Passing on the proposal baton

CCSC said “yes!” to two major proposals last night, on which Joe Milholland reports with equal enthusiasm. 

The Columbia College Student Council debated two proposals on Sunday night. First, they talked about a proposal to extend the CC drop deadline from 5 weeks to 7 weeks in the semester. Academic Affairs Rep Grayson Warrick argued the change was mostly for “fringe cases” of students who unexpectedly go through “high levels of stress” in the middle of the semester. Senator Marc Heinrich agreed, noting that mass droppings from classes is “not a legitimate concern” since students need to complete a certain number of classes for graduation and their major.

Part of the drop deadline proposal is that students must meet with their advisor if they drop a class after the add period. Warrick noted that CSA likes for students to come in more frequently.

The proposal passed unanimously.

The other proposal CCSC tackled was swipe access for commuter students. Council members took some time to rebut possible arguments from admins. CCSC President Peter Bailinson said the issue of commuter swipe access does not have a typical standard among peer institutions. Senator Jard Odessky said he thought excessive build-up at places to sign in would be more of a security risk than letting commuter students swipe in.

The main topic of the debate was whether the council should ask for unlimited access to dorms for commuter students or restrict commuter student swipe access from 2-7am in the morning. Warrick said that the number one reason commuter students want to swipe in is to visit friends. Class of 2015 President Kareem Carryl argued that if commuter students wanted to visit friends from 2-7am, the friends would have to be awake. Student services rep Chris Godshall argued that since commuter students don’t pay housing fees, the 2-7 window makes sense.

VP of Communications Abby Porter noted a stigma around waiting to get signed in to dorms. Warrick said that quiet hours would be a better window to restrict commuter students than 2-7am, which is an arbitrary cut-off. Odessky argued that since Columbia’s campus was so small, every part of it should be considered space for students.

The council eventually voted to submit the proposal without asking for the 2-7 window by a vote of 16 to 14. Bailinson noted that this was the proposal that ESC was most likely to vote for.

The council also discussed possible reforms to dean’s discipline in the OJA. Class of 2017 President Sean Ryan and Sejal Singh presented the problems with dean’s discipline to the council. Students can’t review charges and evidence against them, they can’t challenge evidence, they can’t have lawyers present, they can’t bring evidence, and the process as a whole lacks transparency. Students can have an academic advisor in the room, but the advisor is not allowed to say anything.

Singh said the administration’s argument for this is that most misconduct processes are routine. Singh’s response is that she wants a more in-depth process for non-routine incidents when suspension/expulsion is on the table. Singh proposed an option for students to opt into a more in-depth process. She noted that activists who may fear retaliation from the administration would prefer this process. In the alternative process, there would be public notes taken and representation would be given to the accused student. Ryan emphasized that these reforms may take the form of talks with administrators rather than a formal proposal.

Other Updates:

  • Bailinson asked the council what they wanted to focus on for the rest of the semester. Class of 2016 president Saaket Pradham suggested looking into the Watson Library situation, and student services rep Charles Sanky suggested researching difficulties faced by students with disabilities.
  • According to VP for campus life Andrew Ren, the College Days website is coming next week.
  • Singh is looking into late arrivals of paychecks for student TAs and students on work-study jobs.

Columbia is athletic in the political sense via Shutterstock