CCSC Review: Integrity and Stress Reduction

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Roughly how old everyone was by the end of the meeting

CCSC met last night for its regular (though quite a bit lengthier) Sunday meeting. Bwog’s resident Integrity Expert Maren Killackey reports.

During last night’s two hour long meeting, CCSC heard presentations from Dean of Community Development and Multicultural Affairs Terry Martinez and Academic Affairs Representative Steven Castellano in addition to passing two whole resolutions!

Dean Martinez’s talk centered around the Rowhouse brownstones between Broadway and Riverside as well as how clubs still aren’t using LionLink. With regards to the building formerly known as the Convent (henceforth, the Building Formerly Known as the Convent), Dean Martinez wanted to solicit Council’s input on the building’s potential theme. Ideas ranged from a performing arts to religious to social justice house. Ms. Martinez seemed receptive but reiterated that she was looking for as general a concept as possible, hoping that each floor then could be tailored to a more specific aspect of that concept. Following the residence hall discussion, Dean Martinez proceeded to spend a fair amount of time going through all the schnazzy features of LionLink, explaining how helpful and easy it is to use it is, and then summarily chewing CCSC out for not having anything on their profile… like at all, except for a few finance things. Several people pointed out that students aren’t going to use LionLink unless it’s embedded in something they already use or they’re forced to. Since the latter option would basically ban students from using Facebook or email to remind members of events (i.e. is ridiculous) and no solutions were forthcoming on the former, the discussion closed.

AA Rep Steven Castellano presented his work this semester on institutionalizing academic integrity, reducing stress, releasing the final exam schedule earlier, and also shared some wisdom about CU libraries. Working with Committee on Instruction Representative Bob Sun, Castellano drafted this preliminary honor pledge:

We, the students of Columbia University, pledge to uphold our common values, to respect our community, and to conduct ourselves with integrity in all our pursuits.

Many present (audience members included) felt the pledge was too vague and didn’t explicitly address the issue it was meant to, namely academic affairs. Castellano defended his reasoning saying that this is a pledge not a code and was meant to build community, in aims that one day maintaining academic integrity will reach such importance among students that, for example, like at Rice and Princeton, exam proctors won’t even be necessary. Furthermore, Castellano said that after talking to a number of people, he thought that the honor code itself should be an eventuality, in the meantime scholastic integrity be something discussed throughout freshman year with advisors, during NSOP, and/or first year Core classes.

Next, Castellano moved on to the various “stress reduction” policies he’s been looking into including: reducing credits to graduate/increasing credits per class, decreasing the credit limit per semester, giving freshmen more P/D/Fs, forcing students to choose a max of one major, and forcing professors to give one extension. As credits per class and credits required for a Bachelors are regulated by state law, it is clear that the first option isn’t exactly viable. However, the idea of reducing credit limits per semester was popular among meeting attendees, CCSC 2015 President Loxley Bennett pointing out that it still allows people to graduate with 152 credits (well-above the 124 credit graduation requirement) and recent alum, Satow room fixture Barry Weinberg saying that it would create a sufficient speed bump for overachieving, since students would have to petition to go over the max.

On getting the final exam schedule released earlier, Castellano said, “It was the easiest thing I’ve ever gotten done at Columbia. I literally just talked to Barry Kane and he was like, ‘Ok.’” You can thank Mr. Kane, the University Registrar, by sending him an email. Also awesome were Castellano’s revelations that a) if you tell your professor you can’t get a book, they can put it on reserve for you and b) librarians can apparently scan whole books for you… for free. Per Council members requests, Castellano agreed to look into getting chargers for all desks in Butler, preventing people from squatting, and increasing hours – this despite the anti-stress conversation that had occurred not ten seconds before…

Since everyone at the meeting had grown old by the time for resolutions, discussion was kept to a minimum. Both were uncontroversial and rather dull, but FYI: the first resolution was from 2015 President Loxley Bennett on the creation of an elected Alumni Affairs representative position and the second was to authorize voting power for CCSC’s Finance Committee on requests to JCCC for less than $1000. The first passed unanimously and the second had only one opposed.

Columbia seniors via Shutterstock

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  1. BRM  

    How about a Creativity/Arts/Ideas House? Here's a possible floor breakdown:

    - Writers
    - Visual Arts
    - Classical/Contemporary Music
    - Application Development
    - Politics, Philosophy and Economics
    - Interfaith

    Etc etc. The possibilities are endless.

  2. Studying for a Midterm  

    lowering the credit limit ftw. then take frosci and uwriting out of the core. done. we'll all like Columbia then, right?

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