Tag: elections

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!

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. For more information, email submissions@columbialion.com.

What motivated you to run for this position? 

I was part of the student council in high school for all four years, and I served as president for the last two years of high school. Naturally, I wanted to run for student council at Columbia too. As an international student, I can directly experience the vast difference in academics and cultures that my fellow international classmates have to adjust to. As the International Students Representative for SEAS, I hope to give all the international students a voice that matters as well as try to solve some of the problems that we face in various aspects of college.

If elected, what would your goals be?

Some of the issues that I hope to address are:

Offer subsidized summer housing to international students – Many internationals prefer to stay back in New York during breaks as traveling back to their home country is expensive. I hope to build upon the model Barnard uses to provide their students researching or interning in New York with subsidized summer housing and offer the same to the international community at Columbia.

Build a directory dedicated to on-campus jobs available to international students – Many of these jobs have certain limitations that do not allow internationals to apply, and as a result, it is difficult to find jobs that international students are eligible for. I hope to create a directory specifically for jobs available to international students and provide detailed instructions for applying to them. I hope that this will make the process of searching for an on-campus job easier for international students.

Create easy-to-comprehend academic integrity and Optional Practical Training (OPT) guides – This is something that at least I was worried about even before starting college! I spoke to a lot of people and researched a lot, but I could only obtain documents that explain both of them in a very complex manner. Since they are a very big part of international students’ lives, I hope to create guides that are easy-to-comprehend and layman-friendly so that internationals have to worry no longer about both of them.

Offer one-to-one peer mentoring – The best sources of advice for me have been international upperclassmen because they went through all the problems with adjusting to the culture and academics a while back. I hope to connect each underclassman with an upperclassman (if possible, from the same country) so that underclassmen have someone to relate to and talk to whenever they feel that they need help with any aspects of college.

Monthly stress buster events – What is the point of having such a diverse class if we do not celebrate all the cultures that help constitute it? I hope to host monthly events with themes from different nationalities every time so that students in our community get to know their classmates and their culture better. At the same time, the event will offer them a break from academics and give them time to have some fun.

International student friendly class placement criteria – I believe that the current placement system is biased towards students who have taken the AP, IB or the A level examinations. Students who have not taken one of the tests mentioned above have to take a placement exam regardless of their past standing in the subjects they were being tested on. Working with the academic departments, I hope to broaden the criteria for exemption from introductory classes so that internationals can easily take higher level classes without having to take placement tests.

In addition to these goals, I will always be working to bring about any change that a fellow international student in SEAS suggests.

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

My goals address some issues that I hope to fix at Columbia. Ultimately, I want to create a better academic and social experience for the international community in SEAS.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

While I am a first-year, I believe that I can do as good a job as any sophomore, junior or senior could, if not better. I have had enough experience with student council in high school to know how to work my way around administrations, and I’m willing to work as hard as it takes to ensure that our (the international students’) voices are heard, and efforts are made to incorporate changes that we ask for.

And DJ Khaled endorsed me (http://imgur.com/rtML8dO)

Photo Courtesy of Karlee Rodrigues

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.  The Lion has yet to endorse any candidate at this time and the views below do not necessarily represent the views of our team. For more information, email submissions@columbialion.com.

What motivated you to run for this position? 

I first started attending GS’ Student Council meetings to learn about what resources, clubs, events, network, and financial opportunities were available on campus for students. I was inspired by the serious commitment and dedication from the council members and got overwhelmingly excited at the incredibly diverse opportunities they were creating for students that I was unaware even existed! I wanted to help create and spread this information with the rest of the student body. Therefore, I joined the council as part of the Communications Committee!

On council, I served as the communicator between the student body and GSSC, as well as spreading communication between committees. Adding to the council’s weekly agenda and taking Meeting Minutes made me quickly learn what’s working for the Columbia Community and what isn’t, what we had to improve on and what should remain the same, as well as how long each type of event or resource takes to plan.

Having this great overall understanding of the student body’s needs and GSSC’s needs (finance, policy, campus life, communications, international students rep, MilVets rep, etc.) made me feel qualified enough to run for Student Body President. Similarly to my goals when I first started council, I want to make sure the bountiful amount of resources academically and financially on campus are being taken to full advantage students to help and progress our Columbia community.

