CCSC: Elections Raise A Lot Of Questions

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A warning that CCSC should not take lightly.

A warning that CCSC should not take lightly.

This week CCSC explored its own election history, looking into the nature of political parties and their relationship to the E-board.  Other questions that have been raised by resignation of sophomore council member Ben Kornick were addressed.  There was also discussion on the new internship credit policy as well as UEM booking policy. The conversation was certainly complicated but thankfully we have our capable CCSC correspondent Joseph Milholland to tell us what’s up. 

A heated, complex discussion broke out on the February 23 meeting of CCSC about Executive Board election changes. The council eventually settled on holding a referendum for all students on whether they want to allow students to run for a position on the executive board without a party during the same election in which the class of 2016 will vote on a replacement for Ben Kornick.

Prompted by a Spectator opinion article written by the paper’s editorial board, Alumni Affairs at-large representative Daniel Liss researched the history of political parties at Columbia and how CCSC’s constitution can be changed. He brought a resolution to the council to allow E-board candidates to run without a party. When the rule for political parties was established, the E-board roles were less well defined. There was a general agreement among the council that this was an issue they needed to tackle, but there was disagreement over whether the President and VP of policy should have to run together, since the VP of policy is tasked with carry out the president’s policy vision and becomes president if the president resigns.

Another issue the council tackled was the process by which the council would implement this change. Typically, constitutional review is done after elections, and President Chen didn’t want the council to vote on their changes before consulting the student body (President Chen noted that last week’s resolution to reduce the number of council members on each class’s council should not have gone to vote). Daniel Liss raised the possibilities of holding open forums or doing polling to understand what the student body thinks about this issue, but the council voted on letting the students decide the issue via a referendum. Chen said there would be may or may not be a forum on top of the referendum.

The council also addressed Dean Yatrakis’s ending of credits for internships. The council did not hear about this until the rest of the student body did, and they bemoaned the lack of transparency into how the decision was made. Academic Affairs representative Nora Habboosh contacted Dean Yatrakis, who emphasized Columbia is complying with laws, few students used the internship credits, and that Columbia should communicate with companies about the change in policies. One issue class of 2014 president Conan Cassidy raised was that international students will no longer be able to use CPT and instead will have to to use their year of Optional Practical Training throughout their four years of college. This will mean that international students can’t use that year of OPT to stay in the US for a year after graduation. Class of 2014 representative Zach Vargas-Sullivan said the changes hurts students trying to break into some industries, such as media, more than others, such as banking.

The council also passed a UEM resolution that would require clubs to sign-in when they used booked spaces and would punish groups that did not sign in by pushing them back in the wait-list and pre-calendaring process.

Slightly ominous sign post photo via Shutterstock

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1 Comment

  1. Anon  

    This is awesome! Elections would be much fairer if people could vote for individual candidates rather than parties.

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