News | Administration

Obama to speak at Barnard commencement

  • OUT OF THE BLUE | President Barack Obama, CC ’83, waves to the crowds at his Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration ceremony.

Updated 3/5/12.

President Barack Obama, CC ’83, will speak at Barnard College commencement on May 14, the college announced on Saturday.

“This is an extraordinary honor for Barnard and we are thrilled to welcome President Obama for this important moment in the lives of our graduates and their families,” Barnard President Debora Spar said in a statement. “His commitment to empowering women is so meaningful to our students, who aspire to lead and make their mark on the world.”

Having the president as commencement speaker is a coup for any school, though not one that Barnard actively pursued. Spar told Spectator that she received an unexpected call from the White House on Wednesday with the offer of Obama as commencement speaker.

Barnard had previously announced that New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson would be commencement speaker. According to the college’s statement, Abramson, the Times’ first female executive editor, is “happy to speak at Barnard at a later date.”

“Jill Abramson was our choice this year. We went with her, we were delighted to get her,” Spar said. “So this was really a surprise.”

Spar said in her statement that while students will no longer be able to receive unlimited tickets to commencement, every student will get at least six tickets. The ceremony will probably be held on South Lawn.

Barnard/Columbia divide
Barnard students were elated to hear that Obama would be their commencement speaker, but the announcement left many Columbia College students in disbelief. Obama is a graduate of Columbia College, and Columbia students have tried for the last three years to convince him to speak at his alma mater.

“It’s going to be really exciting to see him live,” Eva Vaillancourt, BC ’12, said. “He’s kind of a rock star. I still consider myself a supporter, and I’ll be supporting him in the election.”

“I think it’s going to be a great way to end college,” Alexa Jaccarino, BC ’12, said, adding that she expects Obama to talk about “something hopeful, something inspiring ... I guess something with a minor feminist bent, because he does have a lot of platforms that have to do with women’s rights.”

Lauren Perrine, BC ’12, said she called her mother ecstatically when she heard that Obama would be speaking.

“Barnard has had a history of having great commencement speakers, and I think everyone in the class is really excited to have the president come and speak,” she said.

Barnard’s last four commencement speakers have been Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, actress Meryl Streep, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“All of us can be proud that President Obama, the first Columbia graduate to serve in the nation’s highest office, has chosen to honor the importance of women’s leadership by returning to campus at our historic sister liberal arts college for women in New York,” University President Lee Bollinger said in the Barnard statement.

But Obama’s decision to speak at Barnard has caused some heated reactions among Columbia students. Emilio Fajardo, CC ’15, said that the decision “seems like a slap in the face” to Columbia.

Over the last few years, there have been unsuccessful efforts to petition Obama to speak at Columbia. Sean Udell, CC ’11 and president of the class of 2011, spearheaded the POTUS Project, a campaign to convince Obama to speak at Columbia’s commencement ceremony last year.

“I’m shocked and happy that Barnard will get to have Obama speak at their commencement,” Udell said. “I’m quite disappointed, of course, that President Obama spoke to our sister school, instead of his alma mater.”

Donia Abdelaziz, CC ’12, said that women’s issues are as pertinent to Columbia students as they are to Barnard students.

“As a Columbia woman myself, I find it disappointing that he wouldn’t have thought to bring these issues to his alma mater,” Abdelaziz said.

Udell speculated that Obama has not spoken at Columbia either because he had a “poor experience” here or because “speaking at an Ivy League university is not a particularly politically advantageous thing to do.” But considerating that Obama is speaking at the country’s most selective women’s college, Udell said, it’s more likely that “he just really didn’t like Columbia.”

“It’s hard for students not to read this as an explicit rejection of the school that he went to,” Rui Yu, CC ’14, said.

Some Columbia College students, while disappointed, said they did not begrudge Barnard students the chance to hear Obama.

“I’m really excited for Barnard … I’m a little jealous, but I don’t understand people who are bitter,” Laura Fisher, CC ’14, said.

Topical issues
Rachel Ferrari, BC ’13 and vice president of Barnard’s Student Government Association, said she was thrilled to learn that Obama would be speaking, especially because “women’s issues are becoming more of a topic of conversation.”

“It’s very in the moment for him to do this,” Ferrari said. “I think it’s a very appropriate time.”

The inclusion of contraceptives in health insurance plans has recently become a national political issue. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress in 2010, requires employers to cover preventative care—including contraceptives—in their health insurance plans, but following criticism from religious leaders and conservative politicians, the Obama administration announced last month that churches and other religious organizations would be exempt from this mandate.

Virginia’s state legislature also made headlines last week when it passed a bill requiring women to undergo ultrasounds before having abortions, except in cases where the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. Spar said Obama probably wanted to speak at Barnard this year because women’s issues have been in the news.

“I think clearly and somewhat surprisingly, women’s issues have just blown into the political debate this year in ways that are pretty unexpected,” Spar said. “It’s hard to imagine we’re still debating contraception in 2012 … but here we are.”

Spar added that these debates are especially shocking for her because she has spent time talking to women who were on campus in the late 1960s, which she described as “the searing moment in history” for women’s rights.

“They were really deeply marked by the struggle for reproductive rights, for access to abortion,” she said. “It’s pretty stunning that these debates would be coming back more than 40 years later.”

A White House official told the New York Times that “as the father of two daughters, President Obama wanted to speak to some of America’s next generation of women leaders.”

Over the last three years, Barnard has frequently collaborated with Obama administration officials in its efforts to highlight women’s leadership. In addition to speaking at Barnard commencement in 2009, Clinton spoke at the Women in Public Service conference, which was hosted by the State Department, Barnard, and four other women’s colleges in December. Twelve Barnard students attended the Washington, D.C. conference.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, headlined a day-long forum on women in business held at Barnard’s Diana Center last month.

