Aaaaaand we’re back! Back with weekly coverage of CCSC and in-person meetings! Never has anyone been so excited to dive right into the details of Parliamentary Procedure like this year’s CCSC, with us right beside to write about it.
The Columbia College Student Council for the 2021-2022 school year kicked things off in good COVID-19-safe style, splitting the meeting time in half, meeting with the Class Councils first followed by a meeting with the At Large Representatives and University Senators. The content of these two, 45-minute meetings was almost identical in terms of information presented by the CCSC Executive Board, but for the sake of coverage, I will not repeat myself.
As councilmembers filed into the Satow Room at 8 pm on Sunday night, this year’s Executive Board—made up of Council President Rads Mehta (CC’22), VP of Finance Sophia Adeghe (CC’23), VP of Communications Tejasri Vijayakumar (CC’24), VP of Policy Krishna Menon (CC’22), and VP of Campus Life Elsa Chung (CC’23)—exchanged hellos, sweatshirt compliments, and quips about what it was like to finally meet some councilmembers in person.
President Mehta then called the meeting to order, starting off with formal introductions from the Executive Board and listing out the evening’s agenda. Mehta and VP Menon both mentioned how excited the Board was to introduce their new restructuring plans and get feedback from the rest of the Council.
After the traditional opening on what CCSC is, highlighting their campus event organizing and student body advocacy, President Mehta reminded the Council of upcoming changes and elections. First, President Mehta reminded the Council of the new constitutionally mandated Identity and Diversity Task Force Chair, a position that rotates every 2 months and ensures CCSC is following through on thoughtful and intersectional advocacy. Mehta then informed the Council that elections for the 2025 Class Council open this week and will be finalized by October.
The Executive Board then introduced their plans for restructuring CCSC. Historically, there have been four main committees (Policy, Campus Life, Communications, and Finance) but they have not always been productive, don’t meet consistently, and struggle to have a targeted impact. The Board’s restructuring proposal works towards more focused goals and therefore more focused outcomes. Instead of each councilmember or class year working on their own projects, in this new structure, there would be five task forces, each with their own targeted projects: Community, Clubs, and Traditions; Academics, Alumni, and Careers; Communications and Digital; Student Wellbeing; and Identity and Diversity. The Board stated that the task forces are subject to change until they are finalized next week when the entire Council meets together. Using the 38 members of CCSC, there would be 7–8 members per task force. Each task force would meet once a week at different times so that councilmembers could sit on multiple task forces at the same time. These meetings would last an hour with 40 minutes spent on the task force project, and 20 minutes to discuss projects of individual members. Task force meetings would be in addition to College Council and At Large Representative meetings, so class- and representative-specific work would not go away under this new structure.
President Mehta then opened the floor to questions and suggestions.
In response to concerns about task force project overlap, President Mehta stated that task forces would pay attention to the work of other groups to ensure that they were all working on separate projects unless there was a goal that necessitated the work of multiple task forces. Here, she also clarified that all the task forces would be project-based (working on one project at a time) except for the Identity & Diversity (ID) task force. Regarding the role of financial health as a project of the Wellbeing task force, VP Menon stated that the ID task force had agreed it would be better for them to handle financial health work as they would be better able to address the intersections of race and class, specifically when it came to assisting and advocating for the FLI student body. President Mehta added that the matter was open for discussion and would hopefully be finalized at next week’s meeting.
President Mehta then clarified that councilmembers will only be able to switch between task forces between projects, and even then switching will be dependent upon membership. VP Finance Adeghe added that councilmembers will always be able to go to all task force meetings, they might just not hold a formal role on the task force.
When asked about the leadership structure of the task forces, President Metha stated that the Executive Board will start as the point-people for each of the task forces (VP Comms Vijayakumar running the Communications task force, VP Student Life Chung running Clubs & Traditions, etc.), but that leadership will change based on what project a task force is working on. The Executive Board wants all members of CCSC to gain leadership experience through the task forces, regardless of their position within the Council. VP Policy Menon added that the end goal is for the Executive Board to function as an advisory board for the task forces, filling leadership positions only when necessary. President Mehta also stated that the ID task force will have more specific representatives reflecting positions already held by members of the Council, like FLI Rep and Gender & Sexuality Rep.
The Executive Board intends to finalize plans for the year by next week and have members use a rank-choice system to evenly distribute them among task forces.
After a year of virtual CCSC meetings and fairly lax policies regarding the traditional Parliamentary Procedure format of Council meetings, the Executive Board ran through a quick review of “Parli Pro,” stating that they intend to be much more strict about its use this year. This includes speaking times, attendance, voting procedures, and more. VP Finance Adeghe reassured newer councilmembers that Parli Pro was something they would get used to and that there would be no true penalization for messing it up. At this point, she also reminded councilmembers to be careful with joint-council event spending during the upcoming year and to email her for confirmation when getting council spending funds.
At this point in the Class Council and At Large Representative meetings, CCSC went through introductions, listing year, position, and something they would like to focus on during the school year. Ideas included worries about class financial segregation, creating support for hard of hearing and deaf students, and creating a database for alumni pre-professional tips.
During the At Large Representative meeting, the Executive Board asked three seniors to volunteer to serve as the Election Committee for the upcoming first-year class council elections. VP Policy Krishna Menon, Gender and Sexuality Rep Adam Kludge (CC’22), and Pre-Professional Rep Anthony Adessa (CC’22) volunteered.
Before packing up for the night, President Mehta informed the Council that they would be using Slack as their means of communication for the year and to watch out for an invitation. With no standing questions remaining, CCSC’s first council meeting of the school year came to a close.
Campus via Bwog Archives