This week’s original agenda included an update on GSSC’s statement of solidarity with SWC, an update on a possible renaming of Thorndike Hall, and a Lerner Pub event update.

This week’s meeting went on for a full two hours but was filled to the brim nonetheless. Student Body President, Serengeti Timungwa (GS ’22), opened the meeting as usual, although kept opening remarks brief to account for the packed agenda.

Andre Moutafov (GS ’22) from the Policy Committee informed the council that he had contacted the head of Columbia Dining, Vicki Dunn, to set up a meeting about dining issues GS students face. Moutafov asked any council members or GS students to reach out via email ( with any dining concerns to bring up.

Brian Laurito (GS ’22) from the Communications Committee asked council members to continue spreading the word about the new GSSC Facebook page.

There were no major updates from the Finance Committee.

Cole Wagner (GS ’22), VP of Campus Life, gave multiple updates on upcoming events. First, planning for the Tree Lighting Ceremony continues. In lieu of t-shirts, GSSC plans to give out holiday mugs with hot chocolate packets. Next, the first Lerner Pub event, a senior tradition put on by all four schools that typically happens monthly, will occur on December 3, 2021. 

Stephanie Pierre (GS ’24) from the Policy Committee motioned to adopt the Policy Committee’s current statement of solidarity with the SWC strike. The Policy Committee shared that statement with GSSC members before the meeting.

Immediately, a myriad of hands shot up on the Zoom screen. Joshua Brunnlehrman (GS ’23) started by suggesting GSSC acknowledge the negative effects the strike has had on the undergraduate students who GS represents. Next, Katie Mae Peters (GS ’23) asked the Policy Committee to emphasize the sexual harassment allegations. Emily Robinson (GS ’23) asked if GSSC had done something similar in the past, which Timungwa confirmed that yes, GSSC put out a statement of support last semester. Rae Harris (GS ’22) asked if GSSC had considered surveying their student population to gauge how much they support the strike, as Harris noticed increasing frustration with the strike amongst peers. GS students pay by credit, so Harris explained that some students have noted feel particularly shorted by the strike. In response to the effect on undergraduates, as raised by Brunnlehrman and Harris, Siena Milbauer (GS ’24) suggested GSSC recognize adverse effects of the strike on undergraduates but put that weight on the administration’s shoulders, not the strikers. Finally, Simas Chacar-Palubinskas (GS’ 24) responded to another member’s suggestion to note that Columbia had record-breaking profit this past year. Chacar-Palubinskas cautioned GSSC on their wording as, although this year’s donations were record-breaking, Chacar-Palubinskas would hesitate to classify the endowment as profit. Chacar-Palubinskas explained that the endowment and its relationship to the schools is quite complex. For the sake of time, Timungwa ended the discussion and moved into voting before we could hear more. 

Ultimately, with 23 nays and only three ayes, the motion to adopt the current statement of solidarity did not pass. Timungwa thanked the Policy Committee for the hard work to draft the statement and asked them to take the suggestions and present again next meeting.

Next, Nassar Odetallah (GS ’24) and Carol Chen (GS ’23) motioned to implement a new series of events for first-years, seniors, and international students: free tours throughout NYC, led by Odetallah and Chen. These tours will cost GSSC no money since GSSC members will lead them, and GSSC already approved free metro cards in a previous GSSC meeting. The motion passed with 28 ayes and zero nays.

Odetallah also motioned to allocate $300 from the $4,000 first-year class budget for a first-year study break event with board games and candy in the GS lounge. This motion also passed with 28 ayes and zero nays.

Finally, Rae Harris (GS ’22) motioned to allocate $30,958 for the Senior Cruise. The senior cruise happens every year and typically allows GS students and their families to purchase tickets. This year, due to the increased GS class size to 681, Harris suggested assuming a headcount of 500. As of now, non-CU ID holders will not be permitted to join. The motion passed with 25 ayes and zero nays.

Two parties presented during the public comment section of the meeting. First, Shaqed Tzabbar (Barnard/JTS ’24) and Zachary Becker (CC ’23) presented a resolution condemning antisemitism and asked GSSC to adopt the statement in response to a national rise in antisemitism. Additionally, Tzabbar and Becker informed GSSC that they were in contact with other student councils with the same proposal.

Next, Krystal Cruz delivered a compelling speech on renaming TC’s Edward Thorndike building after Dr. Edmund Gordon. Cruz asked GSSC members to sign a petition, which includes more information about Gordon, and consider putting out a statement of support.

Overall, the meeting was quite long but quite important. I’m curious to see if GSSC members are more receptive to next week’s rendition of GSSC’s SWC statement of solidarity or if the back-and-forth will continue past Thanksgiving.

GSSC Header via Bwog Archives