USenate: Undergrads vs. Grads?
Written by Bwog Staff
In a recent email sent out to SEAS students, the University Senate Elections Commission asked them to “reconsider how SEAS students are elected to the Senate.” This move was prompted by graduate engineering students voicing concerns that they felt underrepresented. Indeed, the survey asks only one question: Should the SEAS student body be separated into undergraduate and graduate voting groups that would each elect one student to the University Senate?
Rajat Roy, SEAS ’10 and 3-year University Senator, sent an email out tonight expressing his opposition to this proposed change. He argues that by mandating one graduate and one undergraduate Senator, SEAS would be divided and its representation in the University as a whole would be made weaker.
The original email and Rajat’s response can be found after the jump.
The original email to SEAS students:
Dear SEAS Student,
As you may know, all SEAS students are represented on the University Senate by two students, currently Rajat Roy and Cherie Meyer. The Senate is Columbia’s legislative body, representing all members of the University community.
The Senate’s Elections Commission has been asked to reconsider how SEAS students are elected to the Senate. Because this decision affects your representation and self-governance, we want to know what you think.
Please take a moment to complete a one-question survey, available here: <uni-specific link removed>
Your input is COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS. The link above will allow you to participate only once, so please do not forward this message. The survey closes at 8:00pm Thursday, April 22. To ensure that your voice is heard, please submit your response before then. Thank you for participating.
The University Senate Elections Commission
Rajat Roy’s reponse:
Dear Leaders of Engineering Student Groups,
As you may have seen in your inbox today, the Senate is conducting a survey as to whether to take away one of the Senate seats from SEAS as a whole and set it aside for SEAS Graduate students. If you did not receive a link to the survey please contact me.
As a fellow Engineer who has represented you for 3 years I beg of you to Read the Facts about the survey and to Relay the Facts to your constituents as well .
- SEAS has one Dean and SEAS Graduate and Undergraduate students take the same classes, especially in junior and senior year courses. Why divide us when we are enduring the same classes together?
- SEAS Senators sit on both the Engineering Graduate Student Council and the ESC. Why should we divide our school? Unity is the source of our strength!
- Splitting the seats means that the Senate will essentially take away the ability to have a senator in office for 2 years. We will be forced to have a 2 year senator and a 1 year senator who usually will not be able to figure out what he’s doing in time to be effective!
- At the moment either undergrads or graduate students can hold both of the two SEAS senator seats. Competence is the important factor now! Splitting the vote will mean we don’t care about it!
- In the last two official elections a Graduate student won the Senate Seat! The system is fair as it is.
- By Tradition, we are one school. Why would we want to divide ourselves and make our representation weaker?
The Senate has already ignored the students on issues like the Academic Calendar, putting syllabuses on Courseworks ahead of time, the Smoking ban and more. If we lose another Senate seat we will be even less prepared to defend student interests.
Upcoming issues for SEAS in the Senate include:
- More Classroom space allocated to us in the North West Corner Building,
- Whether or not SEAS will be allowed to expand into Uris if the Business School moves into Manhattanville
- The Smoking Ban (part 2)
- Academic Calendar (part 2)
- Financial Aid for International Students
- And MORE…
This is a very important issue. Please consider the facts when voting on this survey. With one exception, your representatives at the ESC voted that they would not be in favor of splitting the seats.
Please inform your constituents of the facts before they vote. And please tell them to vote!
If your constituents have already voted they may change their votes by contacting Jessica Raimi at [email protected] If you have further questions please do let me know.
Thank you for your time.
University Senator from Engineering