2005_05_columbia.jpgGothamist doesn't know whether or cry, so we'll settle with rolling our eyes. Some Columbia students created an online contest, Ms. Columbia, to judge who was the most attractive female Columbia student, and of course they had to shut it down due to a "hostile and inappropriate response from the Columbia community." The thing is, the two students - from the Schools of Engineering - who created mscolumbia.com, Ang Cui and Alan Severin, also had a sister site, mscusiteb.com, which had "photos of eight of the women, some of them in lingerie or wet tank tops." What? The Columbia Spectator has the details:

About 65 women applied for the contest in January and February, after Cui and Severin flyered dorms. Applicants’ headshots and cover letters helped the organizers narrow the field to about 30, then they recruited three female students to help them with the in-person interviews in February and March. After meeting all the applicants, they chose 15 finalists. Those finalists each got a free photo session during April under the understanding that they would be part of an online beauty contest and did not own the rights to their photos. On the original site, one could click a woman’s headshot to read her bio and see more pictures, and if they voted, they were given a link to siteb.

Of course the sites got bombarded with critical comments, such as "ewwww you guys are pervs." And by bombarded, that's 15 negative comments. Ha! Walk a mile in any other blog's shoes, babies, and you'll see what negative comments are! Oh, and one cultural group threatened to kick out a student who was on the site - must have been one of the more religious ones. Cui told the Spec, "We didn’t make siteb as a place to look at smutty pictures," and Gothamist laughs laughs laughs -

if it wasn't, then why was the access to the "naughty" pictures a perk

it turns out the mscusiteb.com was public - you can read the statement here. Anyway, clearly anyone could have seem a negative reaction coming, except, it seems, Columbia engineering students. Go back to designing bridges or something! And if you want to rate your fellow students, just use the freaking facebook!

We are, however, impressed that it was called "Ms. Columbia," because there's nothing like keeping the indepedent woman's spirit alive while objectifying her.

Update: Gothamist is sorry for jumping to conclusions about the contestants not knowing what they got into - of course we realized that the female students that signed on should have known what they were getting themselves into. Read the comments as the creators of the contest take serious umbrage with some of the coverage (not just ours). That still doesn't mean this was a good idea, but we'll talk again when the Mr. Columbia contest happens.