ESC Engages In Reformation

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Bureau Chief Finn Klauber covered this week’s ESC meeting which focused on the SEAS drop deadline, F@CU, JCCC, and more. If you weren’t able to make the meeting or view the livestream, here’s what you missed: 

The SEAS Drop Deadline

The brunt of ESC’s (on the record) discussion concerned the late date of the SEAS drop deadline. The deadline, currently set for November 16th, occurs much later in the semester than CC’s deadline, leading President Aida Lu to present a conversation regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the late date. After 2019 Vice President Asher Goldfinger asked the council if anybody knew the origins of this date choice, 2019 Representative Montana St. Pierre responded with the information which his advisor related to him. That is, he spoke about how the grading policies in SEAS are different than CC’s, specifically in relation to the ease with which CC students can “take a ‘W’ or an official withdrawal after the drop deadline,” as well as the limitations on which SEAS classes can be taken pass/fail. He later added that the SEAS drop deadline occurs in the same week which marks the end of being able to “get a partial refund” after dropping a class. 2019 Representative Walker Magrath then claimed that “it’s almost impossible to pass/fail because of the accreditation for your major.”

All around, the impact of the later deadline in this fairly light discussion related to Columbia’s stress culture. 2018 Representative Cristal Abud, for example, reasoned that many lowerclassmen take many classes early on in their first Fall or Spring semesters, in which they may feel overloaded as the class deepens in content. This is especially true for the “intro” classes—particularly, she added, for Computer Science classes. Student Groups Representative Jacob Nye, who has taken multiple years of non-SEAS electives, explained that the deadline enabled him to branch out into non-essential electives (like languages) while maintaining the option to drop any classes “if you’re overloaded.”

Overall, the discussion yielded little substantive policy changes, and seemed to act as a “breather” after a clearly busy weekend.

Great Reformations

President Aida Lu spoke early on in the meeting about the reformation of internal guidelines for Funding@CU, referred to in shorthand as F@CU (pronounced “FACK-you”). Each Spring semester, representatives from each council and various student governing boards spend more than 30 hours allocating about 1.2 million dollars of funding. This funding goes to every undergraduate school at Columbia and Barnard. Governing boards, however, have less of a say in the allocation than student councils, despite working more closely with student groups around campus. Furthermore, there is little internal standardization in terms of how each group contributing time to F@CU handles their effort. As a result, President Lu met with various members from different student councils and governing boards to discuss reforming the process.

The Joint Council Co-Sponsorship Committee, otherwise known as JCCC (in student government lingo “J-triple-C”), was also a target for consitutional review this past week according to VP Finance Zoha Qamar. The review focused upon a specific incident which occurred in the past, where a single council decided to fund “the debate team for something that came out to about 1,000 dollars per student.” As these funds are shared, the massive funding operation left the fund drier than expected. As a result, JCCC added a new ability which allowed other VP Finances to veto a single person who wants to fund a student group.

Finally, University Senator Izzet Kebudi announced that very soon there would be an announcement regarding Lerner Hall. Apparently, the Student Affairs Committee of the University Senate “had a good meeting with Scott Wright,” who is Vice President for Campus Services. It looks like the plan to use the spaces freed in the mailbox removal for a multi-floor lounge is in the works.

Miscellaneous Updates:

  • The ESC livestream is back. A good move, all things considered.
  • VP Policy Zoha Qamar relayed notes from a meeting with all the VP Policies from the four undergraduate councils at Columbia and Barnard. Specifically, she praised how Barnard’s Student Government Association restructured their meetings to bring in student groups “to contribute to a theme every meeting.” So, you might see BDS or the Columbia Space Initiative at your next neighbourhood ESC meeting.
  • SEAS Tees for Frees, a (fairly self-explanatory) free T-shirt event, is occurring on October 6th, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in Furnald Plaza. It’s open to SEAS and everyone else, since there’s is so much SEAS junk laying around. So feel free to come on by.
  • VP Communications Julia Joern is leading an effort to rebuild WikiCU from the ground-up in partnership with ADI. The plan is to work with other councils and share the costs for funding the domain and initiative. This plan follows a semester of failed attempts to get in contact with the Blue and White Publishing Company regarding WikiCU. For the record, Bwog does not own nor does it have administrative privileges over WikiCU.


Image via Columbia

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