#bureaucracy
High Hopes, Low Expectations

Cold, callous Low

Yesterday, PrezBo announced that Low will get a bit more crowded come autumn—a fresh face will fill the newly-created role of Executive Vice President for Student Affairs and report directly to the president.

University Senators Akshay Shah, SEAS ’14, and Matthew Chou, CC ’14, note that the creation of this position is essentially a direct consequence of the sexual assault controversy, which showed the clear need for someone in Columbia’s central administration to become the “primary place of contact for issues relating to sexual assault.”

Joseph Ienuso, EVP for Facilities and Operations, has been picking up the slack, but hasn’t had any student affairs experience in the past. And remember when it took so long to find a time for the town hall? Terry Martinez and deans of student affairs from other schools in the umbrella were left without a central administrator to coordinate the event. Hopefully this new position will centralize the process rather than bog CU down with more slow, unresponsive bureaucracy, and hopefully student voices will be included in conversations regarding the search. To the University Senators, however, it’s already “a big win”—as Akshay noted, we’ll have someone “with the direct ear of the president.”

Peer institutions and the current bureaucracy.

Columbia’s Ever-changing Bureaucracy

Update, 12:05 pm: CCSC President Daphne Chen has reached out to us to note that CCSC member Kareem Carryl is responsible for getting the changes made, in order to “help students feel like administrators do care at least a little about students’ lives and achievements.” Thanks, Kareem!

It has come to Bwog’s intensely wanted attention that Dean’s List inductees in the College now get an e-mail with congratulations from Deantini himself. This is supposedly following complaints that this honor was previously celebrated only with a small note on SSOL.

This is even more necessary considering that back in 2001 the Dean’s List cutoff GPA rose to the current 3.6 from a now seemingly average 3.3.

Furthermore, the administration is further “simplifying” the lives of CC and SEAS students by requiring that Add/Drop forms be submitted in the CSA, rather than in Kent. This is supposedly to avoid lines in Kent and for our convenience. But it hasn’t been particularly publicized, so warn your friends!

Click to read the text of both emails…

Kasdin Breaks Up Student and Administrative Services

The often elusive and multi-faceted Robert Kasdin, Columbia’s Senior Executive Vice President—aka PrezBo’s right-hand man—sent out the following email to members of CU’s administration, shaking up positions and some of the bureaucracy, most notably the Student and Administrative Services division. While these changes have the potential to trim down Columbia’s sprawling bureaucracy by placing a few key players (Kasdin, Sullivan, and Ienuso, to name a few) in charge of multiple divisions, only time will tell if this consolidation really means increased efficiency.

Get the full scoop from the original email, included below:

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to inform you of an administrative re-alignment that is designed to improve efficiency and service to our faculty, students and administrative colleagues. Specifically, the administrative unit known as Student and Administrative Services has been eliminated. Its functional areas will be managed as follows:

Human Resources and CUIT will report directly to me; Student Financial Services and the Registrar’s Office will report to Anne Sullivan, the university’s Executive Vice President for Finance; and Student and Auxiliary Services (including Housing, Dining, Print Services, Student Health Services and Special Events) will report to Joe Ienuso, currently the Executive Vice President for Facilities. Joe’s title is being changed to Executive Vice President for Facilities and Operations to more accurately reflect his responsibilities.

Financial and communications staff who support these organizations’ efforts will report to Anne and Joe. Anne and Joe will also retain their current responsibilities.

Cheryl Ross, who has led Student Financial Services, will be supporting the Finance organization’s global operations in a new role as Head of Special Projects, Global Financial Operations.

Jeff Scott, the current Executive Vice President for Student and Administrative Services, will be leaving Columbia’s administration after six years of service. With Jeff’s leadership and guidance, Student and Administrative Services accomplished much in furtherance of our goals. For example, Student Financial Services and the Office of the Registrar partnered successfully with the schools, automating many functions and improving student service in Kent Hall; significant improvements were made to the university’s IT infrastructure; and Human Resources developed a new Leadership Development Program that was piloted in Student and Administrative Services and which will be rolled out more broadly in 2014. I am grateful to Jeff for his contributions and I am pleased that Jeff will continue his service to the Columbia Community as an adjunct member of the faculty.

