Happy Wednesday! Bwog’s GSSC (General Studies Student Council) Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, is back with updates on last night’s council meeting.
This week’s GSSC meeting was one of a nitty-gritty, technical nature, focusing mostly on structural and financial matters regarding the council.
To start, GS President Sam Demezieux introduced the plan for the four Columbia undergraduate student councils (GSSC, CCSC, ESC, and Barnard SGA) to form a four-school fund. Since there are certain events that all four schools share (including Tree Lighting and Glass House Rocks), creating a common fund would make logistics much easier. Allocations for funds would be set up in the beginning of the term, saving discussion time during student council meetings. At the earliest, the four-school fund would be implemented by the coming spring semester.
VP of Policy, Raisa Flor, introduced and passed two bylaw amendments to the current GSSC constitution. Firstly, the removal of any associate of the GSSC must now require a majority vote by the executive board (rather than at the sole discretion of the committee chief). The GSSC policy committee will also add a health/wellness position, due to the immediate importance of the issue at Columbia.
Flor also spoke about GSSC’s progress in revamping its own elections process. For weeks now, GSSC’s policy team has been working on a report that compiles research about the elections processes at other peer institutions. The report reviews aspects including election timelines, allowed campaign material, as well as rules regarding harassment, bribing, coercion, and endorsements. Once GSSC reviews the report, council representatives will meet with representatives from other GS student groups, in order to gather recommendations. Furthermore, members of the GSSC policy committee will hold open office hours to talk with the GS student body to receive more recommendations. GSSC will then review all ideas about new elections policy at a public council meeting, as a further opportunity to gather student input. Finally, the policy team will write the text for the new GSSC elections policy, hopefully over winter break. To identify potentially problematic, confusing sections of the future document, all GSSC members will receive a survey asking them to interpret certain bylaws of the elections policy text.
Afterwards, GS University Senator Ramond Curtis updated the council on his current agenda. Curtis’s team is working with the university on the “banning the box” initiative to prohibit criminal record screens during university admissions. The team is drafting a memorandum for the university, and plans to contact sponsors of “banning the box” legislation in the New York State legislature. Following recent protests against controversial speakers on campus, Curtis’s team is also actively working with the university on freedom of speech issues, with the goal that no student will “fear retaliation when practicing freedom of speech.” Finally, Curtis mentioned that he is confident that Columbia will have a permanent testing space for students with disabilities by the spring semester of 2019.
Before ending the meeting, GSSC heard (and later approved) the nominations of several new board members. The new members of GSSC are:
lit trees via Columbia College