At the commencement ceremony, Obama will receive a Barnard Medal of Distinction from Spar, as will CARE USA President and CEO Helene D. Gayle, BC ’76; Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson; and Barnard chemistry professor Sally Chapman. Spar said she is not sure whether Obama’s family—including his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, BC ’93—will attend commencement.

Lillian Chen, Audrey Greene, Adam Koling, Avantika Kumar, Margaret Mattes, Amanda Stibel, and Mikey Zhong contributed reporting.

finn.vigeland@columbiaspectator.com

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Anonymous posted on

WTF.

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You voted '-1'.
Anonymous posted on

I know, right? You'd think the recent coverage of the contraception debate would have let spec know that religious organizations are NOT exempt from the new regulations: they, through higher premiums, will need to support the compromise policy, whereby insurance companies are mandated to provide free access to contraception in their plans.

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Anonymous posted on

IS THIS A JOKE

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Anonymous posted on

I can't even with this fuckery. I just can't. Why is Barnard getting President Obama, a COLUMBIA graduate? Why couldn't they get Michelle Obama? My goodness, this is nonsense. Why does the President consistently turn down speaking at Columbia?

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Anonymous posted on

Yeah, it's pretty much a law that everyone who speaks at the Barnard commencement must have graduated from Barnard.

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Anonymous posted on

I'm aware of Columbia's rule regarding commencement speakers; they must be affiliated, not necessarily graduates, with Columbia. Sigh. Now Barnard girls will be all "Suck it, Columbia!" and actually acknowledge that they go to Barnard and not Columbia. Funsies!

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Anonymous posted on

Yeah, maybe they will finally admit they go to Barnard and they can stop taking our classes, hanging out on our campus, and using our facilities. 

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Anonymous posted on

which we pay you a shit ton of money for, by the way, and which you reciprocate. 

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Anonymous posted on

Let's compare the numbers of Barnardians who take Columbia classes and vice versa. I think you'll find a large disparity.

And other than that- why can't you be proud to go to BC? Then we'd be happy for you when something good happens. Instead, because you are so persistent in lying to other people and acting like you go to Columbia, it's very hypocritical that all of a sudden you're full of pride for your actual college.

A Barnard friend of mine posted how happy she was that at "our" school, you can see Jeremy Lin at a basketball game one day and Obama the next. The problem is very clear here: Barnard can consider Columbia "our school" and gain access to all of its incredible opportunities. But can we attend your commencement? No. Just consider, if Obama spoke at the Universitywide commencement, Barnard graduates could watch him speak too. In that situation, it would be "our" school. Yet now that he's speaking at Barnard, it's just yours. It's a deliberate move to exclude Columbia, which we feel upset about both in terms of his decision and our inability to access him at Barnard.

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Anonymous posted on

But is this inaccesablity due to Barnard or President Obame who chose to speak at Barnard's Class Day?

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Anonymous posted on

they aren't YOUR facilities--get over yourself and just be happy for your neighbors across the street 

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Anonymous posted on

Wow Uchech, as your friend and as a fellow member of CC '15 i am rly embarrassed by your comments. You seem to throw all your animosity on Barnard and really go at them harshly. Its not even cool........ Lets be honest, we all wish Obama came to CC, his Alma Mater but HE chose Barnard just as OPRAH chose Barnard. Why are we barking at Barnard instead. We should be proud that regardless the President of the United States will be speaking at commencement of our sister-college.

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Anonymous posted on

My issue with Barnard students has nothing to do with Obama visiting. I mean, we all know the real reason why he is speaking at their commencement. Anyone familiar with politics knows why he's doing this. I actually feel bad for them and commend the Barnard students who recognize his MO. Now, Oprah's reason for visiting was for the ACTUAL empowerment of women. I wasn't jealous or mad about that. Female empowerment isn't Obama's actual reason for visiting, unlike Oprah's, so don't compare the two. My issue with Barnard students is their "Suck it, Columbia!" attitude whenever something awesome happens for them. It's pathetic. Also, I have a fucking right to be pissed. I feel incredibly sorry for Columbia seniors who have asked time and time again for the President to come and speak and have only gotten snubbed. How many times has Obama even mentioned Columbia? As poster "cc" said so well below: 

"They're not sexist comments. put yourself in CC's shoes - this is our most prestigious alum, who many of us have been desperately trying to get to come to our school, much less acknowledge that he went here, for ages. if the same thing happened the other way around, you guys would feel the same way."

So be embarrassed by my reaction; I frankly don't care. You have a right to your reaction, just as I have a right to mine. I have nothing against Barnard as an institution; it's an excellent institution in need of true independence. It's an institution who has students that should be proud of their school, but instead has students who use the school across the street on paper and in spoken word when it is of their convenience. Not all of them do this, though, and I commend them for it. If anything, I have both Barnard AND Columbia's administrations to blame for all of this.

And for future posts, it's Uchechi. 

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Anonymous posted on

No, thanks, honey, for figuring it out. You're SO SMART. We all know why he's coming. None of us are that thick, and figuring out his motivations doesn't take a political genius to figure that out. Thanks for the condescending remarks, and by the way, we couldn't care less as to why he chose to come. It's still going to be great. Au revoir. 

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Anonymous posted on

Ok I agreed with you in your first post now i just think you are bitter and distasteful. I'm guessing by your friends post your a first year. Even us as seniors are not even mad. This Barnard/Columbia situation is never going to be resolved. But your comments were so concerning. Omg. I found your comments since an article i was reading quoted you as "the angry CC student". Please look it up. The world is watching us stop making us look bad.

