2008 in Columbia history:
- February: plagiarism scandal involving Professor Madonna Constantine at Teachers College
- April 4: Stats PhD student Minghui Yu is killed by an SUV on Broadway while fleeing muggers
- Alumni mark 40th anniversairy of the 1968 protests
- June: The Housing SSN security breach was discovered.
- Judith Shapiro steps down from her post as President of Barnard and is succeeded by Debora Spar.
- September 11: Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain made a joint campus appearance as part of the ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum
- October 8: Bio chair Martin Chalfie wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- November 4: Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) CC '83 wins the U.S. presidential election, and will be the first Columbia graduate to occupy the White House. Among his competitors were fellow CC '83 classmate Wayne Allen Root (VP nominee for the Libertarians) and CC '87 alum Matt Gonzalez, an independent VP candidate running with Ralph Nader. GS '56 alum Mike Gravel (Democrat) was a competitor during the Democratic primaries.
- November: Student survey on ROTC appears to result in a narrow vote for keeping the organization banned from campus, but there is controversy over the number of votes thrown away.
- December 12: The Columbia University War Memorial is unveiled in Butler Library
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