Nutellagate

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Stephan Adamow, CC '15, poses for Spec as he ladles himself some Nutella at Ferris Booth Commons

Nutellagate occurred when misinformation spread that students were stealing $5,000 worth of Nutella a week from Dining Services during March 2013. It was also a tremendous coup for the Columbia Daily Spectator, and got them links from literally almost every notably news site on the Internet.

Basically: in a monthly meting with Executive Director of Dining Services Vicki Dunn, Peter Bailinson, a first-year CCSC rep, was informed that Columbia students were stealing tons of Nutella from the dining halls. When Bailinson offered to help spread information to stem the flow of Nutella, Dunn went to a spreadsheet on her computer, typed a few numbers into a calculator, and offered that Dining was currently using Nutella at a rate of nearly $5,000 per week. Bailinson then posted the information on his class Facebook page using the numbers provided by Dunn. Spec then posted the information[1]. Naturally—given that $5,000 is a nice big round number and that few news sources can resist a good class-baity blog post about Columbia—the New York Times picked up the story, as did Gawker and everybody else[2][3]. Dunn declined to disagree with Bailinson's numbers after the story was printed in the Spectator, Gawker, and Buzzfeed.

Then, once the story appeared in The New York Times and intense pressure was placed on the accuracy of the claims—in a press released actually titled "It's a Smear!", the University said that it wasn't nearly so much[4][5]. Bailinson never called out Dunn on the flip flop. Bailinson went on to become CCSC President a year later, and Nutella in the dining halls lived on.

Kevin Shollenberger, wanting to show just how much damn fun he was/jump onto the blog-rush bandwagon, made a video of himself eating Nutella in his office (with the help of Kat Cutler, naturally)[6]. (Commenters concurred that Shollenberger's idea was funny but poorly executed, ruined by his "look right at the end that says 'can i stop yet?' " [7].

References

  1. http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2013/03/05/nutella-ferris-booth-costs-dining-5000-week-part-due-dining-hall-thievery
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/nyregion/for-columbia-students-nutella-in-a-dining-hall-may-be-too-tempting.html?_r=1&
  3. http://gawker.com/5989132/report-nutella-theft-a-major-problem-for-dining-services-at-columbia-as-students-gorge-themselves-on-dozens-of-pounds-each-day
  4. http://spectrum.columbiaspectator.com/spectrum/university-claims-nutella-cost-2500-in-first-week-less-than-500-after
  5. http://news.columbia.edu/oncampus/3085
  6. http://bwog.com/2013/03/08/keho-eats-nutella-too/
  7. http://bwog.com/2013/03/08/keho-eats-nutella-too/#comment-967322
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