Periodic examinations of organizations are important as they adjust to evolving needs. It is my expectation that this re-alignment will make our organization more effective and responsive. We will continue to review the new structure and make further adjustments as needed in our ongoing effort to improve services.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at rkasdin@columbia.edu; Anne Sullivan if it concerns Student Financial Services or the Registrar’s Office at asullivan@columbia.edu; or Joe Ienuso if it concerns Student Services at ji4@columbia.edu.

Robert

A Look into the Policy and Planning Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

FAS meets in the Faculty Room of Low

Moody-Adams’ reasons for resigning probably surrounded decisions made by the Policy and Planning Committee (PPC) of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). Executive Vice President Nicholas Dirks focused his reaction to the dean’s condemnation of FAS on defending the PPC and stressing that whatever Moody-Adams found objectionable has not been set in stone. We’re still investigating exactly what these objectionable proposals were, but understanding the origins and function of the PPC sheds light onto the process of the College’s consolidation with the wider Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The inception of the PPC can be traced back to a document prepared by the FAS Academic Review Committee (ARC), a FAS advisory committee that is more administrative than strictly academic; it aims “to assess program quality and effectiveness, to foster planning and improvement, and to provide guidance for administrative decisions.” In its March 2010 report, “Faculty Governance in the Arts & Sciences,” ARC set out to solve a critical problem plaguing FAS, excess bureaucracy: there were duplicate committees, consistent miscommunication, and a lack of transparency. A select quote from the report about the organization of FAS reveals it all: “We tried to obtain a clear flow chart of administrative offices and responsibilities: it proved impossible. Indeed it was not even clear whom to turn to in order to obtain one.”

And so how do bureaucrats fix problems? By creating more committees! ARC recommended scrapping the previous vague yet formidable Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in favor of a new one, the PPC. According to the report, the PPC could ideally improve communication and cooperation between constituent schools of and committees within FAS. However, looking at its actual implementation and influence, we do begin to see the roots of Moody-Adams’ concerns. PPC could appear a mechanism to consolidate power under FAS and leave individuals schools like the College with substantially less control over their matters.

Read on for more on the PPC’s roles and responsibilities

2011 CCSC Candidate Debate Recap

Last night, Alex Jones, a Bwogger who wonders what the Beats would think about an official CCSC debate in their once-legendary hangout, checked out the Spec-sponsored Q&A. The three parties running for the CCSC Executive Board in next week’s elections went head-to-head at Havana Central…

The master of ceremonies, Sam Roth, took almost a minute to quiet the crowd in Havana Central, despite the aid of a microphone. Once people heard his pleas for silence, Mr. Roth spoke briefly about how The Columbia Daily Spectator wanted to engage with and support the Columbia community by hosting a student government debate. Havana’s back room was filled with chairs, of which very few were covered with butts. Perhaps students were less concerned with student government “fostering” community, and more concerned with enjoying their own community?

Run Down of the three CCSC Tickets

Better Columbia CU Charge UniteCU
President Barry Weinberg, CC ’12 Aki Terasaki, CC ’12 Andrew Nguyen, CC ’12
VP Policy Ganiatu Afolabi, CC ’12 Ryan Cho, CC ’13 Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti, CC ’12
VP Student Life Wilfred Chan, CC ’13 Jasmine Senior, CC ’12 Megan Carley, CC ’12
VP Funding Steele Sternberg, CC ’13 Kevin Zhai, CC ’12 Brandon Christophe, CC ’12
VP Communications Varun Char, CC ’14 Virat Gupta, CC ’12 Alana Tung, CC ’12

The debate began with a short introduction from each party:

Actual discussion after the jump!

