This week’s agenda included a P/D/F Grading Policy update, dining updates, upcoming Snack Attacks, and more.
GSSC President Serengeti Timungwa (GS ’22) started by welcoming everyone to the final meeting of the semester! GSSC will next meet on January 26, 2021.
Timungwa announced that that the P/D/F Grading Policy was successfully amended! Members across the committees stepped up to draft and edit, and it paid off, as GS students have already reported that the new policy is helping them.
Timungwa gave end of semester remarks, complimenting the committees on their hard work, dedication, and flexibility with the constantly changing policies regarding in-person events.
The Policy Committee announced dining updates resulting from Nasser Odetallah’s (GS’ 24) and Andre Moutafov’s (GS ’22) meeting with VP of Dining, Vicky Dunne, last Thursday. They discussed takeaway containers, tokens, communications with the GS population, and a possible reduced GS meal plan. Dunne informed Odetallah and Moutafov that many of these decisions had been taken out of dining’s hands, including the use of Flex/Dining Dollars. Dunne announced that Columbia Dining is revamping the Uris to-go dining area to allow students to access it with Flex points, Dining Dollars, and meal swipes. Columbia uses meal swipes to report who is entering the dining halls to the city. To increase communication with GS students, Dunne urged GSSC to take responsibility for getting information out to students. The Policy Committee met with Dean Rodgers to further discuss communication issues. Dean Rodgers vowed to sort out communication issues to prevent another situation like the one with tokens earlier this year.
There were no updates from the Communications Committee.
The Finance Committee gave an end-of-semester fiscal update and looked ahead to next semester. Total, GSSC has executed or has pending transactions of $278,810.69. This number includes allocated funds for fours school events, including Bacchanal. Notable line items for spending include Snack Attacks. Final Snack Attacks is in progress and will be $18,020.45 more than expected due to inflation and single-packaging necessitated by the pandemic. The Finance Committee explained that this increase is why the discretionary budget is a good resource. The Senior Class Budget has $21,479 pending and $13,014 available. This does not include the $8,500 allocated. The First-Year Class Budget has $12,075 left.
The Finance Committee explained that the financial situation is strong and has built-in budgetary resilience. That said, current levels of spending would be unsustainable in normal conditions. This year, the budget had significant rollover from the previous school year. For example, GSSC typically allocated $25,000 for the Senior Class Budget. This year, GSSC allocated twice that. Looking forward, merch for students will be tight under the current budget. Under normal budgetary circumstances, it would be impossible. To increase funding for future years, GSSC would have to increase the Student Activity Fee, which currently stands at $98. GSSC can either do nothing, increase the fee through a general body vote, or put the matter to a vote by referendum in election alongside GSSC elections.
The Campus Life Committee gave updates on multiple events. First, the Study Break Game Nigh will happen this Thursday at 7 PM. There will be games, candy, and other surprises. Next, there will be a GS party open to all students, regardless of class year, this Friday in Ancell Plaza! On Saturday, a Neighborhood Tour will go to the Union Square holiday market and the surrounding neighborhood. Finally, Final Snack Attacks will run from December 13-16 and 20-22. There will be guaranteed food for 175 people on the first day, but they plan to scale down as people leave campus.
There were no updates from the University Senator.
Next, GSSC motioned to approve the current iteration of GSSC’s statement of solidarity for the strike, prompting robust discussion. Faith Grady (GS’ 24) expressed concerns about publishing the statement as students prepare to enter into a “mass notice of credits not being awarded to GS students.” Grady worried that putting out a statement may put GS on the wrong side of administration. Odetallah responded, explaining that new information from multiple sources will be discussed in executive session regarding credits pertaining to core classes.
Rachel Harris (GS’ 22) brought up CCSC’s statement, which talks about credits and how the strike is affecting students. Harris suggested GSSC use similar language to discuss how the strike impacts GS students. Joshua Brunnlehrman (GS ’23) echoed this point, suggesting GSSC mimic CCSC’s decision to not explicitly support or disavow the strike and instead suggests it’s unfair for the University to allow for this to happen. Brunnlehrman believes this may help GSSC stay on the administration’s good side.
Katie Mae Peters (GS’ 23) expressed support of the statement and explained that no matter what, GSSC will have to fear being on the administration’s bad side. Peters hopes a message of support will potentially help GS students who want to be graduate student workers in the future.
Garrett Gregor-Splaver (GS’ 23) urged GSSC to take into consideration only the circumstances surrounding the strike as it currently stands, as GSSC can’t predict the strike’s plane in the further.
Simas Chacar-Palubinskas (GS’ 24) researched strike rules and shared informative quotes from the National Labor Relations Board.
Kyle Gordon (GS’ 23) expressed concern about operating from incomplete information.
Odetallah feared how the GS student body would respond. Odetallah worried the timing could potentially be received poorly by the GS students as they currently are unsure of the effects the strike will have on their credits. Harris had similar concerns, as Harris has heard of an increase in GS students who do not support the strike. Harris suggested writing a statement about how the strike impacts GS students directly and how GSSC is advocating for their constituents. Grady explained that there is a similar statement already drafted that the Policy Committee has not yet circulated to the rest of the Council.
Ultimately, the motion to adopt the currently proposed statement in support of the SWC failed, with eight in favor and 18 opposed.
Next, the Committee motioned to table the current proposed statement in support of the SWC and instead write a statement reflecting the circumstances that will be voted on during the break period. Discussion followed about concerns the tabling will have to wait until February, and some members suggested an emergency email vote before then. Ultimately, this motion passed with 20 in favor, four opposed, and four abstentions.
GSSC then motioned to issue a statement in support of renaming Thorndike Hall to Edmund Gordon Tower. The motion passed with 28 in favor.
Next, GSSC motioned to adopt the Student Well-Being Survey to send to the GS student body. After some discussion over the logistical details of the survey, the motion passed with 28 in favor.
GSSC motioned to allocate $750 towards GSSC tablecloths, which most student groups have for events. GSSC gave two options for the tablecloths, one with the GSSC font and the other with Columbia University font. The motion for option two passed, with 23 in favor.
Alex Starzyk (GS ’23) announced that GSSC would vote for the Gala Theme in Executive Session, and it will be announced in March when tickets are released.
Emily Robinson (GS’ 23) shared that 35 students have applied for MetroCards. The motion to give out 35 metro cards passed.
Good luck on finals, and see you next semester!
GSSC Header via Bwog Archives