GSSC hosts weekly meetings on Tuesday night! We know that many of you were too busy studying for calc midterms or streaming “Stranger Things” last night. Have no fear! Bwog GSSC correspondents Jenny Nugent and Romane Thomas bring you the highlights.
Last night was town hall night at General Studies Student Council, and, for reasons undisclosed even to the president himself, everyone sat on the right side of the room, prompting a crucial question in this year’s council: “Why are you all on this side?”
GSSC started by going through the different committees and their recent developments before moving on to town hall questions. President De Larosa introduced his subcommittee for scholarship initiative, which aims to allocate money towards lower-income students and emergency micro-grants. Further, this semester’s mid-semester success series was announced to start on October 21st, which will include health awareness initiatives and snacks. Policy elaborated on plans for their food bank and announced that proposals for the initiative had gone out to other schools. Dennis Zhao from the Communications Committee announced that the weekly OWL will now be sent out once a month and urged the council members to send in the information they wanted featured by Wednesday (Happy 75th birthday Dennis). Campus Life spoke of plans for a Halloween event and stated that they were still looking for a social chair to plan this year’s gala.
The Council also heard from two nominees: Daina Kim and Max Rangall.
- Daina is a senior majoring in economics and wants to make a change after serving many GS students through orientation and mentorship programs. As the nominee for Finance, she is planning to uphold the importance of transparency this year and is committed to values of honesty and responsibility.
- Max is a senior in science and business management who wishes to give back to the community through involvement in the Finance committee. He has extensive experience in finance, including Wall Street internships. Having acquired great discipline from his six years in the marines, Max believes to “have the skills to fulfill the duties of the position” and is “excited to be considered” for this important role.
After the GSSC meeting updates, President LaRosa opened the floor to the town hall. Three main issues were discussed during the time allocated to audience participation: advocacy for formerly incarcerated students, a student sponsored talk about online disrespect, and the need for integration of Dual BA students at GS.
Leyla Martinez Beato from the Center for Justice at Columbia University and her friend Sarah spoke in front of the council about the need for student support around the issues faced by formerly incarcerated students. They asked the council to help fund a panel on these issues. The members of council strongly supported Ms. Martinez’s initiative and offered her a chance to talk with the Policy Committee about the initiatives. Ms. Martinez reminded the council that formerly incarcerated students face challenges from the Columbia application process all the way to graduation. A main problem that they wish to tackle is the presence of a criminal record box on the Columbia application. Ms. Martinez stressed that all students “had the same dream” of coming to this school and that GS students know that “we are not defined by our past.” Council members showed their support for the initiative. Dennis Zhao pointed out that everyone in GS agrees that “we all deserve second chances” and that most of us “benefitted from a second chance ourselves”. Ms. Martinez urges anyone impacted by these issues to contact her through her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second topic regarded the importance of speaking openly about online respect. The student explained that a conversation regarding inflammatory posts on the GS student Facebook group this summer must be had without the supervision of the GS deans who may stall the discussion due to their authority at Columbia. Council members supported the student sponsored talk but also warned that many of the individuals causing these problems may not be willing to discuss these matters face to face.
Finally a student raised the issue of Dual BA students’ integration in the GS community and asked the student council whether a new representational position may be created on council to suit the needs of this particular group of students. Most council members stated that the needs of Dual BA students were already attended to through different representatives on council such as the Academic Affairs representative or the International students representative. They also raised the issue of the exponential growth of the council. Yet other council members supported the idea of a new representative or brought up other solutions, such as having more dual BA students on council or giving Dual Bachelor students a council of their own.
strange elvis via Wikimedia