university senate Archive

Apr

30

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Deep in thought

Deep in thought

PrezBo began the last University Senate plenary of the year with a collection of remarks on current events.

On the passing of Bill Campbell

“There was no more dedicated alumn of Columbia than Bill,” said PrezBo about the long-time Columbia trustee who died recently. “He really knew how to make organizations work,” said PrezBo. “When it came to making things happen and protecting me and the institution, there was just nobody better.”

PrezBo attended a memorial service for Campbell on Monday in Palo Alto (Campbell was involved in Silicon Valley), and he asked for a moment of silence at the plenary.

On Manhattanville

“On May 2nd, I’ll send out a statement saying that on May 2nd 1896, Morningside Heights campus was dedicated, and we are now beginning the process of dedicating the new campus in Manhattanville, and this will go on all through next year, as we begin to move into the buildings,” said PrezBo about his Manhattanville plants.

The Mind, Brain, and Behavior Institute, the Lenfest Center for the Arts, and the forum building “will all be completed in the next year and a half,” according to PrezBo.

What about the freaking statue

Apr

4

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Petition to rename Low Steps "Silly Mountain Park"

Petition to rename Low Steps “Silly Mountain Park”

Your friendly neighborhood CCSC reporter (Joe Milholland) tackled a USenate meeting this past weekend. He reports on important updates about university Rules of Conduct, particularly with respect to media coverage of campus events, as well as other updates.

“We’re turning into an athletic powerhouse,” PrezBo said at Friday’s University Senate Plenary, earning him a round of applause. Look below for more laugh-lines from PrezBo – but first, some Rules of University Conduct Updates.

First of all, the Executive Committee of the Senate has appointed the first ever Appeals Board. The Chair will be Dean Peter Awn of GS, with Dean Christian Stohler of the College of Dental Medecine and Dean Jeanette Takamura of the School of Social Work as the members under him. The alternates are Dean Mary Boyce of SEAS and Dean Stephen Coll of the J-School.

Second, two members from the Rules Committee – Logan Wright and Angela Nelson – discussed their work with a law professor to educate members of the judicial board, both new and returning, on the rules of conduct.

They also are working on a set of guidelines on the rules of conduct. These guidelines are an “evolving document that [is] used to outline the history of the rules and the policies that are going into the rules that are going to be applied,” according to Wright.

More about these new rules after the jump

Mar

6

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Very official.

Very official.

The results of the 2015 Quality of Life Survey have just been released. The Chair of the University Senate’s Student Affairs Committee encourages students, in addition to reviewing the results, to take the Columbia Recreation Survey, which will affect Columbia Athletics and Dodge facilities.

Read the full email from Marc Heinrich below:

Dear fellow student,

We write to share the results of the 2015 Quality of Life Survey. The full report, which is attached, presents data on student satisfaction and our recommendations on a wide range of issues including campus accessibility and student space.

Additionally, we encourage you to take the Columbia Recreation Survey. The results will help inform changes to Athletics, including recommendations on how to ensure Dodge can better accommodate the needs of students. SAC has been closely involved in these efforts and we hope that the survey will help enhance the efforts to renovate Dodge. The link is below:

http://studentvoice.com/bd/fa15athrecpl

Lastly, SAC has been working on producing the Morningside Student Space Initiative, a report detailing student desires for the spaces vacated on the Morningside Campus as a result of the Manhattanville expansion, focusing on the upcoming free space in Uris. We’ve come up with a list of a few broad items to focus on, but would appreciate your feedback on our list here.

To learn more about our current projects, you can follow our Facebook Page. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me or your school’s student senator, who can be found here.

Best,

Marc Heinrich
Chair, University Senate’s Student Affairs Committee

Feb

10

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The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) of the University Senate announced changes today to the Interschool Governing Board (IGB), the organization that funds groups composed of both undergrads and grad students.

With these changes, a member of SAC will set on the executive board of the IGB. “Other key constitutional revisions include adding a graduate administrator to better advise graduate-heavy groups, a focus on graduate student representation in club recognition criteria, and stricter guidelines for notifying student groups of their recognition status and funding availability,” the statement reads.

