CCSC returned from Spring Break with a bang, packing in election season updates, summer course registration complaints, and the Inclusion and Diversity Task Force Committee amendment.
Welcome to student government election season! CCSC held a virtual information session last Friday, so in case you missed it, catch up with this recording and enjoy the always entertaining hosting by VP Communications Krishna Menon (CC ’22). The election website has been fully updated to reflect all the nuances of a virtual spring election season. If you have any specific questions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, Race and Ethnicities Representative Colby King (CC ’22) presented to the University Senate last Friday about Public Safety and will be submitting a full report on Public Safety practices and recommendations going forward. Representative King is also developing an independent review board to continue to monitor Public Safety practices.
Although VP Policy Rads Mehta (CC ’22) was not able to be with us live, VP Menon relayed her policy updates to general body members on her behalf. Given the understandable rumblings of upset after the discontinuation of New York Times subscription services for students, VP Mehta has reached out to the Times on behalf of the college to investigate the possibility of restarting that service for students. VP Mehta is also working with the Office of Disability Services to ensure student privacy online is taken account of as final exam season approaches.
Next on the agenda, President Joon Baek (CC ’21) facilitated a discussion regarding summer course offerings and some issues that have arose during the recent registration period. President Baek lamented that he had received multiple emails from CC students complaining about the difficulty to register for the Summer A term–a term that was advertised last fall as being similar to any other semester as its costs were included in this year’s tuition fees. First year VP Kathan Reddy (CC ’24) echoed similar concerns, sharing his personal experience as a first year facing waitlists of at least twenty students for almost all courses. VP Menon voiced that as a student who has taken summer courses in the past, he is aware of the different academic policies of summer terms, for example the prohibition of pass/failing a summer course or the very early withdrawal deadlines. He is concerned, however, that these policy differences are not being made clear to students registering for Summer A who are assuming it’s like any other semester. VP Menon also emphasized that while the university advertised to students registering in fall of 2020 an included summer term, they have not increased class section offerings to match this increased demand. VP Mehta has emailed Dean Hollibaugh concerns about these issues, including discrepancies in call numbers and course listings. Considering Columbia hosts some of the brightest minds, it is a shame that the university could not foresee that by advertising Summer A as part of the 2020-2021 academic year they would need to increase the number of course sections offered.
Another issue that CC students have voiced irritations over is the unnecessarily punitive nature of the COVID testing service. There is currently a three-strike rule in place for missing tests; first missed results in a written disciplinary warning, second missed leads to conditional probation and the third missed results in disciplinary action and mandatory meetings. Especially considering that some students are struggling to find appointment availability at times, the general consensus among CCSC is that the three-strike rule seems slightly extreme and President Baek is making efforts towards removing this punitive policy.
The final item on the agenda this week was the presentation of a proposed constitutional amendment. While the Inclusion and Diversity Task Force has been operating with a rotating head for over a year, this amendment would make the ID Task Force an official committee, and as such whichever at-large representative is leading the ID committee that month would also attend meetings. The at-large representatives who would be a part of this committee are the Gender and Sexuality, Race and Ethnicity, Disability Services, First Generation and Financial Security, Transfer Students, International Students, and Religion representatives. It is proposed that one of the previously listed at-large representatives would attend EBoard meetings on a rotating basis to ensure that the various identities are fairly represented. Included in this amendment is also the proposal that whichever at-large rep is chairing the ID committee and therefore attending Eboard meetings at that moment would also be a voting member of the appointment process committee.
Image via Bwog Archives