To any one reading this, the above comment in NO WAY reflects any of the feelings of the majority of CC students. We wish President Obama had came and spoke at the University graduation so all the undergrad colleges of the University (CC, BC, SEAS and GS) can attend. The hatred is coming mainly from our younger peers who find it "in fashion" to throw shots at BC. In reality the interactions between the two colleges are in fair spirits as always. I have Barnard students in my classes just as i have GS studies as well. Vice versa also occurs. I have taken a fair number of classes at Barnard as well. I fear that many may think these childish jabs at the each other doesn't repeal any prospective students from attending our fine institution.

-A CC senior who is excited to have the President back on the University campus.

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Anonymous posted on

Barnard College is not an undergraduate college of Columbia University. It is an affiliate. If it were, we would have access to their opportunities in exactly the same way they do ours. But do I see any Barnardians expressing a desire to open their commencement to Columbia grads? Nope.

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Anonymous posted on

Actually my friend, each college has its OWN Commencement then we have the University commencement. Each college has their own class day and This Class Day Commencement is where Obama will be speaking for Barnard and MacArthur will be speaking for CC. I don't know who the speakers are for GS and SEAS. If anyone does, please post it. So, in reality that is a horrible example. Sorry.

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You voted '+1'.
Anonymous posted on

I call BS. your grammar is terrible.

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Anonymous posted on

I think everyone gets why he's coming. And I think it's fantastic that he's trying to show a symbolic display of support for women.

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Anonymous posted on

btw i meant to reply to your comment not like it. Also "anyone familiar with politics knows why he's doing this. I actually feel
bad for them and commend the Barnard students who recognize his MO."
woah thats some extreme hatred of Barnard from you. Obviously everyone knows its a political move but at the end of the day, what school wouldn't want the President to speak at their commencement political or not? I think that part especially makes no sense. Grow up kid.

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Anonymous posted on

My comment was actually based upon comments that I read from Barnard students themselves. If you have an issue with that, then too bad. My "feeling bad" deals with the fact that his visit, I fell, has less to do with empowerment of women and more with garnering votes and projecting an image in the media. It's a smart move, just one I about which feel iffy. I have clearly stated that I do not hate Barnard; it truly is an excellent institution in its own right. And ColumbiaCollegesenior, I am not one to do shit because it is "in fashion." As you stated, majority of CU students don't share my sentiment, so being "in fashion" doesn't quite work here, does it? All I did was say that I don't care if someone is embarrassed by my comment, and call out the Barnard students with a "Suck it, Columbia" attitude. Obviously (and thankfully), not all Barnard students are reacting in this way. What's so wrong with that?

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Anonymous posted on

*feel

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Anonymous posted on

Goodness, what a little brat you are. 

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Anonymous posted on

Goodness, what a huge brat you are.

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Anonymous posted on

If you're really a CC senior I have no idea how you made it through 4 years at this school with an attitude like this. Grow up.

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Anonymous posted on

I looked this girl up. She's a first year, which explains a lot. In the meanwhile, I'll be walking in the other direction if I ever meet her. 

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Anonymous posted on

You won't meet me, dear, and the only walking you'll be doing in my direction, if any, is the riding of my coattails. 

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Anonymous posted on

Wow...that is shockingly ignorant. You are even attacking your very own CC peer. I am starting to think your problem is not just with Barnard being apart of the 4 Columbia Undergraduates, its purely apart of your character. This saddens me deeply to see my own peer so full of their own self-pride. "To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation" -Chinese Proverb

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Anonymous posted on

I don't think you understand it. Comments like yours are being read by the world and is embarrassing our school. They are starting to think that Columbia is in an uproar with Barnard with is very false. It is the jealous anger of some students.

Maybe this article will help:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03...

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Anonymous posted on

Does putting yourself in CC's shoes mean putting Barnard down? I don't think you should reference me because I was writing to mean, if you were a CC student you would be deeply disappointed, which I am but in the President not Barnard. Upon reading about his experience here after, however, i understand and do not question his actions. He probably thought we would all be excited to have him back on campus at least but look at us, throwing mean comments both ways.

Make no mistake, my post did not support that anyone should attack Barnard, quite frankly we should put our disappointment away, as I have, and be excited that hes even coming. Attacking Barnard is just low and a distasteful case of sibling rivalry. We are all under Columbia University. Lets not create divisions.

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Anonymous posted on

Hate to burst you bubble but they do go to Columbia University. Check out Columbia's own page: http://www.cs.columbia.edu/edu...

Of you want to kick out Barnard, then I feel like soon GS students are also going to be attacked with the same stance. We all go to Columbia University whether it be Barnard College, Columbia College, School of Engineering or General Studies. Whats the problem with accepting that? Your barking only brings chaos. There is much more problem in the world we have to worry about than something that has been accepted and isn't going to change.

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Anonymous posted on

That's on some random page on the CS site. Try the admissions page. 

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Anonymous posted on

You want to see the admissions page you say?

http://www.columbia.edu/conten... 

What's that? Barnard's listed 4th down on the Columbia University official admissions page? You don't say...

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Anonymous posted on

Yeah, in the list of CU schools. So I guess JTS, Nursing, Dental, and Social Work are all undergrad schools in the university too.

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Anonymous posted on

you're right, Barnard women would make excellent first ladies. Why should the president speak to them? Michelle's a much more appropriate role model.

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Anonymous posted on

Wow okay, pretty sure Barnard women would make excellent presidents too, not just first ladies. Why shouldn't he come speak at Barnard? As much as I appreciate Michelle Obama, she isn't "more appropriate" than the President of the United States.

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Anonymous posted on

This was meant to be sarcastic, right?

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Anonymous posted on

Yeah, sorry anon & BC Alum, this was meant to be 100% sarcastic but I guess that wasn't obvious enough via the internet.

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Anonymous posted on

Where the President speaks has nothing to do with his wishes.  It has to do with the image it creates in the media.  If a President speaks at an Ivy League school, he looks like an elitist.  If he speaks at a women's college, he looks concerned about women's issues, which Democrats perceive as a political winner right now.

