SGA Hears From Students About CUE And Divest Barnard
Written by Caroline Montgomery
There were several students at the SGA meeting last night looking to have their voices heard, far more than I have ever seen at SGA before (usually it’s just Spec and me….). The floor opened with several students voicing their concerns about Barnard students’ new ineligibility for the pre-NSOP CUE initiative. The students wondered how all four of the schools (CC, SEAS, GS, and BC) can be a cohesive unit if Barnard continues to be excluded from chances to create bonds with students across the street. Barnard and Columbia students came to show their support in trying to reverse this administrative decision. And of course, in true Barnard SGA fashion, the snaps for this argument were loud and proud. Student body president, Shivani Vikuntam, promised that SGA would be in touch with the students.
The second student group to present was Divest Barnard. Divest Barnard has been more active and successful than ever this semester. Their campaign is constantly evolving and becoming more and more impressive. Last night, members of the group gave a presentation informing SGA of the issues with Barnard being invested in the fossil fuel industry, ultimately requesting the support of SGA in order to reach their goal of divestment. Divest Barnard presented facts about the climate and how it is changing, how climate change disproportionately affects women, and SGA’s imperative role in Barnard’s divestment. The board of trustees is in charge of Barnard’s endowment of $280 million, $15.7 million (5.6% of the endowment) of which is invested in the fossil fuel industry. Divest has a petition with more than 700 student signatures asking the board of trustees to divest, so why has the board not listened? Nowhere in the job description of board members does it say that students’ values are to be considered when managing investments. The fossil fuel industry makes Barnard money, so as far as the trustees are considered, investment is a good thing. This is where Divest Barnard is asking for SGA’s support. Alejandra Figueroa is SGA’s representative to the board of trustees. It is her duty to impart the huge ethical dilemma Barnard students have with Barnard being invested in fossil fuels. In order to portray this information in an effective way, Divest Barnard is asking SGA to:
- Hold an official referendum on student body support for divestment from fossil fuels.
- Make a public statement of support.
- Pass a resolution requesting transparent information on where the endowment money is invested.
The ultimate goal is to have a vote (in 18 months) among the board of trustees regarding whether or not Barnard will continue to invest in fossil fuels, and with SGA’s support hopefully this goal will become a reality. Sign Divest Barnard’s petition and follow them on Facebook to stay up to date. Again, a huge round of snaps for Divest Barnard.
The rest of the night was spent on external updates.
- There will be a town hall on November 18th from 6-8 pm in the Diana Event Oval, where the new buildings of Barnard will be discussed.
- The Seven Sister’s conference went swimmingly!
- The Tree Lighting will be happening December 3rd at 6 pm!
Money Magnet via Shutterstock
Tags: 15.7 mill is a lot, barnard, CUE for U, Divest, Don't be a fossil fool, invest in my future barnard, let barnard be a part of Columbia university ok??, pls, Save our mother!, sga, snaps for everyone, tree lighting, why doesn't the board of trustees support our values