CCSC Bureau Chief Nadra Rahman is doing just fine! She did, however, attend a CCSC meeting.
Last night’s efficient CCSC meeting began with a visit from a GS delegation, peaked with a semi-heated discussion about gun control and precedent, and concluded with a plea for release. Most significantly, the body voted to sign on to a statement prepared by the University of Pittsburgh Student Government Board advocating for stricter regulation on the sale of assault weapons; members also endorsed a proposal for a work-play space for students with families, which would be located in Uris Hall 2.0.
The statement on gun control received by CCSC describes the recent shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and references shootings that have occurred at institutions of learning, reading, “As young Americans, our generation has never known this country without gun violence. Beginning with Columbine in 1999, our reality has always been contaminated by this plague.” Directed towards lawmakers, the statement specifically calls for the enactment of three forms of stricter gun regulation, including the expansion of background check requirements.
2021 Class Rep Ramsay Eyre started the discussion by referencing the statement on gun safety that CCSC had prepared last year, which had been prompted by a call to action from students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He said, “Signing on to this would be a logical follow-up to that statement.” Others agreed with him, including 2021 President James Ritchie, who had originally been opposed to CCSC’s drafting of that statement, but had been convinced by the arguments about student government’s obligation to protect the lives and livelihoods of students and educators.
The lone wolf was VP Finance Adam Resheff, who thought that signing on to the statement would be too political, and outside of the purview of student government, the same claims that were made last year. He suggested that instead, students write individual letters to their representatives, which CCSC had also done last year in conjunction with the statement—or that the body write its own statement again.
The responses were also the same as last year; several members, including VP Policy Elise Fuller, argued that no action taken by CCSC is apolitical (USenator Toqa Badran claimed that not signing on would be “an act of ignoring” certain students). Others, like Eyre, said that gun control is in fact a campus issue, given how often schools are targets; of course, the statement had been prepared by the University of Pittsburgh, another collegiate institution. And Disability Services Rep Aaron Liberman suggested there is “quite a bit of consensus on this issue” on campus.
Additionally, members such as Fuller and 2021 Rep Aja Johnson felt that individual letters would dilute the impact of a larger, centralized statement with the weight of Columbia College’s name; Johnson spoke to the value of the University of Pittsburgh as the originator of the statement, given the institution’s proximity to the most recent tragedy. Eyre pointed out a new statement prepared by CCSC would contain nothing new that hadn’t already been said in last year’s.
This all being said, the body moved to vote (Resheff did not vote to approve the motion to vote—which is a complicated way of saying he wanted the discussion to continue) and approved the sign-on (including, in the end, Resheff).
On to: kids. CCSC received a GS duo in the form of the GSSC VP Policy and the president of the Columbia University Family Support Network. The two had come to present their proposal for a work-play space for students with families, which would be housed in Uris Hall after the business school moves out. According to the proposal, this space will contain area designated for studying, along with area for play stocked with child-appropriate furniture, activities, and volunteer play facilitators. In general, it would serve as a hub for students with families, helping with resource-sharing and network-building.
The duo touched upon these benefits and emphasized that they were trying to fill “a void of child-friendly, family-friendly space on campus” which has often led to the alienation of parents from campus culture and life. They also described benefits that would be received by parents, children, and volunteers gaining job experience and general validation.
Because CCSC has a rep on the Uris Hall Vision Committee, GSSC felt it was important to align with CCSC regarding the inclusion of this space when Uris Hall is reorganized. When applications for space in Uris Hall actually open up, a much more detailed proposal will be prepared.
With no discussion, the body unanimously voted to endorse the proposal. A question and answer period followed, which is really not the way things go, and International Students Rep Nikola Danev strenuously objected to this “breach of protocol.” After his objection, Fuller rounded out the discussion by speaking to her experience with a pilot program last spring connected with the work-play area, which she felt was successful and had attracted interest from both parents and volunteers.
Finally, President Jordan Singer announced that Gender and Sexuality Rep Sabina Jones would be going abroad next semester. For her part, Jones said, “If I say where I’m going, that defeats the purpose of going because you’ll be able to follow me.”
Anyway, this means that a replacement committee needs to be convened. This committee will collect and review applications for Jones’s position, eventually making recommendations before the candidates appear in front of CCSC next semester. After Singer collected nominations for the committee members, each candidate made a short case for their inclusion in the committee.
Notably, Alumni Affairs Rep Zach Kimmel began his speech his speech thus: “I want to do this because…um…may I actually withdraw my nomination?” This was funny, but not constructive.
Ultimately, the committee members will consist of Singer, Fuller, a member of the Columbia Elections Commision (these are automatic inclusions), USenator Alfredo Dominguez, and Student Services Rep Monique Harmon. Harmon wasn’t even present at the meeting, but sent her speech digitally and used Fuller as her voice. It worked!