This week, CCSC Bureau Chief Maddie Goodman felt yet again inspired by the tenacity and student advocacy of general body members.

Maybe it’s because this is my first year religiously attending CCSC meetings, maybe it’s because during midterms I’ve lost a little faith in humanity, or maybe it’s because these CCSC members are just bloody amazing, but wow, do I feel inspired. This week, I saw the true dedication and work these elected students put into making our lives as Columbia students more bearable, especially in 2020. So if you’re looking for an elected body that gets shit done and is for the people, look no further than this week’s updates:

First, congratulations are in order for the three members introduced; Zoe Davidson (CC ’24) is the new Student Services Representative, and Citalli Contreras-Sandoval (CC ’21) and Colby King (CC ’22) are the newly appointed Race and Ethnicity Representatives.

In the world of Class Council updates, Class of 2022 President Eva Bogomoliva met with CU Votes last week to discuss the potential to do a collaboration for election day activities. She is also working on a virtual trivia night with ESC as a potential post-fall break student activity. Furthermore, she and Class of 2023 president Elle Harris will be meeting with Transfer Representative Shelly Michael (CC ‘22) to discuss transfer inclusivity. Class of 2024 President Erick Zent has been in communication with his class faculty advisor as well as Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise Movement to discuss divestment from fossil fuel referendums. Zent is also in collaboration with the Class of 2024 VP, as they are trying to host a virtual town hall for first years in the near future to hear what they want and need from CCSC. 

Gender and Sexuality Representative Adam Kluge (CC ‘22) is meeting with LGBTQ at Columbia to set up weekly meeting times and to work directly on Trans Awareness Week, as well as ways to continue that raised awareness beyond one week. He will also be meeting with the Gay Health Advocacy Project (GHAP) to work towards providing more mental and physical health resources on campus for transgender and non-binary students. Race and Ethnicity Representative Colby King (CC ‘22) is meeting with the University Senate Committee to discuss Public Safety, and to address racism on campus at-large. King also brought up the idea that he has been working on socially distanced programming as a way for students living on campus to connect with each other and make new friends, especially for first years. He has also been in communication with University Senator Heven Haile about the possibility of writing and sending out a student survey on Public Safety. King will also be meeting with Dean of Religious Life Ian Rottenberg with other student religious group leaders to talk about adding religion representatives in student councils. Transfer Representative Shelly Michael is working on a mentorship program specifically for transfer students, while also advocating for the use of transfer inclusive language. She also will now be holding office hours on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm, to which all are welcome, in addition to working on a future transfer student survey, in order to hear directly from the transfer community changes that need to be made.  

VP of Policy Rads Mehta (CC ’22) and VP of Communications Krishna Menon (CC ’22) forged onward in their mission to advocate for students’ academic needs during these times. CCSC has and continues to receive over 600 student responses to the Academic Satisfaction Survey, in part thanks to Class of 2024 VP Kathan Reddy successfully advocating for Core class professors to share the survey during class. This data collected from the survey will help the VPs convince Dean of Advising Andrew Plaa and Dean of Academic Affairs Lisa Hollibaugh in their upcoming meeting that the CCSC COVID19 Academic Adjustments Proposal is successfully passed on to the Committee of Instruction, who then has the power to pass or veto. The proposal requests that the pass/fail deadline for CC be extended from October 8 to that of SEAS, November 9, in order to accommodate students’ needs during the remote semester. It also would extend the withdrawal deadline until the last day of classes, December 14th, as well as increase the amount of classes allowed to be pass/failed. While it seems unlikely given conversations with the deans that major and/or Core classes will be able to be pass/failed, there are high hopes for the extension of the pass/fail as well as drop deadline. It was noted that other peer Ivy institutions already have much more lenient policies in lieu of COVID than Columbia has offered. Furthermore, first year general body members brought up the fact that they and many of their peers did not even know they had the option to pass/fail until the deadline had already passed. Following this week of meetings with the deans and the forwarding of the proposal to the Committee of Instruction, there should be more clarity as to which policies may be changed for this semester. 

President Joon Baek (CC ‘21) presented the idea to co-sign a letter written by various university student presidents across the country condemning the new Department of Homeland Security policy that targets international students. The new policy restricts international student visas to four years, in contrast to the previous more open-ended visa length, and it further restricts a targeted 50 countries to holding only 2 year student visas. This poses major issues to many students for obvious reasons, most notably that many people do not complete their studies in such a restrictive time frame and this new rule poses risks to students wellbeing in the U.S. There was a motion to vote for or against CCSC support of this letter; due to the virtual nature of meetings now, this vote will be open online for 24 hours and the result will be published next week. 

Class of 2022 Representative Brandon Shi enlightened us on the progress of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund Proposal, which is aiming to create specific funds for helping marginalised students on campus. The proposal suggests to rename the current At-Large fund to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund, as it is noted that much of the At-Large fund was dedicated towards marginalised groups in the past anyway. This money would be used for clubs seeking funding for activities specifically addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as a way to directly aid students who need it. The hope is that eventually there will be a joint DEI fund for all four student councils. 

Finally, a small CCSC constitutional amendment was proposed by VP Finance Sophia Adeghe (CC ’22). Currently under her position she is required to survey and investigate clubs on their inclusiveness in the beginning of the fall semester specifically. The proposed amendment would change this responsibility to be on a rolling basis throughout the two semesters. It was brought to a virtual vote, the results of which will be published next week. 

That’s all for this week, until next time! Hope everyone continues to survive midterms and spooky season!

Image via Bwog Archives