CCSC this week was all about transparency. So we present to you this article in the most transparent way, with as little commentary as possible. It was written by CCSC correspondent Joe Milholland.
At Sunday night’s Columbia College Student Council meeting, the council had a discussion about student representatives on academic committees, particularly the Committee on Instruction and the Committee on the Core. Currently, these committees are not transparent.
Vice President of Policy Bob Sun asked the council about “what we can do as a council” to ensure that students have a voice in these committees. Sun said that last year the committees tried to work to make their agendas more “public” and their student reps more “empowered,” but this year it seems that such reforms have diminished and become “opaque.” CCSC’s rules on how student representatives should do their jobs are unclear. The council wants the representatives to do more, but since they cannot impeach them, they have no formal way of making them do more.
Currently, selection for these student reps begins with the council sending an email to the student body about the positions. Then, from the candidates who apply, CCSC narrows the list to those who they would like to interview. After the interviews, the council produces a “shortlist” that they send to the relevant administrators, who pick the student representatives.
There were suggestions from council members to have elected representatives sit on the committees. Some students suggested that the Academic Affairs Representative be part of the committees. According to Class of 2015 representative Liam Bland, other schools have these sorts of student leaders elected. However, Academic Affairs representative Nora Habbosh warned that having elections for representatives to academic committees might “dilute” elections by creating too many positions without enough information for students about what they are.
The council also talked about the CC drop deadline. Habbosh has been trying to get it pushed back, but administrators have been saying that the revised Withdraw system and Pass/D/Fail cover students and SEAS’s different academics make it incomparable with CC. However, council members brought up that graduate schools look down on Ws and Pass/Fails on transcripts. Also, many CC and SEAS students take the same classes. Changing the drop deadline may also allow students who suffer injuries to drop classes instead of being forced tp take medical leave.
The council also supported Columbia University Family Support Network (CUFSN) initiative for a stipend to undergraduate students with families. The representatives from CUFSN consider the stipend a “first step” to improving conditions for these students, who had low satisfaction in the Quality of Life survey.
Holding the keys to transparency in our hands via Shutterstock