PROCEEDINGS OF THE STUDENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE:
TRANSCRIPT OF A HEARING ON STUDENT GROUP OVERSIGHT:
Sen. Christopher Riano (Stu., GS, and co-chair of the Student Affairs Committee) began the hearing at in the Jerome Greene Lounge. About 50 people, including about 20 student senators, were present during the meeting.†
Riano: So welcome, everybody.† Keith, youíre actually first up.† So if you want you can go sit at the microphone over there.† Thanks.† I must say I wasnít the one that set up the room, but thatís okay. This is kind of fun.† Yeah, Keith do you want a Bible, a Koran to swear in on?
Keith Hernandez (student president of the Activities Board
Riano:† Keith, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?†
So thank you everybody for coming.†
Jianshu, welcome, Lee [?]. Thank you.†
Perfect. So I donít really have too many remarks.† I just kind of want to go over very quickly
kind of while weíre all here, and then Iím going to let Keith speak.† Weíre here trying just to discuss a very
overarching theme of the way that student affairs, student groups, student
organization is here at
So without further ado, I also would ask that everybody please introduce themselves with names so that that can be transcribed once we do the transcription of the hearing, and your title.† So thank you very much.† Keith, please.
Hernandez: The first thing I know you said you wanted five minutes for the speech.† Could I have more time than that?† Itís going to be a little longer.†
Riano: Yeah, thatís fine.† Thatís perfectly fine.
Hernandez:† Iím Keith Hernandez, president of the Activities
Board at Columbia (ABC), and also
Iíd like to clarify that our focus is expressly for undergraduates of the three schools.† Our task is to appropriately fund student organizations that benefit the undergraduate community, and it is for this reason that we hold requirements regarding the focus and nature of organizations and the events that are held.† This determination is derived from the fact that the student life fees paid by the three schools are the source of our funding.
Regarding the recent General
Studies Student Council resolution and the question before us regarding student
group oversight, I would first like to explain the developing relationship
between General Studies, ABC, and the establishment of one undergraduate
community.† In the fall of 2002 GSSC
voted to fold its groups into ABC and provide funding as part of the annual
We at ABC have been extremely happy with the support and advice provided by the SDA and the Division of Student Affairs in general.† The division provides highly qualified professionals with masterís degrees to advise and support the student groups.† Moreover, as far as Iím concerned, neither ABC nor SGB [the Student Governing Board] has received some specific complaints from General Studies students. The few complaints that have come before us have been rapidly dealt with.† If there are any GS students who do not feel welcomed at any ABC groups, I sincerely apologize and will do whatever I can to reduce this discomfort.
As few of these concerns have been vocalized to me, I firmly believe that the Division of Student Affairs has successfully and effectively served students and student groups.† It has been a pleasure to work with the Division of Student Affairs as it takes on student group advising for all three undergraduate schools, becoming the de facto center for undergraduate student life for the three undergraduate schools.†
It had been suggested, however,
that there are other needs outside of an undergraduate sphere.† As a result individuals have called for a
centralized division of student affairs, or in the meantime a council of deans
that would solve all concerns.† There
are, however, significant organizational, structural issues, including sources
of funding, the autonomy of schools and the dilution of an undergraduate
community, that hinder the development of a centralized division.† If we centralize student affairs, what would
happen to admissions, financial aid, academic advising that presently sit up at
the CC/ SEAS office?† How would the new
division be funded, and what will be the effect on
But this brings forth another and yet more critical issue, the hasty development of the Interschool Governing Board (IGB), and the assertion by GSSC that the Council of Deans should be empowered to oversee ABC and SGB consistent with the model established by the IGB.† Essentially the IGB has very good intentions, but the current constitution leaves a lot to be desired.† The inclusion of deans in the development of the IGB leadership is inherently problematic, and it does not allow for student autonomy, the core value in the undergraduate governing boards. This is further compounded by the rotating delegate system that dilutes the influence and power of schools that perhaps require the most voice on the council.† In the end the composition of the board intends to include all members of the community, but has done so in a matter that does not address the critical questions regarding centralization I have outlined before.† How should undergraduate and graduates interact and what should be the nature of this relationship?
When the IGB was sold to students last year, the claim was made that it would be a graduate school governing board; one that would possibly benefit students who did not have divisions of student affairs at their own schools. At no time was it explained that funds would be siphoned off from undergraduate student life fees to pay for this governing board.† Now that the picture is clear, I join with other members of the undergraduate community in shock that student life fees are involved in the diversion of payments and [that this] was not openly expressed to students.† Students should have been able to decide where their money goes.† This one-size-fits-all approach obscures the deeper issues that are involved in the development of a centralized governing board or authority and dilutes the autonomy of individual schools.
At the heart of the problem with the IGB and any similar measures taken for other governing boards is the inherent divide between undergraduate and graduate schools. This divide overshadows the inexplicably vague charge in the Student Affairs Caucus which was given the jurisdiction over student organizations that deal with students in more than one faculty or school.† The vagueness of this [?] explicitly suggests that the dealings with CC and SEAS are under the express jurisdiction of the Student Affairs Caucus.† This was not and cannot be seen as the intent of the caucus.† Undergraduate life is and should continue to be seen separate from the rest of the university student body.† This differentiation is necessitated by the common educational experience of undergraduates that cannot be subsumed.† As an undergraduate and a leader of undergraduate student groups, I must denounce any movement toward centralization that does not give special purview for undergraduate life or governing board structure that does not allow for self-governance.† I call on the Student Affairs Caucus to review the actions previously taken in the construction of the IGB and delay the operation of the board and any other formal structures until such a time as the larger questions I have raised and others will raise today are answered in full.
My opposition to formal centralization at this time is firm. But please do not mistake this for being unsupportive of other schools.† I care deeply about building a strong university student body, and in [an] informal capacity I offer advice and support to all members of the community, whoever asks for it.† I believe that there are ways we can work together, be supportive of each other, but rather than through buildingóexcuse meówe can work together, support each other, and fight through red tape without resorting to massive organizational upheaval, but rather through building informal linkages between students, between schools.†
The push for centralization, epitomized by the IGB, has masked the real questions we ought to be asking each other as students.† What are our collective concerns and how can we solve them?† Instead we have tried to export our problems to a system run by administrators. Ironic to say the least.
I thank the Student Affairs Caucus for holding a hearing on this issue.† I only wish that I could have been brought into the discussion earlier.† Regards, Keith Hernandez.†
I also have an appendix with the
actual article from the Spectator,
Riano:† Can you go over that one more time, Keith?†
Hernandez:† [As] part of an appendix I added the Columbia Spectatorís article on
Riano: Keith, thank you very much.† That was [?].† Questions?
Sen. Andrea Hauge (Stu,
Business): Yes.† Iím a senator of the
Hernandez:† I believe that they should have recognition in IGB, but as I said, I have a problem currently with the constitution.† I reviewed the entire constitution just trying to figure out how the structure will work. Very interestingly, a lot of the constitution is taken from my constitution so it was very interesting to see the parts that existed.† And personally, and I canít say the exact quote, but thereís a quote that says we must decide our own governing structures regardless of who we are.† The IGB has to decide what they want their organizations to look like, and they just shouldnít take things from ABC because itís worked for us.† I think that you should probably look through the things that you really want from the IGB and then really clarify those needs and clarify where the funding poolís going to come from before we try to jump everything into it.† I think it was a little bit too fast.† Just from my perspective.
Hauge:† Okay.† And just more clarification, what do you see as the inherent problem exactly with the current rotating structure of the board of the IGB?
Hernandez: If Iím aware, there are two undergraduate spots and three graduate rotating spots.† So feasibly you would have groups that perhaps do not have divisions of student affairs that would really need or really could use an IGB or a voice on an IGB and not have the ability to be on there four or five years.† I think they have a five-year rotating spot.† So then thatís a problem, I think, that really dilutes any potential for somebody to speak up if they really have something thatís very strong in their community.† And theyíre expecting people from other schools maybe whoíve never met you to represent you.† I think that anything less than trying to make sure that the groups that do not have a division of student affairs have permanent seats on the IGB would not be helpful.
