ccsc Archive

May

4

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Bring on the paaaaarty!

Bring on the paaaaarty!

Luckily, we still have a Spring 2016 Bacchanal to look forward to next year. But what does that mean in practice? Our Monday man Joe Milholland brings you the answers. 

This Sunday night, the Columbia College Student Council approved the final changes to the ABC resolution that will change how Bacchanal is managed next year. The proposal, which makes the four undergrad student council VPs of finance oversee Bacchanal’s budget, has changed so that the VPs have to approve Financial Transaction Forms from the Bacchanal Committee. Additionally, around the date of F@CU, the VPs and the Bacchanal Committee will decide the allocation of funds for Bacchanal in certain areas, such as fundraising costs or facilities & securities. Finally, tickets for Bacchanal will be free, and students will be notified of the ticket release dates at least a month in advance.

CCSC also gave out its end-of-the year paper plate awards! Here they are (I won’t include the honorable mentions because nobody’s that much of a CCSC nerd):

The recipients after the jump!

Apr

27

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And that's why we have constitutional review fun, folks

And that’s why we have constitutional review fun, folks

We know you’ve waited all week to know how CCSC’s Constitutional Review went down, and you loyal constituents now have the answers at your fingertips. Joe Milholland gets a  big-ol’ Hancock for this CCSC recap.

On Sunday night, the Columbia College Student Council voted on constitutional changes. They made the following decisions:

  1. They unanimously approved an impeachment process whereby a council member is automatically up for impeachment if they have 3 general body absences or 6 overall absences. In that case, the VP of Comms would start the impeachment process. A council member is automatically impeached if they have 4 general body absences of 7 overall absences. An appeals board made up of 5 randomly chosen council members who are not the VP of Communications can overrule an impeachment through a 3/5ths majority if the impeachment was based on faulty attendance data or if the impeached council member had extremely extenuating circumstances for their impeachment. Finally, if a council member has two absences, two other council members can bring impeachment proceedings against them. The proceedings would go forward on the next CCSC general body meeting.
  2. The council did not approve any changes to the Sandbassador. However, they approved the creation of an Inclusion and Equity Representative, a new position on CCSC that would focus on issues students face based on “marginalized identities.”
  3. The council voted not to cut down on the number of representatives in class councils.
  4. The council voted to change the duties of the pre-professional rep to focus more on a broader variety of post-graduation opportunities for students. However, the name of the position is unchanged.
  5. The council voted to give some guidelines in the constitution as to the role of appointed council members.
  6. The council voted against changing the council terms from one academic year to one calendar year.
  7. The council voted to allow the executive board to decide whether they want liaisons to other councils. The Communications Committee will in charge of appointing the liaisons.
  8. The council voted against changing the date of constitutional review.

Several of these decisions involved extensive debate amongst council members. VP of Policy Sejal Singh supported the Inclusion and Equity Rep, saying that she wants to keep its responsibilities vague and that the SGA Inclusion and Equity Rep has worked well. Class of 2015 Rep cited the Blue and White article on gender representation in CCSC as an argument against cutting down the number of class reps. Usenator Ramis Wadood brought up that if the dates of council terms were changed, members of CCSC would have to resign their positions in order to become senators.

Suprise, they also talked about things besides the Constitution

Apr

26

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Illustration by Leila Mgaloblishvili, CC '16

Illustration by Leila Mgaloblishvili, CC ’16

As ever, honoring our dearest Mother Magazine, Bwog presents Blue and White contributor Mariam Elnozahy’s, BC ’16, investigation into CCSC’s demographic misrepresentation.

The Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) is elected by the student body (or the 40 percent who vote) every April. Its 25 members are tasked with representing Columbia College students. They are often invited to closed University functions and meet regularly with administrators to discuss policy changes, the campus climate, and the school community. At the end of every year, the council oversees the allocation of every student’s activity fee to student groups and uses part of the allocation to put on events. CCSC, in short, structurally possesses power and influence. The granting of this power is justified through the collective ritual of elections, which purports to involve all students at Columbia.

