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Student Council Weekly Roundup: Cowboy Lingo Edition

Welcome back all you city-slickers! Here are this week’s student council highlights, as brought to you by Bureau Chiefs Adam Kluge (CCSC), Lori Luo (ESC), Eliza Staples (SGA), and Olivia Mitchell (GSSC). As always, check in next Friday for new student council news and don’t forget to drink some Adam’s Ale if you’re gonna be out wetting your whistle this fine weekend! Now, skedaddle!

This Week in CCSC:

  • University Senator Ramsay Eyre met with CU Engage on Friday about an initiative concerning voter turnout and a Columbia voice in the democratic process, given 2020’s being a major election year.
  • Academic Affairs representative Zayba Qamar recently met to discuss how the Core Curriculum might be reintroduced as a connection with Under1Roof, in order to further examine how the readings in classes like Literature Humanities can better connect to the broader themes of identity and culture that are inherent to the Core. Additionally, Qamar spoke about testing accommodations currently being finalized during this midterm period.
  • International Students representative Joon Baek met with the Columbia Registrar to discuss the privacy of the Columbia Directory, which publishes the local addresses of all students. Baek said that the Registrar refused to reconsider the publication of this information, even after he suggested that there be increased privacy through the use of a log-in system. Baek intends to talk to Deantini and others about potentially working through this issue.
  • Race and Ethnicity representative Colby King met with Dean Kromm last week to discuss recent incidences of xenophobia towards Chinese students in East Campus, and an investigation is ongoing as to whether or not these events were racially motivated.
  • Student Services representative Aaron Hibshoosh is actively working on discussing and reevaluating the fairness and stipulations of student medical leave policies. More information on this will be coming in future weeks.

This Week in ESC: 

  • The Textbook Affordability Initiative is an initiative that has been in the works since the beginning of the school year. They aim to reduce how much student pay for textbooks by the school buying textbooks in bulk from Barnes and Nobles and having all students enrolled in the initiative pay a fixed price, which would be lower with more students enrolled in the initiative. Originally, the initiative was supposed to have an opt-in/opt-out option. However, the deans have recently began discussing removing the opt-out option, whereby automatically enrolling all students. 
  • ESC disagreed with not allowing students to opt-out and said that decision was fundamentally against the purpose of the plan. Especially for SEAS, where many students either don’t buy textbooks or get them from somewhere else, forcing students to enroll would likely cause many students to pay more for textbooks. 
  • Specifically, ESC discussed a survey that would ask students if they’d like the textbook affordability initiative without an opt-out option. The survey would be conducted in conjunction with CCSC. CCSC wanted $300 from ESC to pay for raffle prizes, but, as the decision to buy expensive prizes was made without ESC input, ESC felt that they did not want to participate in the survey. Furthermore, they felt having expensive prizes seemed contrary to the initiative goal and also felt confident that SEAS students would not want to participate in the initiative. 
  • Ultimately, ESC voted not to give money to CCSC, not to advertise the survey on their social media/newsletters, and only to participate in the initiative if there was an opt-out option. 

This Week in SGA:

  • This week, SGA heard from reps from The Roosevelt Institute, who are looking to change Barnard’s housing policy to guarantee housing for students returning from medical leave. 
  • Emy Cardoza of the Student Life office also presented about NSOP, and some important changes that may be coming to Barnard’s New Student Orientation Program. 
  • On March 7th there was a food fair from 1-3 pm in the James Room of Barnard Hall to help people learn more about food insecurity on campus, as well as the Barnard Food Pantry and other resources available for those facing this issue.
  • Additionally, the Board of Trustees meeting is coming up. Jess Cruz is the Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees, and Chelsea Sinclair is the Junior Representative. If you have anything you’d like them to bring to the board’s attention, email Chelsea at cs3556@barnard.edu or Jess at jc4593@barnard.edu

This Week in GSSC:

  • GSSC was joined by representatives of the Alumni Relations Committee and talked about the importance of an alumni network, the strengthening of the alumni community, and explaining and smoothing the student to alumnus evolution. The Alumni Relations Committee was represented by Jill Galas Hickey, the Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at the School of General Studies, Aviva Zablocki, the Director of Alumni Relations for GS, and Michael Rovner, the Co-Chair of the Recent Alumni Committee.
  • The Policy Committee, as represented by Vice President of Policy Joshua Lefkow GS ’20, hyped up a new event being hosted by the Columbia University Family Support Network (CUFSN) on April 4th, time TBD, in the Lerner basement party space. They are currently looking for performers, so if interested, please contact CUFSN or Lefkow for more information.
  • Communications, represented by Vice President of Communications Luísa Dacroce GS ’22, then talked about the Metrocard Pilot Program, which is a policy initiative that GSSC has been working on that would assist GS students who commute with the cost of transportation, whose application will be open on Thursday!
  • Finance, represented by Vice President of Finance Nadia Vaso, then began with the discussion of multiple motions for reallocation due to finding of an additional $10,000 from last year’s rollover. Finance motioned for $1,600 for the Communications budget to pay for microphones, $1,990 for the Metro card program, $3,000 for next week’s Snack Attack, and all leftover funds going towards Gala. All motions passed unanimously.
  • Campus Life created a motion for the allocation of $8,000 from the Student Events budget towards the Gala as a way to increase the accessibility of the event, increasing the amount of tickets from 500 to 600, with tickets being $70 each. The motion, after discussion, was passed unanimously.
  • International Students Representative Piragathesh Subramanian GS ’20, motioned for the allocation of $600 from the Student Events budget for two new events called International Bites, which are snack events to help get international students know the International Student Dean, taking place on April 2nd and April 28th. The motion passed unanimously.
  • The night wrapped up with the introduction of the two candidate nominees for the position of the General Studies Election Commission Chair by ECAC, Zoe Dresner, who held the position last year, and Michael Delfini. Both were given 5 minutes to introduce themselves and their reasoning behind wanting to hold the position of chair, and were then subject to questions by the Board. Voting took place in a closed session and the results are expected next week.
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