#usenate
Designated Smoking Locations To Go Into Effect July 1
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

A statement sent out by Columbia cleared up some of the details of the USenate smoking ban talked about at the last meeting, stating that the smoking areas seen on the map will go into effect on July 1. Notably, one of the areas is in front of Butler, so studiers stepping outside for a breath of fresh air will still be greeted by a smoky slap in the face (20 feet, our ass).

They didn’t say anything about how they were going to enforce compliance, only noting that “all members of the Columbia community” were responsible for following the rule “voluntarily.”

Here’s the press release they sent out:

On May 3, 2013, the University Senate adopted a resolution to limit smoking to designated areas on the Morningside campus. The designated areas will go into effect July 1, 2014.

Smoking will be permitted at 14 locations on the Morningside campus that will be outlined via an online campus map and available in print at key locations like Lerner Hall, the Visitor’s Center, and Public Safety guard booths.

Task forces and other exciting things.

USenate: Rewriting The Rules
There should probably be more than four

There should probably be more than four

The University Senate had its final plenary today at 1:15. Senate Savvy Maud Rozee was there to get the news. And the snacks.

PrezBo was running late because he had to attend a World Leader’s Forum event, so Executive committee chair Sharyn O’Halloran gave some opening remarks summarizing the events of the recent Town Hall on sexual assault.

When PrezBo arrived, he commented on the search for the new Executive Vice President of Student Affairs. He noted that for several years he had been thinking that Columbia was missing someone who could have a broad, comprehensive view of the issues students are dealing with at Columbia. The discussions about sexual assault prompted him to start the search, and he expects to appoint someone by the beginning of the next academic year.

PrezBo also said that there is still a lot of work to do on the sexual assault issue, and he will be sending out another update in the next week on the ongoing work.

A senate member asked about how the recent Supreme Court decision about affirmative action in Michigan could affect Columbia. PrezBo replied with a long and very interesting explanation of how different laws worked.

Report from the Rules Committee:

  • This committee was created to consider changes to the Rules of University Conduct, which are special, university-wide, disciplinary rules which apply to demonstrations, rallies, picketing and the circulation of petitions. The rules are designed to protect the rights of free expression as well as the proper functioning of the University.
  • After three meetings, the Committee has come to the decision that the rules need to be changed. They are decades-old, dense and difficult to understand, and perhaps not as fair and just as they could be. They are also outline procedures which are very different from those of peer institutions.
  • The next step for the Committee is to gather information, and start to engage in a public way with students and faculty. To that end, starting next semester, Town Halls will be held, and the Committee will meet with student and faculty leaders.
  • The Committee doesn’t have much more information about how the rules will be changed, and for what outcome. They only know they want to start a discussion.
  • Personally, I think this process will be of especially great importance to groups like No Red Tape, Barnard/Columbia Divest, and Students for Justice in Palestine.

Smokers must read

Public Safety Changes As Result Of Quality Of Life Survey

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

SAC Co-Chairs Announced
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!

Update From PrezBo On Sexual Assault
"So, here are the updates"

“So, here are the updates”

PrezBo wants us to know he’s serious about handling our concerns about sexual assault. In addition to his previous letter stating his commitment to addressing sexual assault on campus, he sent out this letter giving the following updates on the administration’s progress:

  • PrezBo will create a new administrative position, the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs, who will report directly to PrezBo about issues like sexual assault.
  • The University Senate has passed a resolution which will increase student representation on the President’s Advisory Committee for Sexual Assault.
  • The deans will hold more public forums and respond to the concerns raised at the first one.
  • The administration will improve access and confidentiality for the Rape and Crisis Support Center.
  • Also, it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and there are lots of events coming up.

PrezBo’s letter (bolding by Bwog):

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing to offer an update on the progress we’re making in addressing the issues involving sexual assault at the University. There are many complex problems to resolve, so this will not be the last letter or communication I (or others) will write on the subject. It seems better to provide periodic statements about what we’re doing, which, besides showing that things are happening, brings the added benefit of supporting an ongoing discussion within the community.

