Opinion | Op-eds

Does a global university serve America?

To my international friends, I love you, but … to my fellow U.S. citizens here at Columbia, we have cause for concern regarding the administration’s belief that “the proportion of international students should be much higher than it is now” (“Nearly one-quarter international, CU weighs its global balance,” Dec. 7). This is not an overture to a jingoistic article filled with vitriolic hate or xenophobic ramblings. America faces unprecedented political, technological, financial, and environmental challenges in the years to come, and we need to ensure a well-educated population to meet these challenges effectively.

It is impossible to argue with the notion that international students provide diversity. International students represent scores of different countries and languages and have grown up in genuinely different cultures with a whole host of alternative mindsets. Interesting? Yes. But America’s 312 million people represent every U.N. member nation, non-member observer, island, and microstate in the world. We are a nation of immigrants. Growing up black in Biloxi differs markedly from growing up white in Bel Air, which doesn’t compare to growing up Asian in Minot. America is home to atheists and evangelicals, fascists and communists, and, perhaps most at odds, Bieber and Jay-Z fans. While most countries were conceived along ethnic and religious lines, making them remarkably homogenous, the Class of 2017 could be entirely American and as diverse as any in the University’s history.

In fact, the vast majority of international students have one thing in common that separates them from their American counterparts: money. Naturally, there are plenty of wealthy Americans at Columbia, but more than 50 percent of undergraduates are on financial aid. The cost of an American education has become so prohibitive that even the upper-middle class struggles to educate their children. International students, on the other hand, typically pay full tuition because Columbia’s need-blind policy doesn’t apply to international students. Though President Bollinger has repeatedly talked about improving financial aid, only 23.8 percent of international students received funding from Columbia in the 2011-2012 school year. And it goes without saying that the U.S. government doesn’t foot the international bill. The idea that international students can provide a perspective on poverty that we don’t have in America is preposterous.

Columbia should feel a sense of duty to educate America’s intellectual, political, and financial elite of tomorrow. As Columbians, we come from a long tradition of American intellectualism. Columbia has educated presidents, Supreme Court justices, senators, representatives, governors, Nobel Prize winners, Academy Award winners, and countless others. This institution has left an indelible impression upon not only the founding of American society—Columbia also educated signers of the Declaration of Independence—but also the development of America into a country that will leave a lasting impression, both good and bad, on future civilizations. In order to ensure that America continues in such a capacity, we have an obligation to educate our own citizens. Why should Columbia, an American university, accept more and more foreign students and put the time and effort into educating them, when it is unsure whether they will be able to stay in the U.S. after graduation. Columbia accepts wealthy internationals in the name of diversity, only to turn away an American who could have been the next great statesman. Or on an even more realistic scale, could have been the first person in his or her family to go to college.

If all else fails, the United States should demand it of us. Columbia could not operate without the support of the U.S. taxpayer. As reported by Arizona State University’s Center for Measuring University Performance, Columbia received $483 million in government research grants in 2008. These funds don’t all go to the researchers who won grants, but rather, according to the University’s research compliance statements, up to 61 percent goes straight into University coffers. However, even this figure is five years old, so overhead is likely slightly higher now. According to a survey by the Association of University Technology Managers, in 2009 Columbia made $154 million off patent royalties and licensing agreements, the result of faculty research done with, you guessed it, government grants. According to the University’s webpage, Columbia’s operating budget is roughly $3.3 billion, nearly half of which goes to the Medical Center, which has its own revenue stream. When all is said and done, the government accounts for almost a third of Columbia’s actual educational budget. These numbers don’t even include financial aid to students and federally funded work-study programs.

A successful future depends upon a well-educated population. We owe it to our country to educate American citizens. Patriae erexit.

The author is a Columbia College sophomore majoring in physics and concentrating in German literature.

To respond to this op-ed, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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Anonymous posted on

I won't bother writing a comprehensive reply to this because I'm not done with finals yet, but your vague claims are just that - vague. it is extremely naive of you to

1. understand the diversity carried by international students as merely geographical, disregarding the value of the perspective of different societal norms, educational systems, etc., and

2. stereotype international students as wealthy individuals without any conscience of poverty, which, if not directly felt, is at least more evident and MUCH more severe outside of America than it is here. you draw the same assumptions based on income that I could draw by saying that your private school, Upper East Side background renders you blind to the poverty that permeates parts of NYC. in case you didn't know, admissions criteria apply to internationals students as well, and the bulk of people able to get through the extremely competitive process will be critical thinkers and very aware of that poverty.

if you're looking for a better (although not perfectly) written article on this issue, look up Michael Rady's "on income diversity." cheers

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Anonymous posted on

I recognize your frustration, but you need to realize your ad hominem on Connor's education is a misled argument. His alma mater, Regis, is tuition-free and certainly instills in its students social awareness.

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Anonymous posted on

I don't get the point. This is so vague and incoherent. Are you looking for a career in physics or literature.

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Anonymous posted on

Is it too much to ask you to stop treating us like parasites or diversity tokens?

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Anonymous posted on

a response to this outlandish op-ed will be written by a group of international students.

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Anonymous posted on

I'm also not going to take the time to write a full comment but this is ridiculous and elitist. I can't even take it seriously.

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Anonymous posted on

ughhh...white male privilege at its best

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Anonymous posted on

No, not at all. American privilege at its best. We've worked hard as a nation to achieve a state where we can have these great universities and accomplish great things -- why turn away qualified diverse American students (read: not just white males) who can't afford the education when we're educating a group of incredibly wealthy international students who at nothing to our country?

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Anonymous posted on

Let me clarify--incoherent, vague, elitist thoughts of a privileged WHITE male.

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Anonymous posted on

Actually, that's racist. Why does Columbia think it's okay to put down WHITE males? That's the very sexism, and racism they have protests about...

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Anonymous posted on

if you hate it so much then drop out.

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Anonymous posted on

We are educating talented individuals - both American and international - precisely because they are NOT "nothing to our country" at all. Our country was built from the hard work of immigrants from around the world. Much of the successes of past and present Columbians - in the USA and abroad - are directly attributable to international students and faculty. And many internationals - again, in America and elsewhere - go on to be future leaders of advancement and change whose work not only positively affects their own countries, but also our own.

