Beilock: Barnard Is Best
Written by Dassi Karp
Didn’t catch last nights meeting of Barnard’s SGA Rep Council? Probably a good call–you have midterms to study for and you, fastidious reader of Bwog, know that these meetings are generally sincere yet boringly bureaucratic at their best and complete displays of incompetency at their worst. That didn’t stop Barnard Bureau Chief Dassi Karp from showing up, taking her seat on the edge of the Rep Council semi-rectangle, and mostly paying attention to what was going on (she perhaps spent some time trying to determine if she was sitting in the camera frame of the meeting’s Facebook livestream). So, as always, read on to find out what did and did not happen at last nights meeting.
Beilock is back, baby, and calm, collected, and well-spoken as ever. After a brief return of the adjunct faculty union, last nights Rep Council meeting of Barnard’s Student Government Association featured remarks by college President Sian Beilock followed by questions and a discussion from members of Rep Council. Beilock engaged sincerely in the discussion and responded to questions posed but, yet again, our Reps didn’t have many actual actionable questions, and most were returned with an affirmation that some issue is being looked into or that SGA should really bring in some other member of the administration and talk to them about specifics.
First, though, a minor bit of drama: Sonam Singh, Adjunct Lecturer in English and current BCF-UAW (FYI that stands Barnard Contingent Faculty United Automobile Workers, which has nothing to do with automobiles and is the union for contingent and other non-tenure-track faculty at Barnard) Bargaining Chair, spoke during the open floor section at the meeting. Backed by a group of about thirty student supporters, Singh shared a new grievance the union has brought to the College. The grievance involves stipends that were formerly awarded to all First-Year seminar instructors and are now granted only to non-union members. Singh asked SGA to make room in their upcoming schedule to discuss this further.
Immediately following, Beilock was given the chance to speak. She talked briefly about her “fantastic first year,” and how great she felt about being at Barnard–“there’s no other institution in the world like it,” she said. She cited Barnard’s commitment to diversity, proximity to all that New York City has to offer, and the relationship with Columbia as some of the reasons for Barnard’s excellence.
The rest of the meeting time was left to questions from Rep council , who mostly asked about Barnard’s commitment to diversity, student’s accessibility to the opportunities that New York City has to offer, and the College’s relationship with the rest of Columbia University. Reps asked about inclusivity in the classroom, proper use of space on campus, and transparency in the financial aid process. Beilock agreed that these were all important issues that should (and are) being explored and addressed. Nothing really specific was discussed, but Beilock said that she looks forward to creating space for the expression of student opinions on all of these issues. “The best way I know how to lead,” she said, “is to listen and learn from those around me.”