I want to begin, as I tried to do in my letter earlier in the semester, with the clearest possible statement that we are just not going to tolerate sexual abuse and assault at Columbia. Everything we are doing and will do must be with the purpose of reducing this misconduct to zero.

So, here are the updates:

Get the updates

USenate: PACSA, QoL and ASCRI
But otherwise it was not this empty.

PrezBo was late. Awkward.

Yesterday’s University Senate plenary was packed with action and acronyms. We sent Low Lover Maud Rozee to observe.

PrezBo missed the first half of the plenary because he was at an event congratulating donors on the success of the capital campaign. His absence stymied the “Questions for the President” part of the agenda, which is too bad because there would’ve been some interesting questions about Columbia’s investment in private prisons and fossil fuels. PrezBo apologized for his tardiness.

1. Report from the Advisory Committee of Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI):

  • ACSRI is a committee of neutral experts which advises the trustees of a university on what they should divest from, and how they should vote in various proxy votes which are brought up by the companies they are invested in.
  • Currently, Columbia is in the process of divesting from companies which fuel conflict in Sudan, as well as tobacco companies.
  • ACSRI tries to get input from students through collaboration with certain courses, as well as events like an upcoming panel discussion on fossil fuel divestment, which will be held on Monday, April 7th from 7:00-9:00 pm in Earl Hall. The panel is cosponsored by ACSRI and Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice (BCD).
  • Columbia College Senator Jared Odessky brought up the concern that there was no opportunity for BCD to have a conversation with ACSRI, or the panelists. The ACSRI representative responded that there would be 60 minutes of Q & A after the discussion.

Info about the Quality-of-Life survey and PACSA after the jump

The People Have Spoken: Elections Results

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.

CC USenate Position: Who’s The Fiercest Of Them All?

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.

USenate Student Affairs Committee Releases Results Of Quality Of Life Survey
datatastic

datatastic

Last April, the USenate Student Affairs Committee (SAC), led by Senators Matthew Chou and Akshay Shah, sent out Columbia’s first-ever University-wide Quality of Life survey. The survey garnered over 6,250 responses (a response rate of 17.1%) to questions about financial aid, housing, academics, adminstration, health services, and other wellness issues. Now, (almost a year later) SAC has released the final result: a report of analysis and conclusions about the Quality of Life Survey’s data.

The most pertinent results:

The whole report is a whopping 84 pages long, so the SAC kindly made up a presentation of the most interesting and urgent results. You can read the whole report here and find the presentation here.

The survey found that, overall, on a scale of -3 (“very dissatisfied”), 0 (“neutral”), and 3 (“very satisfied”), Columbia students are 0.87 satisfied. What does this mean? Well, maybe one way to think of it is that if Deantini asked all of us to donate three dollars to our Senior Funds, we would actually donate only 0.87 dollars. Or maybe if we were asked to sing three rounds of Roar Lion Roar at a football game, most of us would stop after “sons of Knickerbocker rally ’round”. Probably both of those are bad ways to think about it, though.

So many results.

USenate Update On Sexual Assault Policy And Town Hall

Update (12:01 am): The @CUSenate has released information about the town hall meeting.   See it below the jump.

In a press release this afternoon, the Columbia College delegates to the University Senate gave an update on the work they and others have been doing concerning sexual assault policy and education at Columbia.  You can see the full text of the statement after the jump.

The statement was sent along with a reminder that the town hall on Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct will be held this Thursday from 5-6:30 pm in 103 Jerome Greene Hall with a star-studded cast of deans and university officials.  PrezBo agreed to hold a town hall meeting in response to pressure from student leaders, organizations, and the discussion created by Anna Bahr’s examination of sexual assault on campus. His statement also coincided with No Red Tape’s campaign.

