CCSC: Good News, Bad News, and Pong News

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Behavioral modifications of our parents' day.

Behavioral modifications of our parents’ day… Bwog is questioning CCSC’s word choice here.

Sunday night is ¬†funday night with Bwog meetings and the weekly CCSC gathering/ritual. ¬†This week’s CCSC meeting was full of twists and turns, with¬†the resignation of one representative¬†and a new plan for “behavioral changes” in the community. ¬†But what does this mean? Who resigned? Will my ceiling in McBain ever be replaced? Don’t worry, Satow Room Chief Joseph Milholland has the answers.

This week CCSC worked through several important issues at their meeting with a more relaxed attitude.¬†One of the more important discussions revolved around Class of 2016 representative Ben Kornick, who has resigned for private, “personal reasons.” The council has yet to decide how they will choose a replacement, but they are making plans for an indirect election. The Elections Board is unprepared for a direct election, but they are allowing the council to make the final decision.

If the council chooses to hold an indirect election, the decision would be discussed at the general body meeting and the ‚ÄúExecutive Board would not unilateral make a decision about how the indirect election would proceed.‚ÄĚ Bob Sun, the Columbia Student Council Vice President for Policy, has ¬†proposed a plan for a transparent ‚Äústandardized process‚ÄĚ for indirect elections, but the council has yet to review it.

The council also reviewed a resolution that proposed cutting the the number of class representatives in each class council from three members to two members.

This proposal received considerable backlash from council members. There was concern ¬†that there needs to be at least three representatives to get large projects done and that looking at appointed members is more urgent. When compared to the ESC, which currently has a similar number of representatives on each class council, it was mentioned that¬†ESC’s fewer representatives can be attributed to its lower population. Instead of reducing the number of class representatives, some suggested finding a way to hold representatives accountable for their actions, other than eliminating their positions. And of course, some members mentioned that Columbia College students should have input on the issue.

The proposal had the support of past CCSC presidents, and Class of 2014 President Conan Cassidy who stated ‚Äúthere are people in this room who are extremely inefficient in their roles.‚ÄĚ

President Chen hoped to wait a week before returning to the proposal, but most of the council members wanted to vote on it. Less than a majority of the council voted in support of the proposal (a two thirds majority is needed to pass an amendment to the constitution), and the proposal was defeated.

The council returned again to the issue of fees for room lockouts. The administration’s plan is to charge a small fee for every room lockout after two or three lockouts and after a two-week grace period at the beginning of the semester. This idea received much backlash from the council, and many members wanted a complete overhaul of the key system at Columbia.

The council also discussed a ‚ÄúBehavioral modification/culture change‚ÄĚ program to encourage people to take four classes a semester. Four classes a semester is the maximum at Harvard and Yale. The council is looking to see if all majors can be done through four classes a semester.

University Senator Jared Odessky has been continuing his work on Public Safety with Dean Martinez, who supports reforms to the system. Odessky said the security fund rules ‚Äúneed to be completely rewritten.‚ÄĚ He gave as an example the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs’ $1200 charge for public safety at an event.

Other Updates

  • Tuesday, February 18th there will be an open meeting in the Satow Room about sexual assault policy. A town hall is ‚Äútentatively‚ÄĚ scheduled for February 28th from 10am to 12pm.
  • University Senators have been meeting with PrezBo to discuss a possible d√©tente in War on Fun by refocusing its priorities to safety.
  • Peter and another council member won a beer pong tournament against ESC and got a reward that included Chipotle gift cards.
  • Candidates for the position of the new Dean of Student Affairs will receive interviews later this month.
  • Due to collapses, all the ceilings in McBain will “likely be removed and replaced over the summer.”
  • Briana Saddler, Executive Board member for Campus Life, wants to have an event with comedians and hypnotists.
  • The Class of 2016 is hosting a ‚ÄúDe-stress event‚ÄĚ on Thursday, February 20th.
  • The Class of 2017 is looking at criticisms of OurBlue and are working to improve it.
  • The MilVets Ball is open to all students at Columbia and will be held on February 21th from 7pm-11pm. As of the meeting, there are only 50 tickets remaining.

