Category: Politics

Earlier this evening, the Columbia Elections Board announced the winners of the Fall 2016 elections. We are excited to share the results below. Congratulations to the newly elected representatives.

CCSC 2020 President & Vice President

Siddharth Singh and James Ritchie

CCSC 2020 Class Representatives

Grant Pace

Danielle Resheff

Astrid Walker-Stewart

CCSC 2017 Representative

Tracy Ting Cao

CCSC Sandwich Ambassador

Joseph Villafane

ESC 2020 Class President

Ria Garg

ESC 2020 Class Vice President

Marisa Ngbemeneh

ESC 2020 Class Representatives

Joanna Paik

Abhishek Chakraborty

ESC 3-2 Representative

Priscilla Wang

ESC Disability and Accessibility Issues Representative

Adriana Echeverria

ESC International Students Representative

Pranav Arora

ESC University Senator

Izzet Kebudi

This Monday was highlighted by the first presidential debate. But sadly there is no television in the lounge of my residence hall, so I watched it on Facebook using my cellphone. I walked into an elevator, listening how Donald Trump say about his tax return, while another student bumped into the elevator with his cellphone displaying the same live video as mine. We caught each other’s eyes, and we smiled. And it was that moment I felt a strong connection with my peers, that we are the same species, that we care about the same issue.

Columbia has had a reputation for being politically active, and I know it especially true when I saw the crowd in Lerner’s piano lounge watching the presidential debate. We have different political groups. We have student government. We have campaigns and initiatives calling for political actions. All these things remind me that I am in a political atmosphere, and political discussion is a thing embedded in the practice of our community.

Aristotle says, remarkably, that “men are born political.” This statement is especially true in this time, where social media and internet expose us to a life with ever-growing political focus. The question for us, however, is not whether a political life matters, but rather in what way should political discussion integrated in our daily life. Should it be in a serious manner, as if we are talking politics in an academic setting and must pay attention to the details of the subject we are discussing, or should it be in an easygoing way where we treat political discussion as a daily routine that every person would take part in? Should we be scientific in our political life? Or should it just be about personal reaction?

I am not trying to answer these questions, as I believe different people could have different philosophy towards their lives, and what role does politics play in it. The more important thing is the fact that we are looking at the way we talk about politics in an introspective lens. Because of that, we know what position we are, and why we are at this position. It is this self-examining process that makes us better understand politics, and ultimately ourselves.

Coming from an applied math major, I always find that the most important thing in my study of math is not the solution to a problem, but rather the way that leads to the solution, and I think there is a similar thing in our political discussion. It is always easy to have an opinion, but it is hard, yet more importantly, to understand the reason behind the opinion. That is what this column is trying to achieve: it attempts to examine behind the kaleidoscope of opinions and ideas in politics, international relation, and economy, and provide insight into our understanding of our world and society.

Perspectives of a Math Major runs alternating Wednesdays. To submit a response, email submissions@columbialion.com

As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?
  2. If elected, what would your goals be?
  3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?
  4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Below, you can find the candidate(s)’s unfiltered responses to help in deciding who you choose to vote for.

What motivated you to run for this position? 

Two main reasons: First, I have genuine need to help people, especially if there is some connection among us. That is obviously the case with SEAS 2020 students. Although we’ve only been together for a month, this is our family for the next four years of our lives. I want to be there for each and every one of them whenever they need help with an issue, have an idea, or simply want a friend to talk to—and make their freshman year the best experience. Second, I was president of my school’s student council, a very interesting experience where I design a whole new structure for the council that ended up being a success throughout the year. I knew from the start I wanted to be part of the council here at Columbia.

If elected, what would your goals be?

We want our class to shine. For that, we want to organize activities as the TedX SEAS 2020 talk and the information sessions of our major, current world engineering issues and facilities with Columbia in order to start building our path toward our future. We want to hear our class’ voices. The idea is to establish an active and personalized interaction with each student, listening to their ideas and concerns. Also, we dream about a much intimate relationship within the engineering class. Coming from a school where our class was as big as 31 people, I’m used to know everyone around me. Our SEAS class is about 10 times that number, but it is still my goal to make that family bond among us: get more involved with people within their field of study and with similar interests outside engineering.

