GSSC Results Reveal Shocking Lack of Votes

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The General Studies Student Council results are in, and the big winner is apathy. New president-elect Katherine Edwards defeated Alfred Davis with 63% of the vote. She will be joined by Hannah Kim as VP Student Life, Jacqueline Thong as VP Finance, Clark Chaheine as VP Communications, and Scott Jurkowski as VP Policy.

More notable, though, was the thorough lack of votes for several positions – in fact, there were no winners for the positions of senior class vice-president, sophomore class president and vice-president, alumni affairs rep, student services rep, or student workers rep, while the freshman class president and vice-president received a stellar fourteen votes. GSers,  give yourselves a pat on the back – you had to work to be so indifferent. Full results after the jump.

GSSC President

Katherine Edwards: 212

Alfred Davis: 125

VP Policy

Scott Jurkowski (WI): 50

Jenny Chong (WI): 29

VP Student Life:

Hannah Kim: 220

Chin Kim: 47

VP Finance:

Jacqueline Thong: 236

Allen Settle: 106

VP Communications:

Clark Chaheine: 246

Social Chair

Ashley Kemp: 146

Ellen Oh 113

University Senator

Paul Zachary 154

Nathan Miller 129

Paige Lampkin (WI) 49

Academic Affairs

Richard Adams (WI) 41

Alumni Affairs


Student Services Rep


Student Worker Rep


International Student Rep

Henry Wells 201

Delegate At Large

Abiola Akinyemi 210

Delegate at Large:

Vitaly Lenskiy 26

Senior Class President

Brian Corman 97

Senior Class Vice-President


Junior Class President

Christopher Ideen 49

Marina Lamb 40

Elliot Shakelford 27

Sophomore Class President


Sophomore Class President


First Year Class President

Paul Darnell 14

First Year Vice President

Keenya Powell 14

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  1. GS Indifferent?  

    Pot, meet kettle. I think you'll find you have a lot in common.

  2. ....  

    you're telling me ZERO ppl voted???
    i'm sorry but that's kinda outrageous. i don't give a damn about student council but i still vote for SEAS elections (even though they're internal, yuck)...i guess in the future, GS students should find no reason to complain about lack of GS coverage since they don't care about their school either.

    • ...  

      fwiw. half of the positions had no one running, and the presidential election had ~350 votes. i honestly don't know if ~29% turnout is good for student government elections.

      but whatever, i suspect most gs students are probably a little preoccupied with the fact that they've run up astronomical debt loads in the face of an economic meltdown.

      electing the group that plans social events is probably not at the forefront of their concerns.

  3. errr  

    Is her last name really Thong and not Tong?

  4. wait  

    so the person didn't even vote for himself?

  5. CC student

    This makes me really like GS.

  6. GS Senior

    Most GS students had been out of high school for a little while before enrolling into college, and lived real life.

    So we understand that Student Council is a powerless body that tries to give students a voice, but ultimately gets squashed by the administration. I thank them for their effort, but all that matters is who can throw the best events. Trying to improve financial aid, or student housing, or any other issue that can only be solved by getting more money into GS via the student council is a joke.

    Trust me, CC/SEAS/Barnard kids, one day you'll see how student council doesn't really make a difference.

    • Ew.  

      Typical cocky and condescending GS student.

    • lol  

      Thank you for your sage advice, Obi-Wan.

      Perhaps one day, I will attain your level of enlightenment. Until then however, please change my diaper.

    • CC senior  

      I ascribe to this philosophy. In high school student council was nothing more than glorified manual labor agents. In school they are glorified event planners.

    • woah,  

      ease up there tiger! don't remove the veil from my naive, columbia college eyes just yet... gosh how I do love and respect the student council ever so much

      My friends (yeah John McCain stole that intro from me - the bastard),

      The anti-GS bias on campus is somewhat unfair - I have several friends in GS for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect ... but suffice it to say that your comment above validates just about every prejudice against your people my good man/woman, Congrats.

  7. I read Bwog  

    and therefore my opinions matter. Take a bow, GS, CC, BC and SEAS- no one gives a shit about your opinions of each other.

  8. GSer

    I think part of the reason for lack of participation in this year's election lies with GSSC itself, not GS. Last year there was drama and controversy (the impeachment, election law violations, and so on). This year, there was neither -- all we had was Brody Berg and his band of allies who did nothing at all. If you don't even know the body exists, why care about who wins the election.

    Maybe this year's Council will at least make itself known on campus. Maybe it will seem less smug and self-important and actually reach out it its constituency (and that does NOT mean send out annoying emails to everyone over and over) AND reach out to the other Councils on campus.

    We can only hope!

    • Wise  

      If you think Brody Berg's Council did nothing, you must have been under a rock. They accomplished a lot, and they were very helpful with a housing issue I had that NO ADMINISTRATOR would help me with.

      Just because YOU KNOW NOTHING about what they did, you cannot assume they did nothing.

  9. Recent GSer  

    There are a few factors involved here. The general failure of last year's council discouraged a number of the veterans from running for positions, so there's that. This year's council did what they could with limited resources, but ultimately couldn't get certain things done. Latin Diplomas are still on the back burner. Housing is still spread out all over the place, in addition to the Nussbaum thing and a number of others being kicked out of studios that they thought they would have for the duration. Financial aid, though there were some generous match programs started up recently, remains a mess and the attrition rate is still high.

