U-Pass, other student concerns discussed at Council Meeting

By The Columbia Chronicle

The Columbia College Council gathered for their second monthly meeting of the fall semester on Nov. 6, to recount advancements and suggest improvements. Many issues were addressed including the proposal of a new major, Digital Media Technologist, the problems Columbia’s bookstore faces with customer service, high prices and sold out books, the expressive interest of students to obtain a CTA U-pass, and the progress within the standing Committee’s; Strategic Planning, Student Affairs, Budget and Priorities, and Academic Affairs.

Columbia can now introduce a new major to their program, Digital Media Technologist. Although some problems arose with the approval of this major, such as the complexities of the name and possible competition with schools such as Devry, the members were happy to welcome this new form of technology to this establishment. Rebecca Courington, chairperson of the Academic Computing Department, enthusiastically presented a proposal which seemed to be the deciding factor for the committee. The major will allow students be trained for repair responsibility and work with programmers. The council believes the impact this program presents will allow Columbia to expand with technological advancements.

Many students will be happy to hear the bookstore is working to advance its current stature. Under its new leadership, the bookstore promises to face the on going problems of low stock, bad service, and high prices. First, the bookstore is revising text book ordering eliminating one former policy which had reduced facility orders by forty percent. This would greatly limit the students opportunities to buy books from the bookstore due to sell outs. The new plan assures there will be no reduction. The problem of customer service was also addressed. The bookstore is working on new training procedures and a letter from personnel to outline the issues that need to be concentrated on. Finally, the bookstore promises to face these issues by forming a advisory committee of about 30 representatives. These accomplishments are slow in coming, but students are reminded that all change can not happen overnight.

Among the many reports of the standing committees of Columbia College one report by Jean Lightfoot Lee, Dean of Students appeared to be of great interest for the students. She expressed the success of the student talent show (which was a welcoming back event) and the gratitude she has toward the facility members who plan to get involved with the Senior Seminar.

Lee concluded her discussion with the topic of the U-pass. Many would like to know, What’s up with the U-Pass? Many students still are curious what is holding up Columbia’s collaboration with the CTA. Well here it is. The CTA is requesting $60 from all college full-time undergraduate student weather they use the CTA or not. They also are requiring all students to get a second picture identification to board the CTA. Based on active calling, Lee said, Loyola took five days to go through this procedure and still many complications arose with the boarding process. So, until the formalities are “ironed out” Columbia students will not have a yearly pass to ride the CTA and will spend hundreds of dollars instead of the $60 yearly riding fee.

Other reports came from the college’s Strategic Planning, Budget and Priorities and Academic Affairs committees. New committee members were appointed and each representative reiterated the past meeting discussions. Some issues Strategic Planning reviewed were the BFA (Bachelor in Fine Arts) research, the facility technology process, and the discussion of facility planning documents. Budget and Priorities had no prominent issues to discuss, and Academic Affairs addressed the topics of BFA degrees, newly proposed majors and minors, and D grades for transfer credit.

The only new business of this council meeting was to vote for the legitimacy of the committee because the committee was out of compliance with the bylaws. This occurred when Carolyn Hulse and Richard Woodbury were originally elected as faculty representatives and now are acting chairs. The committee soon approved this proposal.

The next meeting of Columbia College Council will be Dec. 4th at 10am. The council invites anyone to attend these meetings at the Residence Center. Questions and comments are addressed by the council at the end of all of the meetings.