Hauge:† And then just to follow up on that, I think a lot of students feel that thatís something that could be fixed under a centralized system, and hence the push towards some peopleís interest in a centralized system.† You know that would offer that type of permanent representation.
Hernandez:† I believe a centralized system is important and I think that we should think about how we want it to look like. The only thing that I do ask is that undergraduate life remain a unique and unified component.
Another voice:† But still with participation in IGB.
Sen. Kimberly Gaston (Stu., Social Work):† So just to follow up on that comment.† What benefits and what potential cons do you see in separating, like having the undergraduates be a unique and separate body?† Like why should they be separate, instead of kind of bridging the gaps between the graduate students and the undergraduate students?† What pros and cons?† Can you speak to that?
Hernandez:† I think the biggest pro is you want a united university student body.† I think that breaking that divide is very, very important, and I think that we together, if we work together, we can do a lot of things and a lot of fantastic things.† But I am first and foremost an undergraduate of this university.† I live on this campus.† I live with my peers.† Itís a coeducational experience, and I donít think that my experience translates exactly to the experience that the graduate school students have.† And I think that diluting that would be very problematic for me.† I think that it would be difficult for any undergraduate to want to come to a school where they didnít have a unique undergraduate experience.
Sen. David Ali (Stu.,
as I added as a footnote to my students, it should be noted that we openly
allow graduate students and other community members to be part of our
organizations so long as the group itself remains focused for undergraduates
and fits the requirements found in the ABC constitution. †Part three: have a membership consisting of
Sen. Danielle Wolfe (Stu.,
Barnard):† Just wanted to clarify the
funding issue.† Itís one of the things he
brought up, and that was one of the things that I, when we were going in to
making the IGB proposal was curious about too, and just talked with Kim about
it.† I just want to put out there that
the student activities fee was already raised, and
Hernandez:† The only, I guess, comment to that is that every single day Iím faced with funding issues with our groups.† So then I have to go back to them and say, well, thereís been all this money along the entire time. So that just makes my job more difficult.† So then we all have this process; were we brought into this question earlier and all the councils brought in earlier, it would have made a lot of things easier.† And so I guess thatís the best way.† I understandóIíve heard the full story [that] the money was already there.† What are you going to do with it?† Well, why was the money there in the first place?† You know, thatís the question.
Wolfe: Thatís a good question.†
Another voice:† Just to follow up on that.† Since undergraduates can obviously participate in the IGB, I mean, what type of funding would you be interested in paying in then?† And how would you go about deciding that process if you had to do it all over, if you were able to do it over again?†
Hernandez:† I donít want to really speculate because I think thatís something we need to sit down and talk [about].† I think right now what Iím really expressing is the sense of shock and really trying to pull back the conversation instead of pushing it forward, ignoring the fact the weíve passed through a lot of things without discussing them. Particularly, like are these groups going to be really pushed, are we really going to push for graduate schools that do not have divisions of student affairs to have a very, very strong role in the IGB?† Because are ABC groups all of a sudden going to start going to the IGB, and is it going to become completely dominated by undergraduates?† I donít think that thatís what graduate schools would like.† Thatís not really what I would like to see, is undergraduates dominating a structure that was made explicitly for people that did not have outlets for extracurricular activities.†
Riano:† What college doesnít have a dean of student affairs division?
Hernandez::† Well, I mean like an active undergraduate student council or an undergraduate governing board.
Hernandez: The ones Iíve been made aware of have been the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) in particular.† And Iíve spoken with [GSAS student senator} Kira von Ostenfeld.† Iím not sure if Kiraís here. And that was one of the main concerns in producing the IGB.† I know that was one of the main concerns in the development last year because I was involved in some of the discussions, particularly with CUCSA, Columbia University Chinese Students Association, where the development was, there was nowhere for them to sit even though theyíre majority graduate students, GSAS students and some Business School students.†
Sen. Sumeet Shah (Stu., Engineering):† I understand when you had mentioned the constitution of ABC that there has to be two-thirds sitting of CC, SEAS, or GS.† So how are your thoughts on possibly having IGB be a major league graduate school equivalent of ABC, for example? For example, maybe it could be run like by graduate studentsóbut also still open to undergrads as well.† So basically we have a role reversal.†
Hernandez:† I like that idea. I think weíd have to look into it further, but just on the merits it sounds [like] a good compromise.
Gaston (Social Work):† So just for those students who are in support of the IGB and the centralization, the way theyíre coming at it is that deans were put into the IGB as a safeguard for students.† And the reason for that is because we donít have centralization currently.† So there would be no need for deans to be sitting on the IGB governing board if there was centralization.† So my question is, could you describe or explain how all students are protected or safeguarded under the current structure?
Hernandez: Regarding IGB or regarding. . .?
Gaston: Regarding ABC.
Hernandez: ABC.† I suppose, well, we are a self-governing board so we make all the decisions for our students and for our student groups. We are advised by the Office of Student Development Activities (ABC), who essentially, if thereís a question of legal liability, step in, but for most other decisions, itís up to us to decide how we best believe we should allocate funds to each other. Thatís the idea.
Gaston:† But how?
Hernandez:† I know I missed part of your question.
Gaston: So, yeah, just under IGB the role is to protect more students and safeguard, you know, the needs of the majority if not all students on campus, graduate and undergraduate. And to do that without centralization, it was decided that deans needed to be put on there as a safeguard to protect graduate students, perhaps, who arenít safeguarded under the current structure because thereís no representation really for them currently.† So if the opposition is against IGB, or more specifically against centralization, Iím wondering what the safeguards are for students, like graduate students currently, or all students. Because right now I donít see that all students are being protected.
Hernandez: I think that my problem with IGBís constitution and the fact that there are only eight members and four executive officers is that itís limited.† And I think that instead of giving three of those spots away to deans, we should give them to more students and have a strong-- Currently what we have at ABC is a strong adviser, and if Iím not mistaken, Iíve heard that Kevin Shollenberger [Associate Dean in the Division of Student Affairs, CC/SEAS] is going to be currently advising the organizations, or the IGB. And heís done a fantastic job helping us out.† I mean, heís somebody you should really trust and understand, but he will never jump in and overrule anything we will do.† And I think that even though you hope for a safeguard, I think that by having the structure you have right now itís almost forcing the need for centralization instead of trying to answer the question right now, how do we safeguard students?† Because you created a structure that wonít work very well probably, with having three deans in the same room voting on allocations with other students.† I think thatís tough to really jump through.
Wolfe:† Just to follow up on Kimís question.† How does your group protect all students?
Hernandez: We are an undergraduate group so we--
Wolfe:† But you allow students to participate as active members in the groups who are graduate students as well?
Wolfe:† How are they protected?
Hernandez:† Theyíre protected by the Office of Student Development Activities whoóany member, regardless of school, is protected by the office.
Wolfe: But yet a graduate student canít hold a position on an executive board [cross talk].
Hernandez: Yes they can.† They just, they may not hold a position that is either president or treasurer.† President or treasurer must come from those three schools.
Wolfe:† Okay. Well, for example, thatís not whatóIím a member of an ABC club. Thatís not what we were told by our adviser.† We were told that no graduate student could hold a position of the board. Thatís very specific obviously, and youíre saying itís not the case.† But thatís just an example of how graduate students are not protected by the advising structure if one adviser has in their mind that ďOh, sorry, you canít hold an executive board position,Ē and is telling their clubs that.† Something to look into.
Hernandez:† What I would ask is that you e-mail me immediately and we will fix the problem.† Please bear in mind that there are a lot of new advisers for SDA that are holding a lot of responsibilities now that SGB has moved into the Division of Student Affairs.† So I would ask that if you do have problems, the best people to help you will be ABC, and weíll be the key to SGB.† So please e-mail us.
