Back in the Satow Room, B-w-o-g-g-e-r Nadra Rahman reports on the salacious goings-on of our student government. This meeting ended 10 minutes early.
With nothing to vote on, CCSC resorted to discussing upcoming events (Staff Appreciation Week!) and policy changes. And yet, we’re not sure if anything substantive emerged.
Security And Facilities Fund
Much ado has been made about the Security and Facilities Fund, which we contribute to via our student activity fees, and which all student groups dip into when they host events. The Columbia University College Republicans’ use of it was at the heart of CCSC’s recent complaint against them, and the brouhaha eventually led to a new policy—in which the security fees for events requiring University Delegates will be covered by the University itself. In recent weeks, an additional policy has been instituted: from now on, student groups will receive a quote of costs in advance of every event that will require security. This will allow for the enforcement of an existing policy, which held that any event incurring more than $600 in security fees must be reviewed by the VPs of Finance of the three student councils. Costs weren’t known in advance before, so this was a little hard to do. Phew, enough background?
VP Finance Adam Resheff described the new rules that would guide review and requested input from the rest of CCSC. Firstly, excessive costs for revenue-generating events for high school and middle school students would not be covered by the fund, as they do not benefit Columbia students and in fact, allow student groups to make money off our student activity fees. And generally, for events with a high number of non-CUID holders, security costs would be funded in proportion to the number of CUID students (mirroring JCCC policy). And just to clarify: the events that fall in these categories will still be funded up to $600, but each dollar over that threshold will be paid for by the student group itself.
These rules will go into effect next semester, and are designed to keep the fund solvent, which has been an ongoing issue.
When questioned whether these rules would inhibit programming, Resheff responded that most events with high security costs do not fall in these categories, adding, “I don’t really see events being curtailed.” The same reasoning also applies to events hosted for members of the Morningside Heights and Harlem communities, as these are not usually for-profit. Furthermore, Rosin asserted that the review process would be nuanced and tailored when it comes to events that will benefit the local community.
Generally, it would not be a “cut and dry” process, according to Rosin. CCSC would work with student groups, Facilities, and Event Management to try to lower costs whenever possible. Once again, everyone is stressed about this fund remaining #solvent.
This One Is For The Action Station Staff
On a lighter note, Student Services Rep Aaron Fisher has been planning the relaunch of Staff Appreciation Week, a celebration of Columbia staff that is to culminate with a Staff Appreciation Luncheon. After conducting a brief poll to see which CCSC members would be available to staff the luncheon (occurring March 22), Fisher asked for suggestions on how to best express gratitude. Would HONY-style spotlights be appropriate? Stickers?
Without losing much time, CCSC reached the consensus that stickers (reading “We appreciate you!”) would be received better by the staff than social media posts, which would be more for the benefit of students than staff. According to Rosin, several administrators still had stickers from previous iterations of Staff Appreciation Week displayed in their offices; on the days that they were distributed, members of staff wore them for the day.
Members wondered if these could be supplemented by notes and letters—though some were concerned that if these notes were personalized, certain types of staff members would be overlooked. As Fisher asked, would it be fair for a Ferris employee to get 300 notes, and for a janitor who cleans Butler during the nighttime to get none? President Nathan Rosin and 2018 VP Emily Lavine pointed to the success of the Alumni Office in having students write generalized thank-you notes to donors; if the same model was applied to Staff Appreciation Week, enough notes and letters could be generated for all members of staff. Rosin indicated that time would be set aside at the next meeting for members to write notes and receive stickers for distribution.
Alumni Affairs Rep Fernanda Martinez questioned whether these offerings—while nice—would be “tangibly beneficial” for staff. She suggested organizing a resume/cover letter workshop for staff, or potentially collaborating with law school students to offer needed legal services. In a similar vein, members debated ways to foster a culture of respect for staff members throughout the year. 2020 Rep Grant West commented, “It’s always bothered me that predominantly white, upper-class people show no appreciation for the low-income people of color who like, clean their bathrooms.” Fuller responded that there was a need to encourage Columbia students to take care of themselves “so people who clean up don’t have to deal with extra work.” (Student Services Rep Jordan Singer felt such a campaign could be implemented by putting up reminders around campus.)
Members agreed that while Staff Appreciation Week is a noble undertaking, it is important to express appreciation throughout the year, and part of that is making others’ jobs easier through our actions.
Lack of student funding via Bwog Recycled Images