This is the kind of carefree, joyful use of the body that Columbia students are deprived of

This is the kind of carefree, joyful use of the body that Columbia students are deprived of

Monday man Joe Milholland reports on another encounter—more a skirmish than a battle—in the never-ending War on Fun, in addition to delivering a few updates on academic policy. CCSC never fails to delight us! 

“This thing makes me sadder than almost anything else,” said Deantini at Sunday night’s Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) meeting, referring to the lack of fun Columbia students have.

After CCSC President Benjamin Makansi brought up student responses in the Bacchanal survey that said Bacchanal was the one fun day of the year and noted the lack of fun Columbia students had compared to students at peer institutes, Deantini began speculating as to why.

“I actually had fun in college,” he said, noting that this was possible for him even though he was the valedictorian of his class. He suggested the reason was generational, as his son, who attended UChicago and joined a fraternity, didn’t have as much fun as Deantini did.

Fun, or the lack thereof, was one of many topics touched on by Deantini, along with Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm, as they took questions from the council.


Class of 2016 President Saaket Pradhan asked about requiring lecture courses with mandatory discussion section to be worth 4 credits instead of 3. Deantini mentioned that the state’s minimum standard mandates a minimum of one point per every 50 minute-hour of class, and that administrators have had some successes in convincing departments to up the amount of credits per class.

However, Deantini said the Committee on Instruction (COI—composed of Deantini, Dean Awn of GS, faculty, two students from CC and two from GS) can only make recommendations and that faculty have autonomy over their courses within certain standards.

Deantini, the former Chair of the Chemistry Department, also noted that different sections of General Chemistry had different workloads. In addition, he expressed worries that students were taking on too large of a course load, and wanted academics to focus on “outcomes, rather than process.”

Academic Affairs Rep Nicole Allicock asked about double counting courses for students with two majors. Deantini said the COI was continuing to look into it, as well as what the P/D/F policy could apply to and how it would apply. He added that he was “pretty certain” a new course evaluation template would be ready next semester.

2018 Rep Leah Hayes asked about CompSci in the core, possibly as a replacement to the language requirement. “A lot of faculty have to weigh in,” said Deantini about this. He stated that nothing could be added to the Core, but replacements are possible.

VP of Policy Vivek Ramakrishnan said that many professors were not complying with federal law by not posting textbook pricing and information. Deantini said he had a voice in talking to the Provost about this.

The Conversation About Fun (i.e. Alcohol)

“I can’t understand why we’re in New York City and there’s no fun,” Deantini said as he continued the conversation about fun at Columbia. “Do you need to be controlled?” he said, positing that the administration could control the amount of classes or activities students did.

In response, VP of Policy Vivek Ramakrishnan said, “It’s a college campus, how does alcohol play into this?” He cited his inability, for a variety of reasons, to get a beer garden at the lawn party.

At this point, Dean Kromm talked about the school’s alcohol policy. “We’re steeped in harm reduction,” she said, although she said “it gets tricky” when trying to serve alcohol at school-sponsored events because of state law.

In response, Ramakrishnan said other schools have less restritive policies, and USenator Sean Ryan mentioned that a lot of what’s taught at RC@C doesn’t “always translate to school policy.”

Other Stuff

2018 VP Lani Allen asked about the exam schedule. Deantini mentioned this issue has come up before in his time at Columbia and said there ought to be a discussion about it. However, he noted it was based on holiday schedules, and the issue is one for the Registrar’s Office.

Class of 2017 President Ravi Sinha brought up the lack of study space on campus, noting that a proposal last year to open up Hamilton late at night during finals didn’t happen.”It’s really up to other offices,” Deantini said about space on campus, noting that there were “security concerns” about opening up Hamilton at night.

Makansi asked about the shift from CAs to Senior RAs. Dean Kromm said students were avoiding becoming CAs because they would leave the body of residents they supported, so the administration transferred that role to Senior RAs.

Alumni Affairs Rep Daniel Liss asked for the lawns on campus to have greater availability for student events. “That would be my greatest dream,” said Dean Kromm.

Updates (See Google Doc here and meeting minutes here):

  • The Communications Committee has donated old apparel to Riverside Church.
  • Class of 2017 is working on a CourseWorks App.
  • The Class of 2017 is also hosting the Fall Festival on Wednesday, with giveaways.
  • According to Marc Heinrich, the Student Affairs Committee is working on a survey about renovations to Dodge Fitness Center.
  • The Class of 2019 has secured discounts to people with CU IDs at several venues in Manhattan.
  • There were several blank spaces in the Google Doc, but Makansi mentioned at the meeting that council members had technical difficulties in accessing the Google Doc.

(Not) Hudson River via Shutterstock