Into the Satow Room goes Bwog’s very own Joe Milholland to discover the secrets of CCSC. Last night was a particularly momentous night, in light of all the discussions happening on campus right now. Read on to find out more and perhaps learn a few secrets of the Satow Room.
Public safety, airplanes, and sexual assault were just some of the topics the council covered in their giant meeting on the night of February 9.
Public Safety: University Senator Jared Odessky, while noting “students at Columbia feel safe,” talked about major problems with how the Department of Public Safety interacts with student groups. Public Safety charges groups for security at certain events, and makes these prices with “zero checks and balances.” Odessky referred to this practice as a systematic tax on “radicalism,” certain religious groups, and groups for people of color, noting that they are all “consistently” charged more for security at events. Public Safety does make initial calculations of the cost in advance of events, but it can make “last minute” changes in security and charge groups for their “miscalculations.”
There is a security fund which “softened directly financial pressures” of Public Safety, but money from student life fees is going to it, and Public Safety can still charge if the security fund does not cover all the costs. Odessky has two proposed fixes to this: 1. “A flat security fee” not from student life money. 2. A committee reviewing the issue after the flat fee has been implemented. Odessky stressed he wanted the policy change implemented first before the committee.
Airplanes: Daniel Liss of the Alumni Affairs Committee, as well as University Senator Marc Heinrich and Peter Bailinson of Communications, are working with Dean Pippenger of the Office of Global Programs and Deantini on a program “to collect air miles from alumni and parents” and give them to students. The “immediate goal” is for air miles to be give to students with emergencies. Their “aspirational” goals are for students with “financial hardship” to visit their families and for students in study abroad or “special projects.”
Sexual Assault: Marc Heinrich talked about change through three major routes: 1. “Two investigators” are now present “every single time” there is testimony, and both the complainant and the respondent get to review their testimony. 2. PACSA “needs to be modified and strengthened,” according to Heinrich. It has 24 members, and Heinrich is seeking a “bigger voice” for student members. 3. Data Release – Statistics will come at the end of the school year, and potentially offer data on how many times accommodations are offered and how often appeals are made.
Also, SAFER came on Saturday February 8 and spoke “for about 5 hours” to several people, including Heinrich and Abby Porter, class rep for the class of 2017, about how to change sexual assault policies at Columbia. There will be a workshop about sexual assault policies on Tuesday February 11 and a town hall about sexual assault on Sunday February 16 from 12 to 2. The locations of both those events is still to be determined. Heinrich is also focused on sexual assault and consent training, especially for graduate students who many not receive such training. Porter is looking to make the workshops about rape culture and hoping for “follow-up sessions” in the Spring semester for first-years as well as “bystander training programs,” particularly for athletes.
Lerner Space Management: Additionally, a member of the Activities Board of Columbia made a proposal for changes in space management in Lerner. The proposed changes, which were the result of student groups not canceling booked spaces on-line if they did not hold a meeting there, would require student groups to sign-in to show they were using the space. Council members had many questions about this proposal, and it was not voted on for the time being.
Other: In terms of other updates, Policy is looking to produce a “simple, one-page flow chart” about CPS with appointment information. Communications is working on a webpage on the Student Life website with Columbia online resources. Also, Bailinson and Chen have been meeting with student groups, who want changes to the CC drop deadline and have “qualms” with UEM. Also, there probably will be “fees for borrowed keys” due to the “3300 a month” requests, although this received backlash from council members and students would not be charged until around their third request. What has been described as Chen’s “dream” project, which involves getting “more information about the history of our university out to students” is getting underway. At the end of the meeting, the council had an off-the-record discussion away from the ears of the press to address what Chen called “elephants in the room.”