CCSC continues their efforts to make everything less frightening and spooky for a Columbia COVID midterms season!

After a week of three midterms and two essays due, I hope you will all excuse me for my lack of oomf this week. And yet I still can’t help but admire that even when drowning in midterms, CCSC members kept themselves busy with their democratic endeavors this week:

VP Policy Rads Mehta (CC ’22) and VP Communications Krishna Menon (CC ’22) met with Deans Hollibaugh, Plaa, and Jackson this week in their continued efforts to have the CCSC COVID-19 Academic Adjustment Proposal approved by the Committee of Instruction. Since last week, Mehta and Menon have added an additional paragraph to the proposal outlining similar policies already adopted by Columbia’s peer institutions. Hopefully, the evidence that institutions similar to Columbia currently already have much more COVID-era friendly grading policies will impel the committee to pass the proposal. After seeing the survey results and the number of students in support and need of academic policy changes amidst coronavirus, all three deans seemed very much in favor of its passing, a sentiment that will hopefully be reflected in the Committee of Instruction once presented. There was a motion to vote which passed, and CCSC is voting virtually for or against the proposal. 

E-Board also worked in collaboration with ESC on creating an online form for students to report grievances against unfair professor policies in the context of COVID. These complaints may include insensitivity to students inability to access certain technologies, unfairly harsh grading policies, etc. The hope is that this information can be collected and relayed to faculty to advise them, in order to avoid unnecessary student distress during an already stressful time. In other news, President Joon Baek (CC ’21) and VP Mehta met with director of campus facilities and services Scott Right this week and are happy to announce that starting next week, the John Jay student lounge will now be open to students living in Wallock, Hartley, and John Jay to use as a communal space. A section of John Jay dining hall will also be experimenting with opening a small section up for indoor dining and depending on student response, may continue to try opening more sections of the dining hall for student enjoyment. 

Student Services Representative Zoe Davidson (CC ’24) is working with Class of 2024 VP Kathan Reddy on creating an online student resources portal geared towards first years navigating the college experience in a completely online world. Examples would include how to speak to a librarian virtually and accessing Columbia provided publication subscriptions. 

Gender and Sexuality Representative Adam Kluge (CC ’22) had a busy week of CCSC related work, meeting with both LGBTQ at Columbia and the Queer and Trans Student Advisory Board (QTAB). Kluge and LGBTQ at Columbia are addressing the broad question of how to create a truly inclusive event on campus. While clubs are now required to have anti-racism training to be a part of Club ReFuel, there is no requirement for intersectionality training or specific LGBTQ inclusivity programs. Kluge will continue to work with LGBTQ at Columbia to create a semester-long accountability program to ensure that all Columbia clubs are healthier, safer, and more inclusive for all students. With QTAB, Kluge discussed their work with the Provost in their efforts to ensure that faculties’ curricula are inclusive for LGBTQ students. There have been complaints that often in CC classes students’ identities are a topic of classroom discussion, causing students to feel as if their lived experiences are up for debate. Kluge in collaboration with QTAB is seeking to ensure that faculty inclusivity to LGBTQ students is enforced and held completely accountable.

Transfer Student Representative Shelly Michael (CC ’22) is finalizing a transfer student survey which will be sent to students through the class council newsletters soon. Representative Michael is and continues to work with the 2023 and 2022 class councils on a virtual friend pairing idea for students.

Class of 2024 Representative Teji Vijayakumar (CC ’24) proposed the idea of a Columbia-wide activities calendar for students which VP Communications Menon enthusiastically endorsed. This would most likely be in the form of a google calendar that anyone with a UNI could choose to have on their google calendar, and which would include approved open-to-all club events and Columbia sponsored activities. Look forward to being able to find all those extracurricular zoom links in one place instead of having to dig through the dusty graves of your many emails! Happy spooky season!  

Image via Bwog Archives