New ABC Board Elected

Yesterday, the new ABC executive board was elected! The ABC funds (non-political, -spiritual, or -activist) student groups on campus. It’s the opposite of SGB. Winners are below. Congratulations! Start groveling for money folks.

  • President: Daniel Brown, CC ’12
  • VP: John O’Shea, CC ’13
  • Treasurer: Chloe Ruan, SEAS ’13
  • Secretary: Christine Byun, CC ’14
But This Is Like A Tradition!

Bwog wouldn't be surprised.

Bwog has seen Butler camping and even orated on its behalf.  But if you’re in CC or SEAS, today you received an email from your senators which may threaten that sacred masochistic rite.

Amidst standard student government “we want to hear what you want” business-as-usual, Bwog found this bit:

Libraries and Technology – Contact: Kenny Durell
We are working with CUIT to set the groundwork for a program employing student programmers for University projects. We are also a part of conversations regarding a switch to Gmail or another outsourced email provider, pending legal and privacy concerns. We hope to find a solution that works for everyone. In the Libraries Committee, we are working to extend hours on the upper floors of Butler and perhaps implement a peer-enforced anti-camping program.

“Peer-enforced” measures against camping?  Could this be politico-jargon for “We can’t do anything about this so we’ll put it on you students” perhaps?  Bwog isn’t sure, but warns you–stay vigilant!

Image via Wikimedia

Know Your Rights (About Candles)

Happy Holidays! Barnard Housing sent out an email yesterday, just in time for the start of Chanukah, notifying students that not only are they forbidden to light candles in their room, simple possession is also forbidden. Even if you’re just holding them for a friend, it’s against the rules, kids. In its divine wisdom, however, Housing has designated candle-lighting zones and times when candles may be lit. This begs the question: where does one keep her candles when they are not being used legally? Ah well. Full email after the jump.
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ESC: Community (Food & Juice)

What we got when we searched "friends" on Wikimedia

Sean Zimmermann reports from last night’s ESC meeting.

Theresa Martinez, Dean of Community and Multicultural Affairs, spoke at last night’s Engineering Student Council meeting. She was hired last year to help foster a greater sense of Columbia University community.

Dean Martinez explained that she is currently working on the open housing policy, the CUEMS proposal, and an electronic payer card system. She described some of the bureaucratic parts of Columbia as “archaic,” explaining, “I don’t recall the last time I saw a quadruplecate form before I went to Columbia.”

Much of the discussion on student life focused on the role of student groups and how to connect with students. Freshman Representative Siddhant Bhatt proposed that the Dean could help foster community by playing music in the dining halls, and providing “advertising” for student groups between pieces. Bhatt claimed that this would be a “less invasive” way to alert students about events on campus than knocking on doors. (more…)

SGA: Waterless Water Fountains! Bureaucracy!
The SGA met Monday night. Bwog’s Raph Debenedetti got the scoop on water fountains.
  • Be warned! Some water fountains in the Diana do not provide water. Do your duty and report any deficient water fountains!
  • Delta Gamma will be hosting a fashion show for charity this Saturday, 8 p.m., in LeFrak. Tickets are $5.
  • Dean Denburg paid a visit to the meeting to talk about a new grant Barnard has received so that more Barnard students can study abroad in Israel and connect with alumni there.
  • At last! The Pre-Vet Society has been officially recognized.
  • The Student Affairs Committee approved a motion to develop the new Graduate Student Center.
Leaving The Bubble: Bureaucracy Edition

See you there! Via Wikimedia

A lot of study abroad applications are due this Friday, October 1, and if you happen to be a member of the Class of 2012 eager to leave Morningside next semester, your days have been filled with a few extra doses of Existential Crisis and lots of paperwork. Here are a few tips to make your life a little easier, now that we’re about 48 hours away from the deadline.

