Another new week, another Bwog CCSC report, this time about gender-neutral housing and just exactly what Dean’s Discipline is:
Despite the effective absence of President Sue Yang (who was only present via Gchat video from Boston), CCSC focused most of its meeting on discussion of two major policy initiatives for the year. Yang’s absence did put on display the differing motivational approaches of the other executive board members – when urging fellow board members to help promote Basketball Mania (formerly Midnight Mania), VP for Finance Nuriel Moghavem urged the board to “put your money where your mouth is” in supporting traditions, while VP for Campus Life Deysy Ordonez chimed in, “Or in nicer terms, we are all CCSC, and we want everyone to be there.”
The first major policy discussed was gender-neutral housing. The councils are exploring giving students the power to drop the gender restriction on living situations. Students would have to opt in to this living arrangement, which would apply to both housing and bathrooms. CC 2011 president Learned Foote explained that the policy was intended for students uncomfortable with the “gender binary,” especially trans students, but he told Bwog after the meeting that there wouldn’t be any barrier to opposite-sex couples living together (as same-sex couples have been able to do for years).
Some council members expressed concern over the complexity the opt-in system would bring to the housing system, but CC 2010 President Cliff Massey, who has worked in Housing for three years, assured the board that an opt-in process could be implemented easily. The council did vote, though, to only push for gender-neutral housing for non-first years; it was decided that without any ability to pre-arrange roommates, adding gender-neutral housing to the first-year process would be too difficult. Council members expressed confidence that, since 40% of first-years live in singles, the lack of gender-neutral housing would not be a deterrent to prospective first-years. VP for Policy Sarah Weiss and Foote will be meeting with Housing’s Scott Wright on Friday to discuss the policy.
The other major policy issue on the agenda for the evening was Dean’s Discipline, though most of the discussion was spent on what Dean’s Discipline even was, rather than how to change it. Various council members complained about the intimidating process, where students have little knowledge going in what the process is like. The prohibition on students bringing in outside advocates (teachers, coaches, other students, etc.) and the lack of transparency behind punishments were also points of concern. Weiss expressed optimism that, with a new Dean of Judicial Affairs, changes are likely, and she suggested the Princeton system (where students can pick an adviser for the entire process, call on character witnesses, and offer their side of the story) as one possible model.
In other news of the night, Barnard SGA President Katie Palillo told the council that SGA is working on recognizing more Columbia student groups for future use of space in the Diana. Also, Wednesday night sees a double feature of council-created Halloween fun, with CC 2011 putting on its “Haunted Campus” tour, and CC 2010 holding a film festival: four student films, plus Columbia-showcaser Ghostbusters.
– JCD, image via Flickr