Sit back as Finn Klauber recounts the important proposals discussed at last night’s ESC meeting. Topics discussed varied from concerns over completing CS major requirements, getting the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off next year, and funding for campus organizations.
Yesterday evening’s Engineering Student Council meeting strayed away from controversial discussions or proposals, instead focusing on a group discussion apropos of the unnecessary burdens Columbia places on SEAS Computer Science majors. Executive VP for Student Life Piyushi Bishnoi, with support from Executive VP for Communication Anthony Kim, is heading an effort to demonstrate to the Administration just how serious of a situation this is to SEAS students.
Members of ESC pointed out how the CS department seems to have a deflated point attribution—while Art of Engineering is a 4 point class, Fundamentals of Computer Science only provides 3 points. 2017 Class Rep Harry Munroe plainly asked what the fundamental problems are with department, drawing VP Kim to explain how the CS department has issues with hiring professors to meet CS needs. The number of students in CS waxes and wanes over time, meaning careless hiring choices could hurt Columbia more than help it. Furthermore, some professors are “research professors” only allotted a class or two, unless Columbia CS wants to pay these professors premiums to teach a greater number of classes. 2018 Class President Aakanxit Khullar asked for clarification specifically on how seniors are not able to register for necessary classes in the department, which was explained as the specific tracks within the CS department varying in terms of the actual number of listed courses that are actually given. In other words, VP Bishnoi summed up, students don’t feel like they can actually fulfill the requirements for CS.
Besides this discussion, Executive Vice President for Finance Aida Lu gave an impromptu explanation of the current financial state of ESC. Three different funding committees met this past week, with the Presidents and Provost Fund allocating $14,000 this semester, mostly to arts groups—KCST received $2,500 for their productions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Julius Caesar, CUBE received $1,295 for their Alice in Wonderland performance, and so on. The CIF spent about $10,000 of the $20,000 allocated, and will save the rest for next semester. It funded 6 of 10 groups which applied, including $2,667 for CU Voltage drums equipment, $1,096 for SHARP’s OA system, and $100 to the VSA for a banner. And, finally, a JCCC proposal to fund the Chess Club $786 had to be voted upon by ESC. The Chess Club is attending a tournament in New Orleans and, unlike our well funded spectator sports, actually punches way over its weight. ESC voted unanimously to fund what expenses they could, though they only provided a relative proportion of the $2,750 requested. Otherwise, JCCC gave Phi Iota Alpha $300 for an event and the Columbia Debate Society $300 for an upcoming college debate tournament.
- Executive President Neha Jain recounted her meeting with Dean Brovman, SEAS Associate Dean of Undergraduate Student Affairs and Global Programs. There’s a working group currently determining what to do with the space above 501 NoCo. In response to Mudd’s “rat smell,” President Jain explained that this was apparently a “complex problem.” Finally, tampon and pad dispensers are being considered for new locations.
- VP Kim explained that the problems of ESC’s website relate to the host, not ESC. He entered a ticket for the website’s problems, but there’s nothing else he can do to improve ESC’s web infrastructure.
- University Senator Izzet Kebudi, SEAS 2019, reported that there’s a recommended resolution on making the Wednesday before Thanksgiving an academic holiday, though they didn’t vote on it for this year as professors vary in whether they allow students to take off Wednesday classes. Most likely the resolution will go to plenary and, starting next year, the Thanksgiving Wednesday will be a holiday.
- Campus Affairs Rep Benjamin Barton reported that he met with Dining Advisory about putting up nutritional facts in dining halls, which was denied by Columbia Psychological Services and Ask Alice and Columbia Health because “anorexia.” He further say that Dining wants to put a Ferris 2.0 in the emptied space in Uris Hall, but dining is “at the bottom of the totem pole” in the battle for Uris. Finally, Representative Barton claimed that real lox is coming back to John Jay, which might help to turn John Jay Dining Hall away from being a myopic and absolutely horrible place to eat.
Photo courtesy of Computer Science Degree Hub