Talk:Improve Columbia

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Below are comments from the CCSC Fall 1995 Undergraduate Student Survey. Some things have changed since then, but many proposals can still be integrated into the main article.


I suggest that uso should have direct control of allocating all student activities money all student activities money and also having the power to oversee ccsc and class committees expenditures in order to stop the excessive and useless spending of our student activities fee.

The University Senate vote against term limits was a very disappointing move, and I believe it reveals the lack of commitment on the part of the administration toward tending to students' concerns. Many of the students' complaints, however, would never addressed through student government, since administrators would only feel the need to act if broad, campus-wide presure forced them to do so. Any changes in student services will only be brought about if student leaders (like for instance student representatives) organized mailings to alumni, petitions from students, and solicited letters of support from VIPs both on and off the campus.

It is my belief that significant changes must be made to academic advising and more specifically, pre-medical advising. The current pre-medical advising system lacks the quality and professionalism that would be expected of a school such as Columbia.

In this time of increasingly competitive medical school admissions, it is a disservice to any pre-medical student to be "advised" by and to work with the pre-medical office. The current system of requiring that students go to their house deans for assistance is ludicrous. In most cases, the house dean has little or no experience with medical school admissions committees and yet these individuals will be our staunchest supporters in the process.

In addition, as I understand,the committee letter that is sent out along with each application is ultimately written and/or reviewed by Dean Geisler. My question is how can anyone write a convincing and supportive letter for a student one has never met? It is virtually impossible to meet with a dean. A student must sign-up a half-hour in advance of "open hours" that change on a weekly basis. When one leaps over these hurdles, he is left waiting due to a prior meeting that has run overtime or sudden schedule change.

Another problem is the issue of continuity in the relationship between the student and the house dean. The current house system does not require that a student remain in a certain house year after year. Clearly, a problem arises when a student chooses to live in a new house and therefore, must meet and establish a relationship with a new house dean.

A CENTRALIZED and revamped health professional office must be established that will act as advocates for undergraduate pre-medical students from both the College and SEAS.

For example, the GS pre-medical post-bac. program is a cash cow. Its students pay full tuition to take basic and advanced science classes with undergraduates. This is a grave injustice to all students. These post-bac. students should take classes that have been implemented specifically for their needs. At the same time, the undergraduate student should not be made to feel that they need to compete against a student that is taking only one or two courses.

Students here lack the numerous resources which can normally be found in the pre-medical offices of other schools. Local resources such as Columbia's world renown medical center - a valuable resource that has yet to be tapped by the pre-medical office. One would expect at least some type of program exist in which students can draw upon the vast wealth of information that current alumni in the medical school can offer.

I think you will find that most undergraduate pre-medical students are extremely dissatisfied with the quality of the advising they are currently receiving. It is my hope that the CCSC will step forward to take an active and persistent role in pushing for the changes that must be made to rectify the problems with academic advising that leave too many students angered, displeased, and unsatisfied with Columbia.

GS Students, and BC students should be restricted from CC, SEAS classes

Put the Pluck on points. Ban Greek life please. Make a 24 hour student center with computers etc. Check into what they have at MIT for an idea. Have more programs integrated with NYC, its only the greatest place on the planet. Ignore magazine rankings. If people had a more rewarding time here, then more alumni would donate $$$.

There is one thing that I would really like to see changed.

As a freshman, I've spoken to seniors and alumni and they all say that, on the whole, they were totally dissatisfied with their social lives on campus. From what I've seen so far, I can understand why. The frat parties suck, the people aren't alot of fun to be around, they like to act like they enjoy going to parties but only go to parties so they can say they did something on Saturday night.

To really change the social situation on at Columbia, I think the student body needs more school spirit. I think that would decrease the dropout rate, as well as decrease the stress levels and increase academics and overall be really helpful to the Columbia Community. The seniors don't seem to care whether our football team wins or loses, the freshman can only be slightly interested because they haven't had the chance to build school spirit. To change this, I think that games, meets, and other events should be publicized more and that the students should get a sense of school pride by letting them know how great an institution they are going to. This can best be accomplished by throwing out facts at them that will give them pride. Remind them of the various awards the professors have won, and of many other things that go on in our school, such as the great research that the physics department is conducting. And don't put it in "the spectator", nobody has time to sit and read through newspapers, there are so many newspapers to read through. Try to make it more public, like on the steps.

