My fellow Columbian Wayne Allyn Root may well be correct when he suggests that President Obama transferred to Columbia in fall '81 as a foreign exchange student, and I support his challenge to the president to prove otherwise. At the same time, I'd like to provide some context that may explain how Barack Obama could spend two years at Columbia without Mr. Root or a random selection of 400 classmates remembering anything about him.
The first thing to note is that Columbia was a male-only school in those days (the first co-ed class was the class of '87). This means that it was a far less social place than most colleges. Mr. Root was no doubt more outgoing than I was, but in my experience, the time period when it was easiest to meet friends at Columbia was during freshman orientation and during the first semester of freshman year living in a dorm. As someone who transferred to Columbia as a junior, Barack Obama would have missed out on those opportunities. This is in addition to the obvious point that there wasn't much reason for anyone to spend a lot of time hanging out on campus with all of Manhattan a mere subway ride away.
Classes at Columbia typically had 40-100 students in those days, with a few classes having as many as 150-200 students.
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