The Council discusses elections for those who will run the 2021 Elections…not to be confusing…

After calling this week’s GSSC meeting to order, President Jane Jeong (GS’22) began with two opening remarks.

First, Jeong welcomed recently-appointed VP of finance, Louis Cheng, to the council. Jeong remarked on the Council’s appreciation of Cheng’s appointment, especially since he was calling in from Singapore.

Second, Jeong pointed out that GSSC Spring 2021 elections are fast approaching. These elections will determine the new leadership of next year’s GSSC, including Student Body President, VP of Policy, Campus Life, and Communications, among others. Jeong stated that interested students should start reaching out to current officers to learn more about the positions.

Tuesday night, though, the council was to vote on an ECAC (Elections Commission Appointment Committee) Election Chairperson and on the Community Service and Sustainability Representative.

The Policy Officer had no major updates except that there was active communication with the administration to extend PDF grading changes from last semester to the Spring as circumstances have not changed. They were hopeful of having an answer soon. VP of Communications Pao Durán had no major updates and neither did the new VP of Finance Louis Cheng.

Next, VP of Campus Life Liam McGrane motioned to appropriate $160 from the Campus Life budget for a Zoom Pro account so that Campus Life could run events from a non-personal account, noting that the use of Zoom for events will most likely continue in some capacity during the Fall 2021 semester. At this time, McGrane officially announced the nomination of Simas Chacar-Palubinskas for Community Service and Sustainability Representative. This was followed by an update on upcoming events, including a pet mixer on Friday 2/12, “Welcome to Columbia Part 2” on 2/10, “Graduating During Uncertain Times” on 2/11, and reminded everyone that Student Veteran Lounges happen weekly on Thursday evenings.

The Council moved onto New Business, where VP McGrane motioned for the Zoom Pro account appropriation. There was some discussion whether or not this money had to come from the budget or if the administration could cover the costs. Tech Chair Dylan Lee and Senator Jeremy Wahl informed the Council that the University offers Zoom Pro accounts at a reduced cost of $15 a year. The Council passed McGrane’s original proposal of $160 appropriation with 25 in favor in the off chance that the reduced cost from the university did not follow through.

Next, the Council moved into speeches for the election of the ECAC Elections Chairperson. This person will be the chair of an independent elections committee that will oversee the processes of next year’s election such as debates, disbursement of election packets, and hosting information sessions.

The first to speak was Dave Johnson. Johnson, a Political Science major, had formerly worked as an election chairperson in Suffolk County, liaising between coordinators and voters. Johnson mentioned his detail-oriented approach to work, citing his experience as a supervisor in a laser factory and being drawn to the dry language of the GSSC election bylaws. This being his first full semester at GS, Johnson made his neutrality clear and advocated for a straightforward election with “very little news.”

Next was Tyler Franklin, a CS major looking for an opportunity to serve GSSC. Franklin mentioned that he was not neutral to GSSC action, but rather inspired by it and therefore pursued the position of Election Chairperson. Franklin stated that neutrality did apply to specific candidates or individuals.

VP of Communications Pao Durán asked the candidates if they had thoroughly read through the ECAC rules, to which both candidates said they had. Franklin mentioned an intent to memorize them. The candidates were then asked what they would do in the face of a disagreement over a rule. Johnson states that to set up a blanket procedure would be dangerous, but that starting with precedent would be best, followed by the consultation of other commissioners and chairpeople, and expanding that consultation to all of GSSC as a last resort. Tyler agreed with Johnson’s statements, adding that since everyone is invested in finding a solution, election chairpeople have a responsibility to resolve any disagreements speedily.

President Jeong asked the candidates what their time commitments would be to ECAC. Both candidates said that they could commit to the estimated 8-9 hours a week, with Tyler mentioning an ability to commit up to 20 hours.

Next, the nominee for Community Service and Sustainability Representative Simas Chacar-Palubinskas spoke. Chacar-Palubinskas, a prospective developmental economics major, mentioned past experience volunteering that the Columbia Food Pantry and in various houselessness projects. From these experiences, Chacar-Palubinskas hoped to find ways to get all students, regardless of place and time-zone, involved in volunteer opportunities through GSSC. Chacar-Palubinskas also vocalized a desire to integrate sustainable practices into everyday student life, noting large amounts of single-use waste outside of John Jay as a result of Covid-safe practices. Chacar-Palubinskas made it clear that one can be conscious of the realities of our given situation while also finding sustainable workarounds in daily life, and hoped to implement such practices with GSSC.

With no standing business, announcements from the floor, nor public comment, the Council motioned to move into Executive Session to vote on the Chairperson and Officer positions.

Meeting minutes are available for Tuesday night’s session.

Campus via Bwog Archives