If you’re interested in being part of the IGB, the statement prompts you to contact your senator (Sean Ryan, Ramis Wadood, and Marc Heinrich for Columbia College; Jillian Ross for SEAS; Katherine Celentano for GS; and Erin Bryk for Barnard College).

Full statement after the jump!

Apr

17

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Maybe if they held the Forum on the lawn everyone would get along?

Maybe if they held the Forum on the lawn everyone would get along?

The University Senate will present their proposed revisions to the Rules of University Conduct, which govern free speech and protest on campus, in an Open Forum today from 4:00-6:00PM in Havemeyer 309. Today marks the last opportunity for members of the community to voice their concerns regarding the proposal before it is voted upon by the entire University Senate. Anyone with a CUID is welcome to attend and registration is not required.

Detailed below is an email from university senator Jared Odessky that includes highlights of the current draft’s proposed revisions, as well as a link to the Rules Committee’s full proposal:

For the first time in decades, the rules governing free speech and protest on campus are being revised by the University Senate. The Rules of University Conduct are designed to protect the rights of free expression while at the same time ensuring the continued functioning of the University and the protection of the rights of those who may be affected by such demonstrations.

The Rules Committee will present its proposal to the Columbia community at a University Forum TOMORROW, April 17 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Havemeyer Hall, Room 309. This is the last chance for public input about the Rules before the proposal moves to the full University Senate for a vote.

The current draft’s proposed revisions include:

  • A new procedure which replaces an external hearing judged by an independent arbiter with an internal University hearing.
  • Students accused of violating the Rules will be heard by the 5-person University Judicial Board (UJB) and appeals will be heard by a panel of three Deans.
  • When the UJB determines that a student has violated the Rules, sanctions will be issued by an administrative Sanctioning Officer appointed by the Provost.
  • Several additional potential sanctions have been added, including community service and revocation of degree.

The Rules Committee’s full proposal is available here.

We encourage you to voice your thoughts and concerns either by coming out to the town hall or by contacting us directly.

Get up-to-date with all things regarding the Rules of University Conduct here. For those unable to attend, follow along with us on Twitter as we live-tweet the Open Forum.

Apr

8

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Columbia_University_-_Low_Memorial_Library-DYesterday, the University Senate’s Student Affairs Committee elected this year’s Chair and Vice-Chairs–Marc Heinrich (CC ’16) will serve as Chair of the committee, and Emily Moore (SEAS Graduate School) and Ramis Wadood (CC ’16) will serve as Vice-Chairs. You can read the full press release below:

Student Affairs Committee Elects Leadership for 2015-2016 Academic Year

NEW YORK, April 7, 2013 [sic]–The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) of the Columbia University Senate elected Marc Heinrich (CC ’16) to serve as Chair in the next academic year and Emily Moore (SEAS Graduate School) and Ramis Wadood (CC ’16) as Vice-Chairs. As the three senators on the SAC Executive Committee, Marc, Emily, and Ramis will set SAC’s agenda, lead the student senator caucus, and serve as three of the 13 members of the Senate Executive Committee.

SAC comprises the 25-elected student senators and observers within the Columbia University Senate. As a committee of the University Senate, SAC is the only body that comprehensively represents 36,000 students across all 20 constituent and affiliated schools of Columbia University. With its broad mandate and unique position, SAC takes an active role in university governance.

“We are honored to have been elected to lead SAC next year. It’s been a pleasure to work with SAC this year and we have consistently been impressed by the work from each senator on our committee. We plan to continue to improve SAC and ensure it serves as an effective advocate for students across the University and look forward to addressing a wide range of initiatives in the coming year,” said Marc, Emily, and Ramis in a statement.

Sep

25

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You just know Alma was actually in the Weather Underground.

Illustration by Cindy Pan

In an email sent today addressed to the student body of Columbia College, Jared Odessky (CC’15) and Sejal Singh (CC’15), undergraduate representatives to the University Senate, formally announced plans to review the content of the Rules of University Conduct (RUC).