Sen. Marcus Johnson (Stu.,
Riano:† Yeah, Keith, Iíd like to thank you as well.† That was a great start to this, and I appreciate you coming prepared and ready to speak. And those concerns are definitely going to be addressed in the report that we put forward before the university.† Because I feel thatís critical, and like you said you do represent a huge portion of the student groups on this campus.† So thank you Keith.
Hernandez:† Thank you.
Riano:† Sakib?† I donít know if you brought photocopies of the thing that you sent to me.† I donít know if you want to pass those out or?† Itís completely up to you.† That can go on the record.† Itís a Xanax day.† I donít care.† Sakib, thank you.
Sakib Kahn (chair of
the Student Governing Board):† The
SGB was founded in 1969óon
recently passed a resolution.† Iím going
to let Susanna talk about that from her end as sheíd like.† But the effect of the resolution was that
GSSC felt concerned about the move, the recent move of SGB from Earl Hall,
which is a central administration office, to the Division of Student Affairs at
††††††††††† At the same time the SGB, weíre a self-governing board.† Our nature of being religious, political, activist, ideological means that our self-governance is almost militant.† Itís just the nature of the way things are.† Administration, several administrators take stances, whether they be political stances or religious stances, and as a board in a lot of ways we act to protect student groups from bias, from administration probably more often than from students, and as such, as a self-governing board, it is in our interest to counteract any sort of oversight or supervision from advising that could be perceived as being content bias.
††††††††††† In so far
as SGB and its relationship with the University Senate, we exist in, to my
knowledge, two University Statutes, Statute 103 and Statute 105, and Iíd just
like to bring to the attention of the Student Affairs Caucus that both Statutes
need to be amended now that the SGB is no longer in Earl Hall.† Joseph Joe, a representative on the SGB,
passed out what weíve proposed as sample language for the Senate to consider,
for passing an amendment to modernize Statute 103, and as well as modernizing
and modifying Statute 105.† 103
establishes SGB, it establishes us and gives us a definition.† Our draft language gives us a definition that
reflects where we are right now, not where we are when these two statutes were
last amended in 1991.† 105 on the books
establishes an advisory council for the
Riano:† Thank you Sakib.† Mr. Johnson.
Sen. John Johnson (Stu.,
Kahn:† Okay.† Well, to use a recent example, over the past couple of years the SGB executive board began to notice that there seemed to be a political bias in the way security fees were being assessed to student groups.† It seemed that events that were deemed more controversial tended to be billed in much greater proportion for security than events that were considered non-controversial.† For example, the College Democrats for the school year of 2005-06 were not billed a single dollar in security fees even though they hosted several congressmen and high-profile events.† Meanwhile, the College Republicans were billed an exorbitant amount of money for hosting John Ashcroft and the [?] Students Association was billed an exorbitant amount of money for hosting Norman Finkelstein.† As such we advocated for and eventually resulted in the establishment of a securities fund that now covers each security fee in a centralized fashion for all undergraduate student activities.† Those are all paid on a flat-fee basis the way facilities are paid for, and that removes political bias from the way student groups are billed.† Thatís kind of a sample case of how we try to remove bias from administrative procedures.
Riano:† Well, before anybody else asks any other questions, Iíd like to thank you for putting this together, and I was hoping maybe you could go just a little bit further and explain how you came up with this particular statutory revision. Weíre definitely going to take this forward and talk as a caucus about this, and present a lot of this.† I mean, clearly thatís part of the report to the Senate.† But I was just hoping youíd kind of like go into the background of how you came up with this particular structure.
So in terms of how we came up with 103, basically with both statutes we
took the existing statute as it is on the books, and looked at it to compare it
to our constitution.† As it currently
sits, we are proposing amendments coming up within the next month to modernize [our
constitution], to bring it into an SGB that exists in the Division of Student Affairs
and not Earl Hall, and our current practice.†
And we revised 103 to reflect that more accurately.† We removed all mentions of Earl Hall of
course.† And then with 105 we essentially
replaced, you know, ďadvisory committee for the
Another voice: Thank you, Sakib.† Go ahead.
Yu-Lan Duggan (
Kahn:† Okay.† So in terms of ABC versus SGB, weíre kind of content specific in that we recognize clubs that are religious, spiritual, political, ideological, activist in nature, and in practice we also recognize clubs that are humanitarian and identity-conscious in nature as well.† And weíre looking to revise our constitution to reflect that.† And so we recognize those clubs, and ABC in its constitution specifies that it recognizes clubs that are not those things, as well as not the activities that Community Impact or the Inter-Greek Council or club sports recognize.† So ABC, of the five governing boards, kind of recognizes whatever doesnít fit into the other four.† And then in terms of IGC, you know, if there exists another governing† board, it really doesnít have that much of an impact on us so long as groups that better fit under IGB rather than under us, move to IGB and thatís happening with CACSA, for example.†
Wolfe:† If SGB were to be moved under a unified or a centralized university division of student affairs, how do you think that would affect the way your group functions?† If you were, you know, able to keep the way your constitution is organized and keep your version of [a] student-run executive board, how would that affect you rather than being under Dean Colombo and his student affairs division?† Are there big effects?
Kahn:† Well, in practice we try to keep our autonomy and try to keep it very dear to us.† And so in a sense it doesnít matter so much whoís providing advising to us and what advisors are signing off on space requests and vouchers, and, you know, not really interfering with how students practice their religion or their politics.† So in a sense it wouldnít make that big a difference.† At the same time, there are always concerns with central administration.† Central administrationís perceptions of how they deal with students andóyou know, we are coming from a central administration that moved us from Earl Hall to Student Affairs without consulting us once.† They announced it to us and then forced the move in two months at breakneck speed.† Thereís not much trust, to be frank with you, right now with central administration.
††††††††††† The College has been extremely welcoming of us at this current time, and also frankly we simply donít need another move.† Itís been extremely time consuming, and a lot of what the SGB has put its energy into this year.† In fact, almost all of our energy has gone to this move and other business has kind of been left to the wayside.
Wolfe:† Aside from the time-consuming aspect this year, do you think it makes sense in the future, however, to have SGB under a more central administration?† I mean, regardless of the idea of central administration and how they work against you, but in a sort of university type of student affairs versus under Dean Colomboís office, do you think it makes sense for the future, regardless of which administrators decided to make the move, etc, do you think it makes sense for you to stay under Dean Colombo?
Kahn: †I mean, I think it makes sense for us to stay under Dean Colombo, so long as Dean Colombo has an office.† If thereís a centralized division of student affairs, obviously it makes sense for us to sit there. The question as to whether this is good for student life I think is a larger question more pertinent to the student councils than to my governing board in particular.
Hauge:† Andrea Hauge, senator of the
Kahn:† I mean, the unilateral move over was basically the major gripe we have with central administration at this point.† Weíve made it very clear to them that they just simply didnít do this right, and they werenít honest about it.† I asked Provost Brinkley on October 4th, sorry, October 2nd, if we were moving.† He told me no.† By November 2nd we had functionally moved.† And there was no acknowledgement of anything even happening in between.† That is basically the source of our distrust with central administration.
Hauge:† And preceding that, however, you know, when people are considering moving student activities under a more centralized system, were there other problems that were encountered previous to that?
Kahn:† Previous to that we received a lot of autonomy from the Office of the University Chaplain.† Chaplain Davis was a tremendous advocate for student activities, and as such she proved to be a great voice for us in central administration.†
Hauge:† Thank you.
Another voice:† Just to clarify something, it was my understanding that the reason SGB was moved was because there were certain administrators that wanted SGB to fall under a more central control.† That was just the feeling I got from it.† Thatís why they wanted to move it under Dean Colombo.† I donít know if thatís [something] we canít talk about, but because that was what SDA was under and they, you know, felt like there needed maybe to be more control over groups and events that were happening, maybe surrounding the Minutemen?† I donít know.† That was my feeling.† I feel like one of the benefits of having a centralized university student affairs would be to make sure that all voices are being heard, not necessarily to be under the control of administrators, and I feel that that clarification needs to be made because itís not, I think, anybodyís intention that groups be overseen more by administrators than by students by centralizing.
