Around The Ivies

Brown:  Brown can enjoy their winter break for a couple more weeks after a long semester. But just before they bid 2015 and their friends goodbye, Brown’s a capella groups came together for the annual Holiday Midnight Organ Concert in Sayles Hall. Students took a break from studying to enjoy melodious holiday a capella performances that ranged from traditional hymns to comical renditions. However, this was no ordinary concert: students cozied up in blankets and PJs instead of sitting in chairs, while glitter and Twinkies were thrown into the audience. Continue reading

Around the Ivies

Brown University: Alongside community members, students from Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design staged a “die-in” on Sept. 12 to protest police brutality against people of color, the Brown Daily Herald reported. More than 100 people attended the protest to show solidarity and respect for the recent casualties in Ferguson, Missouri.

Columbia University: Hundreds gathered to protest Columbia’s handling of sexual assault on campus last Friday, the Columbia Spectator reported. Standing behind a line of mattresses, students held signs that supported survivors and condemned administrators.

Cornell University: On Sept. 10, Cornell’s Climate Neutrality Acceleration Working Group presented recommendations to change Cornell’s target date for cutting its net carbon emissions to zero from 2050 to 2035, the Cornell Daily Sun reported.  The recommendations included constructing more efficient buildings, using wind projects and developing local biofuels.

Harvard University: Two members of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk rock protest group, spoke at Harvard’s Institute of Politics on Monday, critiquing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oppression in Russia and Ukraine and advocating for the right to free speech, the Harvard Crimson reported. The pair also investigated the arrest of a Harvard alumnus who had been banned from campus after a previous protest, and had illegally attended the forum.

Princeton University: In a unanimous vote, Princeton faculty members approved a set of recommendations on handling sexual misconduct by the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy on Monday, the Daily Princetonian reported. Changes include removing students from the adjudication panel, reducing the burden of proof for sexual assault cases, granting both parties the opportunity to have an advisor from outside the Princeton community.

University of Pennsylvania: The University of Pennsylvania’s 2014 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report has increased its emphasis on sexual violence, complying with the Violence Against Women Act and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act to increase transparency and accountability in reporting sexual violence crimes on U.S. campuses. The report, which aims to inform the community about fires and crimes on and around campus, included reported offenses of domestic and dating violence and stalking for the first time and a section listing support services for victims of sexual violence.

Yale University: More than 300 attended a speech by Somali-born American activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Monday night without significant interruption or disturbance, even though Yale’s Muslim Students Association sent a letter signed by more than 30 other student organizations, voicing concerns about Hirsi Ali’s lack of academic credentials on Islam.

Watching the Ivies: 5/28




COLUMBIA: Columbia University held its General Studies Class Day ceremony last Monday morning, awarding 444 diplomas to the largest graduating class in the school’s history, the Columbia Daily Spectator reported. Many GS graduates, such as the 62 military veterans in the graduating class, took nontraditional paths to pursue a Columbia degree. The ceremony’s keynote speaker Nicholas Dirks, chancellor-designate at the University of California Berkeley, highlighted the merit of receiving a liberal arts education in his address. Continue reading

Watching the Ivies: 5/13


BROWN: Brown University announced a 60 percent yield for the Class of 2017, an increase of nearly five percent from last year’s yield of 55.8 percent, according to the Brown Daily Herald. The yield rate is higher than the University’s anticipated rate of about 57 percent. The Admission Office expects to admit “a handful” of students from the waitlist.

COLUMBIA: A football player at Columbia University was charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime last Tuesday, according to the Columbia Spectator. The student, Chad Washington, allegedly heckled an Asian student with racial slurs and shoved him against a wall. Washington and his teammates were also criticized for posting “racist and homophobic tweets” online. Columbia administrators and student leaders released statements condemning the language used in the Twitter posts.

CORNELL: Cornell University’s current faculty renewal initiative aims to replace half of the University’s faculty in the next 10 years, as over half of current faculty members over age 55 prepare to retire, according to the Cornell Daily Sun. The University, currently facing the most substantial wave of faculty retirements in its history, intends to hire about 67 new faculty members each year in the next decade. Cornell will finance this initiative through donations and by allocating resources for faculty salary.

