CCSC: Back from the dead edition

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It had been a while since they met, so there was much to propose and resolve last night.  Warning: the following post may contain graphic Lerner 6 discussion and adult off-campus flex dialogue.  Reader discretion is advised.

Proposal Regarding Academic Advising Center

Problem: Lerner 6 was never finished and the Center for Student Advising has offices all over the place from Broadway to Lerner.  Solution: Finish Lerner 6 and relocate Center for Student Advising in Lerner 6.

Resolution to implement payment through Columbia University Flex Accounts at Book Culture

Problem: Book Culture does not take Flex.  Flex is convenient for students and sometimes part of their financial aid package.  Solution: Columbia should give Book Culture money and technology to join the Flex system.

Resolution to formalize departmental advising and strengthen individual faculty and student advising

Problem: Departmental advising is important for careers.  Students do not have adequate departmental advising.  Solution: Each student should have a faculty advisor within their major.


Full text of proposals and resolution after the jump. 

Proposal Regarding Academic Advising Center:


The undergraduate student body at Columbia must have a dependable advising system. Life at an academically rigorous institution in an urban setting necessitates resources to support students. Over the last year, both the Columbia College Student Council and Engineering Student Council have expressed their belief that the improvement of advising is one of the top priorities for undergraduate students. Fortunately, positive steps have been made such as the creation of the unified Center for Student Advising. However, more can and must be done. As it stands, advising offices are spread throughout different parts of the campus from Lerner Hall to the Broadway residence hall. This spatial decentralization is problematic and it is an inefficient use of space that could be better utilized for other purposes.

As the advising resources are spread all around campus, there remains a large undeveloped space. When the construction of Lerner Hall was completed in 1999, the sixth floor was never completed. For nearly a decade, this space has been left untouched. There has been much controversy about how to best use this space.  


The Columbia College Student Council believes that the vacant and undeveloped space of the sixth floor of Lerner must be put to efficient use. Specifically, this space should be utilized to allow for the creation of a centralized Center for Student Advising.


First, the spatial division of the advising offices is detrimental to the creation of a unified office which is the ultimate vision of the Center for Student Advising. With the old system of separate underclassmen and upperclassmen advising it made sense for the offices to be in different parts of the campus. But this is no longer the case. For an office to have a unified mission it must not be divided as it currently is

Second, one of the central goals of the advising reforms was to reduce the ratio of advisors to advisees. To do this additional space is required to accommodate more advisors.

Third, leaving Lerner Hall empty does not make any sense for a campus as short on square footage as Columbia. The councils often receive complaints from student groups who have difficulty reserving space for their activities. This limitation on space often discourages students from putting on events and activities that would help create a greater sense of community on campus. By developing the sixth floor and moving advising offices there, additional space from the old locations of the advising offices can be made available for student life purposes thereby helping relieve some of the difficulties students face with space constraints.

Fourth, Lerner was designed to be an undergraduate student center. The graduate schools have Uris, the Law Library, SIPA and several other buildings to house space for graduate students. The entire gift portion of Lerner was donated by College alumni with the understanding that Lerner would be reserved for undergraduates.


Michelle Diamond, President

Alidad Damooei, V.P. Policy

Jennifer Choi, V.P. Finance

Lindsey Lazopolous, V.P. Campus Life

Glenn Thompson, VP Communications



WHEREAS, Columbia College Student Council seeks to provide as many services for its students as possible;

WHEREAS, students currently are unable to use University Flex Accounts for payment at Book Culture

WHEREAS, Book Culture serves as a comparable vendor to the Columbia University Bookstore as a result of student and faculty use;

WHEREAS, the University Flex Point system is comparable to cash dollar for dollar;

WHEREAS, payment through flex accounts would bring greater convenience to Columbia students, by alleviating traffic in times of great need and reducing the necessity of cash;

WHEREAS, many peer institutions have already implemented similar programs across a number of different types of vendors, including: NYU, Harvard, Cornell, and University of Pennsylvania;

WHEREAS, a number of Columbia College’s financial aid and scholarship students are given a portion of their allotment through the University Flex Accounts;

WHEREAS, the Columbia College Student Council recognizes the need to ensure that all students will have equal access to the books they need regardless of financial ability;

BE IT RESOLVED, that Columbia College Student Council urges University Student Services and administrators to provide the necessary funding, technology, and support in a timely fashion to establish a program for payment though the University Flex Point system. 