The British education system via Shutterstock

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  1. Anonymous  

    the resolution fails and then it's announced a rep resigned? LOL

  2. umm  

    Don't know about Harvard, but there's definitely no maximum of four at Yale.

  3. Student leader leading  

    Student leaders not wanting to get ride of student leader positions? Student leader student leader student leader

  4. Anonymous  

    Bob sun = megalomania

  5. no shit Peter and Marc won beer pong #fratasfuck #suss

  6. TL;DR

    These council kids take themselves way too fucking seriously - it's college politics, it's dumb as shit and irrelevant, get the fuck over yourselves.

  7. Anonymous  

    Beer Pong is news now?

  8. cc '14

    "Class of 2014 President Conan Cassidy who stated ‚Äúthere are people in this room who are extremely inefficient in their roles.‚ÄĚ"

    Ironic because he's done NOTHING for the Class of 2014 during his tenure. It's a glorified party planning organization that caters to the council's friends, spends way too much money on garbage, poorly advertises, and flat-out ineffectively engenders camaraderie amongst the Class.

    • Roko  

      You know what would be a great way to start engendering camaraderie? You can start by thinking about how the way you write out statements affects those who you are addressing, as well as any and all casual readers who then form an opinion about the individual, thus making it all the more difficult for him or her to create a meaningful bond of camaraderie with them.

      I will now spend way more time than necessary in explaining myself, but fuck it, why not. :) And yes there's gonna be faulty logic at points, for which I apologize in advance - I'm tired. So let's go.

      Try looking at it this way:

      a) "Conan has done NOTHING for the Class of 2014"
      b) "Jane Doe has done NOTHING for the Class of 2014"

      --> The difference between a) and b) is that it is much more possible that Jane Doe, a random student in CC'14 with no desire to build community who just goes about her daily life, actually genuinely did not contribute to the Class in any ways in the last four years. Compared to such (perfectly fine) individuals, Conan must, purely by virtue of being an active, participating member of council, have done Something, and has been doing Something for at least several hours a week, for four years.

      2. Yes, but this Something is obviously not enough, if all he succeeded to do is plan parties, cater to friends, spend money on nonsense and advertise poorly.

      --> Again, this is perfectly fine criticism, but every "not enough" implies a standard that he is supposed to meet. Were you under the impression that more would happen as a result of our council's work? If so, when were you under this impression? If your expectations weren't met freshman year, why did you again expect the same standard sophomore/junior/senior year?

      3. Because they originally promised so much, every year! They set the standard in such a way that what they ended up doing made them seem like a "glorified party planning organization".

      --> You're right. If one promises great things, and delivers less than that, you should be disappointed. However, there is a step people usually skip when reasoning through this disappointment.


      That step in reasoning should make you ask yourself: Why? "Why would they promise such great things if they cannot deliver them?" And there are two possible answers to this, if we reduce the argument to its basics:

      a) Conan knows he cannot do any of those things, but is after the glory and fame associated by being in CCSC. This glory and fame will only manifest itself ex-post-facto, when he would be able to leverage his CCSC experience during job interviews, and this vague promise of reward is enough for him to commit to it for four years of office. During his tenure, he does not attempt to accomplish the goals he set out, instead focusing on pleasing his friends, and wastes money without much regard because, again, he is after the slight boost that comes from having CCSC on his resume.

      b) Conan believes he can do what he set out to, but his goals and desires come after the goals and desires of almost everyone else in the university administration. He attempts to do things, encounters roadblocks, and then has to modify his plans accordingly. All the while, by acting as an agent of the administration as well as of the students, he is never allowed to pit one against the other publicly if he wishes to accomplish even the most basic goals.

      5. So. If this guy is someone you think should build camaraderie, then you probably assume that he must be able to partake in this camaraderie as well - I mean, you wouldn't hire the Westboro Baptist Church as community builders, would you? Therefore, if you think he's at least notionally sharing in your good cause, that he is a good guy, so to speak, then you should be more inclined to decide for option b), rather than a).

      However, precisely because of the dismissive way in which you worded your genuine criticism here, from the "did NOTHING" to "glorified party planners", many many students begin to see CCSC members as careless, and become inclined to go with option a). In doing so, you perpetuate beliefs that spread regardless of what Conan is actually doing, because, after all, no one will feel urged to analyze the nature of the Something he has done if they already "know" that he has done NOTHING.

