Obama Sparks a Bitter Dispute Between Columbia and Barnard
An uncomfortable peace between Columbia University and its across-the-street sister Barnard College has been interrupted by the decision of President Barack Obama to give the commencement speech at Barnard rather than his alma mater, Columbia. Certain collegians are not taking this lightly, and, as Richard Perez-Pena writes in the New York Times, the result has been an unleashing of "online exchanges as nasty as any hair-pulling, eye-gouging schoolyard brawl." Fortunately, this is all on the Internet for even non-Ivy Leaguers to enjoy, with the websites of campus newspaper The Columbia Spectator and student-run Bwog hosting numerous points of view on this issue of major contention.
On one side, there is Team Columbia, which is smarting because Obama snubbed an institution he attended and is sure that Barnard is academically inferior and simply a hanger-on. From Bwog:
Against them, Team Barnard which posits that those who are jealous of their presidential visit are misogynists. From The Columbia Spectator:
Then there's Team Jill Abramson -- the New York Times editor was "bumped" when the White House unexpectedly called to offer up Obama's services -- and some at Barnard feel a woman should never have been bumped for a man, even one who is the president. (Abramson, per a statement from Barnard, is "happy to speak at Barnard at a later date.")
And Team Stop Talking About It We Look Like Terrible Brats, Wow This Is Embarrassing:
“I think it reflected really badly on us as a whole, making everybody seem so angry and bitter and entitled,” said Amanda Pickering, a senior majoring in English literature at Columbia College.
But of course, this is the Internet. It's precisely where people get mad and say things anonymously that they'd be embarrassed to ever see attached to their real names. As the president of Columbia University, Lee C. Bollinger, pointed out, the angry sentiments seem to come from a minority of people and, hey, everyone's just sad because Columbia students love Obama so much (even though, or perhaps because, he's said his time there was not "a particularly happy one"). When feelings are hurt, harsh words are wont to fly!
Others, let's call them Team Columbia-Barnard Peace in 2012, are concerned that the tenuous harmony between the two schools across the street might be in need of some repair. Those peace talks should happen fast if Columbia students expect their "friends" at Barnard to give them any of their extra tickets to commencement.