Public Safety really needs this funding
Last night was the last CCSC meeting with this CCSC board as we know it. Before you get all nostalgic and cast those votes tomorrow, Joe Milholland, loyal CCSC fan regardless of who’s on it, brings you the latest CCSC business.
On Sunday night, the Columbia College Student Council discussed a resolution that would change the way Public Safety charges for student events. Useantor Jared Odessky, who presented the resolution to the council, said it aims to implement an algorithm that would calculate the cost of an event. If Public Safety wanted to spend more money for security at event than what the algorithm calculated, the extra cost would be covered by an outside fund rather than a student group. Odessky described this as a “content-neutral” pricing system.
The resolution comes after student groups complained about being charged more by CPS for controversial events. There is a fund for CPS security at student events, but, for expenses over $600, groups have to apply, often after the fact, to get the security costs covered by the fund, and funding does not always come in.
Student leaders have been trying to deal with this issue since at least last year. This school year, the admins re-established a CPS advisory committee required by state law and composed of one-third students, one-third faculty, and one-third administrators. However, the committee only met once at the beginning of the second semester, and, according to Odessky, CPS dominated the discussion at the meeting for most of its time.
CPS admits that they charge more for controversial events, but they justify their actions by saying that the increased security is necessary at controversial events. Mariam Elnozahy, the current Vice Chair of SGB (the student governing board that oversees activist groups), mentioned that an event by the Caribbean Students Association was hampered by CPS expenses.
Class of 2018 President Ezra Gontownik asked about the event review process and excessive safety fees. Specifically, he was worried that students would be funding for over-charged security costs. Odessky admitted that CPS acts a business unit where they are both the customer and provider. Elnozahy mentioned that this has been an issue for a while but that the proposal was a “realistic” and “grass roots” effort to improve the situation. Elnozahy noted that public safety fees can change suddenly even if a group reviews the costs well in advance. Usenator Marc Heinrich mentioned that the security costs will ultimately come out of students’ pockets anyway.
On the subject of funding the costs, Odessky said he didn’t know where the funding will ultimately come from.
How’d the vote go?