Kahn:† In terms of why the move was made, the argument that was put forth to us by the provost and then by the president was clear that they felt that for the SGB to continue existing in a post Minutemen era, the SGB needed greater resources in its advising, and that central administration was not willing to give those resources to the Earl Hall Center, but that those resources existed in the Division of Student Affairs.
Riano:† Perfect.† Sakib, thank you very much.† I appreciate your comments. Weíve had two wonderful speakers so far.† Dan Okin, I expect nothing less.† Just so that everybody on the caucus is aware, thereís a little bit of a switch. The first two speakers have been from the student governing boards.† I also felt itís important to hear from the student body presidents, at least from the undergraduate world, about how they feel about all these issues. So, Mr. Okin, please.
Daniel Okin (president of the Engineering Student Council):† Thank you, Chris.† I cannot offer polished remarks to the level of my colleague and compatriot Keith Hernandez, but I will do my best to wow the Senate chairman.† I wanted to thank you for inviting us to speak today.† I believe that the issues in front of the Senate and Student Affairs Caucus are important to both undergraduates and graduate students alike, and they definitely merit discussion.† I want to clarify my role.† I am a representative of the Engineering student body, and thatís how I am speaking today.† I will be expressing their opinions on this matter as best as I possibly can.† So just to jump right into it.
††††††††††† Regarding ABC and SGB, I think that one can look at ABC and see an excellent model for how student advising and student groups have been managed at this university.† ABC is a financially solvent governing board that has excellent management skills, both mastered by Keith Hernandez and his predecessors, and has done an amazing job at promoting student life to the best of its ability given the funding constraints.† SGB has also done an incredible job managing religious and political activism throughout the university, and Sakib has been incredible at promoting their ability to continue to do so within the university post the Minutemen issue.
††††††††††† As a student council and a funder of both of those individual organizations, I stand behind their decision to remain autonomous, and I believe that that is where they should remain.† Their decision to work with students on an individual basis based upon their own affiliation as a governing board is important, and I think the distinction is necessary to make.† [Neither] Student Affairs nor any advising office has direct control over any student or student group within those groups under those governing boards, and I personally stand behind both Keith and Sakibís illustration that they are independent and they will remain to do so.†
††††††††††† I also want to call into line the fact that both ABC and SGB support graduate students already at no additional cost or no payment by the by the graduate schools into the advising system.† I think thatís an important thing to notice here, especially the fact that GS students who pay equally into the governance of these groups on an individual and student level are supported by the administrative systems put in place by both CC and SEAS alumni.†
††††††††††† Transitioning that into IGB, I think itís important to remember that this is an excellent idea.† No one denies the fact that what Andrea has brought up as a problem, what happens with a group that has both engineers and law students and business students, where does it sit?† I think that is definitely something that needs to be addressed.† However, I want to agree with Keith and Sakib (well, Sakib didnít mention this, but Keith definitely) that it has been a little too hastily put together.† And I am a little concerned about the structure and the governance of the system.†
The Council of Deans is not a governing body.† It is an information-sharing body designed to help deans and schools understand where each of them lie and how they work.† And I think that the fundamental thing we should examine here is that when the Council of Deans was approached to manage IGB, it was handed off to SDA.† So that as an issue illustrates to me the excellence at which SDA has been advising student groups over the course of the last seven years under Kevin Shollenberger.
The other important thing for me and the most worrisome is the monetary funding system that has been proposed for IGB.† A flat tax to all students does not necessarily meet the demands of the student bodies that will be participating in that governing board, and I worry that if we just flatly tax each individual that students will be taken for their money and used as support for other groups.† I think that council oversight on the other governing boards has been important in meriting, in deciding what each governing board merits, and I hope that the Senate considers a similar system, whether it is done through all of the undergraduate councils or through this committee is another story, and one that I am certainly not capable to address at this point in time.†
The other important thing for me, and I donít know how worried you all were, but I think itís important to consider that the money for this governing board was taken last year and has been sitting idly by.† As a student council that benefits from student life fees and where our sole funding comes from the activities fees paid by our constituent students, it worries me that over $130,000 of student, of university money has been sitting idly and not been used.† That is money that could have been put back into student groups, and I hope that the Senate, the Student Affairs Caucus takes action and recommends that it is returned to the students for the years that it has not been used.
In general I donít think that IGB should be opposed in any way, shape or form.† I think that, again I want to reiterate how amazing a concept it is. But I think that there is a lot more that needs to be discussed about this, and I wish that the councils and the other undergraduate governing boards were brought into the discussion earlier.
To address my last comments towards centralization, I just want to say that from my perspective undergraduate student life in the form of student groups has been centralized since GS has folded its groups into ABC and SGB.† The Office of Student Development Activities has been advising all student groups that sit under both, that sit under GS, CC and SEAS for the last five years, and as far as Iím aware very few complaints have arisen based upon that fact, the fact that GS have been actually rolled into that.† The student advising groups do have monthly meetings between the advisers and I have been in contact with members of that advising system, and there has been no complaints or issues that have been brought to the people in the Student Development Activities office this year as of yet.† So I just want to say that from my perspective as a governing body of these groups, they seem to be working very well, and the provisions for their existence and cohabitation as undergraduates is already in place.†
That being said, I want to echo Keith in the fact that I believe undergraduate student life is vastly different than graduate student life at this university.† I am all for the centralization of graduate student affairs.† I think that would be an excellent, excellent move forward for the graduate student groups who do not necessarily have the developed student affairs system that the undergraduate schools have.† But as far as Iím concerned undergraduate student life is important to remain separate.† It is funded by our alumni, and it is the pride of all the deans in each and every school. I have recently spoken to my dean, the undergraduate dean [?] who God rest his soul is now leaving.† Pardon me.
Riano:† Would you like a moment of silence, Dan?
Okin: But he has expressed to me in his very succinct style, ďI like them where they are,Ē and I agree with him.† Student Affairs and its direct tie to the deans of the undergraduate schools allow student concerns to always be at the forefront, and my major concern is that a centralization will wash out the individual needs of each school.† And that is why I directly oppose the folding in of undergraduate student life into a centralized system.
††††††††††† I also wish
to call to attention that there is significantly more to student affairs, at
least in our system, than just student group advising.† Student group advising is merely one-sixth of
the student affairs department for the College and
††††††††††† So I think that pretty much concludes my points, and again I apologize for not being as eloquent or succinct as Mr. Hernandez, but thank you.
Riano:† One person I want to definitely have speak on
this issue that you brought upóthe idea of the special divide between
undergraduate and graduateóis Andrea.†
Andrea is a CC alum and now sheís at the
Actually I think thereís an amazing amount of undergraduates who return
††††††††††† And to that point, if a flat tax system is not fair, then how would we even begin to go about deciding what would be fair for groups whose constitutions as far as demographics we have no idea what they would be yet.
Okin: [?]:† To address your flat tax system, I think that you bring to the head the crucial issue for why Iím against the flat tax system, which is that we have absolutely no idea what the student groups or what the governing board will require.† Until you can actually determine that, money should not be taken from each individual student assuming participation will be uniform.† So for me, itís important to establish the IGB and determine its needs, and based upon the needs of the governing board, we can agree to fund it proportionately.† I think that if the administration is truly committed to this, then they should provide initial start-up funds and let the governing board run for a year, and pull in new groups before they actually decide to flatly tax each individual student and assume that participation will again be uniform.† Because I have issues assuming that right off the bat.
Hauge:† Wouldnít the uniformity at least in some way insure that all students have equal access?
Okin: Yes it
would, but if itís funded by a central system which does not take money from
the students to begin with and uses that as a gauge for student participation,
then one can understand where each student body will lie.† When youíre trying to pull in multiple
schools, I think itís very, very difficult to just assume again that the money
will be there.† And I pull into this the
concept of a flat tax has been rejected by the
Hauge:† I think that presumes that the demographics of these groups will not [be] shifting consistently over time, which is what I actually think will occur in a more logical fashion.† Those demographics will never be consistent.