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Anonymous posted on

Regardless of that he hated his years here and was treated like crap and isolated. Also, judging by all the mean comments of Columbia College to Barnard I wouldnt want to speak here either. The debate is childish

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Anonymous posted on

 Obummer was and is crap. He was treated as he deserved to be. Wouldn't it be great of BC students turned their backs on him and/or walked out?

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TheSnarkyVictorian posted on

For real?

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Anonymous posted on

You guys, it's fake, CUCR invited them. 

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Anonymous posted on

Pres. Obama is coming to speak at Barnard College of Columbia University, the entire University should be proud.  Well except CUCR, they are still looking for his birth certificate.     University President Lee C. Bollinger said, "All of us can be proud that President Obama, the first Columbia graduate to serve in the nation's highest office, has chosen to honor the importance of women's leadership by returning to campus at our historic sister liberal arts college for women in New York." 

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Anonymous posted on

Teddy Roosevelt, FDR?

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Anonymous posted on

Never graduated from the Law School.

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Anonymous posted on

 University Prezbo, Lee Bollinger is both a dork and a knee jerk liberal.

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Anonymous posted on

This is funny, but the real issue here is that the entire University would be proud... IF we had access to Barnard's commencement as they would if Obama had chosen to speak at ours. 

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Anonymous posted on

Each school has its own Class Day and chooses its keynote speaker:
Barnard College: Monday May 14, 12:30 pm.
SEAS: Monday, May 14, 4:30 pm:
Columbia College, May 15, 9:30 am

Then the whole university, including General Studies and affiliates join for the
Columbia University Commencement, May 16, 10:30 am 

Congratulations to ALL!

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Anonymous posted on

I forgot to mention that, to my understanding, there will be live broadcast for all these events.

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Anonymous posted on

Hey guest, GS is a school. More so than Barnard. 

Monday, May 14, 2012
9-10:45 a.m.
Morningside Campus, South Field Lawn

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Anonymous posted on

"Then the whole university, including General Studies and affiliates..."

Really funny that you mention GS separately. GS is an "official undergraduate liberal arts college of the University." Barnard is not. It is the "affiliate" you mention.

Nice try, though. Better luck next time.

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Anonymous posted on

Shame on you guys for the sexist comments here.  Be gracious.

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Anonymous posted on

...they're not sexist comments. put yourself in CC's shoes - this is our most prestigious alum, who many of us have been desperately trying to get to come to our school, much less acknowledge that he went here, for ages. if the same thing happened the other way around, you guys would feel the same way. 

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Anonymous posted on

Yeah, no. If my BC peers reacted with the same amount of vitriol, bitterness, and petty misogynistic comments as I've witnessed on Bwog and Spec, then I'd be hugely ashamed of them. I understand that most CC students are hugely disappointed and baffled, but the crap I'm seeing has just been downright unnecessarily vicious. 

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Anonymous posted on

News update: Spectator blogs saturated with petty, bitter comments from Barnard students

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Anonymous posted on

Obama understands what strong women have been facing in politics recently, and as the father of two daughters I doubt he can take lightly all the "slut" commentary going around. I am glad he is making it clear that he supports powerful women.

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Anonymous posted on

Wait, you're a "Barnard Woman" but also a "father of two daughters." I call bullshit.

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Anonymous posted on

dude, she's saying that obama is the father of two daughters and that she doubts that as such, he can take the commentary lightly. does that help?

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Anonymous posted on

Then, her pronoun placement is poor. Saying "As the father of two daughters I..." would imply that she is referring to herself as the father. No surprise, though. 

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Anonymous posted on

Sorry if my pronouns confused you, but it's a comment board not an essay

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Anonymous posted on

And no one gave a sh!t that day. 

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Anonymous posted on

Educated, but clearly not bright. 

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Anonymous posted on

guys what's with the haterade? it's pathetic that you sit here behind your computer throwing out sexist comments at this. we should all be proud that obama's coming to barnard. jeez guys, i understand we're all jaded columbia students but why the hate?

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Anonymous posted on

I'm not going to use all 6 of my tickets, do you want one because you're being decent?

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Anonymous posted on

do it! do it! and one for me please :)

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Anonymous posted on

The comments on here just prove that CU will never stop treating BC like it's a second-class citizen, and that misogyny will never go away, even in a so-called enlightened intellectual community. Get over yourselves. 

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Anonymous posted on

You obviously dont remember the difference between CU and CC like you would have proudly been correcting everyone when you were an undergraduate I'm sure.

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Anonymous posted on

P.S.: Barnard College is not part of CU. I'm sorry.

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Anonymous posted on

We're so proud we go to Barnard, that we always claim we go to Columbia when someone asks. That's not being proud, that's being consciously deceitful... and if you wanna pull the misogyny card on this one, then first respect yourself and not claim you are attending columbia university - perhaps then, true respect from others can follow. Moreover, BC is not a second-class citizen of CU... it's more like a permanent resident that has recently gotten a green card and thus certain additional rights.
From the comment you made, you should probably change your name to "Pretend Columbia Alumni", because it doesn't seem like you truly appreciate having gone to Barnard

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Anonymous posted on

Protest Obama!

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Anonymous posted on

I'll gladly join in!

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Calchala posted on

It's a graduation ceremony, not exactly the best venue to protest a President. Why don't you stick to fundraisers? People at the ceremony do want to enjoy the event.

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Anonymous posted on

Cool down! That sounds more like the attitude of a soccer hooligan than that of a Columbia student.

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Anonymous posted on

Occupy Commencement?

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Anonymous posted on

Look, he really didn't enjoy his time here and he's trying to make a statement about women's rights.  What, we're really going to get all sour grapes over this?  I'm bummed too, but it's my graduation.  It's about me and my family and friends, not about he speaker.  (And you guys and your families and your friends, etc...)