Staff (dining services, security, etc.) are often unfriendly -- they see us just as students rather than the customers who are paying their salaries! The Butler Mac Lab is not enough to be the university's only 24 hour computer lab. C-TALK was hyped as letting students have direct access to Low, but it is basically ineffective since questions often go unanswered for weeks -- this is a good example of CU's poor bureaucracy (VP Lloyd should meet with students more).

Fire Lynn Bejoian

The longer I am here, the less satisfied I am with the Core. I find it to promote racist and sexist ideas as the basis of our society. We recognize the imperfectness of the works in class; they are still being held up as models of our society, however. Plus, I'm sick of having clueless grad students teaching my classes!

Also, the bureaucracy here sucks and there's nothing to do around here that doesn't involve getting shifaced drunk.

Columbia does already offer public speaking classes. This was addressed in one of the questions above. I think they're in the dept. of speech.

Good job on the survey - might want ot publicize it more!

The law school's computer department could largely be improved as to the service they provide to law students

The campus food centers should provide better quality, practical(ie. not huge unhealthy portions), and a greater variety of food at a fraction of the current cost. The student council must put more effort in keeping the students informed about what its doing. I don't even know who's on the council. I also feel that maintenence on campus and in halls, dorms, and greek housing needs great improvement. We pay quite a bit to live here, so I expect things clean fixed

commuter students receive grossly unequal attention

In my opinion more attention should be placed on commuting students, and very importantly, the often forgotten international student community.

A lot of ambiguities in this survey. Bias exists by initially leaving the checkmarks on particular answers. The goal of this survey is unclear.

Improving the housing situation would help alot. I live in Wein and we really aren't getting what we're paying for.

Also I think TA's should teach less Core Classes. It's annoying to put up with their weird, unjustified attitudes and inexperience.

Finally, food here is WAY to expensive. Compared to what you can get of campus (example 89c Snapple versus $1.35 on campus) It's criminal!!!

More food diversity!

The two major dissapointments I have about Columbia. (I am a junior Combined Plan Transfer from Providence College) are the housing situation we as a group are in, and the accessability to the computer network via an off campus line. First, I was dissapointed to see that the only Columbia sponsored housing for combined plan students was on 362 R.S.D. Approximatly 30 of us are grouped togther with graduate students. The problem lies in the fact that it is difficult enough meeting people as a transfer, but it is compounded by separating us from the general student population (especially other undergrads.) My second concern deals with the difficulty with connecting with Computer services from off campus. Comming from another school, I can honestly say that from what I have seen that the students here do not realize how fortunate they are to have such fine computing services. However, it is often difficult to gain access to the system from my apartment. And fr! om what I understand, we are not a llotted the same privillages as students who live on campus. This seems unfair to me because I did not want to live off campus in the first place. Overall I am impressed by most of the services at Columbia, including AcIS, security, and the academics. Thank you for your time.

There should bemuchless separation between Barnard college and the rest of the university (ex: Meal plan, email system, housing,access to gym facilities, art studio(art program in general atBarnard-perhaps they should be unified).The minimum first year meal plan should be greatly reduced.

This survey was biased and evil.

The biggest problem facing the university is the threat to need-blind admissions.

Living at Barnard housing under the exchange program this year, I found the following things to pose problems: 1) Barnard students have the opportunity to open a free e-mail account on Columbia systems; Columbia students, however, have to pay $45 to open account at Barnard -- so I'd have to pay this fee just to be able to check my e-mail from a Barnard terminal! 2) It would be very convinient if barnard-columbia dining plan\ exchange program was expanded so that my Dining Dollars would be valid as Barnard dining poins in their cafes.

We need a new president. I think we need a strong leadership.

--more efforts to build community by having common living spaces (lounges in wien or common lounges in suite dorms), common places to cook or eat at a reasonable cost with healthy food, so we are not so isolated from each other on this campus. also, more computer terminals are needed...there is 1 terminal for my dorm of nearly 400 people and it is always broken or occupied. more campus wide fun events, like picnics, cookouts, concerts, sporty events like team softball might also help create more of a sense of college community here. also more prompt mail mail arrives sometimes weeks late, which is especially inconvenient with bills. thanks!