Of course we shouldn't admit anyone - international student or not - based solely or primarily on their ability to pay, while neglecting their academic merits. They come here to study and to contribute to our university, not simply to pay the bills. The more qualified individuals are the ones, regardless of national origin, who deserve to study here. But when talented international students are qualified applicants, they certainly deserve their fair chance to attend our advanced university, as their contributions would be very welcome here.

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Anonymous posted on

Not sure how this is "vague?" We take 19% internationals. Other schools take 9-12%. We take less Americans than the average-- that's not vague.

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Anonymous posted on

"In fact, the vast majority of international students have one thing in common that separates them from their American counterparts: money... The idea that international students can provide a perspective on poverty that we don’t have in America is preposterous."

Now I don't mean to be rude, but let me say a few things as a fellow American citizen who happened to live abroad for over ten years and was thus admitted to Columbia as an international student.

The number of sweeping generalizations made in this article is simply ridiculous. Don't imply that Columbia accepts international students just so we can come share the sad stories of our impoverished home nations with our American peers, educating them about poverty and immediately leaving after mooching off four years of an elite liberal arts education. Don't tell me right after that ironically, just because my family was denied financial aid, it means my family is fully capable of paying for a full ride without having to make any sacrifices on a daily basis. Please don't pretend like you know enough about the collective, let alone individual experiences of students who grew up abroad to write an op-ed like this.

"...the Class of 2017 could be entirely American and as diverse as any in the University’s history."

"Columbia accepts wealthy internationals in the name of diversity, only to turn away an American who could have been the next great statesman."

It is precisely narrow-minded opinions like yours that generate a dire need for diversity in America you simply could not create through the all-American education system you seemingly advocate. The US does not exist and cannot act in this world alone, and interacting with other governments or individual citizens of the international community as such will not solve any of your domestic problems in the near future.

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Anonymous posted on

To clarify, I'm not trying to represent the reality for, or speak on behalf of, all (or even the majority of) international students. My point is that it is silly to oversimplify. Though the admissions process is far from perfect, significantly reducing or doing away with international applicants entirely, rich or poor, would not create the ideal America the author suggests would result. Putting international students and how they benefit aside, I honestly believe that in today's world, an isolated and exclusively American education is not the kind of learning that Americans need or deserve. I imagine it would actually be quite self-defeating, and close off the American youth from critical perspectives, opportunities and insight.

Connor, I don't think you are poorly intended. I just think you haven't factored in everything that merits serious consideration. I'm also curious as to where exactly your sentiments and beliefs stem from. If you'd like to meet for a post-finals chat, do let me know.

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Anonymous posted on

Well good. Accept more of Borat's cousins then. That is a sick joke. Our you Columbia people who had been admitted by the same Columbia admissions office should be embarrassed. There is not even any point for a debate on this kind of blog any more. Columbia alums should demand the heads of these admissions officers on a plate.

Yeah, these dictator's nephews alongside your typical American drug dealer at the street corner should make for a diverse Columbia class indeed. People involved with Columbia University should put their brains to some use. That they don't means probably that they have none.

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Anonymous posted on

The internationals are coming. Our wrath knows no bounds.

Legio mihi nomen est, quia multi sumus.

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Anonymous posted on

Privilege. Check your mofuggin' privilege.

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Anonymous posted on

if you think all international students are wealthy, then you must be a WASP who only hangs out with other WASPS.

transfer to Harvard (which might be impossible, given your limited argumentative skills and narrow-mindedness) or somewhere where you can be in your comfort zone.

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Anonymous posted on

dude his dad is a prof here, thats the only reason he even goes here. not a chance he would have given gotten anywhere near this school if not for his dad.

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Anonymous posted on

"Why should Columbia, an American university, accept more and more foreign students and put the time and effort into educating them, when it is unsure whether they will be able to stay in the U.S. after graduation."

BECAUSE THEY PAY FULL FEES!

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Anonymous posted on

This is not original, nor is it insightful. I sincerely hope you rethink your values and criticisms of the application process as well as what constitutes a 'international' student. I'm sure you have many friends that are international students that are wealthy and pay full tuition, but that alone is not reason to discredit their achievements in even being selected to attend this prestigious university.

Quite simply, I do not understand how you so grossly oversimplified what it means to have a growing number of international students on campus. There are both positive and negative aspects to having international students, yet you disregard any substantive criticisms and instead focus on the ability of international students to pay full tuition.

On the upside, this is the first time I've ever responded to a Spec article, so kudos to you.

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Anonymous posted on

Columbia's endowment is much lower than the other schools in the info graphic. Columbia makes up for this by accepting international students who pay full fees, so it can still provide comprehensive financial aid to AMERICANS who need it.

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Anonymous posted on

Why are my comments being censored?

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Anonymous posted on

Why aren't you studying American literature or physics developed by American physicists? Clearly, the rest of the world has nothing else to offer that Americans can't already do...

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Anonymous posted on

Yes, financial aid should improve. But I am sure there are other costs that you're not considering for here. Whether the university is correctly allocating the money or not can be debated. Yes, a good percentage of international students are wealthy. But it has less to do with the reasons that you give and more due to the fact that they are some of the best from their respective countries. They could make it to columbia mostly due to their intelligence but it would be naive to say that money had nothing to do with it.
Let me clarify. Not every country offers as many academic opportunities as the US does outside of going to college. In many international countries, you final exam scores may very well determine which college you go to. To make it on your own is hard but those who have the means to hire tutors for their children will. And why not? It is a smart investment fo the family's future. This doesn't apply to everyone but people would be fools to think that those families who could afford tutoring and did so did not give their children a slight advantage over those who could not. And in the world of Ivy Leagues, that little bit means a lot.

My family( I was born here) was also denied financial aid and I understand that those international students who were denied it as well are still taking a big chunk out of the bank to attend Columbia. But it is still difficult to compare that with how hard some individuals had to work just to even the playing field a bit. So I understand where this anger comes from, but it does not mean it is right. Because you cannot compare those two individuals. Because you are not them. You are not me. Don't forget that the term American is a very open and inviting one. Just because you were born here does not mean you know more about America than that international student who may answer the questions to the citizenship test better than you do.

