Is this enough space for you, Columbia undergrads?

Is this enough space for you, Columbia undergrads?

As usual, CCSC spent its Sunday night hotly debating such important issues as space on campus and complaints that Deantini might actual listen to. And, also as usual, Bwog reporter Joe Milholland was on hand to provide us with a fascinating description of the meeting.

The Space Initiative

“I feel like Columbia is the only school that does not have a legitimate student union,” said CCSC VP of Policy Vivek Ramakrishnan last night. “Every single college I’ve been to has a legitimate student center with a pub and a bowling alley and an arcade – a place that’s actually fun that you want to go to.”

This statement came in the middle of a discussion by the Columbia College Student Council about the University Senate’s Space Initiative. The Space Initiative has come about so the university can figure out how to allocate all the new space it will get from the Manhattanville expansion. Most of the new space in Manhattanville itself is going to graduate students, but it will provide more space for undergrads on the Morningside Heights campus.

University Senator Marc Heinrich gave a report on all this to CCSC. He wants to advocate for more student space and said that faculty and administrators have already expressed their opinions on this. Heinrich plans to have a full report on this by April through Student Affairs, a senate committee Heinrich chairs.

Heinrich went on to say that so far Student Affairs has focused on getting a day care center, gym expansions, and student space.

Aside from general calls for more student space, a few council members made specific recommendations. 2016 VP Charles Sanky asked that space changes make clearer distinction between faculty, admin, and student space. 2019 Rep Adam Resheff asked for more recital and performance space. Inclusion and Equity Representative Ewoma Ogbaudu asked for more space for minortiy students, saying the Malcolm X lounge wasn’t “particularly accessible” to all black students.

On the subject of a student center specifically, Heinrich said Student Affairs has discussed completely evacuating Lerner of administrators and making it a student-only space, but Heinrich doesn’t think that’s worthwhile.

As for Uris, Heinrich said there’s been a lot of administration and faculty interest in it. In fact, some administrative departments (like Dining) have asked CCSC to advocate on their behalf for space in Uris. This may seem like an odd situation, but Heinrich said that if students want dining options in Uris, it may help for CCSC to advocate for Dining to get space in Uris.

5 Things for Deantini

When Deantini visited CCSC last semester, he said, as discussed the number of things students ask him to do, “If we knew the 5 things we knew would have the biggest impact on fun, quality of life, etc — we can devote all of our attention to solving this.”

This prompted several CCSC members, especially University Senator Sean Ryan, to start investigating. CCSC put out a survey asking Columbia College students about their top priorities. Council members sifted through the responses and narrowed it down to a list of ten things: Columbia College/university community, stress (including mental health), academics (including the core), financial aid (including student workers), medical services, issues of diversity and race, environmental sustainability, advising, administrative transparency, and housing and facility.

Those who worked on this list are meeting Tuesday to narrow the list down to five things, and CCSC will likely vote on the final list on their February 15 meeting.

Initially on this list was Columbia’s response to sexual violence. However, CCSC will tackle this issue separately from their petition to Deantini, as they want to ensure it gets extra oversight.

“Given that No Red Tape is coming in a few weeks [to CCSC on February 15] and how important this issue is to our community, we want to make sure we treated sexual violence separately from this laundry list of things we’re doing so that we’re making sure were giving issues of sexual violence and the response to it the time it’s due,” said Ryan about this.

Updates (Updates doc is here and minutes doc is here):

  • Janet Chen was appointed 2017’s new rep. Annette Finnigan left the position to study abroad.
  • 2019 President Josh Schenk will give away free Chipotle to the first 20 students who respond to his e-mail to first years.
  • The university senators are also working on the issue of course evaluations and their relationship to Title IX, the university’s response to tragedies, Dodge Gym, and mental health,.
  • GS is now giving GS students meal tickets, in addition to their meals on EMF, to combat food insecurity.
  • CCSC President Benjamin Makansi is still trying to get posts on the class Facebook posts by Deans, who are worried about “the impression of administrative oversight on class groups.”

Little astronaut, big space via Wikimedia Commons