Not all the options in this survey describe my answers accurately.

Make the Colimbia University bookstore accept dining dollars. Make averystore within a five mile radius accept dining dollars

Don't tear down FBH. Renovate Wien first.

on the house system question -- I don't even know if I'm a part of it. I guess that says something about what it lacks if indeed I *am* technically a part of it. I live in Wallach, by the way.

Do something about the social life...there are only frat parties to look forward to, and we don't like them. And on Friday nights, there is, at most, one party, and if we don't like it, we are screwed, for there is no other choice. We want to do something, but the choices are almost nil here. (And NYC can be a tad bit too expensive for us college students!)

I don't understand the question about URH-- an improvement over what? Home?

I felt that i couldn't answer all the questions since i have been here such a short time

You should be able to use Dining Dollars at the Pluck.

The Core Curriculum is a bit repressive.

Only this: it strikes me that there are two urgently pressing problems that needs be dealt with, the incompetence and apathy of the administration, from the registrar's office to almost every dean's office (there are a few exceptions). Why, in adjunct, do we have a house advising system, would it not be a great deal more personalised and personal to have the same dean for four years, to get to know them, to become friends, even, with them, so that they can then treat us as something other than the objects that we become in the sporadic 9-month relationship of dependent that each student here has with his or her dean. Were a permanent advising system to be put in place, with a permament relationship bet dean and student, the dean would be able to much more effectively deal with the *specific* problems that we all invariably go to our deans to solve. And while it is convenient to be able to walk downstairs at any hour (yeah, right!) and speak with my dean, it would! be worth the walk if, when I walk ed in, my dean were to greet me by name, ask me how I'd been and what I was thinking about doing in the future, and then offer rational and personal advice on the basis of what he/she knew about me from the past, from this long relationship we had had. I think this to be especially pertinent to those of us lucky enough to be seniors, for the resources, the personal and personnel resources to which we can turn to discuss grad school, for example, are ridiculously thin, and leave one clutching in the dark at a huge topic. Anyway, enough ranting about that, a topic I've long wanted to tell SOMEONE in charge. Next, as far as the dining sevices are concerned, I think the simple solution to the problem is, well, as simple as it looks, GOOD FOOD AT CHEAP PRICES! I don't understand why it is that this university, alone it seems in the galaxy, can't manage that combination. The food here is ridiculously overpriced and the quality couldn't get much lower. In the evenings there are two eat! eries open on campus and after 9: only one! I understand that opening the cafeterias to the public means that they cannot be subsidised. Two solutions: close them to the public and give us cheap, subsidised, and healthy food, or else make there be a sufficient difference between the price of dining dollars and cash, and not just the lack of tax. The ideal that comes to mind is at a college in Cambridge, UK, at which they have a meal of several entree options, vegetables, carbos, etc., and all for about $1.50- $2.00. Dining services here are the most expensive place to eat in Morningside Heights, the same price as a sit down meal in a lot of cafes around and more expensive than many diners, and that is absurd. Anyway, sorry for having taken up so much space, I simply got caught up in this . . . . Thanks.

Going to the health services is like going to a city hospital. I had to wait 45 minutes just for somebody to look in my ear and tell me if it was infected. That took all of 30 seconds!

Keep Columbia College the smallest in the Ivy League. (Smallest College; Largest University) Don't make enrollment higher than 850 per class. Don't compromise on the Core. Don't change the curriculum of Lit Hum or Con. Civ. Say No to multi-culturalism and political correctness Re-institute a student review/ranking of all professors and classes. Make at least 1 Math and 1 Econ. course required Make all Home Columbia Football games free to students with valid ID Accidently blow up Carman Hall when FBH is destroyed. (Carman has to be one of the uggliest buildings in the area)


Get rid of all Greek Life at Columbia. Frats are non conducive to an academic environment

Since I'm a Barnard student a few of the questions were a bit ambiguous. I haven't taken Core. I have taken few classes outside of Barnard that were not designated shared...if you include the V designated classes, the number gets higher. You might wanna make that more clear, might not. This survey thing is a good idea, though. It looks good :).

Oh, and I answered the Health Services question with the Columbia one in mind since you probably don't wanna tackle Barnard's .

