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Intelligencer: May 16-23

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There She Isn’t: Ms. Columbia!
Poisoned Ivy Pageant
Alex Severin thinks that Columbia University “focuses so much on brains and intelligence, nobody looks at beauty anymore.” So he and a Psi Upsilon frat brother, Ang Cui, decided to do something about it. In January, they hatched the idea for an online contest to crown Ms. Columbia 2005. Cui took pictures of some of the contestants (in a wet T-shirt, a corset, and one woman covering her breasts with a copy of The Marx-Engels Reader), and put them up on the Internet April 22. Two days later, they canceled the pageant after some of the contestants said they were uncomfortable with other students’ attention (and opprobrium). “This place just needs to loosen up,” says Severin. He and Cui are out $1,200 of their own money (for lighting, photo supplies, and pamphleting to advertise the contest). Still, 600 people voted, and they’re planning to try again next year.
—Kate Pickert


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