The USenate has already responded to student concerns about Columbia’s sexual assault policy.  On January 26, the Student Affairs Committee on the Sexual Assault Adjudication Process released a statement calling for increased institutional transparency for issues of sexual assault.  A few days later, PrezBo, DSpar, and several university deans—including Deans Valentini, Boyce, Awn, and Martinez—all released statements expressing their commitment to this cause.

We urge our readers to take advantage of the town hall on Thursday evening, or the town hall submission form. Backing your opinions and ideas with your physical presence could effect real and significant change in campus sexual assault policy.

Here is the statement from USenators and the release from the CUSenate twitter account:

USenate: Smoking and Quality of Life
Is she less than 20 ft from a building? GET THE HANDCUFFS

Is she less than 20 ft from a building? GET THE HANDCUFFS

Yesterday the University Senate met to discuss changes to the smoking policy and the upcoming quality of life survey. Senate sidekick Maud Rozee went to get the news.

The Senate plenary started with a statement from PrezBo about how critical it is for the University to have the policies and values which view sexual assault as intolerable and unacceptable. He said that it is important for the University to be as responsive as possible to victims, in its educational programs, services and adjudication process. “My attitude is that we’ll do whatever we can to improve,” PrezBo said. He referred to the continuing review of the President’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault as proof of the University’s commitment to improving transparency and to listening to the needs of students. PrezBo also said that there would be a townhall on sexual assault on March 13th, from 5-7, which undergraduate deans would attend.

PrezBo then briefly mentioned his new task force on personalized medicine. Then the Chair of the senate’s Executive Committee, Sharyn O’Halloran reviewed what was said about reforming PACSA at the last plenary.

Get the latest on the smoking policy.

USenate Releases Statement on Sexual Assault Process

The USenate Twitter account just released a statement from the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) on the Sexual Assault Adjudication Process. In short, the SAC has called for:

  • President Bollinger to release a statement regarding the university’s policy on sexual assault and misconduct,
  • a town hall to act as a forum for students and faculty to speak publicly on the issue,
  • full transparency from the university regarding data related to sexual assaults and other associated violations, and
  • making the President’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault (PACSA) more inclusive of the student body and more transparent.

For more information about sexual assault at Columbia, see former Blue and White managing editor Anna Bahr’s (BC ’14) piece. Statement below.

Update (10:05 pm)–The SAC sent out the statement via email to Columbia College students. Matthew Chou, a co-chair of the SAC, added:

We understand this is an incredibly important issue for students, and we are dedicated to reaching solutions in partnership with the entire Columbia community. Through the Senate, we will also continue to actively pursue the implementation of the statement’s recommendations. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at asksenate@columbia.edu.

Akshay Shah, also co-chair of the SAC, noted, “We feel that this is an issue that is appropriate for the University Senate to take on as it deals with a university office following a process that the university has put in place to comply with Title IX.” We’ve reached out to administration for comment and will update accordingly.

Update (1/27, 4:15 pm)–Robert Hornsby, the Associate Vice President of Media Relations, sent us this statement in response to the letter:

Sexual assault and gender-based misconduct are always unacceptable and often criminal.  The safety and well-being of every student and each member of the Columbia community is our foremost priority, and we recognize that confidence in the handling of allegations of gender-based misconduct and sexual assault is an essential part of ensuring that safety.  Over the last few months, Columbia has been reviewing its policies and procedures for the reporting, investigation, and provision of discipline in these matters.  As part of this process, the University’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault has been speaking with the Columbia University Student Democrats and other student leaders whose requests for the disclosure of aggregate data are under consideration.  A new website urging sexual respect in our university community was launched last week.

In the days ahead, we look forward to sharing additional steps intended to sustain our campus dialogue and to ensure that students’ voices inform the ongoing development of the university’s gender-based misconduct policies.  We therefore welcome the broad conversation occurring on campus involving Columbia’s leadership, the University Senate, Columbia University Student Democrats and a large cross-section of concerned students in the expectation that it will increase awareness and identify opportunities to improve current practices.