As someone who was born here, I can tell you I welcome them. They keep it competitive in class, they push me to do better, they show a level of discipline that we can learn from. How we educate our own citizens? By teaching them to be aware of others, that we exist not for ourselves, that history started long before America was founded. And remember, they sent their best to study here with US- that means that we offer the best opportunities. It does not demean us in any way; rather, IT IS A COMPLIMENT. We have something to offer that they cannot get back at home. While they are here, we will learn their good traits and even if they leave, we will have gained something to improve ourselves as people. Is that not enough to better America?

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Anonymous posted on

I am now doing graduate school at one of the Ivies quoted in the figure, and I must say that I would not recommend it for undergraduate unless you are a very particular kind of person (even though it's sometimes ranked higher than Columbia). One of my main criticisms of this other school is its lack of diversity, which, I believe, has a huge impact on your education. Whenever people ask me, "what do you like the most about Columbia?" My response has always been "the people that I've met, and the diversity of the student body." It is incredible (if you're interested in politics, like me and many other Columbia students - something the other Ivy also lacks), to be able to study something about a different country in a class, or hear about another nation in the news, and be able to ask for the opinion of someone from that country. I cannot tell you how much I have learned about Brazil, Turkey and India (to name a few), without taking a single class on them, simply because I had several friends from these countries who were more than willing to share their experiences and thoughts (and I bet you that many Americans, even if they were originally from these countries, would know half as much as the international students who've lived there their entire lives). You are a physics major, you will understand that you can take an E&M class anywhere else in the country/world, and the laws of physics will remain the same. In my opinion, one of the main things that makes Columbia unique, is its student body. By only admitting American students, as diverse as they might be, the University will loose (at least in great part) the global diversity that sets it apart (and makes it better, in my opinion) from it's "competitors".

On another thought, Columbia, as a private institution, does not have to align it's goals with the American government, even if it receives some of its funding from it. Maybe Columbia looks beyond country borders. Maybe Columbia recognizes that we live in a global and highly interconnected world. Maybe Columbia doesn't just want to educate America's next leaders, but rather, the world's next leaders.

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Anonymous posted on

As an international student, I can say that most of the stuff written in this article is spot-on. We're brought in primarily to pay full fees and GTFO of the country once we're done (with a really nice degree from an American Ivy League university - a great credential if you ever want to seek public office in your home country).

However, I don't understand how the author could've thought that writing a nationalistic, 'pro-American' article in the Columbia Spectator was a good idea. Did he REALLY think NOBODY was going to post this up on Facebook and do the whole 21st-century-leftie garbage routine of acting OFFENDED and APPALLED in order to garner Likes on Facebook, or at the least seem modern, enlightened, and/or open minded?

I'm getting incoherent. I need a taco.

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Anonymous posted on

^ lol clearly not international

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Anonymous posted on

Nice try Smyk

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Anonymous posted on

Dear Connor,

Next time, please don't force the Latin at the end of your article. It doesn't make you sound more intelligent. It's also rather awkward in the context in which you've placed it. Which you wouldn't know, because you probably didn't bother to check how Latin grammar works when you lifted words from your prep school motto.

However, I'm not really surprised that you blindly threw in some awkwardly employed, nice-sounding Classical quote - you've clearly displayed in your article how the finer details and true values of a foreign language or cultural perspective don't really matter to you if they're not of immediate, apparent, use to your needs.

My point? I'm asking you to please stop embarrassing my country, city, and major with your ignorantly nationalistic word vomit. Internationals and their perspectives are an enormous part of what makes Columbia, not to mention New York, such a great place live and study. I hope no one seriously believes this is the majority opinion among American students.

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Anonymous posted on

This is the first time I'm actually bothering to respond to a Spec article because I am so disgusted with the close-mindedness, immaturity and self-centeredness I just read.

First to counter some of your sweeping generalizations: while it's true that international students can't apply for financial aid because it would adversely affect their application, that doesn't mean that those from the middle or lower class just accept their fate, curl up and die. Many receive scholarships from other sources besides Columbia, mostly from foreign governments or private corporations. I'm one of those people, and only one of my parents went to college. But now this sounds like I'm trying to support your point about international students being here to "provide a perspective on poverty" - HA. Oh god. Sorry, I had to pause to have a moment of wtf. From this comment, I must ask: what on earth do you think diversity means? Is it really just a tack-on to your elite white education to provide a perspective of all the downtrodden classes you will eventually rule?

I lived in 4 different countries before coming here for college, so let me tell you a little about the value of diversity. I have learned SO MUCH from living in foreign communities, fully enjoying every minute of gradually learning the ways of the locals. I've also been lucky enough to have traveled a lot since I was a young child, and have often reflected on the fact that there are many people I know - both here and in other countries - who are missing out this huge chunk of awareness and perspective by never having the chance to travel. But it's one of those things you literally can never realize until you've been there. And I'm not talking fancy stay-in-your-resort-all-day travel, I mean really walking through the streets and having conversations with people travel. The idea that an all-American Columbia community would ever come close to providing you with the same level of diversity is preposterous. Sure, you see all kinds of different faces walking around the streets of New York. But regardless of race, gender or class, every person who has been brought up in America shares certain American values and beliefs that you might not even realize you have. The average Asian American or African American is not going to offer you a remarkably different perspective on the world than your fellow white American friends will. The value of having an international community is being able to learn from representatives of so many different collective communities. Each international student has a plethora of lessons they can teach you just by hanging out or having a conversation - just as many as you have that you can teach them. For this reason, I strongly believe that diversity is one of the biggest strengths, if not THE biggest strength of a Columbia education.