Odessky and Singh both sit on the Rules Committee on the University Senate, which as we reported last spring was created to oversee this review of the RUC and ensure adequate public feedback. The review was prompted by concerns, expressed both by the Senate that the RUC may be outdated, might be needlessly complex, or could be applied in way unjust to university students.

As of now the consequences of this review are unclear. In large part they will be determined by the student body, who will have the opportunity to express themselves both through direct petition and in a series of town halls. Currently the only revision under discussion is the possible end to independent arbitration, an option currently available through the hearing process.

Although the outcome may remain open at this time, this review could have an enormous impact on the day to day functioning of the student body. As Odessky and Singh state, the RUC applies to all members of the university, ranging from students to faculty to campus organizations. As it stands now, it can be applied to justify everything from disciplinary warnings to expulsion.

Read the full email, after the jump.

Apr

27

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The University Senate Student Affairs Committee (SAC) has released a list of changes that Public Safety will be making to its policy and procedures as a result of the Quality of Life survey. On the Morningside campus, Public Safety will be concentrating roving patrols on the north end of campus at night, providing reflective vests for officers on foot to “increase visibility to the Columbia Community” (as if the video cameras and constant patrols aren’t incredibly visible already), and adding “high visibility motorized patrols” near Amsterdam.

They will also be changing their training to include “refresher training on effective interpersonal communications, appearance, perception, and professionalism” with role plays and exercises. Looking forward to those sure-to-be scintillating swipe-in conversations. Other updates to the training will possibly include the implementation of trans identity-based sensitivity training for personnel. They’ll be meeting with GendeRev to discuss the best way to go about this.

Other improvements will be to the shuttle service and text messaging system in order to “enhance communication among the Columbia Community.”

Check out the full press release with all of the changes below the jump

Apr

8

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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.

Apr

7

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Acosta

Acosta

The Student Affairs Committee of the University Senate just announced its two new co-chairs for the 2014-2015 academic year—a law student (and CC alum) and a B-School student. Matthew Chou, CC ’14, and Akshay Shah, SEAS ’14, have served for the past year as co-chairs. You can read the press release and the platform they ran on below.

Fun stuff below the jump!

Apr

4

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democrat_vs_republican_on_white[1]

the debates earlier this week, kinda

After a fierce few days of campaigning, riveting debates, and more Facebook notifications than you’d like, student government elections results are in, courtesy of the Columbia Elections Board.

Here’s the link to the full elections results with percentages of the vote included. We’ve pasted the winners below.

Most notably, TAP won most of the CCSC E-Board, Wadood and Ross will enter the University Senate, and the LCUI and sandwich ambassador ballot initiatives passed.

Voter turnout increased 25% from last year, and the candidate turnout increased by 35%. However, the ESC’s voter turnout percentages were much lower than last year, presumably because the E-Board went uncontested. For all you haters out there, elections results may be contested for the next 24 hours.

CCSC

CCSC Executive Board President & VP Policy

  • Peter Bailinson and Sejal Singh (TAP)

CCSC Executive Board VP Finance

  • Michael Li (Insight)

CCSC Executive Board VP Communications

  • Abby Porter (TAP)

CCSC Executive Board VP Campus Life

  • Andrew Ren (TAP)

CCSC University Senator

  • Ramis Wadood

CCSC Academic Affairs Representative

  • Grayson Warrick

More CCSC, ESC, and GSSC below the jump.

Apr

1

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We’re not usually in the business of endorsements, but, then again, this year the CC University Senator position has already taken us on on a roller coaster of emotions. To scientifically choose who we would endorse for the seat, we photoshopped the candidates’ faces onto Roaree in the wild. Sadly, some just couldn’t measure up to what our school needs. For the CC USenate position, we endorse:

rawr!

Ramis Wadood, CCSC 2016 President for the past two years, and current Senate Staffer.

From the debates and our meeting with him, we can see that Ramis has the experience working in the University Senate and with its members to actually effect change. His work as a Senate staffer would allow him to be practical about what can be accomplished in the Senate—as his opponents have run on platforms for initiatives that are already being pursued or aren’t practical at the moment—yet “innovative,” as we see in his platform below.