If elected, what would your goals be? What is something you want to fix at Columbia? How would you plan to address it?

Here are some of my key points!

COMMUNICATIONS:

As President I will enforce “Operation Organization,” organizing the plethora of diverse resources already available on campus, such as club info and important events so that they are appropriately presented to students so that they are aware of the diverse opportunities and initiatives that already exist!

I plan to address this integration issue by making this information easily accessible to students online and physically.

– An updated online clubs page with their objective, meeting times, and meeting locations.

– Physical packets with club info available in the GS Lounge for those who have limited access to internet/social media.

– Making the GS Lounge a hub for resources. Adding a monitor that displays GSSC led events for the week! (Or for more cost-friendly purposes, a bulletin board).

– A BRAND NEW UPDATED GSSC WEBSITE. The council has worked on this during the Spring 2016 term, however, I want it to be fully implemented in the Fall! We are in negotiations for access to both the gssc.columbia.edu and yourgssc.com domain with CUIT and the former VPs of council. We have a template ready and secured. And if we do not get access to either of those domains – we have a plan C to start from scratch and the design already planned.

– On this website will be a public Google Driven calendar where GSSC students can directly import an event.

– As President, I liaise with the other university presidents to present a system so that everyone has access to GSSC events but also CC, SEAS, and Barnard.

Once this system is organized and enacted – the communications committee can reach out to groups like the MilVets to ensure that if there is an event that might be of great benefit for their members, they will know about it. Additionally, if the MilVets host an event for their club, they can easily reach other students on campus.

FINANCE:

Financial security for students is a huge topic currently being presented to council.

Once “Operation Organization” is complete, students in financial need will be able to easily locate resources to help them financially. From scheduling appointments with advisors to applying for GS institutional scholarships, GS special scholarships, outside scholarships, and scholarships for nontraditional students.

As GSSC President, I will be continuously requesting sponsorships and in-kind donations rather than using our valuable money in the budget for food, for example, at many if not most of the GS events. Our savings would be put together for a Student Body Scholarship for those in financial need (and eventually perhaps, a second that’s need-blind). Through this scholarship, applicants can write to council about their experience on campus life – what they found to be beneficial and what could be improved. This way, council will have an array of continuous feedback and we would be building a students’ financial security for the semester. I plan to address this proposal by working closely with the VP of finance to determine how much exactly we have saved that will be distributed in the scholarship. Additionally, I will speak with administration to have this scholarship apply towards tuition. This means I would also reach out to the Accounting Office for easy transactions and billing info. If the cannot apply towards tuition (although I will petition and strongly advocate for it), the scholarship could benefit students for the cost of living expenses.

Additionally, I will continue to advocate alongside prospective VP of Policy Silin for emergency meal funds and a food bank (which was just passed at tonight’s meeting woo hoo). GSers should have a food pantry in the GS Lounge for those who are in need of a meal. I plan to address this by continuing to advocate alongside the council for the construction of the pantry. We already have a contractor on board.

I also strongly agree with prospective Senator Ramond about child-care services. Right now, PHD students are offered child-care services. However, GS students are not. We must offer GS parents child-care services!! Advocating for this is extremely important.

POLICY:

As GSSC President I will promote SVR (Sexual Violence Response) initiatives that Columbia mandates in orientation. I want to review and change the TA policy on campus. Right now TAs can be hired regardless of a sexual assault violation. This should not be the case. Offenders find content in exuding power over their victim. Why then would we give these offenders (who is known to find this fulfillment in exuding power) power in the classroom?! It would be a trigger!!! Changing the policy would be ensuring students safety and peace of mind.

It came to my attention recently that a student took a medical leave and as a result, was denied to use the psychological/medical service centers during the time of their leave. This is a moment where students might be needing these services the most. Students should have access to these resources their ENTIRE TIME at Columbia. I will speak to CPS and administration to make change happen.

Any additional comments you would like to share with voters?

A suggestion box will be created in the new year so that students can share their ideas with council and how we can improve!