Also, your point about the futility of educating those who will not be able to stay in the US post-graduation is ridiculous. I almost don't even want to, but stupidity gets on my nerves too much. "A successful future depends upon a well-educated population"? Sorry to break it to ya, but the world does not consist of America and America alone. A successful future depends on a well-educated global society, and the success of America will have a lot to do with whether every other country in the world hates your guts. You're doing a great job of starting these future relationships (especially since we do have children of world leaders here), good on you.

tl;dr if you think education is only for Americans and speaking to a Chinese American and Chinese Chinese are going to provide you with the same experience, I fart in your general direction and mock you for your complete lack of awareness. no but seriously, who the hell let you in?

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Anonymous posted on

marry me.

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Anonymous posted on

Dear Connor Hailey,

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but what you've written is ridiculously offensive. You sir possess the argumentative skills of a three year old child who's jealous of having other kids playing with a similar toy.

I'm an international student. I, for a fact, I'm not wealthy. I come from a country in Southern Europe where the minimum wage is $600 a month and where most people live with less than $900 per month. I used to receive approximately $1500 (before taxes) in my previous job, which would make around $16.000 net income per year. I didn't have any other benefits (including a private health insurance). That was it. I was also considered to be in the middle class. Not up-middle class or low-middle class. Just plain middle-middle class. Now, one could argue that indeed prices would be very different from the US and place where I'm from and, therefore, my $16.000 net income per year would actually be a lot more in terms of purchasing power. But the fact is that, despite the rent, prices aren't that different. So, although I'm considered a middle class in my country I'm actually a poor person in the US.

I've always dreamed of coming to Columbia. Don't ask me why, but I always had that dream. I also decided to take a Bachelor and a Masters in my home country and I'm now currently taking a 2nd Bachelor here at Columbia. I've always worked since I'm very young to be as independent as I could. But unfortunately for me, being a middle class guy in my country wasn't enough. You see, paying around $45.000 just in tuition isn't something I could ever do if it wasn't for a lot of bank loans.

So, and seeing I'm from GS (as you may already noticed) and because I have no scholarship (pardon me, in fact I have $8.000 per year!) I had to take out loans. Because I'm not an American I had to take them at my home country banks. And because my home country is not prepared for such a cost of living, the conditions are terrible. I'll have to repay $175.000 in 5 years, plus interests. In fact, I'll have to repay around $42.000 per year after I finish my degree (and during the 3 years afterwards) and around $16.000 in the remaining 2 years.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to repay that if I don't get a job here in the US. But, as you may be aware, getting a working visa is a pain in the ass. I probably done one of the worst decisions in my life. In fact I may have screwed my whole life. I have troubles sleeping because I'm not sure if I'll be able to repay that. And no, I don't have any parents to support me. It's me, or nobody. But yet, being here at Columbia, has been one of the most exciting adventures.

So please, the next time you are going to say something as stupid as "In fact, the vast majority of international students have one thing in common that separates them from their American counterparts: money", think again. I'm not the only one in this situation. I know a lot of international students that are undergoing the same situation as I am. We don't have FAFSA, we can't apply to most on-campus jobs, we can't even apply for an American bank loan.

We are here, in some cases, completely alone. So don't blame us for really loving Columbia and America. Don't hate us if we have to compete with everyone in the world. Don't hate us if we even have to compete with you, with people that have 4.0 in community colleges as if it was a childish play, whereas having a 3.0 GPA in my country puts you in the top 5% of your class. Try explaining that to anyone. Don't hate us for also having Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, and etc. Don't hate us for not being all equal as if because you're Indian you're a perfect stereotype from India (the same happens in America: I bet everyone is different, everyone is an individual). Don't hate us because we also have successful people in our home countries that either studied abroad or in their home-country. Don't hate us: we are not taking places to anyone. We undergo the same evaluation as you do. If we're here and someone from American is not than, I'm sorry, but there's only a rational explanation and it doesn't have to do with sad essays about how different we are from all the Americans and what's the kind of positive diversity we can bring. Don't hate us if, in fact we don't write lame essays: apparently not everyone in the world is as emotional as Americans.

Don't hate us if, even after that, we don't hate you. We just don't like obnoxiously xenophobic and stupid pieces of writing like this one.

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Anonymous posted on

Hi Connor,

We haven't met. My name is Rega. By way of context, you should know that I'm a citizen of India, a legal resident of Oman, and a senior here at Columbia. It is important, also, to note that I love the United States to bits. I love sloppy joes and I love my Kansan boyfriend and I love democracy and I love Tina Fey. You are absolutely right in that America is an intellectual, diverse, strong, and important country. You are wrong, however, in forgetting that a determining factor in this country's intellectualism, diversity, strength and importance has been its uncompromisingly open doors. By attempting to close them now, you are displaying baffling un-Americanness for someone so strongly invested in America's future.

And yes, while an all-American class would be very ethnically and religiously and economically diverse, it would be no means be "as diverse as any in the University's history" in a broader sense. This is akin to saying that I, having grown up in India, bring the same values, views and experiences to the table as someone ethnically Indian whose family has lived in Texas for the last three generations. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, Connor, but that's called (pay close attention here because this isn't a word I throw around loosely) racism.

For a 700-word summary of my views, feel free to look up the column "Invite Diversity, Benefit All," which I wrote for Spec earlier this year. For a real meaningful conversation (if that's something you're even interested in having with a foreigner, a temporary visitor, a mere moneybag), let's snag a booth at 1020 next semester and hash this out.

Best wishes from Oman,
Rega

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Anonymous posted on

I couldn't possibly respond to all of these comments individually, but I will clarify a few things. First, my views are more nuanced than your criticisms suggest. Seven hundred words is not nearly enough to address all of the complexities of the issue. Second, I never said in the article that Columbia SHOULD have an entirely American class, or cut back drastically on the number of international students, I said that an entirely American class COULD be very diverse. Thirdly, of course there are international students who don't come from affluent backgrounds. The statistic in the article says 23.8% of international students are on financial aid and even if you still take into account a generous portion who might have loans and scholarships from other sources, that still leaves a majority who are paying 100% tuition on their own. Fourthly, everyone who says that America is a small part of the world is right, but Columbia is an American university so I was inquiring as to where its obligations lie.

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Anonymous posted on

What in the hell is diversity?

