SAC Holds a Meeting, People Notice
Written by Bwog Staff
Update, 6:01 pm: Occupy Columbia did not officially protest the meeting. According to Frouman,”There were some people on the steps affiliated with Occupy but it was coincidence as I understand it.” Certain members of Occupy did, however, send the attendees of the meeting an e-mail based on a misunderstanding of what the meeting was about, the content of which is found after the jump.
Yesterday, Occupy Columbia got wind of the fact that the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) was having a closed meeting about what the university would do with the space vacated by the move to Manhattanville. Outraged by the lack of transparency, they stormed over to Low and sat outside the meeting to take a stand for the rights of students to have a voice in the process.
It turns out the meeting wasn’t technically closed. Bwog sat down to speak with Alex Frouman, Eduardo Santana, and Jose Robledo of SAC to figure out what all the hubbub was about. It turns out there may have been a miscommunication about what was being discussed at the meeting and who was invited. According to Jose Robledo, the GS representative in the SAC, “All of our SAC meetings and student council meetings are open.” The head of SAC, Frouman, who called the meeting, further clarified that the discussion over whether or not it should have been publicized wasn’t discussed because of the administrative nature of the meeting. Whether or not SAC should use Google Docs or Survey Monkey and whether the survey should come out on a Saturday or a Sunday, for example didn’t seem to merit a more explicit meeting announcement, especially because they would come out with the press release later that night. The irony, Frouman claimed, was that the whole meeting was regarding how to get students involved by thinking about methods of outreach.
According to the press release, the final decision from the meeting:
The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) of the Columbia University Senate has launched the Morningside Student Space Initiative. MSSI will transparently gather information about student space needs and communicate those needs to the Columbia University community.
NBD. But, if students are so bent out of shape about getting their voices heard, what’s the harm in quelling their fears a bit, even if ultimately their presence would not have changed anything?
E-mail from [email protected]:
Dear Student Activities Committee Members, University Senators, School Presidents, Deans, and other participants:
We are individuals who act together to represent ourselves and no one else. Today we do not speak for “Occupy Columbia University” because no such stable body exists, and by no means have all past, present, and future General Assembly participants contributed to or approved this letter. However, the authors of this message occupy and will continue to occupy this campus, its collective consciousness, its public spaces and its private meetings.
We understand that this meeting was convened to discuss the process by which Morningside campus space vacated in the move to Manhattanville will be re-allocated.
Given the commitment to transparency outlined in the June 6th, 2010 report from the Campus Planning Task Force, we demand that all future meetings regarding this vacated space be actively advertised and opened to student and community input, including the physical presence of affiliates and non-affiliate community members in the room where the discussion is being held.
We have faith that you will keep your promises.