Donna D. Desilus

Academic Affairs Representative

Columbia College Student Council 

Glenn Thompson

Vice President of Communications

Columbia College Student Council



WHEREAS, Columbia University is the leading institution in a number of fields of study and departments;

WHEREAS, Columbia College Student Council recognizes the student need for both reliable and knowledge-based information;

WHEREAS, Columbia College Student Council recognizes the importance of departmental advising in curricular development and in pre-professional planning;

WHEREAS, the advising system across each department is varied;

WHEREAS, not all students in Columbia College have a faculty advisor;

WHEREAS, a number of our peer institutions, including University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Dartmouth, have formalized major advising so that each student may have a faculty advisor;

WHEREAS, Columbia College is making a concerted effort to improve advising in a number of areas;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Columbia College Student Council calls for Academic Services to formalize departmental advising, so that every student would have an advisor who is a member of the faculty in their major.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Columbia College Student Council gives its full support to the Columbia College Administration in pursuing this endeavor.


Respectfully Submitted,

Donna D. Desilus

Academic Affairs Representative

Columbia College Student Council


Tiffany Davis

University Senator

Columbia College Student Council

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  1. Questions  

    1. What majors do not have advisors? In some of the smaller or interdepartmental majors, the chosen thesis advisor or the director of undergraduate studies serves as the advisor. What exactly do people feel like they are missing?
    2. Should students who do not elect to major also have an advisor?
    3. Do students really receive money on their Flex card from financial aid? As a financial aid student on full scholarship, this hasn't been my experience. Why is this the case?
    4. Why is Flex more convenient than any other debit card?

    • About flex...  

      With my financial aid package, whatever is left over just gets to me through direct deposit. I've never heard of funds being deposited into flex -- it's much easier if they go into a checking/savings account.

  2. well  

    1) Advising center- Sure! Great idea! Let's chop up the LAST major chunk of space that can be converted to student activity space (anyone else noticed the competition to book Satow and other good functional rooms in lerner on the rise?) and give it away to an administration that's going to turn it into another plaster and tube light clinic. Gah.

    2) Flex - Suck it up, buy it on credit, and ask columbia to refund your excess funds, and deposit in an interest bearing account. pay off credit card bill when it comes later. profit.

    3) departmental advising: yawn. you can't legislate caring mentors. sorry.

    • ...

      Part of the discussions with the admins on this issue involve turning space that is currently used for advising to become student space....... thereby killing two birds with one stone...

  3. elections?

    alidad running a ticket?

    george krebs?

    arjun kapoor?

    learned foote coup?

    does michelle diamond have a favorite?

    i heard strike supporter, science society & religion guy, msa president Adil Ahmed is the early favorite, but its not even clear he\'s interested in running? i dont like him, he\'s too fucking slick.

    bwog- its time for some interesting gossip

    • ooh

      this is just like a conversation i just had with a friend...except i like adil. he's done a lot of work with all types of communities, which is great and something columbia needs. he's all over the place in that sense, but really chill from what i hear.

  4. ok then

    let's see you do something.

  5. EAL  

    Here's a question: How about a game room for Lerner? I'd love it if we could have a pool table or two, air hockey, and maybe a video arcade game in there. Would sure be better than that Piano Lounge. Seriously, even community colleges have student lounges with games. All we've got for games is Hartley, which is hardly supposed to function as a student center.

    CCSC people: instead of trying to negotiate for Flex on campus in a crusade that will never succeed, how about actually giving students something fun to enjoy?!