Okin:† That may be true, but I still think we should wait and see and gauge undergraduate participation before lumping them in, based upon the fact that undergraduates currently have over 300 clubs between the five recognized governing boards that weíve already created.
Riano:† I just want to state very clearly that, at least on my behalf, I completely agree with the fact that thereís money sitting around thatís not being used, especially when people need it.† That does bother me that thereís money sitting in a bank right now that could be used by student groups, and thatís definitely something that I think needs to be brought, something that we will work on immediately. Because that, I know how important money is to get student groups off the ground.† I know, just on IGB, that lots of student groups have e-mailed me.† Can you send us money, can you get us money?† And Iím like, ďI canít do anything.Ē† So, but I completely agree.† I know that one of the biggest concerns that KeithÖ[?], theyíre like, ďWe donít have enough to do the programming and stuff that we want to do.Ē† And I completely, completely agree.† And I canít speak on behalf of everybody up here, but I assume that most people up here would probably agree in some fashion that money shouldnít be sitting around for students thatís not being used by students.† So I just wanted to kind of put that out there.
Sen. Marcus Johnson (CC):† Because weíre all students in a big ark.
Riano:† So David.
Sen. David Ali (Stu.,
Sen. Tiffany Davis (Stu.,
††††††††††† Secondly, maybe Keith can speak to this.† With the security issuesó
Another voice:† Is there a flat tax on that? Ö
Hernandez:† The student caucus [canít hear rest of it]
Another voice:† Actually that is, currently the security fee, the security system was instituted by the councils at the request of Sakib last year, and each of the four undergraduate student councils pay by student use ratio to a total sum.
Another voice:† Thank you for explaining that; however, we must also recognize that even within our tuition fees, we are basically charged a flat rate.† Youíre charged for psychological counseling and not everyone uses that.† You are charged for so many things that not every student uses, but every student is charged with the same amount.†† So this is not the only part of the institution that this system is being utilized for.
Okin:† I understand that, but my concern is with other students adding to that cost already.† And for us, especially as undergraduates, our student life fees are exorbitant.† They are much, much higher than almost any comparable institution around the country.† We pay almost $800 a year in student life fees, and I think that is actually the largest at the university as well.† Graduate students donít pay anywhere near that much.† So my push is to prevent the increase of that student life fee as much as possible because that is a direct cost against my students.
Another voice:† So Tiffany raised a good point that there is a lot of money that is simply wasted into different fees that students are not to use.† But whatís also more important is that this money is going to be going towards a governing board where students will actually use.† The reason being is itís going to be funding clubs, organizations that students want to be part of.† So at the same time, while some money might be wasted in other places that people wonít use, this is something that has to be taken to a very big consideration.† Also going on Davidís point, and also that I mentioned to Keith before, the idea of even making IGB and ABC equivalent for the fact that itís also majorly of a graduate student side, as I said before, the role reversal would probably be more helpful. But Iím also curious to see what your opinion is on that is, Dan, and maybe we could go somewhere from there.
Okin:† I mean, I agree with both Sumi and Keith on this issue that IGB functioning as a graduate student ABC equivalent would be ideal.† But again, I want to stress that I think we have not done enough research or do not know enough information about the use and the demand for a board like this across the university, and I think that before we prescribe the structure, we should assess demand and understand what are the concerns of the students, what are the concerns of the student groups, and how do each of those concerns fit into the IGB current structure and where does it not meet those concerns.† And so if the primary concern is the one that Andrea brings up, I would say that your solution is probably more beneficial. But if there are, if there is a high demand for undergraduate, graduate participation in groups, then one would really need to consider that as well.
Sen. John Johnson (Law):† I apologize for dwelling a little bit more on a flat tax discussion† I did appreciate the analogy you drew; however, there might be a federal-state distinction that exists for that.† [Laughter]† But I guess with going there though, the one thought is that if we were to use a pro rata sort of system instead, where you do it based on who uses it, my thought is a lot of these groups would have a large bulk ofómost likely alliances would be with a grad group in a university undergraduate organization, and in many ways doing a flat tax ends up subsidizing undergrads more so because thereíd be a large bulk of graduate students who wouldnít be using it.† Thatís something I guess in my initial thoughts on what would likely happen.
††††††††††† Another thing that happens a lot of times, the question is chicken or egg, which comes first?† Is it the opportunity or the interest?† So is it better to start all things being equal and sort of let people with their making usage of the funds.† And in many ways because the population would continue to shift, it might be best to sort of make it to stay at a flat tax.
††††††††††† Also I want to make sure that we donít miss out on a point that was mentioned earlier, sort of the benefits of the cross-pollination that happens between the schools.† Iím sort of disappointed compared to what I saw in my undergrad.† It just doesnít seem to naturally happen as much, or at least from my perch where I am.† I just feel thereís a disconnect between graduate students and undergraduates to be interacting.† Now, it is not lost on me whatsoever, the importance of having a separate undergraduate existence and things along those lines.† But on a campus thatís so small geographically, the fact that the interaction is as small as it is concerns me, and I think something like this is a good way to encourage that without trampling too much on your identity.† And donítóyouíre very eloquent, is what I was going to say.
Sen. Marcus Johnson (CC):† Thank you.† [Background kidding]
Okin:† Just to address your chicken or egg question,
I believe that would be a philosophical difference.† So please take my response as my own personal
philosophical input on that specific issue. Again, I understand the need for a
flat tax as a beginning, but I really do want to advocate a non-student-based
monetary source for the initial start-up of IGB as a way to put money in place
that does notó.† The extra undergraduate
time would go to create more student groups and whether or not IGB would house
graduate equivalents to some of the current undergraduate student groups that
are already in place.† Now whether or not
those graduate equivalents will merge with undergraduate equivalents remains to
be seen.† But I do wish to stress that I
donít want to put the chicken or the egg first.†
I think that if the administration is committed to solidifying the
identity of the student as a
Yu-Lan Duggan (SIPA):† I want to piggyback off of what John and Andrea said. And I do thank you for your thoughtfulness, but I am slightly concerned, and I want to address this to everyone, that I feel like thereís a slight disregard for the graduate students.† And, you know, I hope you guys understand that we were undergrads once too.† I mean, we understand what itís like to be an undergrad, what itís like to have a separate distinct life, and on most campuses it is very distinct.† But at the same time I hope you guys see us as a resource to you.† Most of us have worked at least a good four or five years before we returned to school.† You guys are going to be looking for jobs at one point.† [Laughter]† This march [?] is probably more beneficial for you guys than it would be for us.† You could be tapping into us as a resource for future needs, and hopefully we would be an enhancement and not a dilution to what youíre doing.† So I just ask that you be considerate of that.† And weíre people too, you know, and we have groups, we like to be fun.† So just remember that when youíre continuing this conversation.† And, you know, at the moment graduate students get, well, obviously I sit on the SIPA Student Associationís board.† We actually end up funding the rest of our groups.† That just means that we have less money for us.† And so if thereís a way to benefit everyone, letís try to be open minded and letís try to consider it.† Okay?
Okin:† I do wish to reiterate that Iím not against IGB in principle.† I do believe that it is useful.† But I also wish to call into the fact that perhaps if all of the graduate students can remember their undergraduate days and think back to how much graduate contact they wanted to have when they were a junior or a sophomore, and just remember that sometime undergraduates are not interested in venturing out of their spheres as much as we would like them too.† And I donít mean to say that that is a diminishment to the resources that the graduate students will offer.† Itís just that sometimes undergraduate life can be described as a bubble, one which students feel safe in and do not really wish to exit, at least until they have to.† And thatís why you see a lot of people harking back to their undergraduate years as a 50-year-old man, as an example.
Sen. Gaston (Social Work):† So.† Yeah, well just to speak to that and then some points of clarification.† Sorry.† As a graduate student, Iím hearing that.† Itís just interesting to get perspective, and I think that it just speaks to the importance of a centralized system because I think that itís the views that are coming out right now thatís being expressed by ABC and SGB that shows that itís not being representative of all students, and there is no safeguard for all students.† That it is segregated, and so it speaks to the benefits of a centralized system which would be more representative of everyone rather than more for undergrads than grads.