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Anonymous posted on

 Be pleased that you do not have to sit through a speech by the First Windbag. Let the Strong Women of Barnard suffer through the phony verbiage.

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Anonymous posted on

What a dbag. Romney 2012.

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Anonymous posted on

 hubbard, get me romney!

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Anonymous posted on

I'm a CC alum and I think this is awesome. 

It's also hilarious to see that Columbia students still get their knickers in a twist over anything nice that happens to Barnard.  Be happy for Barnard for getting yet another great speaker and let's try to do a better job at Columbia.  Putting BC down doesn't prop us up, it just makes us look like jealous idiots right when so many people in the country are reading the Spec.  Securing opportunities for women is a big thing for Obama's agenda, and Barnard does that exclusively.  Let's not get upset, at the end of the day he's still a Columbia grad :)

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Anonymous posted on

I am sorry but policies aside this just shows that Obama is overall not a very nice guy, he is just bitter. I am really sad and disappointed. Just because he claims he did not have the ideal Columbia undergraduate experience, he has been refusing to come speak at CC's commencement since he became a senator. Not only that he is rubbing it in CC's face by speaking at Barnard AND using it as a campaign tool. It is just more than a bit pathetic.

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Anonymous posted on

 Can you blame him for being bitter at Columbia? This place ain't exactly all rainbows and sunshine.

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Anonymous posted on

Very True

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Anonymous posted on

That's an unreasonably entitled point of view. Why does Obama's alum status require him to speak at a commencement? I would love if he *chose* to appear one of these years, but he certainly doesn't owe it to anyone. Attending an Ivy League school may encourage students to think of themselves as special, but the current President of the U.S. has a more tenable claim to that distinction.

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Anonymous posted on

Guy, Barnard is the same as Columbia.  I mean, isn't that right?  I'm just say'n, Columbia College and Barnard College, they are just two colleges in Columbia University.  

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Anonymous posted on

No they are not. Barnard is a completely separate school with its own endowment, admissions, administration, president, faculty, etc. It is affiliated with Columbia University. Columbia College and SEAS are direct divisions of the University with shared admissions.

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Anonymous posted on

Most of us were already aware of his feelings toward Columbia, but this sends a big statement.  As for a personal connection to Barnard, his half-sister went there.

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Anonymous posted on

Feelings toward Columbia? It's about the election, y'all. I doubt CC's reaction was on the White House agenda.

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Anonymous posted on

HE'S NOT EVEN A FUCKING WOMAN. BARNARD, PUT YOUR PRIORITIES ABOUT INSPIRING WOMEN WHERE YOUR FUCKING MOUTH IS.

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Anonymous posted on

bitter much? He asked to come here, undoubtedly in the light of the the colossal contraception/women's health issues/abortion clusterfuck that has been going on, and we'll be glad to hear our president express his support for the same policies we support. And plus, he's the effing PRESIDENT. I'm sure there's enough inspiration to go around. 

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Anonymous posted on

Because women can't ever be inspired by a male feminist? STFU, please. 

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Anonymous posted on

He's not a feminist, he just wants your votes.

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Anonymous posted on

I couldn't care less as long as he supports our policies. 

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Anonymous posted on

I think that for many Barnard College students, the proximity to - and resources from - an ivy league institution ranked higher in the minds as a reason to attend than the fact that it is a women's college. If Obama really wanted to promote the women's rights, he would have done better to speak at a women's college like Wellesley.

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Anonymous posted on

Man, now I almost wish I hadn't dropped out, lol. Seriously though, good for Barnard! We all claim we went to Columbia because it sounds more prestigious, when really they are about equal standards-wise. I hope this will bring more attention to Barnard and people will start recognizing what a great school it is.

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Anonymous posted on

we don't all claim we go to Columbia. wtf?

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Anonymous posted on

Every single one that I have met does. 

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Anonymous posted on

You haven't been at Barnard long enough to make a judgement. You will do it soon enough

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Anonymous posted on

"about equal standards-wise"

not sure if misguided joking or stupid

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Anonymous posted on

Oh God, the freakout on "the other site that must not be named" are hysterically hilarious.

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Anonymous posted on

I am really disappointed in the CC students who have taken their frustrations out on BC students, even though we had no control over this. You are acting as if we personally offended you by simply going to this school. Go to the gym, eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's, or find some way to work out your frustration other than slinging insults at BC students. This is not productive. We are supposed to be a CU community, not rivals. Just deal with it. 

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Anonymous posted on

"Go to the gym, eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's"

Ah yes. The Barnard Remedy.

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Anonymous posted on

Oh hahaha I get it! Because Barnard students, being FEMALE, are all fat, single losers who just seek solace in ice cream all the time and drown their tears in pints because that's what girls do, amirite? The amount of wit in this was astounding. 

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Anonymous posted on

I'm CC, but thank you for posting a comment that makes a lot of sense and isn't just mudslinging and hypersensitivity like the rest on this board. 

Thank you for keeping to the facts - saying that it is part of the CU community and not that it is an undergrad college of CU.

If everyone who went to Barnard had this attitude, I really don't think this would be an issue in the first place.

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Anonymous posted on

do all barnard students get to attend?

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Anonymous posted on

I'm so glad I switched to Spec now seeing the reactions and comments on this article. Over on Bwog, it is nothing but hate and bitter students from both CC and BC. 

That being said, of course I'm excited Obama will speak for BC and I understand why CC students would be upset. However, criticizing it now and throwing insults doesn't change the fact that Obama's there. I'm not saying "Suck it, Columbia!" but just "Sorry Columbia, but what can you do?"