HARVARD: Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences last Tuesday approved a restructuring of reading and exam periods to be implemented in Fall 2014, according to The Crimson. Harvard’s reading period will be shortened to six or seven days from its current length of eight. The proposal also addressed the type of assignments that faculty will be permitted to assign during reading period. The changes are intended to “spread out due dates, and give students time to do their work,” Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay Harris said in an email.

PRINCETON: Princeton University announced a 2 percent increase in its yield from 66.7 to 68.7 percent for the Class of 2017, according to the Daily Princetonian. This is the second year since Princeton reinstated its early admission program — which for the class of 2016 spurred a 10 percent yield increase — that the college has seen an increase in its yield. Thirty-five of the 1,327 enrolled students will defer matriculation for a year and enter the Bridge Year Program.

UPENN: The University of Pennsylvania recently announced its lineup of speakers for this year’s commencement ceremonies, as the Daily Pennsylvanian reported. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the commencement ceremony on May 13. Roy Vagelos, retired chair and CEO of Merck & Co, Inc. will speak at the ceremony for the College of Arts & Sciences, while former First Lady Laura Bush will speak at the ceremony for the School of Nursing.

YALE: Yale College’s senior male a cappella group the Whiffenpoofs appeared on the season finale of “Glee” last Thursday, according to the Yale Daily News. The group portrayed the prep school show choir the Waffletoots, who competed against the New Directions at the regional championship on the show. The Whiffenpoofs have also recently appeared on other shows including “The West Wing” and “Saturday Night Live.”

Watching the Ivies: 4/8


BROWN: The Brown Daily Herald recently published the results of its annual spring student poll, which surveyed students about their political opinions, views on university policy, sex and drug use habits, among other topics. The poll found that 82 percent of Brown students “strongly agreed” that same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state of Rhode Island. Results also found that about two-thirds of students think that the university should offer the option of pursuing a minor, and that 85 percent of students consumed alcohol in the past year.

COLUMBIA: Columbia University’s humanities and science department heads are currently debating the merits of releasing end-of-term professor evaluations to the public, according to the Columbia Daily Spectator. Most science departments will make this spring’s course evaluations open to the public in a pilot initiative, although humanities departments have not committed to the program. Department heads have voiced concerns that making course evaluations open may negatively impact new instructors in the tenure process.

CORNELL: A student panel at Cornell University last Thursday marked the beginning of the “Know the Power of Your Words” campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the harmful impact of hurtful language on the campus community, according to the Cornell Daily Sun. Panelists discussed their experiences as female, Muslim, lesbian, African-American and transgender students, speaking about issues such as tokenism and dealing with slurs. Panelists also addressed how the use of certain phrases perpetuates stereotypes and prejudice on campus.

HARVARD: Harvard University’s Dean of the College Evelynn Hammonds announced at a faculty meeting last Tuesday that she had authorized a second round of email searches of a resident dean who had leaked information about the Government 1310 cheating scandal. The search violated the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ faculty email privacy policy by failing to seek prior approval from the FAS dean, according to The Crimson. Tuesday’s announcement contradicted a previous statement that the searches had been restricted to the resident deans’ administrative email accounts, as opposed to their individual Harvard accounts.

PRINCETON: The Daily Princetonian last week posted a variety of responses to Susan Patton’s controversial letter to the editor that the newspaper published on March 29. Patton, a member of Princeton’s class of 1977, advised current Princeton women to “find a husband on campus.” Patton argued that a concentration of men of equivalent intelligence and character would not be found easily subsequent to graduating from Princeton. The letter generated a wide range of written reactions from Princeton students, alumni, faculty and parents.

UPENN: Hundreds of students at the University of Pennsylvania took part in the “Take Back the Night” protest last Thursday, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. The peaceful protest targeted the issue of domestic and sexual violence. The protest included a rally on Penn’s college green, featuring speeches by several prevention educators and activists, followed by a march across campus. Participants hoped to stress the importance of preventing sexual violence on campus and in the broader community.

