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GSSC Reflects Upon Dean Peter Awn

GSSC Bureau Chief Andrew Chee blesses you with a sunny ray of light in the form of a student council recap on this cold snowy day. GSSC meets every Tuesday night at 8:15 pm in the Jed Satow Room. 

With the somber news of Dean Peter J. Awn’s passing still fresh on everyone’s minds, a gloomy yet sentimental ambiance gripped the room as the council convened. A moment of silence was dedicated to Dean Awn, followed by many people sharing treasured memories of Dean Awn welcoming them to the school and showing genuine interest in their lives. The massive impact Dean Awn had on the GS community will always remain in people’s hearts and memories, and even now, Dean Awn continues to inspire and unite the community.

Dean Rosen-Metsch

Dean Rosen-Metsch came in to give several general updates on plans for the GS community in the near future, while also updating everyone on recent accomplishments. Dean Rosen-Metsch recently started a Women’s Veterans Circle to provide additional support for these students, with even Dean Maya Tolstoy coming to share her story and career. On a related note, she also mentioned the planned creation of a Parents Committee, further showing her commitment to supporting students with more niche identities. Dean Rosen-Metsch noted that Reunion 2019 is coming up, and she asked for students, especially graduating seniors, to get involved to engage and deepen the alumni community.

Regarding the Dean of Students office, the search for a new Dean of Students continues, and Dean Rosen-Metsch also noted the imminent creation of an Academic Wellness department within the Dean of Students office, for students to reach out to for assistance in navigating stress as a result of crisis, financial hardship, and the like.

Reflecting upon Dean Awn’s passing, she shared that although Dean Awn’s funeral will be a private event, there is an upcoming Celebration of Life event, planned in conjunction with President Bollinger to properly commemorate Dean Awn’s life and contribution to the GS and greater Columbia community. In the meantime, students who wish to show support can still donate to the Peter J. Awn Scholarship.

One significant question posed during the Q&A session was regarding the lack of classroom space on campus, and how it is contributing to the increased number of classes at night and over the weekend. Dean Rosen-Metsch replied stating that with the completion of the Manhattanville campus and the relocation of Columbia Business School, Uris Hall will be utilized in order to add more classroom-usable space for the Columbia community.

Columbia University Committee on Art Properties

A representative from the CU Committee on Art Properties spoke to GSSC about a proposal to relocate several pieces of art on campus, which you probably have already read about in the past few days in CCSC and ESC. Ultimately, GSSC voted to back the proposal, with less substantial discussion compared to the other councils.

Amendments to the Bylaws

Three significant amendments were proposed to the bylaws, mostly related to the Elections Commissions Appointment Committee

As it currently stands, at least two people must run in an election for all elected positions. If one candidate is disqualified as a result of violations, the election is null. The first proposed amendment is to continue an election even if one of the final two candidates are disqualified. The rationale is two-fold: first, the council does not wish to discourage a candidate from calling out the other candidate for violating election rules, and then indirectly impacting his or herself by rendering an election void as a result of being the only candidate; second, the council wishes to prevent a possible scenario in which a candidate, who may believe defeat is imminent, to intentionally disqualify themselves in order to cancel the results of the election. This amendment would not affect other situations, such as an election still being unable to commence without at least two nominees running.

The second proposed amendment is to clearly delineate responsibilities for the entire elections committee to ensure that the members of the committee understand explicitly what their intended position and duty is. As the committee is to consist of the chair and other members, this proposal is to ensure that the chair does not perform all the responsibilities alone and delegates work to the other members. The positions of the committee will be written into the bylaws to ensure the existence of this chain of command.

Lastly, the final proposed amendment is to move the responsibilities of the Social Media Rep from an associate to an elected representative. As it currently stands, ambiguity in the language of the bylaws does not clearly allow the Social Media Rep to participate in all voting procedures, despite the Social Media Rep is generally understood to be a voting member of the council.

Recovery Coalition

The Recovery Coalition came up to present about their organization and to raise awareness of its mission and services. It aims to provide support for substance abuse, trauma, food abuse, and the like. It is not a 12 step group, nor CPS, but simply a group by students for students to help each other out. Currently, the vast majority of the students involved are GS students, with the rest being graduate students, so the Recovery Coalition also hopes to expand and engage with students from the other undergraduate schools as well. They are currently planning a launch event on March 27 with a screening of a movie, some presentations by members, and food and refreshments. More information to follow as the date comes closer.

Upcoming Events

First Year Class Open Mic Night is tonight, February 20, from 8 to 10 pm in the GS Lounge. It is catered by Hungarian Pastry and will feature poetry, songs, and music.

Glass House Rocks will be this Thursday, February 21 at 8 pm to 12 am. There will be performances throughout the night on the ramps of Lerner, with free food on the 5th floor and Room 555, including kosher varieties. Clubs will be tabling, and if you interact with four clubs and receive tickets from each of them, you can redeem those tickets for a free t-shirt! T-shirts are limited to the first 400 students who arrive, so come early! Additionally, there will be a raffle for a free flight from United Airlines, which you can enter if you obtain a fifth ticket. Glass House Rocks is still looking for volunteers, and if you choose to volunteer, you are guaranteed a shirt and food! There is a volunteer shift from 3 to 5 pm to set up; simply show up to Room 515 to get started. Otherwise, there are two volunteer shifts during the event, from 7 to 9 pm and 9 pm to closing.

On Saturday, February 23rd, there will be a Smash Bros & Mario Kart Party in the Broadway Room of Lerner Hall, with food of course.

Lastly, GSSC will be co-sponsoring a movie night with the Office of Student Life on Wednesday, February 27th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. The movie will be If Beale Street Could Talk, one of the top 10 films of 2018 chosen by both the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute. The story follows a young African-American woman who, with her family’s support, seeks to clear the name of her wrongfully charged love interest and prove his innocence before the birth of their child.

And that’s all for today! Get out there and enjoy the snow!

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