CCSC discusses creating a task force that would address financial accessibility for Columbia students.

This week’s CCSC meeting began with E-board and task force updates, as per usual. Most notably, VP Krishna Menon (CC’22) shared that he and AAC (Alumni, Academics, Career), sent in a proposal to the committee on instruction with the help of Class of 2024 President Erick Zent (CC’24) and Class of 2024 VP Kathan Reddy, (CC’24),  and are in the process of clarifying the grade appeal process. 

The first major item on the agenda was the introduction of the Financial Accessibility Task Force Proposal by FLI Representative Jaine Archambeau (CC’22). The proposal comes as a solution to the difficulties that come with sustaining consistent FLI (first generation-low income) student advocacy, as well as it creates opportunities to initiate long-lasting institutional change. Archambeau explained that if CCSC had a team of members to specifically deal with the issue of financial inclusivity on campus, they would be able to work much more effectively than they do currently. The task force would aim to address textbook affordability, some of the outstanding/common problems with financial aid, and finally institutionalize the Winter Meals Initiative. 

In terms of textbook affordability, the Financial Accessibility Task Force would “expand access to e-textbooks, online course materials, and costly workbooks/practice books” according to the Financial Task Force Proposal PowerPoint that was shared with members of CCSC. In regards to Financial Aid, The task force would “continue to work on student contribution and course material fees” and “clarify and promote the Dean’s Student Assistance Fund – and potentially look into what needs are considered for the fund”. Lastly, to facilitate the Winter Meals Initiative, the task force would work with past partners to continue supporting students who cannot afford food over break and to “connect with appropriate stakeholders to ensure CCSC’s progress on this issue is permanent”. Archambeau concluded the presentation of the proposal by sharing that any representative of CCSC who wants to take part in any of the aforementioned initiatives can, and that the FLI representative (who is currently Archambeau) would lead meetings if the proposal passes. 

Once a motion for open discussion was introduced by Kwolanne Felix (CC ’22), seconded by President Rads Mehta (CC’22), and passed, Felix asked Archambeau how they intended to collaborate with some of the already established task forces to push some of the initiatives that have an intersectional lens. Archambeau responded that there will be a lot of collaboration with the Identity and Diversity (ID) task force. VP Menon added that e-textbooks are a great example of a potential collaboration between AAC and the proposed Financial Accessibility task force. President Mehta added that the proposed task force was also discussed in the Student Well-Being (SWB) task force and it is clear that there can be a lot of collaboration between SWB and the Financial Accessibility task force. 

Felix then put forth a motion to vote, which was seconded by President Mehta. The motion clearly passed. Members of CCSC were instructed to vote for the proposal via the VoteUp app, and the task force proposal ultimately passed with a vote of 30-2-0 (30 yes, 2 abstain).

CCSC then continued its discussion from last week about the possible restructuring of Columbia’s pre-orientation programs. Members voiced their concerns about move-in day being the same for everyone and the possibility that programs like ISOP, COOP, and CUE would be shortened. It seemed to be the general consensus of CCSC members that they were not in favor of restructuring the cherished multi-day pre-orientation programs. After discussion of the issue commenced, another VoteUp link was sent out asking members whether Columbia should keep its pre-orientation program. At the time the meeting ended, the final vote was not yet in. The meeting ended with representative appointment sessions for the Class of 2023. When I asked VP Comms Tejasri Vijayakumar (CC ’24) to clarify what appointment sessions were, she explained that “​​appointment sessions are when people who have applied to fill a vacant seat on CCSC come to present to the entire G-body and then have a Q and A. This follows essays and interviews that are conducted by the appointment committee, a subcommittee of CCSC that is created every time there is a vacant seat.”

See you next week!

Lerner via Bwarchives