Next time you do a survey like this, make some questions that are geared toward only certain students have a "does not apply" choice.

This survey was a good idea. Unfortunately, for a significant number of the survey questions, I was unable to respond accurately because my response wasn't available in the pick list. If this is done again, I would suggest either giving people the ability to "write in" their own responses if a pick-list item is not available that matches what they'd like to say, or a "no answer"/"can't answer" item in each of the pick-lists.

Health Service people are rude and inefficent; they discourage the use of the service.

As always, the student council needs to develop more contact with the students.

i really feel that administrators and teachers simply do not care about the students at all. it would be nice to see support networks of some sort.

I am a commuter student, and commuters get NO regard in this school. Why? We do not have a presence on campus. If we do not chhose to live in the crummy dorm system, we are treated like freeloaders, and not granted access to dorms, or not given any information about campus events, or not given our pencil books. We need to be given more care, because just like every other dormie, we go to school here too!

The Administration should discontinue the practice of harrassing fraternities, particularly Fiji. Darryl Conte should be removed from his position of Director of Greek Life.

One improvement would be better publicity for events. Columbia hosts many famous and respected lecturers but I always seem to hear about it the next day in the Spec. Instead of occasional posting on the electronic bulletin board, which I rarely check, events should be advertised in the Spec and posters should be put up. Prices should be lowered at Dining Services and more vegetarian dishes offered. Class sizes should definitely be kept down, especially for Core Classes, including the semester long ones too. Twenty-five should be the max and more effort should be put into using tenured professors as teachers of Core classes.

Well I have notice the signs @ the carman and jay gates. If one looks it says it'll be locked at certain times. Well it is never lock. There are also not security guards there. Yes Ruggles and the frats are acrass the street but that cannot accout for the safety of the campus. Any looney could just walk on campus and do whatever. Of course there are cameras but it still does not provide real time safety. Also there is a TON of bureaucracy on campus. It has taken me two months to get connected to the net from my room I had all of the equipment from the beginning. There are too many channels one must take to accomplish anything. Serioously sometimes i feel like i have to sign papers and ask to use the stupid bathroom. It is utterly ridiculous. No wonder columbia gets a bad wrap when it comes to service. Dropping in college rankings and the service problems will cause less students to apply.

I really like Columbia, but I feel very removed from the school and it's activities. It's hard as a first year student to really know what is going on when you need to. Oh, and I hate the dining dollar system. The food at John Jay is not worth eating five times a week. It's inconvenient and wasteful. I've borrowed a fairly large amount of money to come here, and yet I'm forced to waste hundreds of dollars through this system on nothing. Thank you for your concern, x

I suggest more involvement for commuter students. It seems as if living on campus is a requirement for having any type of social life. Is it my fault that I just happen to live in the vicinity of the school and live in my house? There is a definite lack of courtesy among the students who live on campus towards those who don't.

One of the best ways to improve student life on campus would be to lessen the bureaucracy. This especially applies to offices like Student Financial Services and Financial Aid where students are treated with the worst kind of disrespect. It's humiliating enough to have to ask for financial aid, so the least these places could do is treat you like a human being.

Save speech. Preserve Need Blind Financial Aid More Taco Bell

Academic advising needs serious improvement and pdon't eliminate public speaking from the curriculum!

Columbia needs to face the problems of commuters, not just dorming students!

basically columbia sucks in a lot of ways. the administration, food, building operations and security managers should remember that they are paid by the students' tuition and have a little respect for us. This is one of the few businesses where the customer is NEVER right. This is an annoying place and it's getting worse, I feel like I'm getting out just in time.

Keep Barnard Students in Barnard Housing and Columbia students in Columbia Housing. Must promote athletic events more. There are too many phone messages telling us to join Rupp or Cole for dinner or what not, but no messages telling us that the football team or basketball team has a game. That's how to get a better turnout at games.

Nice Job, .... Sameer

Need student lounges - to socially study and eat. no place to hang out o hang out on campus.

the "almost never" choices I answered really should be "never"--that includes all the "socialization" questions I consider myself financially "average" (in the pool of all US citizens), however, if the average CU student receives a grant, and I do not receive a grant, then there must be little difference between the financial status of the average CU student on campus and the average homelessperson around campus. Also, I prefer the Carleton dining area to all those listed, but I'd like it to stay an engineering secret. As for the Dodge fitness center, last year it was a sweatbox. Even if the ventilation is better, it still is a hole in the ground.

