SGA met last night at its usual time and place with a few more males in the audience than usual (still single digits, but we’re getting there). What began as a meeting centered around the business of being well devolved into a meeting about the business of the campus and its not-so-well posting policies. Bwog’s Boldest Barnard Bear Renée Kraiem was there to report.
Rep council started off with a bang with its first guest of the evening Jessica Cannon, Coordinator of Health Education and Promotion at Barnard and director of Well Woman. Along with a selection of her peer educators, Cannon spoke about the history of Well Woman, praised its unique position among peer institutions and addressed what she sees as her primary challenge on campus: outreach. Also, there’s a massage chair there.
Following Cannon were representatives from the Student Wellness Project and Leah Rothstein, Rep. for Student Services, who represents SGA’s interests in discussions of, well, wellness on campus. Following a suggestion from Rep. for College Relationships Rachel Ferrari, Rep Council discussed the possibility that wellness organizations would consolidate the listings of their programs for easier access and outreach. Cannon acknowledged that her biggest concern about this undergraduate syndrome was the fact that “positive health choices are being looked at negatively.” Peer educators and SGA members agreed that “stopping the glorification of busy” was a campus-wide priority, and discussed the best way to do so. According to SGA’s next guest, though, there are some more critical situations on campus than being busy.
Rep Council continued with a presentation by one of CCSC’s Reps to Student Services who called, in conjunction with SGA, for Barnard to formally adopt the Good Samaritan policy approved by Columbia’s governing boards last year. This policy, by the way, is apparently the best in the country, so get it while it’s hot. And, it’s working across the street. Following statements of the pretty obvious, like the fact that Barnard Residential Life basically follows this policy anyway, and that the policy is ineffective if only implemented at Columbia, SGA unanimously voted to support the resolution.
And then we have the posting policy. Here’s where everybody stands, assuming they still stand where they stood last night:
- SGB, under the leadership of its chair David Fine, who visited SGA last night, has voted not to comply with Barnard Student Life’s stamping policy. Fine defended his decision at the meeting, explaining that it originated because the “administration did not consult any student representatives…when crafting this policy over the summer” and because of a “probably more philosophical disagreement with the policy,” that it “poses a logistical burden to [SGB] groups.” As a consequence, Fine explained, “student groups are just skipping Barnard…and driving a further wedge into the community.” The policy does not officially go into effect for all SGB groups until the Board’s next town hall, currently scheduled for December 6th.
- ABC, under the leadership of President Saketh Kalathur, basically agrees with SGB. However, as ABC operates differently, their decision to support noncompliance with the policy took effect immediately following the approval of its executive board, and its focus is that if an ABC receives sanctions for its noncompliance, “ABC will take complete responsibility” for them.
- SGA is frustrated. It’s frustrated with the policy, about which they’ve been in discussion with Student Life all semester. It’s also frustrated with the actions of SGB and ABC, and, in the words of Junior Class President Aliza Hassine, confused about “where the communication was with us before this was started.”
There was communication, says David Fine, but right now all three groups are stuck between a proverbial rock and a stamp. Fine explained that when he met with Director of Orientation and Activities Joyce Lewandowski, working in Dean of Student Life Jessica Nunez’s stead, Lewandowski explained that though Student Life was eager to hear student feedback on the policy, they would not be reviewing it until next semester. What’s next? SGA’s survey, which has been live for two weeks, is available here. SGA “recognizes that if we wait until the end of the semester that means we’re not letting our students benefit from the flyering that SGB and ABC provides on our campus,” and respects the urgency of the situation. All those homeless flyers can’t be doing too well, after all.
Rarely busy stock photo model via Shutterstock