What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?

Going back to the part of communication, I feel there is an incredible gap in the matter that might make the Columbia experience a little less enjoyable. In the debate today a party member said it was only “ideal” to establish a one-to-one relationship among engineers. I want to change that perspective and turn it into a reality. To address it, we are going to encourage all engineers to attend to our activities, we will be sending personal emails and having one-to-one conversations all year round, the SEAS lounge is also part of the plan. If the idea is getting to know each other, then that is the way!

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

I would like to say that, beyond our platform, is extremely important who you’re voting for. Plans can be repeated and shared from platform to platform, but the essence, identity and experience of a person cannot be mirrored on someone else. With that in mind, I would like to introduce myself a little more: I’m a very energetic, caring and joyful person with a constant positive attitude over whatever problem, regardless of the gravity. When I promise something, I will give every single part of me to fulfill it, with absolute dedication and, above all, love. I’m running for president because I can promise you help, a person you can reach to, a friend. So trust me, vote for E&B and you won’t regret it.

As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?
  2. If elected, what would your goals be?
  3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?
  4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Below, you can find the candidate(s)’s unfiltered responses to help in deciding who you choose to vote for.

What motivated you to run for this position? 

I am a problem solver. I can’t stop myself from noticing the malfunctioning systems, unaddressed problems and subjects open to improvements. As the only sophomore running for this position, I want to bring change that will improve mine and my peers’ experience at Columbia.

Last year I went to a Bacchanal that was threatened multiple times by having an extremely divided configuration and then by last-minute security charges. I have learned that Columbia’s student journalists can face disciplinary action while covering a protest on campus. I saw that the Mathematics Building is completely inaccessible for differently able students, and many other buildings, namely Havemeyer, Uris, Earl, Philosophy, East Campus, Law Library, and Low Library can’t be accessed from their main entrances. As an engineer, I experienced the difficulties of being advised by an advisor who does not have an engineering background. I experienced the horror of seeing the Columbia Global Office at Istanbul being shut down without listening opinions of hundreds of Turkish alumni, dozens of Turkish Students, or our Association of Columbia Turkish Students.

Oppressiveness over press, inaccessibility, misguidance, and the threat to our diverse global outreach are not what engineers at Columbia deserve; they do not represent the truly free, sociable, supportive, and diverse nature of Columbia. Engineers provide solutions to problems. As an Industrial Engineer, I decided to run Senator of SEAS to seek the optimal solutions to our problems & weaknesses.

If elected, what would your goals be?

I will start with the most immediate & concrete solutions. First, I will provide a route for students with disabilities entering the Math Building so that they can reach the elevator. I will then move on to implement a Call Center for all emergencies for students with disabilities including Text and/or Video Call option for students with hearing disabilities.

Second, I will work to make our entrepreneurs more capable. With CUIT, I will create a platform where entrepreneurs can group together with skilled peers to work on their startups. I would aim to create a student government that supports our entrepreneurs by connecting them to Venture Capitalists to have guidance from start to finish on their work.

Third, I want our Engineers to be more relaxed while selecting classes and feel more supported on their academics. I will make sure SEAS students’ advisors either have an engineering background or are specialized in engineering. I will also work to establish relaxed connections between engineers from three lower class years. Pairing first years with sophomores based on academic interest, and matching sophomores with juniors with same intended major, freshmen can receive in-depth tips for balancing social life with academics whereas sophomores can get insights on internship research and challenges of their major.

As an International Student, I feel responsible to advocate for international students so that their voices are heard on campus and by the Office of Global Programs and Fellowships. I want to make sure the opinions of cultural clubs are respected when a decision about a nation’s Global Office or study/work abroad program is given. I ultimately want to expand the Global Outreach of Columbia with the support of International Students.

