There is very little coverage of disability in The Spectator, Columbia University's student newspaper, which evinces how invisible the disabled community is on campus. Of the few disabled students' voices that have been published over the years, I had to go all the way back to 2015 just to find something besides an op-ed written in 2022. One of the pieces written in 2015 was a letter to the editor titled, "Don't call me disabled," in which the author uses the term "wheelchair-bound" to describe those other students who "deserve accommodations."
On top of that rampant ableism at Columbia -- this is a school where writing an op-ed that it's ok to sit by oneself in the dining hall was considered radical -- stairways are the dominant motif in the design of the physical campus and literal gates surround the entire main campus to separate the elites from the plebs who actually live in the Morningside neighborhood. This is a campus that is besotted with the ideologies of meritocracy and gatekeeping. It's no wonder that disabled students feel unsupported.
In 2022, a disabled Columbia student wrote an op-ed in The Spectator, stating that "since I stepped through those iron-wrought gates, the University has made it clear that they don’t believe it is their job to offer that support—for me or other students with disabilities... My pleasantly unhelpful [Disability Services] coordinator said I could receive extra help when my condition “flared up,” demonstrating a clear misunderstanding of what I was going through."
Columbia's Department of Public Safety employs many former senior members of NYPD, including Timothy Malin, Deidre Fuchs, and James McShane, former VP of Public Safety. Members of Columbia’s Mobilized African Diaspora have pointed out the hypocrisy in some of the progressive scholarship that comes out of Columbia and the institution's heavy-handed policing of the community and its surroundings. “How can you have Mariame Kaba in your faculty and then also have James McShane as your [vice president for] public safety? These are people who had their careers under Ray Kelly, under peak stop and frisk, during Guiliani, clean up the streets, tough on crime, broken windows—and then you have the Center for Justice that’s talking about restorative justice.”
In recent years, two Columbia students were stabbed to death just steps away from campus despite Public Safety officers being stationed nearby.
In 2022, Columbia University was removed from U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of top universities for falsifying data that led to it rising to the 2nd spot in the rankings.
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A Manhattan federal court jury returned its verdict after deliberating less than a day in the case against Robert Hadden, 64, who worked at two prestigious Manhattan hospitals - Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital - until complaints about his attacks shut down his career a decade ago.
More than 200 of his former patients have settled lawsuits against Columbia University, reaching agreements totaling more than $230 million — and the accusations against him were central to a campaign for the New York Adult Survivors Act, which in November opened a one-year window for survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits that would otherwise be barred by statutes of limitations.
By the time I got on the phone with my DS coordinator again, I was told that I was placed on academic probation for not completing classes I was forced to drop—but which I had paid for—due to my condition. I had just about given up all hope of graduating. I explained to my coordinator that narcolepsy is chronic, that I cannot operate on a “case-by-case basis,” and that my narcolepsy will always be the case. I was told that per University policy, this was the best they could do. They weaponized language straight out of the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying that my request was “unreasonable” and that they could not “alter the fundamental nature” of a course. It took a glowing character reference from one of my professors and my mom threatening to get a lawyer who we, in all honesty, could not afford, to finally unlock access to the Disability Services “secret menu of accommodations,” where, lo and behold, the exact accommodation I was requesting existed.
What happened to me was wrong, and it should not ever happen again. Challenging ableism and improving accessibility on campus is not just adding ramps and elevators or including image descriptions at the end of an Instagram post. It’s also ensuring that every student has equal access to educational opportunities, regardless of disability status.
Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the Lawrence C. Kolb professor at Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and a psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, has been suspended from his roles as chair of the psychiatry department and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the hospital, senior administrators announced today in an email sent to the Columbia University Irving Medical Center community.
The suspension comes two days after Lieberman posted a racist tweet, though the email provides no mention of the tweet nor any explanation for the suspension. Senior administrators will meet today with the department of psychiatry and will soon announce an interim chair.
According to McNab, who is black, officers first began to follow him into the Milstein Center when he declined to show his Columbia ID at Barnard’s main gates despite entering after 11 p.m., when students are required to show their IDs to Public Safety in order to enter campus. In an interview with Spectator, McNab said he was aware of the rule mandating students show their IDs, but expressed his frustration with what he cited as inconsistent enforcement of the rule, as he had noticed that white students were often not asked.
According to McNab’s account, after he entered the gates, an officer followed him into the Milstein Center, continuing to request his ID, and when McNab declined, more officers were called to the scene. Multiple videos taken by witnesses show that, after trying to compel McNab to leave the building, two officers physically pinned him down to the counter at Peet’s Coffee, after which he handed them his ID.
A group of primarily black Columbia underclassmen were harassed outside Butler Library around 4 a.m. Sunday morning by a white student shouting, “White people are the best thing that happened to the world” and “We built modern civilization,” according to students present at the scene.
Julian von Abele, CC ’21, followed the students from outside Butler to JJ’s Place, where he continued to berate them with racist and white supremacist comments in an incident that was captured on video by students and has since gone viral on social media.