      Perhaps most damagingly, you create a divide between those who believe a) and those who believe b), to the extent that, if Conan wants to reach out to anyone, he will primarily be able to access those who already think he's a good enough guy to deserve option b), i.e. he will have to "cater to his friends".

      6. Therefore, if you really want to engender camaraderie, don't antagonize through the use of such language. I'm not saying you should personally run for CCSC, or attend any event, or even vote for someone: the first step to build camaraderie would be to have enough faith that whoever is devoting these long-ass hours to a cause, whatever this cause may be, is doing it because he believes in it, and not because he or she is a master trickster. Especially if these guys get a chance to drop the whole thing year after year, yet they decide to run again, to get another chance to do something, knowing perfectly fine that nothing short of relocating Low to the top of the Empire Square Building would seem like Something to people like you.

      And if this seems like a huge Apology of Conan because I am his friend, I have failed at what I set out to do. However, if it helps, you should know that I was in CCSC for two years, and then gave up, because it was so grating to only get comments such as yours as feedback from the students, and mostly "lol no" as the feedback from the administration, for whatever goal we set out to accomplish. But Conan didn't give up, and though I will never get why, he deserves our respect for it.

      • Anonymous  

        the fault in your reasoning:

        that you have to be on council "contribute to the columbia community," whatever that orwellian phrase means.

        • Roko

          lol oh god no, I did not mean that, sorry for the misunderstanding. I was trying to say that it is much more possible to not make any impact as a regular student going about his or her life (ie if you're a person who doesn't particularly care about students you don't personally know) than it is to not make ***any*** impact as an active member of the council. Even if that impact is not as grand as you imagine/want it to be, simply the fact that you're a part of it means that you're engaged in work throughout your mandate. Now, that work can be sloppy or trivial to some, but that's a whole different story.

          And by contributing to the community I meant any sort of positive effect one has on one or more fellow students that results not from a personal interaction, i.e. not from simply having friends who you like and who like you back. I meant the ability to enhance/simplify/improve/appreciate the lives of people you potentially know nothing abor by virtue of your actions or decisions.

  9. Anonymous

    wheres the next blue video?

  10. Anonymous  

    “Behavioral modification"? So we can spend even more time at their childish parties? I hope their efforts to turn this school into a lazy, just-do-the-minimum-requirements shithole are as ineffective as the other stuff they attempt.

    • CC '15  

      Completely agreed. We come to college to be challenged (I would hope), I don't understand why CCSC would want to change students that (generally) are motivated, who like to challenge themselves, and who want to achieve.

      • CCSC Member  

        no you've missed the point. people complain about taking so many classes and working so hard and then use that to justify stupid efforts like the pass/fail policy for first years and to whine and rage at the administration about stress.

        the point is to look at Columbia and ask "are these people just fucking idiots who do more than they need to? or do we actually have to do something to help people succeed and de-stress?"

        Columbia admins say we can probably graduate while taking 4 classes. is that true? that's a question worth asking and knowing the answer to.

        so it's not an effort to turn this place into a lazy institution. it's an effort to find out if we can say "stop fucking whining you're doing this to yourself" and actually be telling the truth.

        • Anonymous  

          whoever you are, i hope i voted for you

        • CC '15  

          the point is to look at Columbia and ask "are these people just fucking idiots who do more than they need to? or do we actually have to do something to help people succeed and de-stress?"

          --> I am glad that we are taking a look at this.

          BUT, I think there are two points to be made here:

          1) "do we actually have to do something to help people succeed and de-stress?" -- So if not all majors can be finished (+grad reqs) can be finished by taking 4 classes per semester are all the major reqs suddenly going to be rethought? Or at least go through a serious examination by CCSC? Are the students in those programs going to have a say in how they feel about their dept at all? Doesn't CCSC have anything better to do? Plus most students probably don't know exactly what they're doing when they come in which is why esp if you're behind in a major by a few classes you might NOT be able to take 4 classes every semester.

          2) isn't the fact that "we're doing this to ourselves" the actual problem of the 'culture of stress' that is pervasive here? (I'm not sure I totally agree with like any part of this, just wanted to raise this qu since I feel like this was the point that was raised. Isn't the whole point? "Behavioral modification" refers EXACTLY to "doing this to ourselves" -- it has nothing to do with the administration. So while what you are saying you may believe I'm not sure that this perspective is shared with the whole council.

