Talkative correspondent Renée Kraiem reports on last night’s SGA meeting.
Last night Rep Council welcomed an esteemed guest, Dean Avis Hinkson, and spent a great deal of time talking about talking. There was talking about what not to talk about, talking about talking more positively, talking about talking about talking—you get the idea.
The first hour of Rep Council was devoted to AHinks, who spent the first twenty minutes presenting her priorities for her second year as Dean of the College. Having “spent a year listening,” AHinks presented her agenda for this year, in which she plans to focus on “the business side of education,” meaning the policies and procedures of how the College runs. This is not about “big policy,” Hinkson insisted, but about creating a structure for where students should go to get things done, and what ought to happen when they get there. “Much of what we’ve been doing,” she said, “is dependent on personal relationships;” she insisted that she sees these relationships as a great strength of the College, but that there need to be concise procedures that students are aware of and are able to explain to others.
“I have the real luxury of walking into a position that I think Dean Denburg left in really great shape and that has a solid foundation,” said Hinkson, who also commented that “it’s not about fixing what’s broken.” There are some things, though, that it appears she’d like to fix. For instance, she admitted to “questioning, and possibly challenging the use of language on campus.” AHinks specifically mentioned students’ use of the words “transparency” and “safe spaces.” They are used in the heat of conversations, she posited, and are then usually unhelpful in achieving what one actually wants to achieve. She specifically questioned the requests of various “safe spaces” on campus, as she said that it makes her question what exactly are the “unsafe” spaces on campus.
Moving away from the talking about talking, Rep Council spent the rest of her visit talking about the Constellations program’s pilot year. Hinkson admitted that she hoped that the program would pick up speed in the future, but that she was excited to see how leaders continue to find ways to integrate the program into campus life. Also on the agenda was the Development Office’s Feed Millie Campaign, and the casual mentions that, oh, by the way, there’s a Wii in the basement of the Diana Center, and when AHinks was at Barnard she took bowling for her PhysEd requirement. Now there’s something to talk about.
Since we’re all doing a lot of talking here, somebody has to be doing the listening—and yesterday’s club guest, representatives from the Muslim Students Association, are pros at talking about listening. The guests responded positively to DSpar’s response to the recent controversy, praising her quick turnaround. VP of the MSA Maliha Tariq (BC ’13) said that “Barnard was the first one to step up” and that, on the whole, the group is “very proud of the progress that our university has made being active on the issue.”
Also stepping up last evening was VP of SGA Rachel Ferrari, who presented changes to SGA’s constitution that were among those that need not be approved by the general student body. Among these changes were grammatical ones, errors in spelling, and general questions of clarity. Among those changes that will be presented to the student body during SGA elections this spring will be a proposal that only rising seniors may run for the position of SGA president, and a similar stipulation for members of the executive board. Talking about how we talk: check!
The meeting concluded with a preliminarily positive report on Monday’s SGA town hall. More people are aware, according to PrezBla, that “SGA, at least, exists,” and it appears that Barnard students did a lot of talking today. Want to do more talking? Do it here—just check your spelling, because it looks like Ferrari’s got enough on her plate.
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