When students vote in council elections, they hope to vote for the candidate who best represents them: demographically, ideologically, and with regard to pertinent issues. Skewed demographics prevent the council from representing students adequately in terms of ideology or issues. CCSC’s demographics and Columbia’s demographics have not mirrored each other in recent years. But this year, the disconnect is more stark than ever, and the clearest gap between council demographics and the student body at large is gender. (For the purposes of this piece, the terms “men” and “women” refer to cisgender men and women.)

On April 1st 2015, as this issue went to press, the incoming CCSC executive board was elected. It was 80 percent male (and 100 percent Greek). This is a new trend: if we look at demographics from the past decade, we see that CCSC has, generally speaking, historically been constituted nearly equally of women and men. But the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 classes’ demographic makeup looks different. Columbia College women, who constitute 51 per cent of the student population, made up a little bit more than a third of the 2014-2015 CCSC membership. While they represent 44 percent of the 2015-2016 CCSC, in neither year did CCSC have a single female class president. In 2014-2015, there was no female at-large representative; in 2015-2016, there is just one.

“Confidence and fear”

An important part of the equation is who actually runs in the first place. At an Elections Board information session for the upcoming CCSC and Engineering Student Council (ESC) elections in March, of the 28 individuals in the room, only two prospective female candidates who were new to council came to find out how to get involved. In between bites of the free pizza and cozy banter amongst the individuals in the room (who mostly seemed to know each other already), prospective candidates (all male) inquired about the “perks” of being on Council and the privileges given to those who are elected. Neither of the female prospective candidates asked questions.

According to University Senator Jared Odessky, CC ’15, who has been involved with council for four years, “Confidence and fear play a big role in who decides to run or not run.” His choice of words is telling: a 2014 article in The Atlantic, “The Confidence Gap,” surveys social scientific literature of past decade to locate trend in literature women are less likely to sign up for opportunities than men, who are less likely to doubt themselves. While less likely to independently put themselves out there, women will take on those same responsibilities when asked.

When the time to run came this Spring, 16 women and 28 men ran. What had happened to the 28 to 2 men-to-women ratio of the interest meeting? Odessky observed that there’s “definitely a tokenization factor” in CCSC party formation. Rather than women independently deciding to run for class council or executive board and then forming a party, he said, “Often the people at the helm of a class council party will be white men who have the confidence to run at the head.” They then proceed to “select a vice president who diversifies their ticket,” he says. Odessky ran as president, with a female vice president, his freshman year. For the 2015-2016 academic year, this was only true of one of three classes; for 2014-2015, it was true of nobody. In both years, all of the class presidents were men.

Odessky says that these men “usually try to incorporate at least two women on their ballot.” These women are overwhelmingly class representatives (which constitute 54 percent of positions), rather than president or vice president. The trend prevailed this year: only one of the five candidates for class president was a woman, while nine of the twelve candidates for class representative were women. Correspondingly, out of all the eight candidates for at-large representative positions (which do not run under parties), two were women.

Click here to read more after the jump!

Apr

24

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What's for dinner?

What’s for dinner?

Recent months have brought low-income students’ straits to the attention of the greater campus and administration. Bwog Editor in Chief Taylor Grasdalen reports on the issue of food accessibility and what Columbia University students are doing to fix it.

Two weeks ago, the Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) launched a campaign to promote their “Microfund,” intended to assist Columbia students with the costs of meeting relatively everyday needs. The “microgrants” indeed start small: a meal ($10), cold medicine ($15), and psychiatric care copay ($20); larger donations can afford students a week of groceries ($50), their cap and gown ($55), winter clothing ($100), or a visit to the emergency room ($250). As of today, $3,560 has been raised — surpassing the original $2,500 goal — and will begin to be granted on the basis of applications come fall 2015.

FLIP was founded only this past fall 2014, the product of many cross-University students’ shared concerns about the status and understanding — or lack thereof — they received from Columbia. Toni Airaksinen, BC ’18, and Maureen Lei, CC ’15 (though a junior graduating a year early), tell me that there exist “significant constituencies of low-income and first-generation students” presently underserved by the University. Not only is there a vastly “assumed financial ability,” but plenty of “assumed privilege.” These assumptions tax those FLIP seeks to represent, and this has played out popularly on their Columbia University Class Confessions Facebook page, where students submit anonymous confessions detailing their financial and social burdens.

