We know. It was reading week, now it’s finals and summer and graduation are just a few hours away. You don’t want to hear about weird quorum rules and comma splices, you want to leave! But for incoming first-years, this isn’t the last day of spring semester – it’s one day closer to starting school at Columbia. To help that incoming class prepare for a foray into student government, Guest Writer Ufon Umanah has put together an overview of CCSC politics.
Here’s the thing. CCSC is not the administration, which can do most things. But CCSC, for better or for worse, became a conduit for many issues on campus, and there are many ways their advocacy might affect you. So whether you’re waiting to graduate from high school or waiting to toss reams of notes out the window, here’s a viewing guide for the antics of CCSC next year.
The State of Health
The mental health situation has always been bad at Columbia, but after a cluster of suicides last winter, mental health took central stage in student politics. It was the topic of an ad hoc town hall this semester. Every party running for Executive Board or Class Council had something about mental health and CPS. When CCSC considered adding a mental health and wellness representative, Vice President of 2020 James Ritchie argued that because everyone elected ran to fix mental health, creating said representative would be shirking the job they ran to do themselves. In short, they’re going to try to do something on mental health. We just don’t know if the administration will be responsive.
CUAD announced in February that it would circulate a petition to get a resolution on the ballot for CCSC. On what, you ask? On whether to support CUAD’s campaign against Israel, specifically companies operating in the West Bank. After not gathering the 15% necessary to force a vote, the resolution failed in a dramatic 4-hour meeting on April 2nd. Following this, CUAD pledged to return with the 15% of signatures from the student body of CC necessary to force a ballot resolution. Things are sure to get even more contentious when CCSC is forced to address this again.
The Finance Wars
The week before finals, news came out that F@CU had gone poorly. CCSC contributed the lowest amount of funding in two years, accusing the other student councils of spending too much on internal finances (including SGA’s $2000 for Patagonias) instead of contributing to the various governing boards. It’s easy to dismiss this as petty bickering until you realize what this means for governing boards. If the amount of money a governing board receives stagnates as the demands of the clubs under those boards increase, funding becomes more and more of a zero-sum game. Although this is a long term issue, club leaders have a vested interest in seeing this resolved quickly.
Party at Baker, Anyone?
The idea of a fall Bacchanal was resurrected last election, though only VP Finance Adam Resheff survives from the party that proposed it. Instead, the counter-proposal of a Fall Concert at Homecoming won the day. On one hand, if it works, you have another reason to watch Columbia Football. Music before midterms sounds fun. On the other hand, the administration doesn’t seem keen on either idea, and concerts cost money. Specifically, VP of Campus Life Alex Cedar wrote that he hoped to “collaborate with the Bacchanal Committee, the three other undergraduate VPs for [Campus Life], JCCC and the Columbia administration.”
Hell of a campaign slogan via Pintrest