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The Dark Hand posted on

According to my calculations (http://www.wolframalpha.com/in... only 4.52 % of the incoming class should be American! 81%??! This is an outrage! WHERE IS THE DIVERSITY COLUMBIA???

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Anonymous posted on

"Columbia should feel a sense of duty to educate
America’s intellectual, political and financial elite of tomorrow."

My oh my. I haven't
read the other comments, but I kinda guess in which direction they are headed,
and I am grateful for that. However, I wanna say something different.

I don't want to
insult you, since after all you do come from a long line of Nobel Prize winners,
Oscar winners and Presidents, but how long exactly is that line? May I point
out that Columbia's Nobel list includes those who stay at Columbia less than *four
months*? That we boast of educating Academy-Award-winning-actress Anna Paquin,
who left after a year? That we are proud of belonging to the same group as
Grammy-Award-winning-artists Lauryn Hill or Alicia Keys, when both left
Columbia before they even got their appointment times for the housing lottery? I cannot be the only one who sees the
pattern – so many wonderful, successful people did not have the close-knit
connection with Alma that you and the Blue Book want to present.

Writing articles like
these will get you nowhere, nor will it help Columbia. The only effect it has
is that it widens the divide between the “greedy” administration and “naïve”
internationals (or, according to another Speccie's musings on international
students earlier this year, between greedy internationals and naive administration)
and between the students themselves. What was the point of writing this, Connor
Hailey? What's in it for you? You seem to be quite well aware of the
fact that Columbia, financially if nothing else, needs international students
to run smoothly, yet you dream of a different world. I don’t get it at all.

On a final note -
your alignment with Columbia's "best of" alumni is perfectly
legitimate, but I would honestly advise against it. Arthur Schopenhauer, whom
you should respect since he, if nothing else, chose to be educated in his
native Germany and not to steal the American Dream, famously said the following
of nationalism, of which your exercise reminded me quite often: "Every
miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a
last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to
defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for
his own inferiority."

If you really wish to
make Columbia better, stop pretending you're the Sorting Hat and instead work
on your community. If you love your international friends so much, why not help
them stay in the USofA after graduation? After all, they can improve the US
just as much as you can, seeing how it's equally unlikely that either will once
have to prove their citizenship to run for President. But instead of fostering
a close-knit community, you’re picking at it like a child who doesn’t wanna
share his toys. It’s supposed to be great to *be* at Columbia, not to *talk*
about Columbia; and I suggest you focus on that. Cause you know just as well as
I do - in your long, long line of great Columbians, we've had two of our three
Presidents drop out, while the third hated it so much he never seems to talk
about it. If only he had some sort of a Connor Hailey in CC'83 to make him feel
like he truly belongs here.

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Anonymous posted on

I do not see why all the outrage. He asked simple questions. How many interrnational students are enough? And what does an avowedly international university owe to its citizens and taxpayers? This is actually becoming a hot topic in Washingtoon state, where parents are complaining loudly about their kids being shut out of U. Wash for full tuition internationals. It is totally reasonable to ask what the right number is -- 20,40,60% ? And he did not say they were unqualified. Just that most pay full freight. This is no accident. It is the same reason CU takes so many students from the early admit pool. Those are students who can pay. The gist of the Spec quote is we need many more internationals. I do not know the right number but is it so taboo to discuss calmly? Oops, strike the last comment. This is Columbia.

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Anonymous posted on

You forgot about globalization

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Anonymous posted on

"In fact, the vast majority of international students have one thing in common that separates them from their American counterparts: money... The idea that international students can provide a perspective on poverty that we don’t have in America is preposterous."

..... really? International students don't receive financial aid from the University because the University cannot afford to give them financial aid. The portion of the FA budget provided to the University that can actually be given to international students is incredibly low. Columbia's FA policy is strictly need-aware for international students, meaning that international students who apply and cannot be given aid are instantly rejected. On the other hand, domestic students are given preference for financial aid, with students gaining acceptance to the University even if they are not provided the full amount of FA that can cover their financial need. _That's_ why such a low proportion of international students receive aid; several highly qualified applicants are turned down because the University prioritizes its domestic students over its international students. Several others simply don't apply because comparable schools like Harvard, MIT, Princeton and Yale offer need-blind financial aid to international students, while other "second-tier schools" are able to offer FA to these students because they are extremely competitive. Your argument that " Columbia accepts wealthy internationals in the name of diversity, only to turn away an American who could have been the next great statesman " may very well be a moot point, because the FA policies for international and domestic students are completely separate because the money reserved for each category is completely separate.

Second, this article is full of arrogant, hypocritical, and borderline xenophobic claims, despite your desire to prevent such a reading. Yes, most countries have a responsibility to educate their intellectual elites. Yes, this should be the top priority of most countries. HOWEVER I do not think that this argument can hold true any longer for the United States. The U.S. has taken upon itself the responsibility to delve so deeply into the affairs of countries all over the world wherever it deems necessary. I do not even need to justify this because countless examples come to mind. With this in mind I would say the U.S. also inherits the GIANT responsibility of educating intelligent citizens of other countries so that they can go on to be leaders in their countries. Of course I detest this. I detest that the U.S. gets to play god in the affairs of people in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and beyond. Yet for this very reason I feel justified in my expectation that the U.S. will continue to put people of those countries in a position to, one day, be leaders in their own countries. It's only fair.

In short: it is not right for the U.S. to interfere so deeply with the affairs of other countries without in turn providing citizens of those countries with the opportunity to an education that will one day let them govern their own affairs.

This is not as coherent or elegant as I would have liked it to be because I'm studying for a final, but I urge you to attempt to understand my frustration and my fury. This isn't an international student's call for acceptance. This is an international student's call for some form of justice.

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Anonymous posted on

The writer's father is a physics professor in Columbia:

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/phy...

It's really sad that Prof Hailey, who was probably what helped get this person admitted to Columbia, failed to raise his son in a more inclusive manner. Perhaps Columbia should reconsider its employment of Prof Hailey.

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Edward Charles Bennet posted on

That's fucking hitting below the belt. Not cool.

