Thursday, December 07, 2006

Every New Beginning...

Today was my last day of classes for the semester. I'm sitting in the newspaper office--where I have spent a ridiculous amount of time over the past year--on the second-to-last night of production. It's almost over. Next semester will be my last semester at Columbia. This whole week I've lingered around the newspaper office more than I had to because I don't want to leave, don't want it to end. Next semester there will be no real place for me here. And despite the fact that I got an AMAZING (seriously, amazing) summer internship yesterday, I'm still not quite ready to enter the real world and to leave this place I've called home for so long and given so much to. The real world is scary. Nostalgia pervades.


At 12/7/06, 8:25 PM, Blogger Deborah said...

Yes, it's going to be very hard to leave...but you're going to be close to me :-) :-) :-) Next stop, Hick-ville :-)

At 12/9/06, 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

S&M, nude parties rule at Columbia University

Douglas Feiden
New York Daily News
Dec. 3, 2006 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - Famed as a hotbed of debate over academic freedom, New York's most elite school is also a playpen for sexual high jinks.

While their parents shell out $33,246 a year in tuition, Columbia University students attend naked parties, flock to sex-toys workshops, broadcast porn on campus TV, bake anatomically correct pies for the "Erotic Cake-Baking Contest" and heat up the library steps in a mass makeout session.

And, of course, there's always the stimulating game Guess the Number of Condoms in the Jelly-Bean Jar.

Others volunteer for the bullwhip at Conversio Virium, the university-sanctioned S&M club. It calls itself a "discussion group" that provides "education and peer support" and promotes "safe, sane and consensual play." But the club doesn't just talk.

Late on the night of Nov. 13, a Daily News reporter sat in Room 303 of Hamilton Hall, a venerable classroom building where Columbia students have studied Poe, Plato and Plutarch for nearly 100 years.

As a female student volunteer stood facing the blackboard, and 24 Columbians watched, a lecturer who identified himself only as Dov flogged her with whips, rubber hoses and a cat-o'-nine-tails.

It was consensual, but the squeals of delight mingled with occasional yelps of pain.

Columbia would make no specific comment on the club or the flogging incident. Ivy Leaguers were unaware that the reporter was in attendance. Dov is not employed by the school, which does not police or censor club activities.

Referring only to student organizations generally, spokesman Robert Hornsby said the "university has a limited role in regulating student speech or private conduct."

New York's smartest still dream of winning a Nobel Prize. And bookworms still pull all-nighters in the Butler Library. But the 2 million-volume monument to the mind, which stays open 24 hours a day, doubles as a temple of earthier desires.

"Having sex in the stacks of Butler Library is one of the ultimate Columbia experiences," said Miriam Datskovsky, sex columnist for the Spectator, the student newspaper.

"There's very little dating. It's predominately a hookup scene," said the 21-year-old, a senior from an Orthodox Jewish background who writes the Sexplorations column.

"Everything is so much easier and so much quicker: you go to dinner and then have sex," she added.

Consider the party scene. The merrymakers host naked parties, lingerie-only parties and the more bourgeois "clothing-optional parties with naked rooms."

And taxpayers indirectly foot a chunk of the tab because bond offerings and loans from the state Dormitory Authority and federal Department of Education partially fund the renovation of dorms where naked frolickers muster.

Columbia would not comment on this use of university space. Lee Bollinger, the school's president and a world-class expert on free speech, was not available.

The soirees aren't exactly orgies: "It's more like naked students sitting around drinking martinis, defying societal conventions and trying to act nonchalant at the same time," said Birk Oxholm, a religion major who graduated last year.

"They're trying to act like it's not about sex. But they're not really succeeding," he added.

One hostess, who staged a Halloween-themed Naked Witches & Warlocks Party in October, called it a "great unshackling from the clothing that so defines and imprisons us." But it was a "sex-neutral event," she said.

So does anything go at Columbia? Actually, no. Flogging and bondage are accepted, but the school apparently draws the line at another form of communication between the sexes: love letters.

They were good enough for Cleopatra, who sent them to Mark Antony.

But Columbia University Health Services lists love letters as a form of non-physical sexual harassment, according to its Web site.

At 12/10/06, 9:54 AM, Blogger Lichvod Shabbat Kodesh said...

Maybe you can use your newspaper editing skills for other publications on campus. Maybe you can start your own, perhaps a Torah journal...

You are certainly most qualified and prepared for this...


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