“This isn’t normal,” Maureen says. She and Toni break down just how not-normal Columbia is with its (assumed) commonplace wealth and attitudes: most people in the United States are not of this stratum, do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on clothes and coffees and dinner, do not have a few thousand to spend on “travel.” Toni relays a story about one friend this fall who refused to believe that Toni couldn’t afford to take a quick vacation to Washington, D.C.; the friendship deteriorated with the onslaught of socioeconomic division between them. Maureen, unlike Toni, is not considered a low-income student and is not the first in her family to attend college, but relates instead to the cultural isolation many students feel, an isolation she sees as intersecting with FLIP and its goals. She is the daughter of Chinese parents, whom she describes as “social climbers,” highly educated yet thoroughly traditional; Maureen’s first language is not English, and she shares anecdotes about growing up with non-western eating utensils and not knowing “the difference between a cheeseburger and a hamburger.”

After the jump: where culture and cost collide, speaking with Sejal Singh and the dining halls.

Apr

20

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img April 20, 201511:19 amimg 1 Comments

Lotta documents to go through

Lotta documents to go through

Huzzah huzzah to constitutional review! Review of last night’s constitutional review brought to you by Joe Milholland. 

It’s constitutional review season at the Columbia College Student Council! Groups of council members have been reviewing their constitution, and they presented some of the major areas of review on Sunday night. However, the council only gave input on issues with the constitution. They will vote on specific changes at a later date.

How Many Class Reps? – The council extensively discussed a proposal brought up last academic year to reduce the number of class representatives on each class council, thus reducing the size of the council from 30 to 34 students. Their reasoning behind this before were studies that showed smaller groups were more efficient.

CCSC President Peter Bailinson said that the council opposed the measure last year because it said nothing about increasing the efficiency of the council in other ways.

VP of Campus Life Andrew Ren was in favor of the proposal because it would allow the general body to vote on things more quickly and the reduction would not mean any group in Columbia College would lose representation.

Class of 2015 President Kareem Carryl mentioned that senior year class duties can be “taxing,” but he emphasized he wouldn’t want the senior class to be disproportionately represented on the council.

Much of the talk on the council was over the role of the appointed council, with several council members speaking favorably of the efforts of appointed council members.

Class of 2016 Rep Sameer Mishra raised concerns that fewer class council members on committees would mean that committee work and class council work would start conflicting due to a lack of communication. VP of Policy Sejal Singh brought up the idea of making requirements for regular attendance at committees for those who do volunteer.

Keep following the bolded breaks

Apr

6

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img April 06, 201511:11 amimg 2 Comments

Can't spell su(cess with out (a)ccess!

Can’t spell success with out (a)ccess!

Joe Milholland makes the latest on CCSC accessible to you! 

On Sunday night, three students with disabilities visited the council to discuss problems with accessibility on campus. Their problems:

  • A lack of accessibility information in CCSC emails about events. One student pointed to the direction for the Columbia University Powwow as an example of good accessibility info.
  • At events, when there is a line of people, those running the event often do not make the line accessible.
  • Events on campus, like the President of Afghanistan’s recent talk, can limit accessibility excessively.
  • Some student groups that need to meet in accessible places can’t.
  • Weather conditions have closed off Butler ramps a lot.
  • NSOP lacks disability access or information, a difficulty especially hard for new students.
  • Commencement and its set-up limit accessibility on campus.
  • A major problem are the elevators that take students from the lower to higher parts of campus and which are often off limits. The Office of Disability Services, or any other part of Columbia’s administration, do not notify students about changes to accessibility on-campus; instead, students have to notify the office themselves.
  • All three of the students said they had either skipped classes or put themselves at risk to get to classes.

Several council members at the meeting said they were interested in joining a task force about accessibility on campus.

Bacchanal still isn’t over

Apr

1

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Student council elections took place earlier this week, and the winners have been announced. Benjamin Makansi and Vivek Ramakrishnan won President and VP Policy, respectively, for CCSC Executive Board in the Freedom, Liberty, and Freedom Party, ousting current CCSC President Peter Bailinson. For the remainder of the board, Sameer Mishra won VP Finance; Grayson Warrick won VP Communications; and Kelly Echavarria won VP Campus Life. All three ran with Bailinson and Abby Porter in the It Takes Two Party. Sean Ryan and Marc Heinrich won for University Senate, as well.

Find the results of all of the elections, including class councils, below.

