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Introduction to the Latin Diploma Petition Book Presented to Dean Awn

Synopsis: this is the introduction to the book the student council presented to Dean Awn in which we presented all student signatures and emails on the question of a Latin Diploma. You can see more about the results and its delivery to Dean Awn here

To Whom It May Concern:

As the student body president I have worked on many “bread and butter” topics for General Studies students: Housing, Financial Aid and Academic issues. Student feedback about these efforts has been consistent, positive and clear. And yet, when I began my work on the question of the Latin Diploma the passion and volume of student feedback leapt by orders of magnitude.

My conclusion is that the symbolic power of a Latin Diploma is clear in the minds of General Studies students. Even though only 287 students have university housing, and there are major perceived perennial problems with financial aid, the symbolism of the diploma – and where General Studies students fit into Columbia University is the one that captures the imagination.

What symbolism do students feel a Latin Diploma could represent?

  • Tradition: That they are part of 250 years Columbia liberal arts
  • Connection: That General Studies is appropriately honored as one of the three undergraduate colleges at Columbia
  • Affirmation: Future employers would recognize their Columbia credentials
  • Congratulation: An elegant receipt for the tremendous personal and financial sacrifice they have made to receive the degree

500+ For a Latin Diploma

The student council has concluded the petition portion of the campaign to get a Latin Diploma.

The results:

  • 366 hand signatures
  • 145 e-signatures

For a total of 511 responses in favor of changing to a Latin Diploma.

I presented a bound copy of every response we got to both the Deans Office and to the Dean of Students Office today at 3pm. Below is a photo of me presenting the document to Dean Awn.

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