This week in ESC, they held their last full open meeting and mainly discussed constitutional changes. ESC Bureau Chief Lori Luo reports.

The meeting held yesterday was ESC’s last full open meeting of the school year. The next meeting will be open and have normal updates and votes for the first 15 minutes, but will then be closed for reflections and for the members of ESC to say farewell.

Constitutional Changes
The first constitutional change brought up was to allow for virtual voting in ESC for efficiency and practicality purposes. At the current moment, there is no mention of virtual voting in the constitution and conducting a virtual vote requires jumping through many hoops. It’s also worth noting that all the other student councils (CSSC, GSSC, SGA) all have virtual voting implemented in their constitutions.

Sustainability Representative Ade Balogun asked if there would be specific rules implemented regarding when virtual votes could be used versus voting in person. President Alina Ying answered that there will likely be wording that encourages voting in person and during general body meetings first and that virtual votes would be used only if it’s a time sensitive issue.

Balogun also asked if virtual votes would only be used for the entire council would vote virtually or if members absent during ordinary meetings could use it as well. Ying responded that it would only be used for the entire council. Elaborating on this point, Vice President of Policy Estevan Mesa added that the wording of the constitutional change should specify that members who have a conflict and who can’t make it to general body meetings cannot vote virtually.

Essentially, this constitutional change would allow ESC to vote on time sensitive matters that were not able to be brought up the previous meeting but also required a vote before the next meeting.

The other constitutional change brought up was regarding the health and wellness representative position. Health and Wellness Representative Juliet Sampson met with other health and wellness representatives with other councils to discuss and clarify the role of the health and wellness representative. The main change they would like to implement is to add the expectation that health and wellness representatives are required to participate in the peer health network.

The peer health network is designed to help student leaders in positions related to health and wellness. Those students undergo a training program to ensure that they have an awareness of the many resources available on campus. These student leaders then have a group of fellow leaders who they can bounce ideas off of and create initiatives to promote health and wellness on campus. This year was a pilot version of the program, with around fourteen people.

Ying asked if Sampson felt the change should be expressed in a continuing resolution for the role or via a constitutional change. While some roles have specific constitutional duties, others have external responsibilities that were passed through resolutions or through point of contacts. This difference is due to changes in the existence of different groups and their functions throughout the years. Sampson emphasized she want to make sure the expectation exists to prevent miscommunication and wanted it written down officially.

Ying responded that ESC can pass a resolution stating the next health and wellness representative needs to join the peer health network, and if the resolution was passed, the next council would have the requirement for the new representative. Mesa elaborated on this point, saying that since continuing resolutions needs an expiration date, if peer health ambassador network was cancelled or changed, the resolution would be dropped without needing constitutional amendment. Sampson said she would discuss it with the other health and wellness representatives.

Miscellaneous Updates

  • ESC signed two letters (“An Open Letter to Admissions, Postgraduate Opportunities in Response to COVID-19″ and “An Open Letter to Expand Telehealth Support Access across State Lines”) created by Brown University’s student council to address student issues during COVID-19 and that currently have been signed by over 80 university and college student councils across the nation. ESC also briefly discussed how to bring the letters up to Columbia’s administration.
  • Regarding housing, student complaints with storage companies should be resolved directly with each company. Housing staff has also been going room by room to identify belongings that were not removed and contacting the student to make arrangements for their goods to be stored, donated or thrown away.
  • ESC is hosting a Netflix Party on Saturday night!

How ESC will vote in the future via Pixabay