Mar

30

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img March 30, 201511:13 amimg 6 Comments

Public Safety really needs this funding

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?

Mar

27

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This afternoon, CCSC released a press release stating the council would pay up to $11,164 for 2,000 additional students to attend Bacchanal on top of the original ticket sales earlier this month. This payment would also open the West Lawn and the Butler Lawn to allow for students to stand during the concert. The 2,000 lawn tickets will be distributed for free to students. Last night, ESC also approved their own funds to help pay for the additional tickets.

In addition to the decision to open the lawns, CCSC voted against paying for the refund of the tickets already sold to students as the council found it “fiscally irresponsible.” The other councils, including SGA and ESC, will pay for the refund with the addition of a loan from ABC. Nonetheless, all students who paid for a ticket will be refunded, and they will have the option to keep their ticket or release their ticket for a lawn ticket.

Update, 6:10 pm: ABC has released a statement explaining they will not require Bacchanal to redistribute tickets. Further, ABC will front the Bacchanal committee’s debt incurred this Spring. In exchange for the funds, ABC requires Bacchanal to immediately begin paying off any debt exceeding $30,000 next year. ABC will allow for Bacchanal to pay off the $30,000 over the course of five years. The statement also requires increased communication between ABC and Bacchanal in the future.

Update, March 28, 3:20 pm: Barnard SGA has also voted to contribute funds to the additional security funds and the opening of the lawns, and they released a statement this afternoon detailing their position on this year’s Bacchanal.  They will provide a total of $12,885.65, in ratio with the funds provided by the other student councils. You can read their full statement after the jump.

Read the councils’ statements below the jump.

Mar

24

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With Ted Cruz’s confirmation that he’s running in 2016, it’s clear that elections are on the brain. Columbia is clearly following the Texas Senator’s lead with the release of the official candidate list for CCSC, ESC, and GSSC elections.

View the list below to see who’s running.

Mar

9

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Mass email

Mass email

Reading these every Monday morning, courtesy of Joe Milholland, is basically being on a listerv to receive weekly info on CCSC; and since this is a Monday like any other read on for the latest CCSC has to offer. 

Sunday night at the Columbia College Student Council general body meeting, Class of 2015 Rep Ryan Rivera explained to the council a proposal he is working on about alumni giving to student groups. The proposal would institutionalize a process for student groups to solicit donations from alumni who were part of their groups. Groups would be allowed to only solicit alumni once per fiscal year, and there would be a strict process for applying. Groups that do not follow the guidelines would be banned for the year. The group must be recognized by one of the six governing boards to apply.

Rivera said that student groups, particularly frats and sororities, have been doing this for a while “under the table” with cash or checks. The proposed system will have groups solicit money through a gift account. Alumni that donated would be recognized donors.

The council also held a long discussion about listserv drama they had last Monday night, when a representative from The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore emailed the executive board. The show wanted two Columbia students to talk about university issues relating to “school shootings, sexual assault, and gun control.” CCSC President Peter Bailinson solicited possible candidates from among CCSC’s general body members who where responding to the listserv and from other groups on campus. He got 6 from CCSC and 3 from other groups, and then polled the council memers on whether they wanted to choose the students completely randomly or have one randomly picked from CCSC and another randomly picked among the other 3.

Halfway through the voting that night, someone pointed out that this selection process could lead to two men from Columbia talking about sexual assault. Bailinson then shut down the vote and started a new one with a third option of requiring one man and one woman. This choice won, and they submitted the names at 1 am. At noon, the person from the Nightly Show emailed Bailinson to say the story was going to be told from a different angle. The listserv had over 100 responses at the end of the night.

And the drama continues…

Mar

2

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img March 02, 201511:23 amimg 3 Comments

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Passing on the proposal baton

CCSC said “yes!” to two major proposals last night, on which Joe Milholland reports with equal enthusiasm. 

The Columbia College Student Council debated two proposals on Sunday night. First, they talked about a proposal to extend the CC drop deadline from 5 weeks to 7 weeks in the semester. Academic Affairs Rep Grayson Warrick argued the change was mostly for “fringe cases” of students who unexpectedly go through “high levels of stress” in the middle of the semester. Senator Marc Heinrich agreed, noting that mass droppings from classes is “not a legitimate concern” since students need to complete a certain number of classes for graduation and their major.

