Since CCSC elections take place this week, the Cub Pub has reached out to all the College Senate candidates, asking them to share their platform on the blog. First we have Matthew Chou, enjoy and remember to do your civil service by voting this week!
Talking to students about the University Senate, I always hear “What does the Senate even do?” For others, there is a common statement: “I don’t see how Senate’s work affects my life.”
It can be hard to know how to respond. For even the most involved students at Columbia, the Senate often seems like an enigma, a black box that either spits out boring policies or huge decisions, with little room for student feedback or review.
Correct or not, the fact of the matter is that the existence of such a perception means that there is something very wrong. The Senate is second only to the Board of Trustees. How can our relationship be so uncertain?
After serving on the Senate as one of two current student staffers, I’ve seen how University-level issues directly affect students. From liberating our course evaluations data to communicating to the administration the terrible student space situation on campus, it is crucial that our student Senators fight passionately for what students need and hold the University accountable.
This is why I feel so strongly about being your Senator. In my year as a staffer, I’ve tried to shape our school for the better, doing grunt work behind our open course evaluations proposal, reviewing the faculty Conflict of Interest policy, and helping draft a document on student space needs that will be read at the highest levels of the University.
If I’m elected, I will make sure our interests as students are not just known, but also pushed at every level of the University. There are many new projects to be tackled, including rolling out a digital media strategy, creating a quality of life survey for student wellness, and staying in touch with student body presidents from peer institutions to lay the foundation for continued collaboration.
In addition, unlike all but one of my fellow candidates, I will stay a Senator’s full two-year term, ensuring that the Senate’s work, which requires a long-term, consistent approach, receives the attention it is due. Implementing open course evaluations reform, partnering with new student government leaders to coordinate the fight for space on our campus, ensuring that graduate student families are afforded adequate, gender-neutral support—this will all require a caucus of student senators not left crippled by a graduating wave of one-year Senators.
I am dedicated to serving the student body of Columbia University, and I would truly appreciate your support in this competitive election.
Matthew Chou, CC 2014, is a Staffer on the Student Affairs Committee of the University Senate. You can find out more about his Senate campaign at his Facebook event and page, or by emailing email@example.com.