Also, god, can we stop with the whole "ALL OF YOU BC GIRLS SAY YOU GOT TO COLUMBIA" statement? As one of the many Barnard students who chose Barnard over every other school (including Columbia) it bothers me to be lumped together with the "back-door Barnard" girls. 

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Anonymous posted on

if you weren't ready to accept the stigma that comes with BC you probably shouldn't have chose it. 

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Anonymous posted on

Such stigma only exists in the mind of bullies who unfairly abuse Barnard.

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Anonymous posted on

You mean, a stigma unfairly imposed by low-life members of a different college? Yes, how rude of her to defend her college from idiotic and untrue generalizations.

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Anonymous posted on

It's only a stigma in the eyes of the bullies. BC has always been part of the Columbia Community.

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Anonymous posted on

I'm one CC graduate who is pleased that Barry Elephant Ears is speaking at BC and not at Columbia. The strong women of Barnyard are more capable of shoveling Obama's b.s. and are welcome to him.

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Anonymous posted on

Eat a dick, Chris Kulawik.

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Anonymous posted on

 Stop projecting, you queer homosexual faggot. Not that there is anything wrong with being a queer homosexual faggot.

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Anonymous posted on

 WHAT THE FUCK. This is embarrassing and outrageously offensive. You are a disgusting conservative bigot who is pissed because the ladies, liberals, and gays make you question your relevancy in the world. I mean, if you can't control women and less "masculine" men, what is the point, right?

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Anonymous posted on

 You deaf, dumb, and blind? Note what AGuy wrote. I don't want to control anyone and I don't want anyone to control me, you liberal bigot. You obviously missed the sarcasm in my comment, and I could care less that you did.

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V.L. posted on

You guys take Ahmadinejad instead, eh?

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Anonymous posted on

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. CC students must take this  gracefully in spite of their obvious disappointment. Else, all these sexist comments will just degrade them. Good sportsmanship teaches people how to behave in such adverse circumstances, eat their pride and behave properly. What do you expect life will become when you're out of your bubble in real life? If this is how you're to behave, it will look like you didn't get the most important facts of life from your Columbia education.

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V.L. posted on

You only get the most important facts of life from the Columbia education?  So I guess that you spent your 18 years before entering Columbia getting the less important facts? 

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Anonymous posted on

Maybe you're right. Maybe you didn't get the necessary education before coming to Columbia.

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V.L. posted on

I don't think you understood my comment to your original quote.  But it's interesting to see that you yourself cannot take my tongue-in-cheek remark gracefully, as you advise others.

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Anonymous posted on

My apologies.

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Anonymous posted on

CC and BC students need to stop pretending like Obama's decision was some verdict on the relative values of the two schools. Obviously CC has an advantage over BC as far as the "wow" factor is concerned. His decision was a political move, plain and simple.  CC students shouldn't act butthurt over this--and not because they "lost the game" but because it says absolutely nothing  meaningful about CC or BC. By the same token, BC has nothing new to brag about.

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Anonymous posted on

if "Obviously CC has an advantage over BC as far as the "wow" factor is concerned" then how come Oprah chose to speak at Barnard College and not Columbia College.

Also, I have a question to pose to you Columbians. You claim Barnard people are just Columbia rejects yet you get mad when we say Columbia students are just Yale rejects. I think that is bias and its embarrassing that you guys are showing your true feathers in an open forum for the world to see

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Anonymous posted on


if "Obviously CC has an advantage over BC as far as the "wow" factor is concerned" then how come Oprah chose to speak at Barnard College and not Columbia College.

You're missing the point. If tomorrow Spectator reported that the pope and the dalai lama were going to have a debate at the Diana Center, nothing would change. I don't need to reassert Columbia's low admissions rate, nobel laureate faculty, distinguished alums, etc to convince anyone that Columbia is perceived as a more prestigious school. It's a consensus.

Which is why I wasn't trying to make that point with my original comment. My point is that Obama's decision wasn't based on school prestige. If it was, he'd be shuffling back and forth to HYPS commencements every spring. But he isn't following the list of US News Rankings in his commencement appearances. For this reason, CC shouldn't be bitter and Barnard shouldn't gloat.

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Anonymous posted on

In that case, BC students are Columbia and Yale rejects then, so you probably shouldn't point fingers.

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Anonymous posted on

A) Most of the Columbia students I know did not apply to Yale at all.
B) Yale's admit rate is around 7%. Columbia's is roughly 6%. Barnard's is around 30%. Someone can correct me with the specific figures, but guys, let's be real here and acknowledge the facts.

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Anonymous posted on

As someone who doesn't go to either CC or BC, I find most of these comments towards Barnard students extremely sexist and incredibly condescending. You guys have to realize that the only reason any president would be the commencement speaker during his presidency would be to get reelected. Since he is gearing up for his reelection, he understands that he must get the women vote in order to win in 2012, just as he got the youth vote in '08. In order to do this, he had to do this at women's college for public opinion reasons. And so, of all the women's colleges there are in the U.S., he chose Barnard. Why? Probably because he went to Columbia and his half sister went to BC. If anything, CC students should be grateful for knowing Obama chose Barnard. No need to hate, be disrespectful, or be insulted. This is entirely a move to get reelected and nothing more, just as is almost everything in politics.

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Anonymous posted on

I'm failing to see the sexism anywhere. 

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Anonymous posted on

Really?

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Anonymous posted on

 Yeah, unless you define "seeing sexism in the comments" as "imagining how comments you disagree with might have been motivated by sexist sentiment" then I really don't see much sexism in these comments, either.

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Anonymous posted on

It's been a bunch of decades since I attended my own university convocation...

....Looking back what was important about university was how it opened me to understanding the world, the big challenges of the times and whether I would throw a bit or a lot of myself into those struggles......

.....convocation addresses probably won't open closed or narrow minds nor by themselves change personal plans but they can encourage graduate to take part in the big movements of humanity.......

