CCSC got down to business at last night’s meeting, formulating what specific requests they would send to Deantini after the results of the recent survey were examined. Joe Milholland, from behind a cup of Starbucks coffee, reports on what CCSC eventually decided were the most pertinent issues. They’ll be easy to guess if you’ve read our other recaps!
“[EVP Suzanne Goldberg’s] office is in its baby stages and what she feels they can do is more supplementary,” said VP of Policy Vivek Ramakrishnan when the topic of the university’s response to sexual violence came up at Sunday night’s Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) meeting. He went on to say he was unsure if this supplementary material would engage those who needed to be engaged on sexual violence.
“[What CCSC President] Ben [Makansi] and I have been spitballing is a required community citizenship seminar where people can meet more than once and have meaningful conversations about sexual assault,” Ramakrishnan added.
Later on, discussing events for students, Ramakrishnan said, “We’re in NYC — why do we not have more cool things coming to campus?” After applause from his fellow council members, Ramakrishnan suggested a“decently good standup comic come to fill up Roone.”
What linked these two statements from the CCSC VP of Policy? A discussion about the top issues to bring to Deantini, based off a survey sent out to Columbia College students about the top 5 things they want changed in their college lives.
The survey had received 79 responses and 181 unique issues addressed in the lists of five things, and VP of Communications Grayson Warrick boiled down the responses to a list of 19 items he thought Deantini could potentially tackle with the powers of his office.
These 19 things included more school spirit, more student involvement in the core curriculum, requests that classes didn’t end so close to Christmas and that reading week be extended, more campus community building, higher pay for work-study/student work as well as a policy for students who take a semester off for an internship, more student spaces and fewer admin spaces, requests to address racism (microagressions and faculty diversity were specifically listed by Warrick), more involvement of Columbia in NYC, more free CC-specific events, environmental sustainability, more funding for clubs, professors listing textbook information, endorsing diversity in faculty and diversity awareness for faculty, and sexual violence response.
2016 VP Charles Sanky said it would be best to ask Deantini to address issues that CCSC doesn’t already have a process to deal with in the administration (they’re already in contact with dining, for example). Thus, he recommended the council come up with a short list of other things and coordinate.
On the subject of sexual assault, 2018 VP Lani Allen said that the administration has already done so much with SVR and workshops, but students haven’t benefited. 2017 Rep Sheila Alexander said complaints in that area could focus not just on sexual assault resources but also communicating to students what admins are doing. At this point, Ramakrishnan mentioned his research into the university’s response to sexual assault mentioned at the beginning of this article.
USenator Sean Ryan brought up that in their requests to Deantini, they need to include the “why” – that is, specifically why a certain initiative would increase school spirit more than another one. While CCSC discussed campus events, Ramakrishnan suggested that CCSC look at peer institutions to decide how much the administration vs. the students handle events.
After looking through and discussing the results from the survey, CCSC decided to provide Deantini with a list of ten general areas that reflect concerns from students surveyed and then, over winter break, come up with specific actionable requests which Deantini will receive in early next semester. Makansi will present both documents to Deantini.
Beginner’s Mind via Shutterstock