College Council votes to dissolve

By Lisa Schulz

Only one attendee objected to the discontinuation of the College Council that will take effect on Dec. 1—its self-proclaimed oldest member, Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs. A torrent of laughter followed a quick, baffled moment of silence before he announced that he was kidding.

The College Council began dissolving the minute the meeting started on Nov. 4 in the Hokin Lecture Hall in the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave. John Green, chair of the council and the Theatre Department, said the meeting—which began 15 minutes later than scheduled—needed one more person for its full quorum to proceed with the meeting and to pass motions.

The motion to give way to the Council’s replacement, the College Assembly, was unanimously passed. In an effort facilitate transparency and communication with the college’s administration, two members from each department, full- and part-time faculty, staff and students, will be elected to attend the assembly meetings.

“[The more] quickly we include the part-time faculty in the Faculty Senate, the better off we’re going to be and healthier we’ll be as an institution,” said Peter Hartel, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and associate professor of the Film and Video Department. “It would be hypocritical to call ourselves a Faculty Senate without including the majority of the faculty.”

The part-time faculty union representative at the meeting, treasurer John Stevenson, who is an adjunct faculty member in the Humanities, History and Social Sciences Department, said the union is deeply concerned with the absence of a P-Fac representative to the Faculty Senate. He also said the National Labor Relations Board issued two complaints concerning the union, while negotiations on a contract with the college is still in the works and cannot be further discussed. Stevenson also announced his election bid for P-Fac’s steering committee.

The Student Government Association also disclosed it will be recruiting new members because within the last two weeks, four senators dropped out of the group, withdrew from their classes and left Columbia due to “financial and personal reasons,” said Cassandra Norris, SGA president.

Kelly addressed student affordability and the $27,845 net price for a full-time freshman living on campus.

“Our 40 percent graduation rate does not show up well in the marketplace,” Kelly said. “Any kid who’s looking at the college, the first thing they see is the graduation rate; the second thing they’ll see is the net price.”

Norris said SGA just finished Forum Week to weigh students’ opinions about the college for improvement. An initiative with Roosevelt and DePaul universities to save the Pell and MAP grants continued, she said.

“We’re kicking our efforts into high gear with [students] and with department chairs,” Norris said.

Among the ongoing topics of prioritization, Louise Love, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, also said the School of Fine and Performing Arts had approved separate concentrations in contemporary, urban and popular music and composition. The Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee proposed a minor in chemistry and had individual courses approved, Love said.

According to Love, the college formed a task force composed of Faculty Senate members and those appointed by her, to work on the next iteration of the tenure document. The document will include details on “housekeeping matters,” grievances, appeals and the role of the Elected Representatives of the College.

The Columbia College Faculty Organization announced an open election for the bylaws committee until Nov. 11, said Tom Nawrocki, CCFO president.

Along with the College Council being dissolved in December, facade construction projects are scheduled for completion by Dec. 17, said Alicia Berg, vice president of Campus Environment.

“It’s very weather dependent,” Berg said. “They will be completed hopefully before the winter gets really bad, but [the Conaway Center], 1104 [S. Wabash Ave.] may have to drag on into the spring.”