Friday, November 18, 2005

Columbia University's Cash Cow Is Disgruntled by Angela Cardinale:

I looked at Low Library, that imposing building with the dome I had only known from the movie Spiderman before I came to Columbia. President Bollinger’s office was in that building. I looked around at my classmates. We all had stories. Nearly all of us had made huge sacrifices to be at Columbia, and, as artists, we had a bleak financial future to look forward to. Throughout school, both as an undergraduate and at Columbia, I’ve worked anywhere from two to four jobs to support myself. I am getting tired, but when I leave this school in May, I will still have a mountain of debt to face. How could President Bollinger not respond to us? I half-expected the doors of Low to burst open, for Bollinger to rush down the steps, through the crowd, up to the microphone. "I hear you," I wanted him to say, "and I will do something to help you."

President Bollinger, of course, did not rush down the steps to embrace us. And I, a person who generally shies away from the center of things, walked onto the stage and faced my classmates. They cheered for me. I leaned towards the microphone. In a shrill, wobbily voice, I told President Bollinger that I was pregnant, that my Columbia debt would have an impact on my new family, that rich people aren’t the only people who deserve to study the arts. I wasn’t very profound, and Bollinger didn’t burst through any doors. But I’d like to think that he heard me.