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Guglielmo Vedovotto / Columbia Daily Spectator

Happy Saturday!

Here are this week’s top stories and op-eds that you don’t want to miss.

1. The number of usable classroom spaces on campus has remained largely fixed despite a 35 percent increase in Arts and Sciences and Engineering student enrollment over the past decade.

The Faculty of the Arts and Sciences has perennially found itself in a state of financial insecurity, which some faculty say has been exacerbated by the strain of big-scale University projects started during President Lee Bollinger’s term. A significant part of the strain has been felt by the University’s facilities—facing pressure from a small budget, the constraints of New York City, and a continuously growing student body, the number of available classrooms and their sizes have remained largely unchanged over the past decade.

For students, the shortages mean that classes will continue to be held earlier in the morning, later in the evening, and on off days such as Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

2. Barnard has strengthened its focus over the past few years on increasing inclusive pedagogy in the classroom, as seen through the creation of the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Barnard Bold Conference, and a number of workshops.

But adjunct professors—who teach a significant amount of coursework and interact with a considerable amount of the undergraduate body—often do not attend these programs, even though many said they would be more than willing to engage with issues of diversity and inclusivity in the classroom. Citing both their schedules—which often include teaching courses at other universities—and lack of direct outreach to adjuncts, faculty emphasized that these programs do not seem open to adjuncts, and that the initiatives are largely or exclusively attended by full-time faculty.

Kirill Buskirk

3. Local Italian favorite Pisticci talked to Spectator about its commitment to environmental sustainability and to its workers, following the business model “people, planet, profit.” The restaurant generates all its electricity via wind power, and pays a company to plant trees in accordance with the amount of CO2 emissions the business generates. Owners Michael and Vivian Forte, BC ’93, were inspired to open their green business after watching “An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary written by Al Gore.

4. Morningside Heights may seem like an absolutely defined place: The Manhattan grid lends itself to cut-and-dry boundaries. But the subtleties of the neighborhood’s definition have consequences for its inhabitants, its neighbors, and the past and future of Upper Manhattan. What is local within a neighborhood—and who gets to decide?

Elza Bouhassira

5. Take a look inside the GS lounge, a place which has long stood as a home for the students of the School of General Studies. This photo essay captures the essence of the lounge through the eyes of twelve students, as they find support within each other and a home on campus in this space. It is a visual journey through a camera lens and into their experiences as students and individuals navigating this community.

6. Knowing that grad workers were going to strike at the end of the semester last spring, two LitHum professors decided to move Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon to the beginning of the syllabus. And this year, they’re sticking with that decision in the hopes that placing Toni Morrison at the center of their curriculum will challenge the idea that as time has progressed, so has the “Western canon.”

Ethan M Wu
The book "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison will be added to the Literature Humanities reading list.

7. What does it say about our university that Columbia only started to accept community college transfers a few years ago? For many students of low-income backgrounds, community college may be the most affordable option, yet when transfers such as columnist Melissa Cook—who came from Santa Barbara Community College—arrive on our campus, Columbia does not necessarily welcome them with open arms.

Stephanie Koo

8. For Valentine’s day, we collected a few lil tales of love, between friends, siblings, summer flings, and secret crushes. We wanted to celebrate the love in details, and in forms of intimacies that are perhaps less obvious than romance. We invite you all to think about your very own tiny valentine’s story as well, and celebrate love always.

9. Finally, we also want to acknowledge that Valentine’s is not for everyone. Single, in a relationship, or it’s complicated, you can still reclaim this holiday to be about you, the people you love, and the things you cherish.

Moreover, If you ever feel unsafe or simply curious about your body and relationships, never be hesitant to utilize the sexual health resources available on campus at Columbia and Barnard, or reach out to people around you.

10. And also, something you should look out for hosted by Columbia University Black History Month is Negative Space: The Black Un-Aesthetic, an exhibition as a part of BHM to engage in a “conversation to speak, call and respond, rebuke, and testify to the notion of Blackness/darkness as negative, as separate, as un-aesthetic, while simultaneously implicating, complicating, and transcending the normalized racial binaries ever-promulgated in society.” It will take place in Sulzberger Parlor on Friday, February 22, between 7 to 10 p.m. You can RSVP here.

The Week in Review comes out every Saturday at 10 a.m.

Spectrum editor Grace Lin can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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