Be8m_y3IYAA890I

How You Livin, Columbia?
cheaper than a manhattan apartment

In mansion and Benzes?

The preliminary results from the University Senate’s much-touted Quality of Life survey were released this weekend.  Bwog looked at numbers so you don’t have to, and here’s what we found interesting:

Note: all results are based on the pool of people who responded, so data is not representative of entire student body but rather the 17.29% of students from the entire university who actually took the time to fill in answers.

  • The highest overall satisfaction across the university is with basic facilities and infrastructure: Safety, Transportation, Library, Academics, and Technology.
  • Overall, Funding, Career Prep, and Health are the most important factors with the least satisfaction.
  • Undergraduate students are negatively satisfied with the Administration–the only facet for which we have negative satisfaction (although Availability of Space comes close with a solid 0 satisfaction. We see you, performing groups.)
  • Undergraduates are much less satisfied with mental health than the rest of the university. On a scale of -.5 to 2, the average across schools is .64. For undergrads, it’s half that at .35.
  • Of the undergraduate schools, Barnard is the least likely to donate to the school, by a decent margin. On a scale of -3 to 3, they’re at .2, while SEAS is right above them at .34. Yikes? In likelihood to donate, it ranks GS, CC, SEAS, and BC.
  • Still, overall, undergraduates are more likely to donate than grad students–with the exception of the B-School. Prob cuz, you know, they make money.
  • We’re alright with Housing, but the Quality of Spaces is not as great.
  • Across the schools, there’s a huge dissatisfaction with funding, but most of that negativity comes from grad and PhD students.
  • Overall undergrads are typically more satisfied with things than PhD/grad, with the exception of Physical and Mental Health and Administration. Social (lol) and Availability of Space are slightly less satisfactory for undergrads, but doesn’t seem to be statistically significant.

Stats on peeps

CCSC: Improvements And Highlights
jaaaaaaaaa

Can we haz?

As ever, CCSC convened in the Satow Room last night for the betterment of our fine university. Bombastic Bureau Chief Joseph Milholland was on hand to report.

After the hectic excitement of the first few weeks – a new school year, the Senate election, BC divest – this week’s CCSC meeting found a groove for itself. The meeting’s first order of business was to officially vote Marc Heinrich in as a University Senator.

The council then heard from the Native American Council about a plaque to commemorate the Lenape. There are similar commemorations to historical events around campus, such as George Washington’s 1776 victory in the Battle of Harlem Heights. Dean Martinez supports the plaque, and the Native American Council got student support through a petition on Indigenous People’s Day.

Then came the inevitable round of updates. The E-board is working to improve WTF Columbia. The council congratulated the success of the pep rally and Bwog for saying that the rally “actually was a nice event.” The Class of 2014 is still working on finding a Class Day speaker and will hold an Oktoberfest for CC seniors only. The Class of 2015 will have “1200 servings” of Ben and Jerry’s for free on October 28 in Schapiro. The Class of 2016 is holding a “Major Discovery Series” on November 15 to give students info on majors. The Class of 2017 is working with other class councils on events.

(more…)

Heinrich Handily Wins USenate
Marc Heinrich

Marc Heinrich

Since CCSC backpedaled on its decision not to hold elections for the University Senate opening, 36% of you voted. Results below. 

1. Marc Heinrich took the USenate seat with 394 votes (24.7%). Manik Uppal followed with 290 (18.2%). And in third was Samer Ozeir, current Chipotle brand ambassador, with 192 votes (12.03%).

2. Divestment ballot initiative passed with 1166 votes (73.7%).

See the full breakdown on the elections board site.

We’ve reached out to Marc for comment.His comment:

I’m honored to be elected as Columbia College’s newest University Senator. All of the candidates ran a great campaign, and I’m excited to tackle many of the issues brought up over the past few weeks. Thank you to everyone who came out to vote, and I look forward to being an accessible advocate for Columbia College.

Image via LinkedIn