CCSC Bureau Chief Nadra Rahman still can’t believe that break is over…but CCSC is ready to resume with motions and pointed comments. She reports.

Last night’s CCSC meeting was easy and breezy—the most heated part came at the end, when members revealed their absolute disinterest in event planning and/or ice skating.

It all began with intentions, as members new and old alike shared goals for the spring semester, which ranged from ensuring trans students have equitable access to health care and instituting a Global Core seminar requirement, to getting the side doors of Butler open and revamping class Instagram pages. One of USenator Danielle Resheff’s goals is to make certain that “University policies help and don’t particularly harm students,” which is all any of us can hope for.

The sheen of optimism wore off by the end of the meeting, when USenator Alfredo Dominguez introduced a new question to the agenda: was the Senate Student Affairs Caucus (SAC) on the right track to promote inter-school unity by spending $10,000 on renting out an ice rink? Dominguez prefaced the discussion with a grim warning: “Please don’t tell us how to do the event because we also don’t know.” Apparently, the $10,000 had been granted to SAC by the President’s Office, and SAC has to produce their plan by the end of week or say goodbye to 1/339 of PrezBo’s salary. Dominguez staved off any sympathy: “We’ve known [about this deadline] for the entire year, so don’t feel bad for us.” As Resheff added, “Money was thrown at a non-event planning body, which wasn’t responsible.” To be completely clear, this is not CCSC’s money/initiative/event.

Anyway, members were not very receptive to the ice skating idea—new International Students Rep Joon Baek pointed out that similar events have been produced by other administrative departments and have not had large turnouts, while others had concerns about accessibility and liability for injuries. If ice skating had to happen, given the timeline, President Jordan Singer suggested having side activities available for those who cannot take part in the main event. Other suggestions abounded:

  • VP Communications Isabella Lajara suggested a big movie night on the lawns with space heaters, bean bags, and fancy snacks. Dominguez said that the committee had ruled out an event on Morningside Campus, as the aim is to foster inter-school connections, and undergrads tend to dominate on-campus events.
  • Disability Services Rep Aaron Liberman advocated for an “interesting food event” along the lines of Surf n’ Turf. He also was into the idea of a boat cruise, which would have a “a clubby feel but a little easier to sell than a nightclub.”
  • 2019 President Mina Mahmood proposed organizing a private tour of the Whitney, which her class has done before with success. She also suggested putting on a grand production for Earth Day, which could become the “third great institutional day” (after Homecoming and Bacchanal), an idea the crowd found funny. The Earth Day idea is apparently something that has been floating around Council—VP Finance Adam Resheff made a comment about setting up giant projectors on the lawn and playing Planet Earth 24/7.
  • Resheff the Elder, rested from the break, resumed his duties as Champion of Bacchanal, proclaiming: “I am disappointed it’s not Bacchanal funding.”

Dominguez closed out the discussion, saying, “So this was a mistake; I should not have brought this up. I apologize for wasting everyone’s time.”

Return of the Food Pantry

Not all the discussions were that tortured! CCSC also welcomed representatives from the Food Pantry at Columbia, Michael Higgins (GS), Chair and Miguel Yepes (SEAS ‘20), Vice Chair of FLIP Collaboration. Higgins and Yepes asked for CCSC’s help in promoting Board position vacancies, an upcoming Campus Hunger Awareness Week (Feb 4-8) with events every day, and the Food Pantry’s new farm share initiative.

The new initiative is the product of a partnership with the Riverside Farm Share, which falls under the Corbin Hill Food Project. It allows the Food Pantry to offer fresh produce to any interested Columbia affiliates free of charge (the pantry is covering all back end costs). According to Higgins, 85% of recently polled pantry users want fresh produce, which the Food Pantry is unable to provide. This partnership allows food insecure and low-income members of our campus to pick up crates of produce at designated pick-up locations and times. If you were not selected for CCSC’s own farm share program, this might be a good alternative.

Return of Mildly Controversial But Sluggish Discussions

Singer brought up a document, written and signed by student body presidents, which critiques the recently proposed Title IX regulations. The statement notes, “We believe that these proposed regulations will limit the ability of students to receive the uninterrupted education guaranteed to them by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and will allow institutions to turn even more of a blind eye to instances of sexual violence within our campus communities.”

Singer did not seek to put her signature to a vote, as CCSC as a body would not be signing on to the document, but rather to gauge Council’s thoughts on the document. Academic Affairs Rep Zach Kimmel was hesitant about the ninth point, which reads: “Section 106.45(b)(1)(iv) creates a problematic presumption of innocence for the accused, which creates a process where a survivor is automatically thought to be lying. We are concerned that the application of this criminal standard into a non-criminal proceeding will have a chilling effect on reporting and that survivors will be disincentivized to report their sexual assault.” His sentiment prompted responses from multiple members on the misutilization of the criminal standard, the idea of the campus as a safe environment for survivors of sexual violence, and retraumatization. There was literally no other discussion point and ultimately, it appeared as though the majority of Council agreed with Singer’s decision to sign the document.

And that’s about it!

Photo via Columbia Instagram