YALE: Yale University professors voted at a faculty meeting last Thursday to table a proposal making significant changes to Yale’s grading system until the coming fall, according to the Yale Daily News. The proposal includes the implementation of a 100-point grading scale and a set of guidelines for grade distributions, which will allot 35 percent of grades for the 90 to 100 percent range. Student and faculty concerns about an absence of student input, among other issues, caused professors to push back the proposal until the fall. Students demonstrated outside the faculty meeting in protest against the proposed changes.

Watching the Ivies: 4/1

Courtesy of Columbia Spectator

BROWN: Police officers and family members continue to search for Brown University student Sunil Tripathi ’12, who has been missing for over a week. Last seen two Saturdays ago, Tripathi left “a note suggestive of suicidal intent” along with his wallet and credit cards at his apartment before his disappearance, according to the Brown Daily Herald. The FBI has joined the search, the Daily Herald reported. A Facebook page, titled “Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi,” is created to help raise awareness of Tripathi’s disappearance by compiling all the available information.


COLUMBIA: Osmond Cousins, a cook at Columbia University’s Faculty House, has filed a class action lawsuit against the University for charging customers for tips that the employees never received. According to the Columbia Spectator, the lawsuit contends that Faculty House clients receive bills for meals that include a 15% tip, leading customers to believe that the service charge will go to the employees. The Spectator also reported that New York state law allows banquets and special functions to be exempt from tipping laws “where a fixed percentage of the patron’s bill is added for gratuities which are distributed to employees.”


CORNELL: Students at Cornell will pay $1945 more in tuition for the 2013-2014 school year, bringing up the cost of attendance to $57,042 including room and board, the Cornell Sun reported. The tuition hike would affect students in Cornell’s professional schools but not the University’s other graduate students. According to a University press release, all other costs, such as housing, dining, and student fees will not increase for the 2013-2014 academic year. The cost of attendance for New York state residents will increase at the same rate, changing from $40,902 to $42,847.


HARVARD: Harvard University’s acceptance rate is once again at a record low, with 5.8% of applicants admitted to the Class of 2017, according to The Crimson. Of the 35,023 applicants, 1,134 received offers of admission under regular decision, bringing the total number of admitted students with early action students to 2,029. In an effort to reach students from a wider range of backgrounds, Harvard has agreed to spend an additional $10 million on financial aid, according to the Dean of Admissions. Harvard’s acceptance rate is currently the lowest in the Ivy League.


PRINCETON: Princeton University has extended an offer of admission to 1,931 high school students of the 26, 498 who applied for a spot in the Class of 2017, according a Press Release from the University. Compared to the University’s previous acceptance rate of 7.86%, this year’s acceptance rate of 7.29% is the University’s lowest. Over one-third of the 1,931 students admitted were accepted through the single-choice early action program.


UPENN: The University of Pennsylvania will introduce a new dining plan featuring the flexible use of dining dollar for the 2013-2014 school year. The new Any Time Meal plan, which will only be available to upperclassmen, is the first ever dining dollars only plan and includes $1,500 dining dollars per semester for only $2,950 per year. Students will also be able to use this plan at all-you-can-eat dining halls. Director of Penn Dining Pam Lampitt said she does not expect a decrease in traffic at the all-you-can-eat facilities, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported. In addition, the Falk Dining Commons will only accept Dining Dollars beginning next fall.


YALE: The Yale College Council hosted a forum for students to engage with members of a committee that is tasked with addressing Yale College’s grading policies. The committee has been considering changing Yale’s grading policy from a letter-grade system to a 100-point scale system, according to the Yale Daily News. The forum, which was held one week before the faculty will vote on the proposed changes, entertained student concerns for nearly three hours. A Yale College Council Survey on nearly 1,700 students found that 79% of respondents were opposed to a 0-100 grading scale and believed that that proposed changes would be negative, the Yale Daily News reported. Students present at the forum voiced concerns with how the change would affect the atmosphere of collaboration at the College. Faculty cited the fact that 62% of grades awarded at the College last spring were in the A-range as a primary concern for combating grade compression.