Columbia Dresses as MIT for Halloween in Attempt to Regain Number Two Ranking

Graphic by Lila Muscosky

Morningside Heights residents were surprised to see Columbia’s typically picturesque campus transformed into an MIT-themed dystopia. 

The entire university, including the students and buildings, has put on a ‘costume’ modeled after the Massachusetts school (ranked number two on this year’s U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” list) this Halloween. 

Alma Mater’s book has been replaced with a laptop. Enormous posters for New England sports teams have been plastered on building walls. The Weecha statue from Barnard’s Year of Science has been placed on top of the sundial. Humanities classes have been canceled and their professors, curiously, have been given the day off.

A banner with the following phrases has been dropped over the names on Butler Library:

  • MIT rulez
  • a2 + b2 = c2
  • Cambrige (sp?)
  • Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting
  • Html 
  • That one guy from the Big Bang Theory
  • Al Gore (“Because he invented the internet,” said one organizer when questioned about Gore’s inclusion on the banner)

Organizers (President Bollinger and no one else) of the campus-wide costume reportedly initially intended to replace the names of the well-known thinkers and writers on Butler’s exterior with famous MIT alumni, but they couldn’t think of any. 

Students were instructed to dress as nerds. SEAS students were seen wearing the same clothes they normally wear.

This transformation is part of a scheme by Columbia’s administration to, according to an all-school email sent out by President Lee Bollinger, “reclaim our number two status, but, like, we’re only doing it ironically.”

Although many students embraced the plot, others expressed their confusion.

“Why didn’t they do Princeton? Princeton is #1,” Helena Berg, BC ’24, said.

“My older brother goes to MIT,” Luke Ford, SEAS ’25, said. “This whole ‘costume’ thing is based on a bunch of untrue stereotypes, and honestly, it’s a little offensive. People who go to MIT have varied and interdisciplinary interests—both extracurricularly and academically. But even still, to imply that a school that’s historically been associated with tech and hard sciences is full of nerds—and to make fun of the school and its students—is at worst promoting prejudices and actively harming students in those fields, and at best, it’s just a crappy, unoriginal, overdone and unfunny attempt at comedy.”

Okay, nerd. 

The Fed would like to note that, although it does not officially condone any sort of mockery whatsoever, making fun of MIT is technically ‘punch-up’ humor because of MIT’s superior ranking. Also, it’s funny to repeatedly call people nerds.