CCSC Meeting: Referendum Protocol, etc.

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At tonight’s CCSC meeting, the CCSC announced its first-ever set of official referendum protocol — until this point, nothing on student polling had ever been formalized, at least within CCSC. 

According to the memo passed out at the meeting, CCSC is developing a committee to set poll regulations. According to VP of Policy Adil Ahmed, who — along with 2011 President Learned Foote — presented the Referendum Protocol at the meeting, the creation of the committee is necessary to orchestrate the large-scale polling that the ROTC vote and Universal Swipe vote will require. Ahmed explained that the goal of creating the Protocol Committee is figuring out how to administer the poll(s) fairly and universally.

As for the Barnard-ROTC question, Bwog spoke with SGA President Sarah Besnoff, who only responded that she “will be attending the next meeting of councils and leaders discussing this issue — and we’ll go from there.”

(At this time, the New York Sun has also reported on the upcoming ROTC vote.)

Ultimately, of course, this polling is just a barometer on student opinion and doesn’t necessarily have any effect on the actions of University Senate.

Other stuff happened at the CCSC meeting too. The senior class council is–as per usual–pushing to get Barack Obama as class day speaker, and according Class Rep Colin Felsman, Obama was initially receptive to the idea of speaking at a campus event.

Also, Lerner Pub will start on the 18th, so bring your seven forms of ID and a DNA sample, and those two beers are all yours.

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  1. ...

    What the hell?

    We have a representative council for a fucking reason. We can't start having referrenda for every minute issue (e.g. swipe access) or even for major issues like ROTC. There's a reason CCSC members are elected. You are our representatives. If we're going to have a bunch of referrenda then why is there a CCSC? Let's just have plebiscites for everything.

    What is the standard then that council will use to determine whether an issue is worth having a referendum?

    Or how can you ensure that there will be much participation in referrenda? Election turnout is already in the pathetic 40% range despite there being a bunch of candidates running around campus trying to promote themselves and hassling you to vote (Krebs, i'm looking at you buddy)... Is it going to be a truly democratic referenda if only 20% of the most gungho on the particular issue show up to the ballot box?

    Really, this is pathetic. Have some balls and be a representative. YOU WERE ELECTED FOR A REASON!!!
    (although for some of you, I'm not really sure what that reason was... and this is just confirming my concerns)

    I know you would like to say "so and so percent of students support this proposal" when you present it to an administrator... but if you do your job right as members of council, it should be enough to say "ccsc, elected by the students, supports this proposal"

    • don't you think  

      that issues like ROTC should be taken out of the hands of the student council? why should they get to decide what policy represents the student body?

      they're probably not going to have these referenda every second, but in cases where student opinion matters

    • student councils  

      are sort of a joke, and do not represent me in any way. I doubt the majority of students in Columbia actually thought hard about who they would vote for, and would be interested to see what the turnout was for the last election. A referendum is a perfectly fair and reasonable way to gauge student opinion in the absence of other tools traditionally available to politicians (polling, for example).

      What exactly does Barnard have to do with ROTC?

    • bargh

      Please calm down. If you don't like referenda, don't vote in them. If you think the CCSC is worthless, ignore it. Neither of these things will affect your life in any meaningful way if you simply tune them out.

      This is especially true when it comes to the ROTC dust-up, which will (at best) die in the University Senate. There's not a chance in hell the same body that voted ROTC down by 5 to 1 margin three years ago will approve it now, even if there's been some bizarre influx of neoconservative student reps.

      #2 - Yeah, it'd be nice if he'd own up to his Columbia days a little more often, but I'm betting few (if any) Columbia students support him because he went here. He could shit on alma mater for all I care; he'd still be the better candidate.

    • in terms of

      importance, i think universal swipe is a slightly more pertinent issue to students than rotc on campus

    • Wow  

      I've never heard of someone so desperate to NOT have their voice heard. If CCSC decides that Columbia College is small enough that a referendum can be organized with relative ease, I can't think of any reason why we shouldn't have a vote. If everyone in the University Senate and CCSC had made their opinions on ROTC and Universal Swipe known when they were running for office, it would be technically unnecessary (although still not necessarily disadvantageous) to have this referendum; however, since they did not, it's not really reasonable to say that they have the ability to represent the entire student body's collective opinion.

      And speculation that turnout for such a referendum would be below 20% is just moronic. Do you really think more people are interested in the general elections, which pit two non-controversial candidates with similar identical agendas on such hot-button issues as wireless internet in dorms, than a referendum on the ROTC, which has such a well-known relationship (or lack thereof) with Columbia that the NY Times and NY Sun have recently mentioned it in their newspapers? How can you really say that?

  2. class day speaker?  

    It's kinda pathetic how so many Columbians swoon over Obama, yet Obama despises Columbia. He has been avoiding Columbia for years. Last Thursday was his first appearance at his alma mater since becoming a public figure and all he had to say was Columbia's neighborhood is expensive.

    • Colin Felsman  

      Just to clarify:
      Due to "class day invite procedures" Obama was not formally invited to this past Thursday. Instead, we simply passed on a letter urging him to return to campus to speak in the future and recognizing that he is an alum. Yes we also realize that he doesn't love his alma mater the way we would like, but anyone who compares Columbia in the early 80's with Columbia of today may have a reasonable understanding of why.

  3. CC 2009

    What about Bill Clinton, now that Chelsea goes to Mailman? I think our senior class council should consider that.


    Question. My understanding is that the issue at hand is less about ROTC and the university as a whole than about SEAS and Navy ROTC, because, A, Navy ROTC lacks even the limited access of the Army and Air Force programs, and B, the Navy and engineers are an especially good fit.

    So, my question is, why does this issue even require university approval? Why can't SEAS just work out its own arrangement with NROTC? I guess what I don't understand is the limit of a college's right to act independently.

  5. does

    universal swipe include gs?

    or is everyone at columbia being prejudiced again?

  6. umm

    isn't a referendum totally different than just polling?

  7. clarifications  

    universal swipe: this applies to anyone living in undergraduate housing. this means that if you are a gs student living in one of the 17 Columbia undergrad dorms or any of the Barnard dorms you could have swipe. if you do not live in these, then you do not get it. same is for Columbia students in that if you live off campus you lose access to residential halls.

    NROTC: the referendum is only for NROTC (Navy) and not all of the other parts because there is no place close enough for them to travel to. the other sects of ROTC have other campuses that they travel to. and a referendum is necessary because the councils do not believe they have enough information to determine whether the majority of the student population would want ROTC in any form back on campus.

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