  • Getting your transcript is E-Z! Instead of triple-emailing your advisor, go to 210 Kent, fill out the transcript request form (you’ll find it to your left, outside the door), pass it to an employee at the desk. She’ll print your transcript (as many copies as you need!) and put them in a fancy Columbia Office of the Registrar envelope.
  • Passport pictures are expensive. Bwog spent 60 miserable dollars at Duane Reade today (since our abroad program inexplicably requires 12 photos) before realizing there was a better way that involved much less lite-music listening. A set of two passport photos are $8.99 at Ivy League Stationers, but $9.99 at Duane Reade at $10.99 at Village Copier. Plus, the Ivy League guys are some of the friendliest in town.
  • Remember not to buy your stamps at the Package Center. Kill two birds with one administrative stone by picking up your stamps at the post office on 112th between Broadway and Amsterdam, right next to Book Culture, where you can also overnight your application so that it gets to London or Kathmandu or Moscow on time.
  • Need clearance to study abroad, like, now? Study Abroad King, Dean Carpenter’s office  hours are from 1:30 to 4 in 105 Carman, by the Carman computer lab. And if you need to rush it to the Office of Global Programs, don’t be fooled! It’s not in Lewisohn anymore, it’s on 606 Kent.
  • If you can’t get your shit together on time, find your program and plead with them between 12:30-3:30 in Roone this Friday at the Study Abroad fair.

Et voila! No Morningside February for you, friend!

Do You Support Gender Neutral Housing?

Living in sinFollowing Columbia administration’s decision to postpone the implementation of a gender neutral housing policy that was expected to be in place for the 2010-2011 academic year, the students who introduced the plan – EAAH President Avi Edelman (CC ’11) GendeRevolution President Miranda Elliot (CC ’10), 2011 VP Sean Udell (CC ’11) and 2010 VP for Policy Sarah Weiss (CC ’10) – have been circulating a petition to address the administration’s concern that there may not be enough student support for the new housing policy.

Avi Edelman answers a few of Bwog’s questions.

Why do you think the administration decided against implementing the policy, or even a pilot program for this year’s selection process? What reasons did they give for the decision (other than their worries that not enough students were in favor of it)?

A lot of the reasons given for the delay were logistical–updating the housing application, educating the student body about the changes, and getting feedback from students about the policy were all mentioned. That’s extremely frustrating and disappointing, because the proposal was submitted according to a timeline established in consultation with administrators. Those of us who worked on the proposal (a broad coalition that included CCSC, ESC, Everyone Allied Against Homophobia, GendeRevolution, and the Columbia Queer Alliance) also made it very clear that we were eager to assist the administration in the logical work necessary to make this happen in time for this year’s room selection. Many administrators that we have worked with have been fantastic, and I am confident that the policy will eventually become reality; this is just a classic case of bureaucratic foot-dragging.

More answers after the jump!

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Meal Plan Update: The Battle Rages On

After last Friday’s showdown in the Vag’s Ovum Oval, the Barnard Administration has come up with a Plan to solve all Plans – one that is unlikely to deteriorate into another chaotic war over microphones. The admins have turned to bureaucracy’s all time favorite problem-solving strategy: it’s time to form a committee! The Meal Plan working group will consist of six elected student representatives, and six at-large members.

Photo by Google Images

Read Dean Denburg’s full email after the jump.

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Eyepoke: Oh, Really?

The Strong Beautiful Barnard Woman is questioned and found wanting.

Real college life ≠ TV “college life”. Shocker.

Filth in the kitchen is bad. Bureaucracy is worse.

No, we do not need a travel guide to find our way out of Morningside.

Bwoglines: Meddlesome Bureaucrats

House IIThe USenate committee confidentiality proposal will be debated this Friday.  PrezBo will weigh in.

The city hates your metal gates.  Except those like the ones over dorm windows.

Xavier Sala-i-Martin does not have a tailor in the US.  Nor can you buy his jackets.

Surprise! Cab drivers don’t care about bicyclists.

More evidence in the Yale murder case.