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Anonymous posted on

Are you kidding? You're just as ignorant as you claim the writer is. Freedom of speech, bro. You don't need to agree with him, but no need to take it so far.

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Anonymous posted on

That was unnecessary rudeness to both Haileys. While you may have good reasons to disagree, arguments should be countered with arguments, no with bashing.

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Anonymous posted on

People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.

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Anonymous posted on

I am so appalled at the way you treat international students in this article. I have never seen an article so close-minded. You make it sound like Columbia is doing us a favor by accepting us "others".

1. I don't understand your point about the fact that we have grown up in genuinely different cultures. Why would it be better if we had all grown up in the same culture? How is that better for the university to have a close-minded attitude on the surrounding world?

2.You say"As Columbians, we come from a long tradition of American intellectualism". What, so all of us international students are just dumb wealthy kids?

3. "As Columbians, we come from a long tradition of American intellectualism. Columbia has educated presidents, Supreme Court justices, senators, representatives, governors, Nobel Prize winners, Academy Award winners and countless others".
Except most of the Nobel Prize winners/Prime Ministers educated at Columbia were international and contributed the high reputation of this university.

Oh and by the way, Bieber is Canadian.

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Anonymous posted on

Such poor judgement
Let me just remind you that all those novel peace prize winners educated at Columbia and who give Columbia such a high reputation were almost all international. Some of us actually worked really hard to get in as opposed to all the non international students who got in because of connections
I feel disgusted and saddened by the way you treat us. You make it sound like it was a favor that Columbia accepted us

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Anonymous posted on

Most of us American students didn't have legacy status or other connections to get us in. We worked really hard to get in just as you did. That said, your point about the invaluable contributions of international high-achievers and the hard work international students require to get in is also correct.

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Anonymous posted on

Let me just say that I respect you immensely for having the guts to write this. The amount of fascination with "diversity" that has permeated our culture (and I don't necessarily mean actual diversity, though it's definitely possible to have too much of that too) scares me sometimes, and I'm very happy to see an intelligent counterpoint, especially regarding the college admissions process. Sometimes it seems like a student's individual merit and achievements are pushed aside in favor of their "diverse" background, which is something that I find frustrating on both a personal and societal level.

That being said, it would be nice to see some more specific data on the percentages of international students and their records (compared to those of American students and applicants), from Columbia or any other similarly prestigious university. However, what I think many of my fellow commenters are ignoring is the fact that this sort of information may be very difficult to procure or accurately analyze, and this is still a powerful statement without any of that.

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Anonymous posted on

"too much diversity" wow sounds TERRIFYING
"Sometimes it seems like a student's individual merit and achievements are pushed aside in favor of their "diverse" background, which is something that I find frustrating on both a personal and societal level."
written any articles on affirmative action lately, I'm sure you would offer a fascinating perspective

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Anonymous posted on

I'm rather grateful to study at such a globally diverse university, having the privilege to learn as well as share so much about our individual and collective experiences in ways that would not have been possible without the association of such a diverse community. The international students I know here are not all wealthy, and a great number of them have had to make sacrifices - some, even bigger than those of the typical American student who receives at least some financial aid - just to receive what they perceive to be a top notch quality education and the incomparable experience Columbia has to offer. Some of them do stay back and contribute to America, but those who do not could still make a significant positive contribution. They may go on to be future leaders in their own countries or work on major projects there. When they work with us, wherever they are, to make the world a better place, they help their respective homelands as well as our own. Everyone wins.

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Anonymous posted on

1. I do not agree that "Class of 2017 could be entirely American and as diverse as any in the University’s history ." You probably have a very narrow definition of diversity.
2. If Columbia is need blind for American citizens, I do not understand what is stopping smart American students from getting into Columbia and getting necessary financial aid. Are you implying that international students, who are less competitive than American students, are being accepted because they can pay? Some statistics please?
3. Columbia reaps $154 million of patent royalties and licensing agreements. Have you ever wondered how many patents are registered to international students? Almost 1/3 rd of the patents filed in the US are from foreign born citizens. I would not be surprised if similar ratio holds for Columbia. I own a patent at Columbia and it is owned by 2 Americans and 2 international students.

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Anonymous posted on

Of course he went to Regis.

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CC posted on

What does that even mean?

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Anonymous posted on

and his dads a prof here.

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CC posted on

I still don't understand what you are "jussayin"

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Anonymous posted on

Wow, to say that this article is uninformed and ridiculous would be an understatement. Apart from the fact that the title is highly misleading and that you just ramble on listing reasons international students should not be here in lieu of worthier Americans I'm actually feeling most exasperated by your asinine generalizations.

For example, how many of those international student registered as paying "full tuition" are being sponsored by an outside party? Some international students, shockingly, are also the first in their families to go to college, and some of us do perhaps lack comparable universities in our home countries. And that "perspective on poverty" line...you're killing me with your first-world privilege here man. Also, was America not "conceived along ethnic and religious lines?" I'm confused here.

Anyway I'm just going to stop there because re-reading this article to nit-pick every senseless claim you make isn't worth it.

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Anonymous posted on

Well, guys this is the most awful, uniformed article I've ever read. It's disrespectful and just makes me angry. Man, diversity is more sacred than pussy, more sacred than god. Instead of some fake deity, I pray to my diversity shrine every morning, repeating the words peace/love forever. I came to Columbia because I wanted to listen and be around with people who completely agree with my worldviews, that fox is evil, guns are evil, conservatives are evil. Whenever I see anything like this, it just turns my worldview upside down and it gets me mad man. Look bro, I just want you to remember that it doesn't matter what country we're from, we can all get stoned together.

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Anonymous posted on

Hear hear.

