Updated Jan. 1, 3:44 p.m.
From the hiring of new football coach Al Bagnoli to the formation of new coalitions like the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network and the Student of Color Coalition, 2015 has been a year of constant changes, new directions, and big decisions.
For one, Columbia became the first U.S. university to divest from private prisons, while Barnard affirmed its identity as a women’s college and became the last of the Seven Sisters colleges to revise its trans admissions policy to include trans women.
We’ve also seen new battles sprout as old ones were rekindled, with controversies brewing over Bacchanal, the Columbia community continuing to grapple with the graduate students’ move to unionize, fossil fuel divestment movements on both sides of Broadway, petitions and changes to Barnard’s winter break housing, and even the wrath of combustible appliances.
But the year has also brought successes that have rallied our community together. Our football team won for the first time in 24 games, our fencing team seized its first national title in over two decades, and our baseball team topped the Ivy League for the third straight year.
So we invite you to join us in remembering 2015, a truly unforgettable year, as we ring in 2016.
Caroline and Ben
140th Editor in Chief and Managing Editor
~February: The Bagnoli hire
Former Penn football coach Al Bagnoli was hired in February to jumpstart the losing Lions as the team’s new head coach.
Micayla Lubka / Senior Staff PhotographerFebruary: CU unveils Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative
Zoe Guy / Staff PhotographerMarch: Ollie's fire
A fire broke out in March, leading to the evacuation of Barnard’s 600s dorm and the permanent closure of Ollie’s.
Spencer Cohen / Staff PhotographerMarch/April: FLIP launches CU Meal Share and Class Confessions
Gloria Tso / Staff PhotographerApril: Days on Campus demonstration
No Red Tape protested the University’s response to sexual assault on Days on Campus in April.
Spencer Cohen / Staff PhotographerApril: War on Bacch
Big Sean headlined April’s controversial Bacchanal, marked by greater administrative oversight and controversy.
Kris Pang / Staff PhotographerApril: Take Back the Night
Around 200 students and local residents marched at this April’s Take Back the Night to speak out about sexual assault.
Rania Siddique / Staff PhotographerApril: Fight for 15
Student activists continued their fight to secure a $15 an hour wage for workers, including students with on-campus jobs.
Gene Fedorenko / Staff PhotographerApril: Prison divestment protest
Columbia Prison Divest staged a protest in Low Library in April to urge the University to divest from private prisons. The board of trustees later voted to divest from the private prison industry in June.
Gene Fedorenko / Staff PhotographerMay: Teaching & Learning Center
Ethan Wu / Senior Staff PhotographerMay: Men's Baseball wins Ivy League title
Lions baseball won the Ivy League title for the third year in a row in May, edging out Dartmouth in three games.
Kiera Wood / Senior Staff PhotographerMay: Taking the stage
Emma Sulkowicz, CC ’15, completed her Carry That Weight performance project, when she carried her mattress on stage during Columbia Class Day.
Kiera Wood / Senior Staff PhotographerMay: Pre-health advisor leaves Barnard
Former Dean for Pre-professional Advising Adjua Starks left Barnard nearly 17 months after faculty called on the administration to address concerns that she offered inadequate support and inaccurate advice to students, a Spectator investigation found.
Kiera Wood | Senior Staff PhotographerJune: Barnard trans admissions policy
Youjin Jenny Jang / Senior Staff PhotographerSeptember: Center for Student Advising
The Center for Student Advising announced in September that Monique Rinere would no longer serve as Dean of Advising after serving six years in the position.
Samantha Velasquez / Senior Staff PhotographerSeptember: SEAS completes Phase I of renovations
Giulia Olsson / Senior Staff PhotographerOctober: Football wins
Micayla Lubka / Senior Staff PhotographerOctober: Rules of Conduct revised
The University Senate substantially revised the Rules of Conduct for the first time since 1989 in an effort to create a more streamlined and transparent adjudicatory process.
Jared Orellana / Staff PhotographerOctober: Police presence at divest protest
The New York Police Department joined Public Safety officers at a Columbia Divest for Climate Justice protest in October. The group was rallying for the University to divest from the top 200 oil, coal, and natural gas companies.
Ethan Wu / Senior Staff PhotographerOctober: A new rules administrator
Spectator found that the University Senate’s executive committee unilaterally altered the Rules of Conduct to allow University President Lee Bollinger to appoint executive vice president for university life Suzanne Goldberg rules administrator, prompting concerns that the appointment would create conflicts of interest.
Youjin Jenny Jang / Senior Staff PhotographerNovember: Mizzou and Yale
Students rallied in solidarity with Yale and the University of Missouri in November after incidents of racism on both campuses.
Yasmine Akki / Staff PhotographerNovember: Paris vigil
Jared Orellana / Staff PhotographerNovember: New proposal for Frontiers of Science
Science faculty like Professor David Helfand, a pioneer of the Frontiers of Science course, criticized the proposed new science Core in November—only days before Dean Valentini officially released the proposal in an email to Columbia College students.
Millie Christie-Dervaux / Senior Staff PhotographerNovember: Magnolia tree move
The construction of the Teaching & Learning Center required the displacement of a beloved magnolia tree on Barnard Lawn. As the center is being built, Barnard’s LeFrak Gymnasium is to become a two-story swing space for the library, Barnard offices, and other program spaces currently housed in Lehman Hall.
Rachel Bernstein / Staff Photographer
William Jeffries / Staff PhotographerNovember: Winter break housing policy
Rachel Bernstein / Staff PhotographerDecember: Rhodes scholar
A Columbia student won a Rhodes Scholarship after the first time in five years.
Bronwen Chan for SpectatorDecember: Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network
Several activist groups formed the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network and rallied on Low in December, demanding that the university tackle issues of sexual violence, labor inequality, and climate change, among others.
Gloria Tso / Staff PhotographerDecember: Barnard Divest
Yasmine Akki / Staff PhotographerDecember: Graduate student unionization
Graduate teaching and research assistants continued their push to gain recognition as a union. The National Labor Relations Board announced in December that it would review the students’ petition to unionize.
Aimee Auguin / Staff Photographer