Mar

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CCSC: Smoking Ban, Study Days, and the Sexiness of Justice

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You be the judge, and I'm the caseSatow Room Bureau Chief James Downie brings you the latest from CCSC:

The Freedom to Light Up: The only voting matter before the council last night was a smoking ban resolution declaring CCSC’s opposition to a campus-wide ban. The resolution, from 2011 VP Sean Udell, 2012 Class Rep Kenny Durrell and University Senator Tim Lam, particularly noted that 56% of CC students opposed a ban in last year’s survey, and resolved that CCSC members on the (never-ending) Smoking Work Group should push for a recommendation that does not include a campus-wide ban.

The Battle Continues: On the Study Day issue, faculty members, seemingly desperate to avoid starting class before Labor Day (as well as logic and good sense), now suggest having finals over both Saturday and Sunday (with provisions for those with religious commitments), getting rid of the Monday before Election Day, and ending classes on a Friday instead of a Monday (thus turning the weekend before exams into part of the study period). Thankfully, heads shook around the room, though University Senator Alex Frouman noted that getting the faculty to start before Labor Day will be “difficult.”

Justice Is Sexy?: The council also discussed judicial affairs with Dean Henry from Judicial Affairs. Admitting at the outset that she was “confused” by the Judicial Affairs website when she first looked at it, Dean Henry nevertheless expressed openness to creating “one comprehensive document” for students to look up. Council members particularly expressed interest in two areas: first, giving Judicial Affairs a friendlier face, both for new students and for those entering the Dean’s Discipline process–one council member suggested a campaign similar to the “Consent is Sexy” posters, prompting another member to pipe up “Justice is Sexy?” Second, VP for Finance Nuriel Moghavem and others suggested “student involvement in bigger cases,” to help set a more appropriate punishment for offenses. Henry expressed interest in the first part, but somewhat demurred on the second, only commenting that Dean’s Discipline currently “isn’t built for that.” Interestingly, three different CCSC members admitted to having undergone Dean’s Discipline already, though they all swore it was for small transgressions.

Tidbits: The student councils will hear back this week about which part of Schapiro’s first floor will be turned into student group space; President Sue Yang expressed hope that Schapiro Lounge would end up being the space converted…Nuriel Moghavem told Bwog that there’s still time to get in applications for the student grant project (i.e. free money for your worthy projects), and students who need extensions can ask for them…Finally, tickets for next year’s executive board are coming together – watch Bwog tomorrow for the latest on who’s running.

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20 Comments

  1. ???

    Am I the only student strongly opposed to starting classes before Labor Day?

  2. Sean Udell  

    Just a point of clarification: the 56% of Columbia College opposition to a smoking ban came from a scientific poll conducted on Columbia students. It was not a "survey" in the usual CCSC-sense: instead of just asking people to respond, we randomized the field to avoid a self-selection bias. CC support for a smoking ban stood at 37%, and 7% didn't know how they felt. This poll was conducted via the Journalism school in the month of December, and has a margin of error +/- 2%.

    • hmmm  

      but there is still self-selection in that students were not forced to answer, no?

      • that  

        is true of all valid surveys

        • Not so much  

          "hmmm" is right, Sean's a bit off on his statistics. Randomizing doesn't remove the self-selection bias at all.

          The relevant factor for eliminating or reducing self-selection bias would be the response rate (which could be increased, for example, by conducting a door-to-door survey rather than an email survey). Randomizing the respondents, rather than polling the entire student body, should not affect the response rate. If only 25% of people responded to the survey, you can bet selection bias is playing a big role -- but Sean didn't give us the response rate, so we don't know.

          Never trust a poll. Especially when someone calls it "scientific." Love you Sean.

          • Sean Udell  

            The response rate of the entire University was 33%. Columbia College responded at twice the rate of which it should have been represented in the University, so we actually had to re-weight CC in the context of the entire University because CC students were so responsive to the poll. So I feel very confident in the CC numbers in particular. I think your criticism may have validity if you zoom out to the University response as a whole, but the response rate for CC students in particular was huge.


            I realize that the term "scientific" is a bit problematic; I guess that I mean "professional." The people who we outsourced the polling to are very experienced and put in dozens of hours of work in order to ensure that students were as well represented as possible.

            I'm not sure if I'm allowed to publish all of the numbers quite yet...I'll ask at my meeting on Tuesday with the workgroup. But if you'd like to personally see the results, feel free to email me: [email protected]

          • Greg

            Not so much has a point - a low response rate seriously affects the 'randomised' element.

            The 33% response rate on this poll, however, compares very favourably to the industry averages. Political polls during election season often struggle to manage 10% - even organisations contacting their members tend only to range between 10% and 25%. Top national pollsters leverage their name recognition, but even then anything above 25% is considered excellent nowadays (in the 1990s, 30-35% was seen as a benchmark of excellence).

            So, the fair criticism remains, but if we had drafted in an expensive professional pollster, we likely wouldn't have had a better randomised sample - even if they did face-to-face (which can skew results as well).

            No poll is perfect - this one was only seeking to be indicative - but I think conducted it as scientifically as was reasonable without any budget!

  3. ...  

    why are any of those suggestions about the study days problem an issue? Bwog, if you're not going to be subjective at least give reasons for your opinions please.

  4. Anonymous  

    the woman in the picture looks preggers

  5. Study days etc.

    So just because I'm not religious means I have to take a final on a Sunday?

    • Kenny Durell  

      Not at all. It just means that IF you have a final scheduled on one of the two weekend days, you have the option of switching to the other day because of religious services on the day you've been scheduled (salient examples being those who go to synagogue on Saturday vs. those who attend a church of a Christian denomination on Sunday), but I can assure you, no one will be singled out because of their lack of practicing as some sort of "candidate" for a weekend final. The only real difference would be that the weekend would just be counted as two more days in the final period, thus allowing us to get out earlier, which is something the student body, and the council, have shown a significant amount of interest in. Hope this helps.

  6. WTF?  

    The faculty opposed to beginning before Labor Day? Why are the faculty always so opposed to teaching? My adviser was just came back from sabbatical a year and a half ago and now he's on sabbatical again for this semester! In the South (where I'm from), they begin in mid-August and they only get out a couple days before we do. If I'm willing to start studying before Labor Day (which is arguably harder than teaching because I'm learning something new) then the faculty should be willing to begin earlier, too.

  7. Anonymous  

    Some are opposed because most public schools in the area start after labor day forcing the staff to pay for some form of child care for that week. Of course the university certainly doesn't want to pay that either.

  8. fact check?  

    Its not about the faculty being opposed. As I understand it, there are union rules (not even faculty union, but the people who run this university) which make it impossible for the school year to start before labor day unless there are massive changes in the union contracts.

    bwog - can you verify this? I think it really doesn't fall on the faculty's shoulders, and it is a bit hasty to blame them without double checking this.

    A

    • yeah  

      this sounds like a more legit explanation of the inflexability, than that the faculty with kids in NY public schools (which is not a particularly huge percentage) have enormous clout argument

      2nd the call for a fact check ... by someone else

  9. Mackavelli

    I switched to those new Crown7 electric cigarettes so I don't have to worry about smoking bans at all.

  10. Dirty Columbia Hipster  

    The whole idea of a campus wide ban on cigs is fascist and utterly preposterous. Where else am I going to go to try and look worldly and pensive as I smoke if not Columbia? If no one's going to see me, I might as well quit... *sigh* Poor me.

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