....whether your convocation address is given by Obama or the executive editor of the New York Times or a prime force behind Harper's magazine you probably will be asked by all of them to invest part of lives in those challenges........ it won't matter if you got Obama or someone else to give the address you receive

good luck

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Anonymous posted on

╔══════════════ღ☃ღ══════════════╗
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ Repost this if ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ you are a strong independent columbian ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ who don’t need no obama ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
╚══════════════ღ☃ღ══════════════╝

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Anonymous posted on

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ Repost this if ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ you are a strong independent columbian ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ who don’t need no obama ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Don't need no stinking Obama.

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Anonymous posted on

I guess he already figured out they wouldn't have gotten into Columbia :-)

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Anonymous posted on

I'm so glad I don't know you. 

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Anonymous posted on

As one who was accepted both to Columbia and Yale, and chose the former, imho, you can't hide behind your alma mater or anything else. I also did not go to my graduation because my time was too precious to spend it listening to some old goat telling me that I was the hope of the future. If Obama were speaking, I would be more certain to miss the ceremony because this emperor has no clothes. 

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Anonymous posted on

How smug!!

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Anonymous posted on

 Smug????  There is nothing smug about avoiding Obummer especially since the Columbia toadies want to earn his grace. I just want to be free of him and his windbagging to the great extent possible.

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Anonymous posted on

Let's elect romney and watch him take a huge shit on every social program except the most costly one we have.

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Anonymous posted on

Did Fluke want to have sex with 500 men as did the Brit in the Slate article? That doesn't seem fair to women, does it? The whole affair was a fluke anyway.

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Anonymous posted on

so it's Clinton for Columbia College. Can you imagine the security on campus for graduation??

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Anonymous posted on

Wrong Columbia College.

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myname212 posted on

Stop fighting with Columbia students. The best way to deal with their ignorance is to ignore them.

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Anonymous posted on

Just make 14 May as the commencement for Columbia University. PrezBo to assign his role to Obama. We drop all these unnecessary competitions.

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Anonymous posted on

 All of you guys are just jealous you don't go to Brown =D

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Anonymous posted on

 I have had very good experiences with Barnard girls.They have generally been good sports and no uglier or fatter than Columbia girls or guys. Overall, I believe that you will agree that BC girls are very. oral which certainly is prized by men of all sizes and ages.

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Anonymous posted on

He should speak at Teachers College

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Anonymous posted on

This takes the cake. Obama has done everything to divide our country and now he is even causing trouble between two colleges.  I don't blame those Columbia students who are annoyed at him. This man feels no allegiance to our country and obviously none to his alma mater either. He needs the women's vote so he threw Columbia under the bus. This really shows how shallow Obama is. To be politically correct, those women at Bernard should act happy about him speaking there, open their eyes and see him for the kind of person he is, and not give him their vote.  Any president who is deliberately dissing his own alma mater tells it all. The students at Columbia should not give him their vote either. 

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Anonymous posted on

People need to stop being so full of themselves. Disappointment is one thing. Entitlement is another. Obama is an alum, but he has zero obligation to speak at CC. His half-sister went to Barnard, and that undoubtedly played a strong role in the White House's selection of Barnard as a platform to espouse women's rights. He has bigger fish to fry than Columbia. Grow up. 

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Anonymous posted on

...and he would prefer to speak at his half-sister's college? I don't think so. And he didn't care that Barnard already had a speaker - Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times who had to be thrown under the bus? And he acts like he cares about women but thinks it's OK to replace her with himself?

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Anonymous posted on

He prefers to speak Barnard OVER the other members of the Seven Sisters in light of needing a political platform, PERHAPS because his half-sister went to Barnard. Do you not understand the nuance of having multiple motivations? And I doubt that the White House knew or cared whether Barnard already had a commencement speaker already - clearly the admins needed Abramson's permission to step aside, as seeing as Abramson is clearly not an egomaniac, graciously did so. And everyone was happy. Except for you, and you don't even go here. 

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Anonymous posted on

Actually this country is never unified. Privilage class like Bush family, John Mcain  always suppress the middle class and treat them as slaves. They send the children of average family to the war for their business. Obama is one of only few presidents in American history ,who at least try to work for the majority of American people. Sir, you are too naive, go back home to pay your bills. In this brutal country, you should be prepared for struggling!

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Anonymous posted on

Columbia university is not columbia college. Everybody knows columbia university but not columbia college. If you were back to 200 hundred years ago,maybe. In the present time, columbia college is just a symbol for a part of the university, same as other part of the university.

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Anonymous posted on

Came here because of the Times article about this flap.

I am a CC 1971.

You are all embarrassing the entire University with this childishness, and by the University I include Barnard. I took classes there and they were fine.

Drop this stupid jealousy.

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Anonymous posted on

What a bunch of little louts you Columbia boys are!

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Anonymous posted on

You people should behave commensurate with the fine reputations of your schools you are so fortunate to attend.  Grow Up!

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Anonymous posted on

1. Obama’s speaking at Barnard commencement.2. Barnard is part of Columbia university.3. Obama is speaking at a Columbia commencement.
Every Columbia students can say that Obama is speaking at their commencement.

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Anonymous posted on

Yes,kind of.  It is really a part of columbia commencement.

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Anonymous posted on

You are all the future leaders
of tomorrow wherever you come from -GS, CC, BC or SEAS.  Realize that in ten/twenty years, you are ALL going
to be doing amazing things -prepping for the next surgery you are conducting, starting
your own NGOs, building a start-up, finishing what feels like a never ending PhD or maybe even running for president.  And you'll all do these things together -dancing at each others weddings and sharing in each others success and sorrows along the way.  In the process, you’ll meet hundreds of people more brilliant than you, from a range of different colleges, countries and backgrounds and the need to constantly validate yourselves will fade (for most, although there are some who never kick the habit if there is nothing else for them to hold on to).  It will be what you give back to the world with the tremendous talents you are developing at this University, that confers degrees to the students of all four schools, which will speak for themselves once you are outside of an educations system.