As a first year, I felt a little lost. For instance my physics class requires taking calculus. No one told me this so I am not doing well in physics because I only had a little calculus. It feels like I've had to learn everything through just talking to friends. It feels like I am missing something.

Do something about the bureaucracy ! It's really a serious problem.

Good job Costa-- Kate K.

More classes and lectures restricted to seas and cc students, gs and barnard should not have free reign into our classes

Security a big issue, not so much on campus but in surrounding environs.

I replied that I did not use the gym; however, I would like to take advantage of it. I just feel unsure of the hours and the equipment available. Perhaps it would be more useful to make information like this more available to the students, making them more likely to use the facilities.

I really believe that the dining dollars system should and must be opened up to outside, independant venders. The way I see the system now is that it allows weak service and high prices to take advantage of students who already pay too much to go to this school.

1) More dialogue concerning Financial Aid 2) More dialogue between university branches to facilate problem solving for students. 3) WE DEMAND THE CORE REPRESENT THE STUDENT BODY AND NOT JUST EUROPEAN CULTURE!!!!!!!! 4) Provide a little more freedom within the core-->utilize other cultures (Asia, Africa etc.) 5) More school morale events (sports, school pride etc.) 6) Administrators stop being so neutral on social and political issues NAMELY Rupp & the deans!!!

-Improve ranking among other schools at all costs -for engineers, more introductory classes in engineering -renovate, renovate, renovate -keep the campus clean and open up the grassy areas -new library -deal with homeless problem on and around campus -DONT expand school size

Don't increase the class size of Columbia College.

academic advisors for first years that are actually involved in academics. better food in john jay - it is really bad

Please DO NOT increase class size at Columbia College.There are already too many classes taught by Grad. students. Where are all the great professors? Where is the pride in the core that makes REAL professors teach those classes?

I think Coulmbia hails New York as its greatest selling point, but it also should note that being in the center of (and not even really in the center, we are way uptown in Harlem) is also its greatest weakness. Columbia is a very cold and unsupportive place. It is only through the vaariuos organizations and clubs that i belong to that i feel a connection to other students on campus. I think the University definitely needs to work on becoming more supportive and nurturing of its students. Other successful Ivy League schools like Harvard and Princeton and Yale are and look how they are perceived. They still turn out fine graduates who are independent and free thinkers. I think this emphasis on being strong, handling all of your problems on your own with any help from any one or the school is wrong and often makes this time and experience an unhappy one for many students who are unfortunately stuck here for various reasons and can't transfer. Columbia needs to treat al! l of its students better.

Columbia has too much bureaucracy and too many people doing one or two jobs. Most of them are not even that friendly or cordial to the students. Some are hostile and have benn doing the job too long.

Get rid of the dining plan. The food sucks and it's too expansive. Never has any vegitarian options!!

excellent survey. nice idea.

I think that the biggest problems lie in the financial end of the university system. There are a lot of superfluous fees, especially extra dining dollars and the meal plan in general. Overall, I would say that I love ithere except forthe feeling that I get that I'm being swindled a lot of thetime...that is not thebst feeling to have about your alma mmater.

in the beginning of the survey, you asked what school, (i'm bc) but then you ask all cc related questions. its a bit confusing. are you talking about cc advising, bc advising or both?

I love Columbia! However there are things that should be changed, for instance, Dinigng dollars are great, but the school absolutely rips you off on prices for thiings, plus there is no variety, they should be opened up to other vendors to offer some competition, and hopefully bring the quality of food up. Also Columbias; most pressing problem are the number of freaks they let in here every year. Don't the admissions people raed the applications. Good luck

The Barnard meal plan needs BIG improvements... especially in the format. Students should be able to get points only when required to be on meal plan (living in the quad.) Barnard should go on a joint meal service with Columbia so that dining dollars could be used in both places and at any time of day. This is honestly my biggest complaint. Security should also be extended to areas surrounding the campus (especially on the way to Plimpton.) I have been fairly pleased with the academic aspects at Barnard; the advising does not need improvement.