Monday night’s Rep Council meeting featured esteemed administrative guest, President of the College Deborah Spar, and a flock of of students eager to d-scuss with DSpar who courageously filled spots at the Rep Council table left vacant by Reps observing the Jewish holiday. Bwog’s Renée Kraiem d-livers this…
DSpar began by presenting her major projects for the semester and by relating plans for this year’s (and next year’s) Global Symposia. While this year’s symposium will be held in São Paulo, Brazil, the first in South America, next year DSpar plans to bring the symposium back to its final continent: ours, in honor of Barnard’s 125th anniversary (yes, that’s a thing that’s happening).
Responding to subjects proposed by SGA, Spar continued with a report on the college’s strategic plan and forthcoming capital campaign. While the strategic plan was a focus for administrators last year, this year initiates the “campaign mode,” in which the College plans the execution of the plan itself. The results of the plan (the first one, that is) were, “nothing radical,” she said. The plan is to “keep Barnard what it is, and just make it better…to take Barnard, elevate it…and extend its reputation.” Spar reported the following three major prongs of the campaign:
- $100 million for endowed financial aid for scholarships. This will, according to DSpar, more than double current aid.
- $100 million for faculty and curricular support, including the installation of named faculty chairs and support for initiatives at the Athena Center and BCRW, “both existing and that could exist.”
- Capital improvements on campus. The financial extent of this prong, says DSpar, will depend on decisions made at today’s meeting of the Board of Trustees regarding the physical extent of the improvements, specifically regarding the upcoming restoration of Lehman Hall.
DSpar also spoke about the agenda of the President’s Council, her closest circle of advisers, composed mostly of VPs. Spar presented their agenda for the year, which included recently proposed $8 million budget cuts, the aforementioned space planning process, the 125th Anniversary Celebration, and the college’s three year plan to improve technological infrastructure on campus. In a year, says DSpar, eBear will cease to exist as we know it.
Regarding this semester’s ubiquitous housing crisis, DSpar voiced her perspective on the situation, calling it “a really unfortunate series of bad events” that, in turn, create “a learning moment, and a teaching moment” in “figuring out what went wrong,” which is, in her words, “not obvious and not clear.” Spark spoke of projections of years past, projections of this past summer, and her focus moving forward: “How do we create better early warning signals?” The question is, “How do we do this balance so that we get the information soon enough? I know it did not fall hardest on us,” she concluded.
In the wake of DSpar’s departure, Rep Council engaged in a discussion to follow up on her appeal for better ways to communicate with current students. Though DSpar admitted that “no size fits all,” and encouraged students not to “hesitate to send stuff directly to [her], because [she] read[s] it,” Rep Council concluded that, given that a significant amount of decision-making happens over the summer, SGA would increase its efforts to facilitate communication between administrators and students over the summer months.
In the same vein, VP of Communication Malvina Kefalas concluded the meeting with an announcement that SGA would be releasing joint statements with Dean Hinkson after each town hall discussing how to move forward from the discussion. Stay tuned for that one this week.
Where we’d rather be via Wikimedia Commons