Last night’s CCSC meeting saw debate over extremely crucial student matters: whether or not to eliminate certain positions (including the ever-controversial Sandwich Ambassador.) Bureau Chief Joe Milholland covered the meeting, but if you want even more CCSC with your CCSC, you can view the stream of the meeting here.
The Uneliminated Positions
Despite heated debate, the Pre-professional Rep, the Alumni Affairs Rep, and the Sandwich Ambassador will continue to be positions on the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) for the foreseeable future.
VP of Finance Sameer Mishra proposed a change in CCSC’s constitution to eliminate these positions (the Pre-professional Rep and the Alumni Affairs Rep would have been appointed by the VP of Policy), but all three votes by CCSC to eliminate the positions failed to get the necessary 2/3rds majority in order to pass.
For the Pre-professional Rep and the Alumni Affairs Rep, CCSC debated whether more could get done in that area by appointed reps rather than voted-in reps. Pre-professional Rep Chris George, who voted to eliminate his position last year, reluctantly opposed elimination this year but said he thought the position would be just as effective if appointed.
According to Mishra, administrators go to the Pre-professional Rep for feedback, but this role could be done by an appointed rep. VP of Policy Vivek Ramakrishnan said an appointed rep could held accountable more easily. However, the resolution to eliminate the position only got 7 votes in favor.
As for the Alumni Affairs Rep, Ramakrishnan told the council that Alumni Affairs Rep Daniel Liss (who was not present Sunday night) felt very strongly that the position was valuable. Incoming Alumnia Affairs Rep Michael Anagnos also defended the position. Only two council members voted in favor of eliminating the position.
The Sandbassador came much closer to being eliminated – 18 out of 28, or roughly 64%, of CCDC voted to eliminate the position. Current Sandbassador Kaitlyn Loftus wanted the position to be eliminated. Abby Porter, next year’s VP of Policy, cited Sean Augustine-Obi’s op-ed, which said that the responsibilities of the Sambassador were being covered by other CCSC members and student groups.
2016 President Saaket Pradhan thought the position was treated as a joke, but he thought it could be useful if the position was renamed to sound “more legitimate.”
CCSC President Ben Makansi proposed sending out a Google form to the student body to see if they still wanted the Sandbassador.
Ramakrishnan, while noting that a 15 minute discussion on whether or not to eliminate a Sandwich Ambassador position was a sign that CCSC took itself too seriously, thought 2 years was a small sample size to draw conclusions from.
In order to get a proper count on the Sandbassador vote, CCSC had to go through several recounts, count out the number of council members present, and calculate whether the number of votes in favor met the 2/3rds majority threshold.
Other Constitutional Review Stuff
- The council voted to ease its attendance policies – 3 unexcused absences from a council member means that impeachment is discussed by a select few privately, instead of the whole council discussing it at a general body meeting.
- “Religion,” “gender identity,” and “socioeconomic status” have been added to the groups the Inclusion and Equity Rep is supposed to be attuned to. The last two categories in that list have replaced “gender” and “class.” CCSC also removed a sentence that said the Inclusion and Equity Rep should make sure CCSC is obeying the New York Human Rights Law.
- CCSC shot down a proposal to have newly elected CCSC members take over the week after they are elected instead of after commencement.
- CCSC changed the threshold of signatures a ballot needs to be voted on in an election from 10% of students to 15% of students. Pradhan wanted to prevent frivolous initiatives from coming to a vote, and Makansi suggested 15% because an initiative needs at least 30% of the student body voting either for or against it to pass.
- Academic Affairs Rep Nicole Allicock is looking at a proposed change to the Global Core that would mandate that each student take at least one seminar class as part of the Global Core.
- According to 2016 VP Charles Sanky, there will be an Undergraduate Arts Initiative Working Group.
- An application to be a University Senate staffer will come out early this week.