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Anonymous posted on

Just to add a perspective that i never see on any of these things.
Firstly with the whole point of 'we didnt pay taxes that Americans paid so we have no right to Columbia's money.' That is kind of why we have to 250 grand to spend four years here. That is a lot of fucking money for an education. Everyone isnt as rich as you think they are. This takes quite a huge chunk out of my dads income and a lot of sacrifices have had to be made in order for this to work out.
Secondly apart from the whole 'we need diversity and a diverse perspective thing' it is just inherently deontologically fair to give all people access to high quality education. This may sound very idealistic but why does there have to be an American vs Internationals binary in any case. A couple of generations ago people let your family come here and make a life for themselves. The world today is a global place and people are all over the place. Just cause I am an Indian that doesnt mean I am bound to my country for anything. I can be allowed to settle down and study wherever I want in the world and so with any one else. Immigration laws exist cause very often demand grossly exceeds supply and too much crowding could potentially create a problem. Thats why there are only 19% intl students cause if it were purely merit based it would be much much higher. So you can argue why the number 19. But the fact remains is that the number of Intl students applying to American colleges every year is drastically increasing in comparison to the American students and 19 is a new equilibrium that has been reached.
In fact 19 means we are competing with a much larger pool (the whole world basically) of candidates for a smaller selection of seats.
Yes we do pay full fees and I know for a fact that this increase partly reflects the need for external money to be poured into the American economy. But that is actually unfair to intelligent international students who could have probably made it here but didnt cause of financial reasons.

So you seriously need to chill out and stop masking your greed with patriotism. I think the time for such nationalism is long passed and we need to embrace the fact that we are all living in the same world and whatever our ethnic and national differences are basically all the same when it comes to what we deserve and can work for

P.s. This guys just pissed cause some Asians ruined the curve for him

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Anonymous posted on

Just to add that the value that America gets from Columbia educating international students who then potentially go on to be leaders of their home countries, with love and connection to America is potentially more valuable than educating the next American banker.

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Anonymous posted on

It makes me cry tears of joy to hear so many liberal viewpoints at a liberal university. i ams so proud of all you Columbia students. ur so brave.

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Anonymous posted on

Everyone is so quick on the attack! The author already pointed out that he wasn't implying that Columbia should be 100% American or anything of the sort. I don't think he was so tactful, but if, as some commenters have argued, admitting international students who pay full freight is a back door way of allowing need-blind admissions for disadvantaged Americans, I'm surprised that our brave activists don't bristle a bit more at that. After all, if it turned out that more white kids from Scarsdale were being admitted because they could cut eight full tuition checks, you guys would be apoplectic.

Instead, in some pretty hilarious hypocrisy, the son of a science professor (hardly a hedge fund mogul) is being told to "check his privilege" by or on behalf of many of the most privileged people at Columbia. Internationals, you're great, you bring a lot of diversity and perspective, but you're also, in global or American terms, undeniably rich (if you're receiving no aid, by definition), often really really rich (at least in my experience). But if a "white male" has the temerity to ask, eloquence aside, what seems to me a valid question about the institutional pressures and responsibilities of admissions to this university, the knives come out in some pretty ugly ways..

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Anonymous posted on

Alright, there are many more comments here than the author will ever get to address, but I just wanted to briefly point out something I thought was left out of this article:

Describing International students as mere diversity credits with little value to the University and/or Nation is forgetting all about the International members of the faculty of the research departments: The quality and prestige of a University lies not only in the name. If you remove all the 'Domestically-educated internationals' from this University, you remove America's edge in education and make void the point that more Americans would benefit from better education under this revised system.

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Anonymous posted on

The culture of Columbia isn't that it's an American institution. It's a global institution, in the middle of a global city. I don't mean we're not American, and proud of it. I mean that students choose Columbia because of the World Leaders' Forum, the proximity to the UN, the ability to learn international relations in a center for international relations, and a variety of other reasons that are only enhanced by our international student population.

To be clear, I am American. A proud American, but one that thinks that the best way to educate the next American elite is to expose them to the international elite. I also think that the perspective I gain from my international friends and peers is incomparable. I've learned things about Palestinian politics, French education, Mexican drug wars, etc. from my friends as I learn about these same issues in the classroom. I wouldn't give up this opportunity for anything in the world.

I might go abroad after graduation. I probably will. My boyfriend, who's international, might stay here. He probably will. America's intellectual elite can come from anywhere. Maybe not the next president, but the next CEO of Goldman? Or one of the key researchers in IBM? American isn't a prerequisite for those jobs, but a Columbia education could help create those leaders.

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Zola posted on

"concentrating in German literature" I don't think the germans want anything to do with you to be honest mate, not after that rant

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Anonymous posted on

The writer made no comment on whether the current fraction of international students is too high or too low. He also did not say that 100% of diversity should come from American ethnic groups. He was clearly making a rhetorical point. But you have willfully misread him. He simply asked, what should Columbia do for its citizens with regards class composition? That internationals are disproportionally (but not exclusively) well-to-do is obvious. How many poor people can come up with 1/4 million dollars with or without assistance? Columbia clearly feels an obligation to serve America. Take the recent cases of re-instituting ROTC, and the great publicity the university got for going out of its way to financially (and in every other way) assist the brave men and women who served in our military and who wanted to come to Columbia. Notice Columbia did not institute French ROTC, or offer to help out Chinese veterans. The university has many institutes which engage on uniquely American problems, and it is important for a great university to do this. It is a logical step to ask about Columbia and class composition. If Columbia is truly to reflect international composition, then it will eventually have less than 40 Americans in each CC and SEAS class. Is that OK? For a private university with global branding/pretensions, maybe it is. The reality is that probably 10,000 people were turned away from Columbia with equally good applications. We probably each know 10 such students. So there is no such thing as absolute merit. These classes are crafted to meet many objectives including, yes, to pay the bills. And when there are 100,000 or 200,000 internationals applying some day, what should we do? I'd say this issue is worth discussing, and what is so disappointing is that there is not a single international student in these responses who will even discuss the issue. I like the diversity international students provide, and this is exactly the kind of tough question on which their perspective could be fascinating. Instead the writer is called a racist, a jingoist, a cunt (oh, real nice), a white elitist, and, this is just priceless, his Dad should be dismissed as a professor for poor parenting! It is terrible that with all this diversity the dialog is so pitifully impoverished. Shame on all of you except the international woman who actually engaged with him.

