The Columbia College Student Council voted to send a letter to local New York City government representatives in support of improved gun control policy at Sunday night’s general body meeting.
The letter advocates for more policies that would make school campuses safer, but does not recommend any specific gun control measures. It also asks representatives to “acknowledge the important intersection of this conversation with race, class, and gender in our society.”
The vote happened three weeks after Sam Hysa, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—the location of the shooting in Parkland, Florida that claimed the lives of 17 people—wrote to CCSC asking whether Columbia students would be interested in participating in gun control advocacy. Hysa’s letter came at the same time as the New York City March for Our Lives, which was organized by four Columbia law students.
Over the course of several discussions about the letter, which have taken place during the past few general body meetings, council members expressed concerns about whether or not CCSC should speak on issues of national politics.
“I don’t think that we’re necessarily equipped to speak on behalf of the student body on a national conversation—even understanding, of course, that the line between national and campus life is blurred,” said University Senator Omar Khan, CC ’18.
However, other members insisted that this was an issue that directly pertained to the University community, and therefore an issue in which CCSC should act upon.
“Sticking with the precedent … of engaging in these political conversations when we think it’s an important topic that affects people like ourselves, and people like our constituents, who are students on college campuses ... I do think we absolutely have a role … to make statements in that realm,” CCSC President Nathan Rosin, CC ’18, said.
The council plans to mail the letter to local representatives before the next general body meeting; some student council members also agreed to send individual letters, modeled after CCSC’s letter, to their own representatives.