With that in mind, it’s a sad day when it’s not one of your outstanding accomplishments,
but internal hatred and jealousy that makes it to the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03...

Life is too short to engage in mudslinging, tribalism and
sibling like rivalries.  For the handful
of undergraduate students that are fueling this vitriolic dialogue -you are
better than this.  Please get it together and stop slandering the name of an amazing University, with such juvenile and pompous behavior that is embarrassing for alumni to have to read and be indirectly associated with.  Each of the four undergraduate colleges contributes to the rich history and unique fabric of this tremendous University.  You are capable of so many positive
possibilities Columbia -please focus your energies on that and keep building your community, which is much more powerful than dividing it.  Congratulations to the Class of 2012 -there is a world full of CU alumni who are excited for you and your tremendous potential and know that you will live up to it.
 

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thomasmatlack posted on

THE GOOD MEN PROJECT says that The President should speak at Barnard and Columbia (Men) should shut it.  Here: http://bit.ly/yiU1mF

You also might recall I wrote a popular HuffPost piece about why Barnard opened my eyes to why women's colleges are still so relevant during my daughter's college tour last year.

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Anonymous posted on

This whole debate is absolutely ridiculous. Obama chose to speak at Barnard; regardless of political allegiance, who in their right mind would turn down the POTUS? 
I'm a Barnard freshman, and when people ask me where I attend college, I proudly tell them, "Barnard." If they don't know what that is, I describe it as the sister school of Columbia and if they still don't know, I tell them it's a women's liberal arts college in NYC. I don't "pretend" to go to CC, because I know I don't, but I'm in the same classes and eat in the same dining halls and belong to the same clubs as people in all of the schools of Columbia University. The affiliation is tricky, but for the most part there's a certain level of reciprocity, and frankly, I'd be foolish to ignore the opportunities across the street. Because of my particular interests and scheduling this semester, I actually have three classes at Columbia this semester, and last semester, when 3/4 of my classes were at Barnard, many Columbia students were in those classes too. It's not how we all got here, it's about the work we do while we're here, and for the most part, we're in each other's classes, so trying to belittle each other in terms of intelligence/ability to do the same work is largely invalid.
It's also futile to clump everyone together. Saying that all Barnard girls wished they went to Columbia (untrue--I found the Core unappealing and would choose BC over CC any day), or that all CC kids are acting like bitter children about Obama speaking at Barnard will only lead to more pointless bickering. Yes, it's disappointing that one school gets the president as their commencement speaker and another doesn't, but saying it isn't 'fair' or resorting to blaming, name-calling, rationalizing, etc. is extraordinarily immature and undermines the legitimacy of any real discussion. We're supposed to be the best and the brightest, or at the very least we're supposed to carry ourselves like adults.

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Anonymous posted on

This may be Obama's greatest display of testicular fortitude as president. The man is already on record as saying that it wasn't the happiest time of his life.  Given his personality, that's probably a gross understatement.  There are plenty of cookie-cutter students that were miserable at Columbia. And this man was a transfer student, living off-campus - you cannot possibly be more of a non-entity than that. 
I'm sure that his sister had a completely different experience than he did.  There is no arguing that Barnard is not as selective, but in terms of actual education, it is far superior.   There faculty is staffed with actual educators, not celebrities and researchers who can't be bothered with undergraduate students. I only took three courses at Barnard, but each one was excellent.  In my time at Columbia, I would say that I only had four instructors on par with them - one full professor, two grad students, and one first-year professor who moved on to greener pastures shortly afterwards.  And last but not least, let's not forget the financial aid department, which was staffed by actual criminals.  (Look it up...)
I have no desire to be President of the United States, but to get the honor of delivering Barnard's commencement address, and the satisfaction of rubbing the Evil Empire's face in it, I may consider it one day...

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Anonymous posted on

The world is watching and we are bewildered by this pettiness.  Really odd.

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Anonymous posted on

If Obama's commencement speech is a catalyst for Barnard to be no longer affiliated from Columbia, then I am all for it.

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Anonymous posted on

Well, this is an embarrassing and very public meltdown.    

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Anonymous posted on

I would make rather have Bill Clinton as my Commencement Speaker than Braack Obama. For all his sexual indiscretions, Bill towered above Obama like Columbia towers over Barnard. Besides, Clinton completed two terms as POTUS, and Obama has yet to complete one.

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Anonymous posted on

It’s sad to me that instead of Columbia students
acknowledging the fact that Obama has blatantly snubbed his alma mater for an
obvious political tactic, many students on this site are hating on
Barnard. 

 

What did you expect Barnard to do?  Tell the president he couldn’t speak at
commencement?  Redirect your anger
logically.

 

You should direct your frustrations and negativity (and you
have every right in the world to be upset) toward Obama himself- But instead many
will probs vote for him in the upcoming election and continue idolizing this
political tactics jerk. 

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Anonymous posted on

The comments posted by the Columbia students, who
obviously believe they attend the better school, make the case that you are not
more educated or more sophisticated; only more arrogant. That arrogance erases
any distinction between you and the most base among us.

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achillesserpent posted on

Congratulations, you`re commencement speaker is the closest thing to a fascist leader in Western society. CC students heres what you can do: on commencement day, get a rifle, aim, and fire. This way, you`ll never have to complain about this ever again and close the conversation.

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Anonymous posted on

Back in the day Barnyard girls didn't take offense so easily. They were great dates and would have been even better if they did not have a curfew then.

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Anonymous posted on

Suck it Columbia!

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