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Anonymous posted on

The writer made no comment on whether the current fraction of international students is too high or too low. He also did not say that 100% of diversity should come from American ethnic groups. He was clearly making a rhetorical point. But you have willfully misread him. He simply asked, what should Columbia do for its citizens with regards class composition? That internationals are mainly well-to-do is obvious. How many poor people can come up with 1/4 million dollars with little assistance? Columbia clearly feels an obligation to serve its citizens. Take the recent cases of reinstituting ROTC, and the great publicity the university got for going out of its way to financially (and in every other way) assist the brave men and women who served in our military and who wanted to come to Columbia. Notice Columbia did not institute French ROTC, or offer to help out Chinese veterans. The university has many institutes which engage on uniquely American problems. It is a logical step to ask about class composition. If Columbia is truly to reflect international composition, then it will eventually have less than 40 Americans each in CC and SEAS? Is that OK? For a private university with global branding, maybe it is. Perhaps all the other American students should be off-loaded to less elite schools. But I'd say this issue is worth debating, and what is so disappointing is that there is not a single international student in these responses will even discuss the issue. I like the diversity international students provide, and this is exactly the kind of tough question on which their perspective could be fascinating. Instead the writer is called a racist, a jingoist, a cunt (oh, real nice), a white elitist, and, this is just priceless, his Dad should be dismissed as a professor for poor parenting!

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Anonymous posted on

"there is not a single international student in these responses will even discuss the issue"

Wrong. The bottom line is Connor's argument was really poorly made. Mark Hay and Michael Rady have both written much better articles on the same issue that debated some real debatable issues (diversity, income, brain drain, etc) without incorporating as many dumb assumptions and weak points as this op-ed does.

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Anonymous posted on

I'd just like to point out a couple of flaws:

1) The author assumes that because most of the international population does not receive financial aid, they are somehow extremely wealthy. When an American applies for financial aid, they always get it as long as there is some demonstrated need, those who do not receive FA do not have a "demonstrated need" and usually are wealthy, but not always. At Columbia there are a significant number of international students who pay full freight but borrow either officially from banks, or unofficially from wealthy relatives, in order to shoot for a long term return on investment. These students would have been awarded generous financial aid had they been American. Read: not only are they not rich, but they now have the increased burden of expensive tuition. America inspires hope in a lot of international students and often it bring a huge motivation to push for a better standard of living in America, which over time benefits the economy - isn't this at least partially, how America has put every other economy to shame over the last 100 years?

2) Your pie chart at the top is a ridiculous oversight: Columbia's definition of "international student" includes American's who have lived abroad for substantial amounts of time. All the other universities are publishing their % of foreign citizens. This destroys most of your premise that Columbia is more partial to international students than other universities. % of foreign citizens is nearly the same across all top schools ~10%. Like the oversimplified arguments in this piece, you have been too lazy to do adequate research on the data supporting your argument.

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Anonymous posted on

Without getting into the details, let me just say that a "global university" serves the world, and that in the case of Columbia, it's one of the things that makes it a "World Class" university. A culturally diverse character in this culturally diverse town, where so many points of view can be compared and weighted, is one of the things that make Columbia so unique in contrast to the other universities in your pie charts. .

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Anonymous posted on

I am Asian-American. I was not going to respond, but the Op-Ed in the Times yesterday about quotas on Asian-Americans at elite universities made me change my mind. The article missed the point. The quota at elite schools is not on Asian-Americans, it is on all Asians. Until Ivy League takes as many Asians as Berkeley or UCLA, then we are fighting for the same seats. International Asians are a great deal for Columbia. They truly increase diversity by replacing Asian-Americans with Asians. And despite what you say, you mostly pay full tuition like he said. It does not matter if you borrowed from your family and friends. If you paid the full tuition, you are "rich" almost by definition. And the reason you scream so loud is that you know it is true. Many of my friends at Stuyvesant did not get into Columbia. But their parents came here, worked, built businesses. For better or worse they lost seats at the table to other Asians. I can live with that in the name of diversity. But we should not lose more seats at the table. Coming and living here should count for something. Take your Columbia degree and be successful. But be happy with 20% until the Ivies Asian numbers look like Berkeley.

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Anonymous posted on

I love diversity. I am so intellectually and culturally enriched by reading these responses. On the one hand I learned people elsewhere are just like us. They use the same language as your typical tiresome, emotionally overwrought Columbia (American), politically correct leftist attack dogs. On the other hand, you are very different from our (American) attack dogs. You even go after his family!

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Anonymous posted on

Poor Connor. Physics? You must be super smart about the laws of physics but not the laws of Columbia. Golden rule number 1: if you are white, never EVER offer an opinion on any subject that might intersect ethnicity and class. You are not supposed to speak. The sooner you accept this, the happier your time here will be.

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No Compunction posted on

Are you aware of the fact that academically wise, the admissions criteria at Columbia University is the same for international as it is for U.S. applicants?

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Anonymous posted on

Columbia is not a charity nor a state university. Your argument is completely flawed to begin with. The rest is just pathetic.

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Anonymous posted on

Borat must be proud of his cousin from glorious nation Kazakhstan who duped the global university called Columbia University into this. If people in the admissions office had any personal pride, they would evaluate themselves vis-a-vis this case and offer to resign. If the Columbia trustees are keeping their role for a purpose beyond bragging rights, they should do their duty and make these admissions people accountable, as well as replace prezbo.

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GermanDutchStudent posted on

I can not really believe what I just read. I am from Germany, stuying in the Netherlands on an international campus, where I can see the up and downsides of being a global university every day. I do not want to write a long comment to this article, due to all the other comments, that hoefully made you realize how misguided you are relating to this issue.
My parents have quite a good income and we tend to be in the middle class. But there is hardly a way to be able to effort a study in the US for me. Although I do not have any brothers or sisters.

And regarding Roko R.'s comment - You, in fact, neither help Columbia nor America (in view of internationals - which you apparently do not care about) . Reading this in an official university newspaper, states so much infatuation and self-conceit, which is easily generalized. I am pleased by the multitude of respondences, that state the exactly opposite. It is only to hope that this is no popular belief in the US because those beliefs are not present anymore. They - to some extent - cause the "doom" of the western world.

Maybe you overthink your narrow views. Absit omen.

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