          • CCSC Member  

            Does CCSC have anything better to do than ensuring that graduation requirements are logical, streamlined, and realistic? I mean what kind of question is that? like that is a pretty central part of the Columbia experience so I think it's a good use of time. if you'd rather we throw more events in Lerner Party Space then feel free to bring that to the ballot box.

            And of course students from departments will have a say. I'm sure there will be town halls that no one shows up to because who cares what CCSC does anyway.

            There are a couple different solutions to any problem that might show up. Like if we look at a few majors and say "wow no way can you really finish that in time without loading up and working really really hard that's not fair lol Poli Sci kids can graduate after a semester!" then we'll start looking at solutions. I don't want to go into them now because that's not the right way to look at a problem. First see if there even is a problem, figure out exactly what it is, then decide if and how you want to fix it.

            And yeah I guess I agree: some people on council might be looking at this as more "oh wow you're taking more classes than you need let's change that! behavioral modification!!" but I'm definitely looking at this as more of an opportunity to examine and unpack the moral authority of the people who claim that the Columbia admin creates stress with bad requirements. those voices have and continue to have a heavy influence on certain pushes that might actually ruin us, like lowering the credit cap per semester and making it harder for your advisor to approve you to go over the cap...among other proposed "solutions."

            i can't speak for the rest of council, but i'm pretty sure that Nora has a good head on her shoulders, as does Bob, despite all the (undeserved) flak he gets on here. with those two running the show, the spirit of this project will be carefully thought out and well-intentioned.

          • CC '15  

            What I meant about "anything better to do" was more along the lines of, any more realistic goals to pursue... I feel like things like this are constantly "pursued" -- quality of life, first year pass/fail, and none of tehse go anywhere (though in my opinion, the complete failure of first year pass/fail is a good thing).

            Again, this is another problem "town halls that no one shows up to because who cares what CCSC does anyway." Then departments/departmental guidelines will be changed with little input from the students who are actually within those departments, once those changes are implemented students in those departments will be unhappy because that's not what they wanted, and then CCSC will be all "we gave you the chance to speak up and you didn't" but the status quo will be shittier than it was before CCSC spent all this time trying to make changes that it assumed for everyone else that people wanted. I mean this is all speculation, but generally seems to be the case with what happens (waitlist system, honor code to some degree, etc.)

            Re your point about looking at is as "behavioral modification" vs. "unpacking the moral authority of people who claim that the Columbia admin create stress" ... from personal conversations I have had with people on CCSC they seem to be infinitely more focused on the first part ("behavioral modification"). I have never heard of anyone talk about the second one before now. So I appreciate that point a lot and I think that's a worthwhile endeavor, but I worry that people are too focused on the first part (and also are going into this KNOWING they want a behavioral modification -- given the content of the original Bwog post -- and so regardless of the results will continue to push this agenda). This focus on "behavioral modification/culture change" is what I personally think "might actually ruin us", leading to "proposed 'solutions'" I don't agree with "like lowering the credit cap per semester and making it harder for your advisor to approve you to go over the cap."

            This is my biggest concern -- and I hope that as a member of council you will push the latter focus that you seem more concerned with, and will raise this point strongly because I have not heard it raised before.

  11. Frank  

    Ben Kornick should have done what I did to Raymond Tusk and bash the rest of the student council's heads in

  12. Former CCSC Member  

    No matter your personal opinion on Conan, you can't argue that he's done nothing for the Class of 2014. CCSC'14 has consistently provided more programming for their year than any other class council. They've thrown dances, study breaks, town halls, movie screenings, and a whole host of other events.

  13. CC 2016  

    I'm not a senior but just from afar it seems like Conan and the whole 2014 council have done a pretty great job, I dunno I kind of have mad respect for them and their stuff seems fun..also can we talk about some of the great work some people on council have been doing like I was pretty impressed with nora haboosh's oped about academics and that type of work and what the council did last semester with Lerner during finals where they made study space and had a ton of events.

    I don't doubt there are faults but I wouldnt generalize about all of council

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