††††††††††† And also just to point out and to reiterate what was said from SIPA that there are hundreds and if not thousands of graduate groups that exist within their own schools that are not receiving money from undergraduate fees.† And so IGB covers a very small, I mean significant amount enough to have an IGB, but a very small amount of graduate students that would even be receiving those fees.† Because we do get fees from our own student fees that are dealt with at our own schools.† So itís not like all undergraduate fees are serving all the graduate students.† So just to clarify that.
††††††††††† And also in terms of centralization, itís just centralizing in terms of advising.† Itís not centralizing admissions or financial aid or anything else like that.† That does not happen.† So just to clarify that.† So [a] centralized system is just for the sole purpose of advising and kind of bridging that gap to address the needs of all students and creating a better safeguard in representing everyone rather than more undergrads than grads.†
Okin: To address your first point about, I guess, the segregated nature of this campus.† This is again why I think itís important to go back and examine the constituencies of each university and see whether or not this is something they want.† One has to think about whether self-segregation is worse than forced integration.† And if the choice to remain in our own sphere is actually looked down upon, one has to wonder what is the actual goal of this.† Is it to drag people in kicking and screaming or is it to build willing partnerships?† And I can guarantee that forced integration will cause significant more upheaval and problems than any form of self-segregation will on this campus.
††††††††††† So I think that again we really, when talking about IGB as a concept, we need to really think about what do the constituent groups want.† And I think that that is the major part thatís been lacking in the formation of this board.† I agree with you on a purely idealistic sense that, yes, it would be lovely to have people be able to be compatriots, as undergraduates and graduates, but I donít know if that is the desire or mentality, and I also donít know if it is the place of the student governance to force that upon our students.
Gaston:† I donít think that the argument is to bring students together to hold hands and sing songs.† Weíre talking about an objective governing board thatís going to step back and say, I may be an undergraduate, but I need to think of the entire student body and not just undergraduate needs.† Because a central governing board would think of the needs of everyone.† And I donít think that thatís happening right now, and I think a need springs up when students arenít being heard, arenít being represented.† And so itís not to drag anyone kicking and screaming.† Itís to create an objective situation where everyone is being heard on a. . . †Looking at everyoneís needs, not. . .† Am I making sense now?†
Okin: I understand what youíre saying. But I again want to reiterate that Iím not against IGB or the concept of IGB.
Gaston:† Oh, Iím talking about centralization, not specifically IGB.
Okin:† Okay.† Well, I still think that centralization itself then will not pay credence to the individual needs of the undergraduates or the graduate schools that may arise.† So a centralized system will eventually wash out the identities of each of the individual schools in my personal opinion.
Gaston:† Okay.† I see your opinion.
Okin:† And I see like, I think that if you centralize student group advising, it may be very excellent at advising something like IGB, but I can hardly imagine every single group in the university becoming a member of the IGB, and I perfectly expect that the Business School Follies will remain a Business School group and the Varsity Show will remain an undergraduate student group. And my concern is what happens to their concerns.† In a centralized system no one will understand what those individual groups need because their needs are specific to those schools.† So a centralized system will wash that out, and thatís what I mean by washing out, I think.† Does that clarify?†
Riano:† You know, I love all of you.† However, it is and we have other people to speak.† And while weíre supposed to be at the Senate meeting, you know, weíre going to keep working on this. Iím going to take one more question and weíre going to move on to Seth.† I know Danielleís been really trying to push on this.† So Danielle, please.† Thank you.
Sen. Wolfe (Barnard):† I just really want to make a very quick clarification.† The reason that we decided to form the IGB was because of demand from the interschool student groups, and that also includes student groups that were a combination of undergraduates and graduates. The demand is already there, and thereís a large portion of the undergraduate community that wants to have this be an option.† There are students that are joint program with Barnard and SIPA that would Iím sure love to have an opportunity to have a student group that is a combination of those for advising purposes and for planning programs.† There is a demand on our campus for groups that do apply to both of those, and I think we canít deny that, and thatís one of the reasons that we decided to form this board, as a reaction to that demand.† So itís not just us saying, ďOh, letís have this board because it would make sense.Ē† Itís a reaction to a demand thatís already there.†
And I do totally understand the idea of,after this gets started,a re-evaluation of the demand and funds after the fact.† But I think weíre sort of approaching this in the wrong way in saying that, you know, we should try and figure these things out now.† I do think it has to be an evaluation after the fact, and obviously next year itís going to be different, and there isnít going to be that $130,000 surplus.† At least I hope that the administration would not cause that to happen again.† It should be a re-evaluation, but itís because of a demand, not just because of. . .
Okin: Just to briefly respond, and Iím sorry to keep taking more of your time.† But the issue with the re-evaluation that I see is that every single person in this room will not be here in two years.† So when you put a system in place, and say that in two years re-evaluation.† I say that because the Senate term is two years.
Riano:† I could be here for a very long time if I never graduate.
Okin:† Yes, Iím sure all of us have been threatened with the ďYou may not graduate.Ē† But the re-evaluation scheme has its flaw in the fact that students do continuously cycle through this university.† The journalism students are here for ten months.† That itself means that theyíreóI remember that because you said that last week.† [Laughter]† But I mean, just to be brutally honest I guess, I worry about a re-evaluation because, or that being put in place, because one can definitely see that not happening in two years which is when it would happen.† So by actually forcing a re-evaluation of the system by using administrative funds as opposed to student funds, it guarantees that there will be a re-evaluation after the trial year for IGB, and that way it will give us a reason to have introspection and make sure that this is functioning the way it should.† And my worry is that if we do not do that, it will just continue in perpetuity until about ten years from now when someone says, Um, this doesnít really work anymore, and then it just disappears or moves into something new.
Riano: Thank you, Dan.† [Background conversation]
Seth Flexman (president
††††††††††† So all right.† So weíre here to talk about student group organization and oversight, Iím assuming, because someone has a concern with how student group organization oversight happens.† And so just to be, I guess, like a little parochial for a second, I want you to know where Iím coming from on this.†
††††††††††† I donít
have a problem with how it works right now.†
Iím very happy with how it works right now.† Most
††††††††††† And so in
moving forward, I think that the goals of this group are good.† You guys see an opportunity for more student
life interaction between graduate students and undergrads and you see a demand
for it, and so you want to be able to find a place to put all that demand.† My concern is that in creating an IGB, you
will then be taking the system from
††††††††††† So IGBís a
great idea.† Itíd be great if IGB had
advising.† And I hope that we can find a
way to find advising for IGB.† I would
just recommend that option one is not to take the system that
Sen. Marcus Johnson (
Riano: †Marcus, welcome.
Marcus Johnson:† And I know weíve had some sort of off-line discussions here beforehand, but I think we both are probably hearing more than we knew before.† And I want to actually clarify some things because like you said, centralization is something thatís being thrown around right now.† SoóI think Dan and Keith both said that they wished that the governing boards or their councils had been brought into the discussion earlier.† And what I want to say is, you know, sitting on this caucus as co-chair and sitting on Columbia College Student Council, what Iíve seen over the last year has been the formation of IGB in a response to the demand by graduate groups that already kind of existed between graduate and undergraduates, that didnít really have anywhere to get funding from.†
††††††††††† So the idea of IGB is to not destroy ABC or subsume anything that already exists, but rather to be another avenue of funding so that we can have a group that has undergrads in it, has graduate students in it, but can also have a graduate student as president or treasurer one day, should they want to do that.† So thatís what IGB is for and about, just to be another avenue, another source of funding, another way for groups to get recognized that want to be recognized, that canít be recognized.
††††††††††† As far as centralizing all of student affairs or something that may seem a little more vague, perhaps a lot, very scary to some of us undergrads, I think that is a different proposal, a different resolution I believe that started in your council, in the GS student council last week.† Right?
Riano:† Oh, the resolution?