Frankly, it’s disheartening to see candidates argue that the QOL survey doesn’t do much, when it has already helped drive the creation of gender-neutral bathrooms in Lerner and other buildings. Sure, surveys are worthless if you stare at them, but they both find problems and provide the statistics to back up student initiatives that Low administrators hold so dear to their heart. We like that Ramis was a key part of this QOL Survey, and know he is capable of helping out again next year in the creation of the second survey. Ramis considers the survey to be a strong tool for student advocacy, and we agree. The cold façade of Low can’t ignore public data, and can be won over, as we have seen, when facts and stories are spotlighted.

We support Ramis’ platform, which we outline below (see our elections guide for a more detailed platform):

  • CPS inadequacies
    • Finding a safe and central location for after-hours services, with disability access
    • Clinician training; increasing support for LGBTQ and minority students
    • Interim measures, like more accessible locations and raising awareness
  • Financial aid for international students
  • Cross-registration

As we’ve shown above, Ramis would also wear the Roaree suit best, and that’s what we want in our University Senator.

Feb

17

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it's a power colorIn a press release this evening, the Coalition Against Sexual Violence has released a list of comprehensive reforms they’d like to see made with respect to the sexual assault policy here at Columbia.

This comes after yesterday’s community forum in Lerner where participants were asked to make policy suggestions and proposal edits.

The proposals constitute “a living document that will continue to change with continued input from the community and as we continue to discover solutions to the concerns raised by survivors at Columbia” and call for better staffing of the Rape Crisis/Anti Violence Support Center, changes to Consent 101/Keeping Sex Sexy, a reorganized PACSA (Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault), and increased transparency about the process in general, as has been requested in the past. Several of the issues addressed in the proposal have also been highlighted in Anna Bahr’s series of investigative reporting for The Blue and White.

Full statement from the Coalition is after the jump.

Jan

29

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Dems Logo

Bwog sent Features Editor Alexander Pines to get the scoop on recent Dems and USenate activism on campus. Here’s his report.

Following up on their October 9th petition to increase transparency in Columbia’s reporting of sexual assault and other gender-based misconduct, the Columbia Democrats, in association with several other student groups as part of the Coalition Against Sexual Violence, are planning to release a statement detailing a comprehensive list of suggested reforms addressing Columbia’s sexual assault policy after a meeting with Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFER) in the coming week.

For now, Dems President Sejal Singh, CC ’15, is “very happy” to see President Bollinger’s response to the statement published by the University Senate’s Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Sunday night. “This is a major step towards transparency and accountability. I’m very happy to see President Bollinger understands the urgency of student concerns and is implementing several of our proposed reforms. I think this demonstrates that united student voices can change their communities for the better and that the administration is willing to work with us on tangible reforms. There is more to be done and we’ll be working with the administration over the coming months on the next steps, but this letter demonstrates commitment to finding a solution at the highest level of the University — and that united student voices can make a difference in their communities.” She also wished to express her gratitude toward the Title IX team, the class councils, members of the University Senate, and all of the survivors who reached out to share their stories.

What the Dems have been up to, and issues with the Rape Crisis Center.

Apr

27

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This just in from Sarah Ngu, who followed the exhaustive debate at the Senate’s plenary session this afternoon. However, the decision to recommend that the university’s schools implement public course evaluations does not mean they are mandated to release the evaluations.

For the majority of the debate, which lasted an hour and a half, the general tide of opinion appeared to be decidedly against the proposal. Opposition was especially strong from representatives of humanities departments, while those from the econ department, and from the Law, Medical, and Public Health schools supported public evaluations. The four groups in support have all used some variety of public evaluation system for several years, and insisted that they had not encountered any of the hypothetical problems that drew out protracted discussion. (You can read Sarah’s in-depth account of arguments for and against public course evaluations here.)

The Faculty Caucus and the Faculty Affairs Committee stated their opposition to the measure, but finally, when a representative from Mailman insisted it was time to vote, a surprisingly significant majority approved the recommendation, perhaps out of exasperation.

The final vote, which saw the largest turnout of the year, was 44 votes for, 12 against, with no abstentions.

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