subway station to continue her day, Fernandez passes within arm’s length of the CEIC’s all-glass exterior...
Trans Students, Barnard Admissions, and the Changing Meaning of the ‘Women’s College’
October 25th, 2018
I’m standing in the Barnard quad, wrapped up against the first cold day of fall. I look over the shoulders of four prospective students, four nervous parents, and one very excited high school counselor at Aydan Shahd, who’s about to give an admissions tour. Shahd starts the tour off with a quick introduction: “Hi, my name is Aydan. I use they/them pronouns. I’m a junior at Barnard. I’m from Singapore, and I’m majoring in English with a theater concentration.”..
A Barricade Fell at the Global Citizen Festival. We Thought We Heard Gunshots
October 23rd, 2018
It really wasn’t that bad, I tell myself for the 100th time, burning my fingers on hot fries from JJ’s, aimlessly swirling ketchup around with them.
The Other Columbia: The Story of Columbia Secondary School
March 5th, 2018
“The chickens are in for the night!” a small sign announces. You may have seen it—it hangs at an angle on a chain-link fence bordering a tiny plot of land next to Friedman’s on 119th Street and Amsterdam. Chickens in New York City? I wondered when I first saw the tiny wooden slat suspended by a shoelace. Surrounded by the grandeur of Columbia’s libraries and the concrete and brick of West Harlem’s restaurants, this tiny garden seems out of place. Chickens are especially unimaginable. ..
The Room, The Pencil, and the Rolled R
March 2nd, 2018
I’m standing in my too-warm room with a yellow Ticonderoga pencil between my teeth. It’s the summer before college, but the woody taste reminds me of being in elementary school––maybe because I haven’t used pencils to do my homework since then, or felt particularly inclined to chew on them. But I’m doing this right now because an eHow article told me that speaking with a pencil in my mouth would help me learn how to roll my R’s...
Can Columbian Intertextuality Be Classist?
March 2nd, 2018
My class reads from John Berryman’s book of poetry, 77 Dream Songs, “Once in a sycamore I was glad all at the top, and I sang.” Someone raises their hand to say, “We are, of course, reminded of the story of Zacchaeus in Luke in the Bible.” I just thought it was a tree. As the conversation burrows deeper into the Zacchaeus pinhole, it starts to sound like Charlie Brown’s parents...
Building Communities: The Impact of Redefining Special Interest Houses
April 5th, 2018
Editors’ Note: This is the first of a two-part series on special interest communities at Columbia.
An Art Show in Riverside Church
March 15th, 2018
I really like the elevators in Riverside Church. There’s little foot traffic and rarely any congestion, so my rides down from the fourth floor—where the Spectator offices reside—down to the entrance level, are normally quick, solitary, and uninterrupted. Today, though, the elevator stops three times. Ding! A woman, cradling her purse like a baby, scurries in with four friends. Ding! A family of three, downed in matching deep-blue satin and magenta velvet, flood through the doors. Ding! We stampede out into the assembly hall where a jazz ensemble greets us. ..