Here are this week’s top stories and op-eds that you don’t want to miss.
1. In honor of Black History Month, Spectator is publishing a series of profiles on notable black alumni scholars, activists, leaders, and more whose stories we have previously overlooked and failed to cover.
The first article in this series features Raymond Brown, CC ’69, who came into the national spotlight during the 1968 protests as the leader of the Student Afro-American Society, a group that led the community—and inspired the nation—in protest against Columbia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and gentrification of Harlem. Brown is also a calligraphy-writing, yoga-practicing grandfather to a two-year-old boy.
2. The Athena Film Festival announced this year’s awardees on Thursday. Nina Shaw, BC ’76, Law ’79, will receive the Athena award for her work as a founding organizer in the Time’s Up Movement. Director, producer, writer, and actor Desiree Akhavan will be recognized with the Breakthrough award, and cohead of the Toronto International Film Festival Cameron Bailey will take home the Leading Man award.
3. Bid Goswami, Columbia’s men’s tennis head coach, has announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2019 season. His retirement comes at the end of an esteemed, and trophy-filled, 37-year career.
Not only has he coached the Lion’s to 13 Ivy League championships, he’s kept this winning streak alive with 5 consecutive titles since 2014. Goswami will be succeeded by current associate head coach Howard Endelman, CC ’87, who was incidentally Goswami’s first recruit.
4. The Columbia researchers responsible for conducting a $2.2 million study on the sexual behaviors of college students emphasized the necessity for an intersectional, holistic approach to addressing sexual violence—one which takes into account factors ranging from mental health to campus space—in an interview with Spectator last week.
The Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation, or SHIFT, is a years-long research project that aims to explore the factors that shape sexual health and violence for undergraduate students at Columbia. In the interview, the researchers said that Columbia’s decision to open JJ’s Place for 22 hours and the increase of communal spaces in Lerner Hall could reduce the prevalence of sexual violence.
5. Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli, BC ’91, served up some life lessons in an address she gave in the Diana Center Event Oval on Monday. Guarnaschelli shared stories of her time dodging class and eating bagels at Barnard, revealing to the audience that she did not figure out what to do with her life until graduation day. She then chronicled her journey post-Barnard, including her time attending culinary school in France, becoming an executive chef at Butter Restaurant in New York, and competing on “Iron Chef.”
5. Columbia’s relationship to the local community in the post-Manhattanville era is a delicate balancing act. One branch of that relationship is a set of hiring targets regarding minority, women, and local workers at the Manhattanville campus construction site—but those targets are more complicated than they might seem. How have local hiring targets shaped Manhattanville construction?
7. Sororities, like Columbia itself, are predominantly white institutions. However, is being black a mutually exclusive identity from being in a sorority? In her first column, Eileen Moudou illustrates why she shouldn’t have to constantly explain that her participation in Greek life doesn’t negate her identity as a black woman. In fact, she posits, she joined Greek life in spite of Theta’s history with racism—not in disregard of it.
She further argues that all black students at Columbia make a similar choice when choosing to attend Columbia, suggesting that black students attend Columbia in spite of, not in disregard, of this institution’s history with racism. She pushes back on the idea that she can’t hold her sorority sisters accountable nor advocate for womxn of color for the rest of her life. Those who say otherwise are dead wrong.
8. Finally, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and love is in the air. We hope you’re also taking time to celebrate love that is perhaps less obvious than romance, like love towards your families, biological or chosen, your friends, and most importantly, yourself.
Galentine’s is the perfect day for “ladies celebrating ladies,” as our beloved Leslie Knope says. Whether that means having a DIY karaoke throwdown or treating yourselves to a spa night, take time with your friends to celebrate and appreciate the friendships and memories you hold together!
It is also important to spend time loving and caring for yourself, whether that means taking yourself on a date, or reminding yourself of three things that make you smile. It’s the small things that matter, and, at the end of the day, love is all in the details, isn’t it?
9. And also, something you might not know from the Columbia University and Slavery project…
Havemeyer Hall was named after the Havemeyer family, the owners of the company American Sugar Refining, which produced Domino Sugar and continuously exploited the labor of slaves in Cuba. We invite you to remain cognizant at all times, and especially in light of Black History Month, of the immense history of exploitation and inequality that Columbia as an institution was built upon, and to consider its continued ramifications in the present. Read more about Columbia’s hidden history here.
The Week in Review comes out every Saturday at 10am.