Pondering our legislative processes in the wake of the 2016 elections

Pondering our legislative processes in the wake of the 2016 elections

Last night, the Columbia College Student Council held a closed meeting to appoint a new class of 2017 representative. This may surprise some juniors, as the opening was not announced via a class-wide e-mail, unlike the 2017 council’s vacant position last year.

When the 2017 Council last had an open voting rep position last year, CCSC President Benjamin Makansi sent a class-wide email to all CC juniors about the vacant position, with a link to apply for the position. A class-wide e-mail was also sent out to 2016 last year when Ecem Senyuva resigned. But for this vacancy, neither Makansi nor Sinha sent such an e-mail this time.

According to Makansi, a class-wide e-mail should have been sent out. Asked about this, Sinha said, in an e-mail, that there “seems to have been some miscommunication” between him and Makansi.

“I know that as CCSC we are going to be looking at a proposal to change the entire process this semester, as it is confusing for everyone it seems,” Sinha went on.

The only indication made about this in a class-wide email announcing CCSC 2017 updates, sent out by CCSC 17 President Ravi Sinha.  Under a section titled “CCE Summer Internship Program” was an offer, in the middle of a paragraph, to join CCSC: “Want to boost your resume? Join a CCSC Committee! Joining Campus Life, Communications, Policy, your junior council, and other committees are a great way to get involved in your community. Please let me (rjs2204) if you are interested in being a part of CCSC!”

While this section asks students to join the junior council, it does not specify a voting representative was being appointed, and there is not specific way to sign up, other than Sinha’s uni.


The new class of 2017 rep, appointed on Sunday, is Janet Chen. She is replacing Annette Finnigan, who is studying abroad this semester. Chen is the third CCSC voting member to be appointed, not elected, this school year.

For the 2017 council vacancy last year, when Petros Kommidas resigned, CCSC appointed a new rep (Leah Hays). The appointment process is discussed here in greater detail.

A second vacancy, this time after 2016 Rep Ecem Senyuva resigned, occurred later in 2015. Allie Lavine was appointed to the new position.

If it seems like CCSC is losing more council members this school year, it is likely because CCSC implemented much harsher attendance policies – three absences brings an automatic impeachment proceeding.

Update: The vacancy in the 2016 council after Senyuva’s resignation was publicized via a class-wide e-mail on updates by 2016 President Saaket Pradhan. The email, whose subject line was “CC ’16 | WINTER GALA TIX” had eleven different updates for the senior class. The sixth of these updates  was “Join CCSC 2016,” and it listed three positions available, including “Class Representative” – described as an “Elected member with a heavy time commitment.” The e-mail prompted seniors interested to e-mail Pradhan about it.

About the vacancy-filling process, Makansi said, in an e-mail last night, “After a class rep vacancy, I discuss the process with the class president according to our constitution which starts by the class president sending out a class-wide email to solicit applications. So like always, when there was a 2017 rep vacancy last week, I told Ravi to send out an email to his class and solicit applications. Other members of the eboard also communicated to Ravi that he should send an email to make sure that the proper procedure was upheld. Ravi later told me he did this.”

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Ecem Senyuva was a 2018 rep. She was a 2016 rep.

Featured image via Columbia website