Marcus Johnson:† The resolution, right.† So that was brought up and immediately in response to that weíre having this hearing. So thereís not been sort of back door conversations, and no oneís trying to like Ė
Marcus Johnson:† --undermine undergraduate student life without, you know, without proper, without due process.† Is that the proper word?† [Laughter]† So, you know, please donít leave here thinking that the Student Affairs Committee has been undermining undergraduate due process.† No. No. No. No.† [Laughter]† I mean thatís actually what I want to say.† I just want to clarify that thereís a difference between, we havenít been trying to do that.† IGB-- we wanted toÖ.recognize groups that want to be recognized, but as far as centralizationóand weíre having these discussions right now at the same time, but they are two slightly distinct discussions.
Riano: †So Iím going to take three different other questions and then we are going to move on because we are short on time.† John first.
Sen John Johnson (Law):† I think thatís okay usage, of due process.† I guess my question is, Is that the perception of IGB here, or is that getting created from this conversation?† Like has the conversation taken a path to create this perception that IGB is about sort of taking away from the undergraduate student life, because quite frankly thatís the last thing that was on our minds in doing that.† And so I would hope to try and clarify that.†
††††††††††† To me it was a matter of addressing the fact that there was a discrete domain of groups that were left outside, you know, these concentric circles or whatever that exist from the current structure that is here.† So as much that I can try and getóI mean I know you canít necessarily take my word for it.† Iím a lawyer in training, not necessarily trusted.† But that is what we had in mind when we were pushing this forward, and I guess I just want to become clear on that.† Because I thought here the issue in terms of concern with centralization was about whether, how the role of ABC, SGB, that dynamic was going to shift, and I saw more of IGB as more just of an issue off on the side.† So to the extent that you could speak to that, of what you gathered the student perception to be, and whether this is more a concern thatís been created by maybe us misspeaking or dwelling on the wrong issue.
Okin:† If you want, I can take a bunch of questions.† If you want to do the questions and Iíll answer.
Sen. Julia Stoyanovich
(Stu., GSAS/NS): I cannot speak for all graduate students, but I do speak
for GSAS students. And first of all, we donít want to be centralized
either.† I mean, you probably wouldnít be
surprised to hear that graduate students also like to socialize within their
own group just as undergrads do.† And in
fact it doesnít seem to us that there is a need for a graduate student
equivalent of the ABC, because graduate students are independent. GSAS students
are separate from
Sen. Wolfe (Barnard):† Just to focus our conversation a little more, I think the reason that weíre talking about the IGB was because it was looked at as a model of a different type of functioning governing board than others, and thatís why we brought IGB into this conversation, although we started focusing more on it than the situation with SGB and ABC changes.† I think what Julia just said is exactly the thing thatís in my mind of what needs to be addressed, is this individual school autonomy.† And just a conversation about undergraduate schools, the idea of SGB moving under Dean Colombo as it already has, for us, for Barnard students and GS students, is an issue of the way that like the schools relate to each other and the way that advising relates amongst the undergraduate community.
††††††††††† The idea of IGB as a model for that.† Each of the graduate schools has its own student affairs and has its autonomy, but the IGB is created for those student groups that want to come together cross school.† And thatís the beauty of SGB, is for student groups that want to come together cross school, and it is funded by all of the different undergraduate schools.† It is on a, you know, proportion basis, but yet the funding is there.
completely understand in the case of ABC why
Riano: †We fund ABC.
Wolfe: Right.† You fund ABC, but Barnard doesnít fund ABC.† But I guess my idea for this is the idea of centralization would be [that] four governing boards that are funded and paid into by multiple schools should have advising recognition for those, their particular school.† Because to me it does not make sense, you know, based on the IGB model is what weíre bringing IGB in here for.† For Barnard students to be a part of SGB and to still be able to hold leadership roles, etc., when theyíre under a student affairs model that is specifically for CC and SEAS students, and I think that thatís a similar argument.† Thatís why GS students came up with the proposal, and we were using IGB as a model of interschool activity, and although the rotating system may have its faults and may not function in the future, that idea of all of the schools being represented at one point or another is what our argument is, I think.† So thatís thatís just to base it for you on that.
Flaxman:† Thank you for the clarification, everyone.† In a whirlwind of answers addressed to everyone, I think the two main concerns that Iím sort of just guessing, feeling out from what you said, that the concerns that this panel or this committee was trying to address was one, how do you advise groups?† Well, first what do you do with groups that have students from all over the university in them, and then after you create IGB, how do you advise those groups?† And then, and correct me if Iím wrong, but is that--?† Itís not like--†
††††††††††† The other problem thatís coming up is with SGB moving into Student Affairs just paid for by CC and SEAS, why should Barnard or GS students go to their advisers, if those advisers are just CC, SEAS advisers? So there are sort of two distinct concerns that are trying to be addressed.
††††††††††† For both,
Iíll just, and to a certain extent repeat what I said before.† I think IGB was great.† I think itís good that weíre meeting that
demand, and at the same time, I also think the move of SGB was good because I
think theyíll get better advising resources in Student Affairs. So now weíre
just set with a new set of problems to solve.†
My only comments are about what solutions to choose for those new
problems, and this is what youóthis committee, I thinkówill be thinking
about.† How do we solve these
problems?† And I want to recommend that
the solution you donít choose for solving these problems is centralizing a
system that the majority of
Riano: †Thank you very much, Seth. We appreciate that.†
Eman Bataineh (president
of the Student Government Association,
††††††††††† So I think that a lot of the concern thatís coming out of the undergraduate presidents that have spoken so far is the fact that IGB proposal or constitution was put forth at the same time that the proposal presented by the General Studies Student †Council for centralizing SGB was put forth.† So I wanted to make sure that weíre drawing that distinction between the IGB and the SGB proposal.† So letís talk about IGB first.†
††††††††††† I think that thereís a very definite and well-known need for IGB for student groups who want to organize graduate students and undergraduate students.† And I know that Barnard does full support of the IGB.† I have had my concerns and Iíve sort of talked with our administration about the $5 flat tax or whatever you want to call it, and I think that thereís enough benefit for students who want to, who are part of a pre-professional programs or students who are part of cultural groups or religious groups and a ton of other variety of groups that would really benefit from IGB.† So I know that weíre willing to put that $5 addition to our student fees.† So thatís my little bit about IGBófull support, essentially.
††††††††††† When it comes to centralizing ABC, SGB and then moving on to even club sports governing board, I wanted to sort of explain where SGA stands in terms of all these undergraduate governing boards, so you know where Iím coming in. †So SGA is, because weíre an affiliateóBarnard has their own president, their own provost, and their own trusteesówe have both a student government as a student council or whatís called representative council, and we also have our own sort of governing board functions.† So we have a lot more than just a handful of groups that we recognize separately.† So we have, you know, our mini SGB.† But actually itís more like a mini ABC because theyíre cultural groups and program groups as opposed to religion and political, [for] which we pay for into SGB. But we also have our student council-like factor of it that we take those funds to fund SGB and NCI.† NCI is community impact.† Okay.† We all know that.†
††††††††††† So when it
comes to centralizing SGB, which we pay for in ratio, we have concerns about
that because the problem with centralizing [?] which primarily serves an
undergraduate population in that itís funded by undergraduate student councils.
As an affiliate we have concerns of putting it under the
††††††††††† I think that the solution for the SGB being under advising of Dean Columboís office is to work with SGB. To have statutes in their constitution that make sure that General Studies students and Barnard students, and thatís my constituency, will never feel marginalized in those groups.† And thatís why I appreciate the work that Sakib has done in terms of having that, you know, minimum of two faculty advisers from Barnard.† [Tape skips] . . . whoís the dean of the College at Barnard, and the SDA has worked with college activities at Barnard.† Thereís been a partnership, and I cannot say that our administration or that our students have felt marginalized by the shift to Dean Colomboís office.† And thatís just whatís happening.† Iím still saying there is a definite structural ideological problem with having it under, you know, Dean Colomboís offices. But do I have the solution for it?† No.† Was the ideal situation having it under the chaplain?† Maybe.† But, you know, currently I donít think that centralizing it under the provost or under the president is going to offer a better solution.