    Also, I wouldn't mind having weekly movies in the Lerner theatre. As it is, we only seem to have something showing there once every two months or so.

    CCSC people, if any of you read this, please fulfill these things! They're actually feasible.

    • uhmmm

      i don't know if this post is sarcastic or not.

      But to be on the safe side:

      There was a game room complete with arcade, air hockey, and pool tables. Because nobody ever used it, it's now the Broadway Room.

      • concur  

        this campus needs informal gathering spaces. lerner is so damn cold and uninviting. who the hell wants to hang out on the set of gattica?

        also, the biggest thing i would like to see student government do is get rid of that damn "Viewable only by class" restriction in courseworks. at pretty much every other damn university in the country, you can view syllabi and assignments from past courses online. but piece of crap courseworks seems to want to hide it from you, like it's proprietary or something. how the hell am i supposed to make intelligent course selections if i can't even view a past syllabus... gah!

        • ...

          haha talk about a weird coincidence... interesting you would say that... Donna Desilus has been working on course syllabi and I hear a proposal on it is coming next week...

        • gattica

          Haha. Right you are. Next thing, the card readers will be replaced with DNA scanners.

        • Zach

          You can actually beat most of the restrictions in Courseworks, with a little trickery -- it's pretty easy to figure out a complete roster for any of your classes, and to see many old classes. You just can't necessarily use the search functions.

          • *sigh*  

            You are accessing a class to which you do not have the rights to view. If you have received this message in error, please contact the administrators and let them know exactly what you were doing at the time this message occurred. Otherwise, please re-login.

            DEAR CU,



  6. EAL  

    What? You serious? Why wouldn't they have used it?! I'd rather play air hockey than have to listen to amateurs playing that piano over and over.

    • answer

      It was just....underused. always empty. Nobody knew why. After 4 years, they got rid of it in the Winter of 2004. It had all the latest arcade games including the Star Wars, some VR games, House of the Dead, Time Crisis. They even had 2 Air Hockey tables.

  7. Bethmann-Hollweg  

    To be fair, CCSC is the most pointless organization on campus.

    I had the great misfortune to overhear one of their meetings earlier this year: I almost hung myself.

  8. Robert Walpole  

    Could you possibly imagine occupying your time with things like advising and flex reform?

    I think the Columbia University administration should here employ the same tactics used to deal with the hunger strikers: threaten CCSC with forced medical leave unless they stop behaving like this.

  9. Flex

    Yes, please give my money to rip-off store full of assholes when there is a giant bookstore that accepts it underneath our school.

    How about: force Professors to order books through the Columbia Bookstore so that we can use Flexpay. Doesn't that make more sense? They can still have some textbooks at Labyrinth

  10. Roone  

    Aren't the Air Hockey tables in the basement of Carman now? I've never been in there, but I swear I've seen them through the window on 114.

    They really never should have left Lerner though. I can't understand why you'd take "fun" things out of a student center. Better yet, why did they put two pianos in there, one right beneath one of the few computer labs on campus and the other in a place where the entire building can hear?

    Nothing about that place makes any sense to me.

  11. Also Roone  

    Zach (or anyone), how do you get around the CourseWorks restrictions? I'm guessing you have to do things with the URL. I'm curious as to how this works.

  12. game room  

    You had to buy tokens for the games, which made it a bit of a killjoy.

    The game room is where the Broadway room is. The main lounge in the back of Lerner used to be very dead and no one really hung out back there. That lounge got a major face-lift in like summer 2006 or 2005. It used to be an airport lounge. Of course they hung up inkjet pictures of lerner in the lounge, the ultimate act of self-masturbatory ignorance.

    Lerner's floor plan sucks balls. The game room was tucked away in a back corner. The main lounge isn't part of the major traffic flow, and to boot, the best functioning social space in the building (Ferris Booth) is behind a glass wall and closes at 9, preventing any spillover from livening up the place.

    I hate Lerner with the passion of a thousand burning suns.

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