Workin' hard.

Workin’ hard.

Besides the debates and elections surrounding USenate and the Student Councils, we are still having normal procedure of the current councils.  This week we pushed our dutiful Council Correspondent Joe Milholland to tell us everythang about new UEM policies, leave of absences, internships, and more. 

At this Sunday night’s CCSC meeting, class of 2016 President Ramis Wadood gave a presentation about investigations into mental health, specifically the leave of absences policy, at Columbia. Wadood did the investigations with the help of Class of 2016 representative Grayson Warrick, other council members, the CU Dems, Wellness, Active Minds, and other concerned students.

There are four types of leave of absences available at Columbia:

• Family Emergency for 1-4 semesters with guaranteed housing on return

• Voluntary Leave for 1-4 semesters (for student projects and internships) without guaranteed housing on return

• Medical Leave for 2-4 semesters with guaranteed housing on return

• Involuntary leave, which only happens once every few years

The council members were looking into issues with medical leave. First of all, many think that at times it is “sufficient” to take only one semester of medical leave. Students on medical leave are sent home, often when the problems at hand come from a home situation. Students with difficult home situations are sometimes told to “find someone’s couch to crash on.”

Another issue is travel expenses. Rahki Agrawal said Columbia currently tries to deal with this by getting people cleared for school “as close to the first day of class as possible.” Also, the policies over leave of absence are scattered over a few websites.

University Events Management Student Events Advisory Committee also shared some updates. VP of Communications Peter Bailinson is working with the Registrar to get more space, especially from classrooms, for student use. The Registrar has proposed allowing some classrooms to be used by students from 6-8pm, and allowing a “[o]ne-week cancellation policy on group reservations.” The UEM has proposed a “[g]roup penalty process” that would punish groups that repeatedly either left large amounts of food (like cake) in a room or moved chairs around in a classroom and did not put them back in place. UEM has also proposed opening up Lerner 401 and 403 to student groups.

Rahki Agrawal is working on a pre-calendering pilot program for Broadway sky lounges, Wien, and Schapiro. Saaket Pradhan is working on adding Journalism and Mudd on the virtual EMS.

The council also broached the topic of constitutional review. “Our constitution is a mess,” said President Chen. Wadood suggested changes to the indirect/direct election process. Pre-professional representative Mary Joseph wants clarifications to the position of pre-pro rep since all 3 pre-pro groups already interact directly with students. Class of 2015 Representative Kareem Carryl suggested “guidelines around appointed councils.” Student Services Representative Chris Godshall wants the council to look into how they use the parliamentary process, and Warrick wants financial training for everyone on council.


Other updates

• A clarification on unpaid internships: If companies mark their job on LionShare as unpaid, they get a notification about what constitutes an unpaid internships (legally, the intern must be learning in order to work without pay).

• The internship credit changes were made because or recent scandals like at Condé Nast. Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, and NYU don’t give internship credit as well.

• According to Class of 2015 representative Liam Bland, Columbia is the only place that makes major policy changes mid-year

• Whiteboards are in John Jay Lounge

• Swim test events are coming up