Additionally, I want to protect student journalists from facing disciplinary action while covering protests by making a change in the Rules of Conduct. I want to improve Bacchanal by allocating security payments to Student Government Facilities Fund and Administration while giving the Bacchanal Committee a budget to use solely use on bringing the best artist and working on staging without the fear of security payments. Also, I plan to hold multiple Town Hall meetings, possibly with the participation of all Senators to get feedback from students. If elected, I also will make sure the Senate reports quarterly on its effort of addressing the results of Quality of Life Survey.

What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?

 I want SEAS students to have much less stressful lives by having less dense midterm schedules. I plan to do this by working with the Education Committee. I hope to make sure engineers are not responsible of entering more than 3 exams within 48 hours.

Targeted advising to engineers will also contribute to their comfort. I will work with CSA to make sure advisors of engineers can provide in-depth information on classes engineers must take for their majors & minors. In-depth information, in my opinion, must include workload of classes as well as what topics they teach. This will ease the add-drop periods of all engineers as they will have an idea on how many classes they can juggle.

Lastly, with SEAS Peer Connection, freshmen SEAS students can get information on balancing social life and academics from their sophomore pair. Sophomore engineers can have an earlier insight on difficulties of their major as well as internship//job research with the advice their junior pair provides.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

 By implementing my goals above and the rest which you can find at (http://izzetkebudi.wixsite.com/kebudi2016), I plan to improve our campus accessibility. I want to make sure our student journalists feel free while pursuing their simple duties of being press; this is a must at Columbia University, which is responsible of providing a progressive environment to its students. I want our entrepreneurs & engineers to be more capable when innovating, which could ultimately increase the number of successful startups rooting at our university. When it comes to academic change at Columbia, I want our engineers to have much less stressful lives, especially when they are selecting their classes for the next term. If elected, my goals will hopefully make Bacchanal much more entertaining as the capacity of the event will be higher and the artists will be selected by a more specialized Bacchanal Committee.

All of these can be done while I provide a much needed international voice to the student government of Columbia University as the only international candidate for ESC Senator.

As part of our elections coverage, The Lion is sharing responses from candidates about the following questions:

  1. What motivated you to run for this position?
  2. If elected, what would your goals be?
  3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?
  4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

Below, you can find the candidate(s)’s unfiltered responses to help in deciding who you choose to vote for.

ESC Class of 2020 Party, “SEAsus Take the Wheel.”
Party Candidates:
President – Ria Garg
Vice President – Marisa Ngbemeneh
Class Representatives – Joanna Paik and Abhi Chakraborty
 
1. What motivated you to run for this position?
We want to inspire positive change (aka +ΔSEAS)! Columbia Engineering is already a small community, and we understand that at times it can feel very separate from the College. We like to think that this division creates an opportunity for a tight-knit community and academic support system in SEAS. After all, not only will we be in the same classes for the next four years (s/o to Art of Engineering), but the social networks we form here will last us long after we graduate. We’re running in hopes that we can improve both student life by becoming liaisons between our classmates and the administration. Not to mention, we get to meet so many amazing people in the process of running!
 
2. If elected, what would your goals be?
Our six point plan focuses on Class Unity, Diversity, Sustainability, Academic/Career Support, Student Amenities, and Transparency. While we don’t want to give too much away, we’re looking to introduce informal SEAS events, free SEAS gear, pet therapy (for stressed-out students…aka everyone), Professor Meet and Greets, an idea submission portal, and energy-saving changes for each building. Although we have a basic set of ideas for the coming year, we would definitely love for our classmates to get involved and offer their suggestions!
 
 
3. What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?
One thing we want to tackle this year is making wet lab spaces more available. Currently, students in majors like Chemical, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering don’t have the same access to wet lab spaces for independent projects as people in other majors do. We hope that this initiative will take after the reasoning behind the MakerSpace, so students can pursue their academic interests more freely.
 
4. Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?
With three women, four different (and underrepresented!) majors, and a variety of interests, SEASus Take the Wheel is one of the most diverse groups to ever run for ESC. That being said, we can’t fully represent our community without our peers and their engagement! You can get involved with SEASus Take the Wheel by following us on Instagram (@seasustakethewheel; we follow back!), liking our page on Facebook (facebook.com/seasustakethewheel), or talking to any of the four of us on campus! We hope to see you at the (virtual) polls!