    Another factor is that a considerable percentage of GS is comprised of full-time workers, part-time students. It can be difficult to get involved when you're around campus only for a couple of classes a week in the evenings and then off again.

    • .....  

      they shud just merge GS with CC then

      • Recent GSer  

        "they shud just merge GS with CC then"

        There's been some discussion of this over the years, but I don't see it as ever happening. The needs and backgrounds of the two bodies are quite different.

        I think it would do more harm than good. Since the CC population is a few times larger than the GS population, the GS students would still feel underrepresented and the CC students would probably feel a bit uncomfortable about possibly having their will subverted by a minority party.

        Oh, and I'm replier #16, #19 wasn't me. I ought to come up with a more clever name for this.

  10. and you  

    shud learn how to spell should

  11. Recent GSer

    When GS students already have jobs on their resumes, college student council experience at a later age isn't that impressive.

  12. jobs  

    plenty of CC students have significant job experiences; you didn't have to decide to go to college way after graduating from h.s. for this

  13. Past/present/future GSer  

    My resume is decorated like a wedding cake, and I'm not even out of high school yet, just got the news that I'm accepted to SIPA. Better start looking for apartments, oh yeah!!! Think I'll go into politics. That would be grand, oh boy can you imagine?

  14. Anonymous  

    The arrogance on both sides is what's staggering. CC people: Simply because you managed to parlay success in high school into acceptance into Columbia doesn't mean that you understand the way the world works; don't belittle experience when you don't have any. GS people: undermining the sincerity of CC students in their efforts just because they are younger (basically) is plain stupid. They take their council more seriously not because they don't understand the "real world" but because this is still their world. Saying that councils are irrelevant ignores the appalling disparity between GS and CC access and resources. Obviously, only one of the two councils is ineffective. But it's not the fault of the GS student body. There are certain fundamental problems with the way GS is integrated into Columbia and with the perception that that creates. Hopefully, future generations of CC and GS students will take responsibility for these problems and address them with some maturity. Sniping back and forth about who doesn't belong here or who's young and stupid is not the way to begin that. Both schools make invaluable contributions to Columbia. Both schools need to get over themselves and start acknowledging this.

    • ...  

      to summarize: gs and cc are chock full of really weird people. there's resentment between the two groups because they remind each other how weird they are.

      in other news: columbia basically sucks for segmenting their non-traditional students in the way that they do. i don't know of any other school in the nation that draws lines or has created a lesser status for nontrads like they have here and it's almost comically ironic given how this place is often painted by the outside world as "ground zero for liberalism."

      • Recent GSer  

        Actually, Columbia's better with the nontrads than most of the other Ivy Leagues. U Penn, for example, has their nontrads only take classes at night, or mostly take classes at night. At least our faculty is fully integrated, and has been for a while now, and, Latin aside, we get the same degree as anyone else.

        I can't really decide whether it's better to have the two groups separate or not, now that I think about it.

  15. Anonymous  

    Oh yeah, also, who the hell wrote this article? It's really annoying to see such pointed criticism coming from anonymous critics. Especially when they put the vote tallies on blast like that. That's hardly fair.

  16. Anonymous  

    By the way, take a look at the vote tallies for the CCSC election:


    Who's apathetic?


    Based on 30year0old enrollment figures (which are almost certainly lower for both schools) GS had significantly higher turnout in this last election. And the Executive Board seats for the CCSC were uncontested. Obviously nobody in that school really gives a damn.

    The end.

  17. wrong

    Dorian, the figures are wrong, not sure if you could figure that one out.


    The headcount says that about 4247 students were in cc in 2008, so let's assume they are approximately the same. So this really bad CC election had a voter turnout of about 17.2%. GS by similar figures if we say that 1710 is the same this year had a turnout of 19.7%. I hardly would call that significantly higher.

    Now, I could forgive you for using bad data. I mean it is CCE's mistake. But let's also remember that a few of the positions on GSSC that were not even contested and had to turn to write-ins to win.

    The point being - everyone's shit stinks a little bit. So let's not be smug as you are being here. I think there is a crisis in leadership to be sure and I think a lot lies on both councils to try and develop solutions to increase membership, connection between council and the community so that councils. And if we pretend it isn't a big issue throughout Columbia's ugrad schools, then we are kidding ourselves. Perhaps the bigger question is - why do we have council in the first place?

    • Anonymous  

      Considering that the article is about GS turnout being "shockingly low" when, in reality, it's higher than CC (despite the degree of difference), the smugness is warranted. Nobody from GS (I'm guessing) wrote the article about CC's pathetic turnout. Who the hell are you to begrudge a solid defense against this kind of irresponsible presentation of inaccurate information? And don't forget, I said the same thing you did before you said it, only I said it better. So what point are you actually trying to make, here? Questioning the relevance of council just means you have no idea what it does. There are a lot of resources that get controlled by students, rather than administrator, because of the student council. Policies change because of councils. These numbers don't impugn the relevance of councils, they demonstrate a disconnect between said councils and the students they represent. if only 20% of a student body is electing a group of students to represent all of them, then #1: how can we trust that they actually represent the interests of the entire student body, and #2: how can the administration take them seriously? In this case, both student bodies should be responsible for for their own lack of clout on this campus. Unfortunately, the CC student body possesses that clout in perpetuity, no matter what they do. It would take a 75% majority of GS students electing a council of revolutionaries before that school wielded even half the political power as the CC students.

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