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BSO Members Criticize CCSC’s Race And Diversity Proposal To Deantini

Has CCSC been talking about these Five Things long enough that we can cast their deliberations in stone yet?

Has CCSC been talking about these Five Things long enough that we can cast their deliberations in stone yet?

Another week. Another CCSC meeting. Another discussion of the Five Things for Deantini. Another student group criticizing CCSC for not accurately representing the needs of the student body. And another account of the meeting’s events from indubitable bureau chief Joe Milholland.

On Sunday night’s general body meeting for the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC), members of the Black Students Organization (BSO) criticized the council for its proposal on “Issues of Race and Diversity” to Deantini, both on its content on how it was publicized.

The proposal was one of five CCSC crafted and sent to Deantini. The idea to send a list of five topics to Deantini originated from a suggestion of his when he visited last semester, and the council based the five topics on a survey they sent to students.

The BSO members said they weren’t included in the proposal’s creation, nor was any other student group, and they did not learn of the proposal through CCSC. Several BSO members also said that CCSC needed to reach out to more groups representing marginalized students, not just BSO.

The BSO members pointed out several problems with CCSC’s proposal, including that the proposal claims Intro to African-American Studies is not a global core class (it is a global core class).

In addition, several of the BSO member’s concerns centred around the Malcolm X Lounge, which the proposal implied wasn’t accessible. The lounge is actually owned by the BSO, who took over the space in 1970, and the BSO makes the space available to students. The BSO members wanted CCSC to push for getting groups additional spaces on campus rather than focusing on the Malcolm X lounge. They specifically mentioned requests by the Native American Council for more grassy areas on campus for pow-wows and other activities.

They also brought up that, while the proposal mentioned Brown and Yale’s diversity initiative, it didn’t mention the monetary component of those initiatives. In recent months, Yale has launched a $50 million diversity initiative, and Brown has launched a $100 million diversity initiative.

University Senator Sean Ryan, CCSC President Ben Makansi, and VP of Policy Vivek Ramakrishnan have already met with Deantini and Dean Kromm about the five proposals. Ryan and Pre-professional Rep Chris George met with BSO about their concerns before CCSC’s meeting last night. Ryan apologized to BSO and said he will work with them to draft a new proposal. Makansi also apologized to the BSO.

Ramakrishnan, after apologizing, said the problem was that CCSC assumed sending out a survey via e-mail would accurately capture the student body’s thoughts.

The BSO has requested a public apology on behalf of CCSC, both so that the student body can know and so that Deantini cannot base his decision on the initial proposal. In an e-mail, Makansi said he was talking with other council members about how best to apologize.

The “Issues of Race and Diversity” proposal was one of eight that CCSC committees crafted and voted on, and one of the five chosen to send to Deantini. The proposals, according to an email to the general body from Sean Ryan, “considered student survey feedback, our own experiences at Columbia, and how specific student concerns could best directed and addressed on an administrative level.”

The five that CCSC actually sent to Deantini were Developing the Columbia College Community and Reducing Stress, Academics, Strengthening the Center for Student Advising, Administrative Transparency, and Issues of Race and Diversity. The three not sent to Deantini will be, according to Ryan, “addressed to administrative entities other than the college.”  You can read all eight proposals here:

1. Academics:

2. Community:

3. CSA:

4. Diversity:

5. Finances:

6. Housing:

7. Med Services:

8. Transparency:

Updates (Updates Doc here):

  • Makansi will meet with EVP Suzanne Goldberg about the 2 proposals on sexual assault brought to CCSC last week. In an e-mail, Makansi said that, in the meeting he wanted “to get her thoughts and gather info that will then allow us to have a productive discussion about them on Sunday with relevant info.” Meanwhile, No Red Tape released a statement expressing their disappointment on how the council handled the proposal it sent them. About this, Makansi said, “[T]he offer still stands to
    involve NRT and CASV in those conversations.”
  • The policy committee discussed subsidizing senior week tickets for low-income students. At the end of CCSC’s meeting Sunday night, the council held long closed discussion on this issue.
  • The senators are trying to ensure that students have a voice in how Uris will be allocated after Manhattanville. They have gained two student positions on the Arts and Sciences Committee, one for an undergrad and another for a PhD student.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Makansi had already met with Goldberg. More info was added about the meeting as well.

Our stone rendering of CCSC meetings by Gouwenaar (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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2 Comments

  • Loyal reader says:

    @Loyal reader Thank you for this update, Joe.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The BSO needs to open up the Malcolm X lounge to all student groups. No one has access.

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