The endless rewards of participating in student government
Neutral correspondent Renée Kraiem reports on last night’s SGA meeting.
Last night’s SGA meeting welcomed, with open stomachs arms to receive their promised Crumbs cupcakes, Associate Dean for Campus and Residential Life Annie Aversa, and Associate Director for Housing Operations Matt Kingston.
To satiate Barnard students’ fervent desire for more emails from their administration, Kingston and Aversa announced that to coincide with the beginning of room selection, Residential Life will be circulating information about their reviewed policies and procedures following Spring Break. Some minor changes, though, might rock the boat of Registration Nation:
For its second year running, all Barnard suites will be open to groups wishing to incorporate Columbia students, specifically male ones. What’s new, though, is that any suite containing one or more male will be responsible for filling any vacancy that might arise during the year; otherwise, the suite will be repossessed as a single-sex one, and the male exiled to the other side of Broadway. This is also the policy in Columbia housing, apparently, and Kingston explained that Residential Life is committed to offering single-sex housing to new students—and there are a lot more of those than there used to be.
Further, those who sign up for the guaranteed wait-list option during registration will have the same cancellation date as those who do not; previously, the extended deadline made it difficult to anticipate housing availability for transfer students, and diminish the number of students who sign up for the waitlist purely for the extended deadline. To accommodate for the change, the fee for cancellation after the deadline will increase in increments of $250 every two-weeks, rather than go straight to $1000.
The big kahuna (more on this later!), though, is Winter Break Housing. Due to a large drop in the amount of students staying on campus during Winter Break, resulting in current policies being largely cost-ineffective, not all residence halls will be open during next year’s Winter Break. Those who would like to stay on campus over break, if they are not living in one of the buildings that will remain open, must “find a friend” who is willing to lend their room, and the fee for staying on campus will likely increase from $200. To accommodate for this change, Kingston insists that the list of dorms that will be open during break will be fully available to students before room selection this spring, and Residential Life will run a service through which students who need them can find available rooms on campus. That is, of course, assuming that New York actually has winter next year.
Last, Aversa informed Rep Council that the fee for Summer Subsidized Housing will increase, likely to $400. She reminded the Council, though, that this is still—by far—the best (un-airconditioned) deal in the City. Here’s hoping there’s a temperature threshold.
Rep also heard presentations from University Senator Sara Snedeker, and Lisa Kostreva, the Rep to CCSC. After clarifying exactly what the USenate is, and who’s on it, Snedeker discussed her main priority for the semester; concluding work on her committee’s recommendation to the Senate for open course evaluations.
Apparently our course evaluations aren’t the only things that need to be more open around here. VP Rachel Ferrari and other members of Rep in attendance discussed last week’s Queer Leadership Forum, which, apparently, garnered quite the turnout among administrators (DSpar, AHinks), faculty and students. Ferrari related the Forum’s resolution that Barnard’s campus needs a designated Safe Space, and more gender-neutral bathrooms. Most importantly, though, Rep Council emphatically agreed that a discussion needed to be had both with other Councils at the other Seven Sisters, and among the whole Barnard campus, because “there are a lot of things we aren’t acknowledging.”
If you’re feeling frustrated, though, you can let it all hang out next Monday on the sandy beaches of…campus? Next Monday SGA will be hosting an all day open house, complete with promotional items, snacks, and a luau-themed Hewitt. Also in attendance will be a smoothie bar, for which one will need a ticket, for which one will need to learn a fact about SGA or share a thought. We expect that they’ll be accepting hulas.