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Diane Kim / Art Director

Dear readers,

Welcome back to campus and to Volume XXVI of The Eye!

It’s tax season, which at four months is just about as long as Columbia’s midterm season. This week, we’re talking mostly about Columbia’s money—but don’t worry, there’s also a headless eel in the mix.

Columbia’s endowment is big—$10.9 billion big, to be exact (as of October 2018). While we haven’t quite crunched the numbers, we know it’s more than six times bigger than the biggest lottery jackpot, ever… in other words, almost the cost of your Orgo textbook. We could spend our entire college careers investigating where that endowment money goes, but we’ll settle for one issue (for now). We’ll even throw in Barnard’s spending too—why not?

In this week’s cover story, peek through a crack in the otherwise closed door of Columbia’s investments. The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing was formed in 2000 to give student activists a say in what happens with Columbia’s direct holdings. But what do student activists do when they feel like the committee is doing the opposite? AJ McDougall investigates the growing rift between the student body and ACSRI.

Across the street, students are pushing for Barnard to spend ethically—having cooked up a boycott last fall. Megan Evershed briefly brings us back as she follows the lead-up to Barnard No Aramark’s protest and how the organizers took on a $9.4 billion company with financial ties to the prison industry.

Before MTA’s fare increase hits this spring, take one last $2.75 1 train ride up to 125th and Broadway, home of the Manhattanville campus—a campus which has seen a lot of Columbia’s money in recent years. The buildings you see were built by, among others, construction workers like Valerie Adams. Sara Bell caught up with her and some labor experts in examining Columbia’s local hiring targets and their implications on the Manhattanville construction site.

Moving away from money—and from Columbia—Parmis Taraghi takes us to Giverny, France, as she reflects on the difficult decision to ignore her aunt’s final wish. Willa Cuthrell-Tuttleman writes about rediscovering a self-portrait she made while growing up Chinese in her white family.

To finish up the issue, Grace Holleman walks the often overlooked Riverside Drive, and Sara finds a headless eel just blocks away in our two Eyesights.

We hope you enjoy this week’s issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Follow us on our social media (like we followed the money)—Like and $ub$cribe!


Julian, Candy, and Gavrielle

Editor’s Note: This Letter From the Editors was taken down while errors in the cover story were addressed. These errors have since been amended.

Issue 1 The Eye money headless eel family Columbia ACSRI Barnard No Aramark local construction workers investments divestment SRI