Last but certainly not least, if the Student Body/Committees are divided on a topic, before making any decision, I would weigh the pros and cons. I will enforce a political, financial, and social discussion. What would be the financial benefits and/or consequences of this situation. How would this decision impact students on campus? Are there any alternatives? Can there be a trail period for our decision?

In an email sent out to publications late last night, Columbia Elections Board has announced that Jeffrey Sollazzi has been disqualified from the School of General Students race for its one University Senate Position. In the email, CEB noted that he was disqualified for breaking election rules by attacking his opponent’s personal character and integrity during yesterday’s Elections Debates.

The full email can be found below.

After serious deliberation, the Columbia Elections Board has ruled to disqualify GSSC University Senator Candidate Jeffrey Solazzi from the race effective immediately.

The Elections Board does not take this decision lightly but the highly inappropriate conduct of the candidate in question justified its severity. The Elections Board was very explicit before and throughout the elections cycle that while a candidate’s ideas and proposals may be scrutinized, their personal character and integrity were unquestionably off limits to any attacks or any damaging actions on the basis of mutual respect. The Elections Board made it clear at the Rules Meeting held on Monday, April 11th by stating in the presentation “Do not attack the character of other candidate in any way.” The Elections Packets distributed to all the candidates also explicitly states that “it is strictly prohibited to demean any other candidate.”

Despite these repeated warnings of not attacking the personal character of another candidate, Jeffrey Solazzi during his live streamed debate publicly attacked his fellow candidate Ramond Curtis. Solazzi’s introductory statement was as follows:

“Hi my name is Jeff Solazzi, and I’m running for GSSC Senate. I’m someone that’s really committed to making the school better and I want the best for this school. If I didn’t think i was the best candidate for this position I’d step down. I’ve heard from Sean Ryan, next year’s chair of the Student Affairs committee that Raymond is crap.”

The last remark was not only a direct violation of the rules against attacks on personal character the Election Board has presented, but an extreme disregard for the integrity and fairness of the general election process.

Given the above reasons, the Elections Board affirms its decision to disqualify Jeffrey Solari from the GSSC University Senator race.

Best,

CEB

 

UPDATE (4/18): Jeffrey Sollazzi has shared the following response:

To whom it may concern, I have just been notified by the Elections Board that I have been disqualified from the election for my comment during the debate today. I apologize to the Elections Board, I apologize to the student body, I apologize to Sean Ryan, and most of all, I apologize to Ramond Curtis. After reviewing the remaining candidates, I give my endorsement to Ramond Curtis.

 

Photo Courtesy Andrew Mangeni

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.  The Lion has yet to endorse any candidate at this time and the views below do not necessarily represent the views of our team. For more information, email submissions@columbialion.com.

What motivated you to run for this positon?

I wanted too make sure the ideas students had needed to be represented because I feel that right now the current council isn’t doing so. The group I’m running with wants to work towards transparency, and create a stronger sense of community within SEAS.

How would you go about building that sense of community?

Well for example we have the 3-2 students coming in (3-2 is this program that allows students to do 3 yrs at another institution and their last two years at Columbia) we can provide those students with mentors so they feel welcome and understand how things work here. I also want more student input with the events that are being planned so that students are engaged. For example, this council didn’t really ask students what shirt design they wanted, and its little things like this make students feel more involved. We could also do a better job with transparency by getting people on the same page so that students clearly know what events are going on. Also I believe we need more engagement with the faculty so that students have those close student-faculty relationships.

How would you go about creating more transparency, and strengthening student-faculty relationship?

Transparency is as easy as letting people know what you’re doing when it comes to things like planning events or institution new initiatives. With regards to faculty, we should have professors come to the different events SEAS holds and allowing students the one and one time they need with faculty.

What do you think is the main problem facing 2018 SEAS students and what would you do to make it better?

Since we’re going to be juniors its about to get real out here. We need to find internships, and out classes are going to be a lot harder. This is the time when you really need to form those faculty relationships, and have a community so we have a support system when things get tough. One thing I think we should do that’s really simple is having a calendar with internship deadlines so you know the opportunities available, and a place for just SEAS students to go to get help with applications and interview prep for engineering internships.