Talking Gun Safety, CCSC Questions Its Own Purview
Written by Nadra Rahman
You know Spring Break is really over when CCSC is back again. A despondent Nadra Rahman reports from the Satow Room.
It’s not always great when CCSC enters (inter)national debates, but they gave it a shot again last night, discussing what role to play in the gun safety conversation taking place across the country. Because it’s CCSC, nothing definitive emerged.
Signing Onto Gun Safety?
President Nathan Rosin introduced a call to action from a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—the site of a recent and much-publicized school shooting. The call asked CCSC to encourage Columbia students to join the conversation on gun safety, potentially by writing letters to local politicians. Rosin suggested that CCSC draft a statement on the topic, posting it to social media and sending it to the relevant politicians. However, this proved contentious.
Several members, including USenator Omar Khan, felt that CCSC was overstepping its bounds. He argued that members of the body were elected to represent students in campus policy, not national discourse, stating, “I don’t think when anyone was voting they were thinking, oh, what’s Nathan’s view on tariffs in China.” He was supported by USenator Jay Rappaport, who added, “There’s plenty of places to talk about these issues on campus; that’s why I chose Columbia. But I don’t think that’s why people chose me for CCSC.” Furthermore, Khan pointed out that by making a statement now, CCSC was making a judgement call about which tragedy had proven to be the last straw, a murky prospect considering the intersections of race, class, and location.
Others, such as 2018 Rep Matt Neky and 2021 Rep Ramsay Eyre claimed that gun violence is intimately related to school environments, as recent events have suggested, and Columbia is as vulnerable to a school shooting as any other institution. Rosin also pointed to precedent, saying that CCSC had released multiple statements on national issues last semester (Title IX, scholarships) without provoking these conversations about CCSC’s purview. (Others contended that these issues, however, were less divisive, an important factor when issuing a statement.) Eyre proved to be ghoulishly dramatic when he said, “This is a matter of history, not just student policy.”
A few additional ideas floated around. A letter drive? A town hall? Ultimately, Rosin decided to put together a working group on a statement, to be voted on in an upcoming meeting—and potentially to be supplemented by additional actions.
- Policy: The Work Exemption Program, which previously exempted students who participated in unpaid internships from paying a work contribution, has been expanded to apply to low-paid internships.
- Finance: The committee has finalized a rubric for evaluating student group openness.
- Via: The ridesharing app has agreed to hold special promotions for Columbia students, including two free rides and a $19 monthly pass. To be launched soon!
- Campus Life: Today’s Mozzarella Monday (long live) is scheduled to take place in McBain from 9 to 11 pm.
- Class of 2018: A few events are taking place this week: a workshop on renting in New York (Monday, 6 pm in Faculty House Seminar Room #1 on 2nd Floor), a last lecture with Professor Kenneth T. Jackson (Wednesday, 6:30 in Pupin 420), and a last lecture with Professor Liza Knapp (Thursday, 6:30 pm in Broadway Room at Lerner Hall).
- A survey will soon be sent out to seniors asking questions related to living experience, campus services, career search, and more. At the meeting, members suggested adding questions related to financial aid, inclusion and equity, demographics, safety, fellowships, engagement with the city, and gender-based misconduct, among other topics. This survey will be the pilot for a proposed annual CC-wide survey that will launch this fall and guide policy initiatives.
- Here’s a thing: Undergraduate Student Life is hosting a competition—submit a 60-90 second video about community at Columbia by Monday, April 9, and you might win the grand prize: two tickets to Hamilton.
Angry woman pointing a gun at a computer via Stock Photos