††††††††††† So keeping IGB and SGB separate.† You can ask me questions.
Riano: Awesome.† Weíre going to have probably two or three questions because we have to move on.† Mr. John.
Sen. John Johnson (Law): Real quick.† Weíll do this conversation stuff.† With the Barnard affiliation with SGB, is there Barnard funding thatís going into that structure?
Bataineh:† Itís paid for in full ratio.
John Johnson:† Excellent. So thatís the end of my question.†
Bataineh:† Iím either uninteresting or you guys are really tired.† Okay. Thank you.
Riano:† Thank you very much.† No, we appreciate that.† And last on the agendaóno, ††that was good, you shut us off, thatís even betteróis Susanna.
Susannah Karlsson (student
††††††††††† First of
all, what concerns me up to this point in the conversation that weíve been
having are these broad distinctions between graduate and undergraduate.† I want to make clear that there is an
undergraduate college, namely, the
††††††††††† I believe
that that is inappropriate fundamentally.†
We hope to have a larger say and a larger stake in these matters at the
end of the day. But I would encourage you to think about the third factor of
the three undergraduate student bodies here at
††††††††††† As Eman [Bataineh] pointed out, this is not necessarily a reaction to specific deficiencies in a system, but rather the potential for those deficiencies and the need rather to deal with a long-term solution before one is needed.† An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I think that this has such potential to blow up in oneís face.† I donít believe that the ultimate long-term solution is to add yet one more layer to a system of bureaucracy thatís focused under a specific college by either GS paying into it, and then, you know, our administration partially funds Dean Colomboís office under Student Affairs, and then to what end? would be the challenge that I would pose.†
††††††††††† So if
††††††††††† Now with that said, I want to acknowledge Sakib and Keithís concerns about what iteration[?] that might take and what that might look like and potential problems that might arise from that, and this kind of knee-jerk fear of, you know, the administration. But I also want to point out that, as you all very well know, when students take an active hand in calling for something and creating something that didnít exist before, we also have a large hand in creating it.† That would be my hope.† We also have a large amount of input into how that organization looks, and I would certainly hope that my fellow student leaders and the Senate obviously would take an active hand and be active participants in deciding what that office should look like so as to meet the needs of ABC and SGB and the various groups and students and individuals that are participating in these groups.
††††††††††† So, you know, indeed there are ways to think about this and precisely if the students are the ones calling for it, I do believe that we would have an active hand in deciding how that looks and making sure that the iteration that that takes is in the absolute best interest of those that it is charged with representing.† Once again, I donít think that patching up a non-representative system is a long-term solution thatís a real feasible option.† I donít further believe that isolating, segregating in any way student life is a productive endeavor for any group of students, graduate or undergraduate.† Perhaps my own biases and the fact that Iím speaking on behalf of a school whose mean age is twenty-nine, I believeÖ. I mean, weíre kind of excited about that.† Itís an interesting proposition to have the idea of cross-pollination between graduate students and people of an older age set.† So I see a lot of material benefits particularly for my student body, but indeed for the university as a whole.† Again, graduate students are participating in these clubs and organizations.† Constitutions allow that participation, whether or not theyíre limited in cases of specific groups.† But in general neither ABC nor SGBís constitution excludes graduate students.† So I would encourage you to think about to what end.† You know, if these students are participating in these groups, if these students are actively partaking of these, you know, activities, what sense does it make now to have that remain in a localized model?† Are we then going to ask every single graduate student to pay into Dean Colomboís office as GS has been asked to do?†
So, you know, I would encourage you
to think about more of the long-term implications here, and weíre certainly,
Riano:† Thank you Susannah.† Danielle, Andrea.
Sen. Wolfe (Barnard):† I just want to thank you for those
comments.† I couldnít have put it better
myself.† I just really feel like
And thank you for that.† And I do
want to point out as far as your comments as to autonomy, it does beg the
question as far as the concerns that both Keith and Sakib brought up about
whether or not the administration would have some increased sway by a new
centralized model.† And certainly the
GSSC and me personallyówe are not calling for any less autonomy than the
students, the student leaders have over those student groups, nor any
constitutional changes.† What weíre more
looking at is the layer of oversight above that.† And thereís a huge fundamental difference
between those two things.† And as you
say, we are supposed to be
Hernandez (president of ABC):† I would like to hear actually from undergraduate, other undergraduate institutions as to how much they want to preserve their undergraduate life identity within their own college, versus how much they want to see it as a unified undergraduate life.
Karlsson:† Do you mean specifically undergraduate or undergraduate and graduate together?
Hernandez:† Specifically undergraduate.
Karlsson:† Just undergraduate.†
Hernandez:† Thatís how I feel.† Thatís why I came to
Riano:† Go ahead Susanna.† But, however, there is a time constraint.
Karlsson: †Keep it quick.† Is that what youíre saying?
Riano:† Keep it quick, please.† Thank you.
Karlsson:† I mean, itís not a quick question.† I mean, if your question is, would GS
splinter off on its own and go it alone?†
Iím not sure that thatís really the conversation weíre having at the
moment, and Iím not sure Iím being asked to make a decision as to, Does GS ally
itself with the graduate schools?† Thatís
certainly not been a question that weíve considered.† Itís not anything that weíve
recommended.† Weíre very much interested
in being a member of a united
John Johnson (Law):† I guessÖone of the things youíre talking about was, if law schools are inundating some of these undergraduate groups, should they then be expected to pay, and so the centralization makes sense.† Now while I agree with the greater sense of one Columbia community, what about more along the lines of while trying to achieve that through having a space for groups to interact, but I sort of get the sense that if itís an undergraduate group, or an undergraduate group, you know, origin, that if Iím there as a guest to the group to be used how I can as a law school student.† Similarly, if Iím a law school and an undergraduate comes to my group, theyíre there through the benefit if they can, but are more so a guest.† I mean, what are your thoughts on maintaining that, and I think I guess within the greater undergraduate community thereís a more nuanced scenario figuring out how much the one that should be there among the divisions that exist.† At least thatís the impression that I get from graduate schools.† I mean, what do you feel about that approach?
Karlsson:† I would point out that regardless of what the
de facto participation is that neither of these organizationsí constitutions
limit or prohibit the participation of graduate students, except that certain
and specific leadership positions cannot be held by graduate students.† However, these are not constitutionally or
otherwise defined as undergraduate student groups.† They arenít.†
Indeed, thatís who uses them most frequently, and those are the councils
where the money comes from because those are the students who are using these
groups in the largest numbers. †That is
not to say, however, that thatís a static situation.† Itís not to say that as, you know, we start
having these conversations that participation increases from a particular
school.† None of us can predict what
tomorrowís going to look like, and perhaps thereís a huge, you know, flurry of
interest in activity as a result of some of the activities that will be hosted
and funded by the IGB. But I will say that, you know, while weíre trying to
encourage and really motivate people to create some of these bridges, weíre
also inherently limiting them if we decide that some of these groups are
undergraduate and some of them are graduate.†
I think the beauty of what the IGB represents is that itís people, itís
interspaced, itís content based and not affiliation based.† I think itís an arbitrary distinction, itís a
fluid distinction, and as someone up here said a moment ago, all of you were
undergrads at one point as well, and indeed probably most people in this room
will be graduate students at some point.†
So I mean those boundaries are quite fluid, and I wouldnít say that
thereísóI donít swear as tight allegiance to undergraduate student life as
perhaps my colleagues have.† I do
recognize that there are differences and distinctions, and I would also want to
clarify now that weíre talking about this that, you know, when we talk about
student affairs under Dean Colomboís office, what Iím referencing at least
specifically is the student life function under the Student Affairs office, clearly
not admissions, clearly not financial aid.†
I think that goes without saying.†
But what weíre talking about specifically are the student life
components, the student life elements.†
That which is common to every single student here at
Riano: Hearing adjourned.† Thank you everybody for coming.† Off to the Senate meeting.† Thank you.
The session ended at about .