Part of the drop deadline proposal is that students must meet with their advisor if they drop a class after the add period. Warrick noted that CSA likes for students to come in more frequently.

The proposal passed unanimously.

The other proposal CCSC tackled was swipe access for commuter students. Council members took some time to rebut possible arguments from admins. CCSC President Peter Bailinson said the issue of commuter swipe access does not have a typical standard among peer institutions. Senator Jard Odessky said he thought excessive build-up at places to sign in would be more of a security risk than letting commuter students swipe in.

Swiper no swiping!

Feb

23

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He looks as enthusiastic as you do about this area of policy.

Swipe card access policy…of the future!!!

Commuter student wondering how your interests are represented? Budding pollster just buzzing for the next CU election? Just a good college citizen concerned for their community (enough to procrastinate the lecture your in with CCSC recaps on Bwog)? No matter who you are, we have you covered. Nate Silver’s second speed dial and special correspondent Joe Milholland brings you the latest from CCSC.

On Sunday night, the Columbia College Student Council began discussing a commuter student swipe access proposal and shunted away discussion on elections changes for the time being.

The swipe access proposal concerned specifically how best to allow commuter students in CC and SEAS swipe access to dorms. This proposal lists a number of reasons why commuter students should be given access to dorms, such as the non-residential services of dorms and the lack of evidence they would cause vandalism. The proposal then suggests commuter students should be allowed to swipe in until 2am and be given a commuter student version of the Guide to Living.

As they discussed the proposal, the council members brought up many areas in which the current commuter student policy is inconvenient. VP of Policy Sejal Singh noted there was a mental health open forum in Broadway that would have been very inconvenient for commuter students to attend. VP of Communications Abby Porter noted that classes in Carman have to submit a list of admitted students who can’t swipe into the dorm every week.

More concerns, the final vote, and updates, after the jump.

Feb

16

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CCSC is now closed for commentary

Let’s get down to CCSC business, courtesy of Joe Milholland. 

The Columbia College Student Council on Sunday night mostly performed prep work for projects they will go further on in the future.

CCSC President Peter Bailinson is going to give a presentation to the Office of Global Programs soon about fellowships and gave the council a preview of his powerpoint. Since the OGP has been willing the work with CCSC on improving applying for fellowships at Columbia, Bailinson is framing this in terms of a discussion rather than a proposal. The things he asked for in his presentation included better outreach with CSA and CCE, follow-up and reminder emails for application deadlines, a fellowships night, more learning from past applicants, an online appointment tool, summer Skype advising sessions, application workshops, increased staffing for mock internships, and feedback on applications within one week.

The council also spent time reviewing the Google doc for their proposal for CCSC election changes. Several council members discussed how realistic it would be to assume that CCSC could work with administrators or with each other over summer break. VP of Policy Sejal Singh also questioned the ethics of voting for election changes that would affect the upcoming elections of current council members.

The council also held a discussion on dean’s discipline closed off from the press and outsiders; three council members voted against keeping the discussion private. According to Bailinson, the discussion was in private in order to avoid “discuss strategy about how to negotiate with administrators on-the-record.” There will be public updates about this in the future.

But what are these updates you speak of?

Feb

9

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Let's get down to business

Getting down to business in the City of New York

Committed CCSC reporter Joe Milholland breaks down the four major themes that CCSC tackled during their two-hour weekly meeting last night.

Sexual Respect Program

Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Scully-Kromm, CSA Dean Monique Rinere, and professor Rogerio Pinto from the school of social work talked to the council. The Columbia administration is requiring all students, in order to graduate, to go through one of five programs on sexual respect, including workshops or submitting an art piece, by March 13.

Information and resources will appear on Courseworks when the program is launched. The workshops can be completed through student groups, but the administration wants around 30 students per workshop. The art project can be completed through a variety of genres, either individually or in a group, and a website will host the art pieces from student who allow their artwork to be posted there.

Several council members asked about students who may feel uncomfortable going through the sexual respect training. Dean Rinere noted there are a number of ways to complete the program and that she wants students to confront topics that may make them uncomfortable, but she also indicated exceptions may be granted “case-by-case.”

The three other topics and more business crackin’ after the jump.

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