Staff Writer Zane Bekheet filled in for CCSC Bureau Chief Adam Kluge at this week’s CCSC meeting.
The meeting began with a beautiful presentation of cookies, brownies, and cupcakes for some members’ birthdays. How thoughtful! Then, Patricia Granda-Malaver (CC ‘20) introduced the general updates.
Secondly, please send good thoughts for Jesus, a member of the student council, who was in an accident recently and is recovering.
Joseph, the first Vice President of Student Affairs, presented the first proposal of the night. He works with all the deans across the 16 different schools of Columbia to ensure three things: sexual respect, inclusion, and general equality and wellbeing. He introduced himself by sharing his experience as a gay man and a story of his past suicide attempt. He continued with his story of growing up in rural Kentucky and receiving his degrees at Vanderbilt University and the imposter syndrome that came with it. By presenting his story, he highlighted the importance of destigmatizing mental health and thus his goal of having all students at Columbia feel included and appreciated. He especially discussed imposter syndrome, because, he said, he believes “Columbia students should believe they are resilient rather than that they don’t fit in.” In conclusion, Joseph wants to send out a survey to collect student experience from all 16 schools in order to get an accurate description of the student experience at Columbia. This survey would be “really looked at by the institution and will inform change.” Finally, the council was reassured that if anything particularly personal was shared, then the person taking the survey would be led to the appropriate resources to make sure they are getting support.
The next proposal was given by Savannah and Michael, two Columbia University students who are part of the Extinction Rebellion, an environmental activist group. They were presenting their proposal for a full divestment on the University’s endowment from fossil fuels. Along with them was Professor Michael Gerard, founder of The Earth Institute, who led the charge for divestment from thermal coal in 2015. The proposal submitted had three criteria: a broad consensus within the university community, the merits of the dispute must lie clearly on one side, and the divestment must be made viable through communication with company management. The referendum to test the student opinion on whether or not Columbia should divest from fossil fuels passed through the council.
Image via Bwog Archives