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SGA: ABC, Definitely Not as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Her mantra: ” I am a bold, beautiful, well, Barnard woman”

SGA met last night at its usual time and place with a few more males in the audience than usual (still single digits, but we’re getting there). What began as a meeting centered around the business of being well devolved into a meeting about the business of the campus and its not-so-well posting policies. Bwog’s Boldest Barnard Bear Renée Kraiem was there to report.

Rep council started off with a bang with its first guest of the evening Jessica Cannon, Coordinator of Health Education and Promotion at Barnard and director of Well Woman. Along with a selection of her peer educators, Cannon spoke about the history of Well Woman, praised its unique position among peer institutions and addressed what she sees as her primary challenge on campus: outreach. Also, there’s a massage chair there.

Following Cannon were representatives from the Student Wellness Project and Leah Rothstein, Rep. for Student Services, who represents SGA’s interests in discussions of, well, wellness on campus. Following a suggestion from Rep. for College Relationships Rachel Ferrari, Rep Council discussed the possibility that wellness organizations would consolidate the listings of their programs for easier access and outreach. Cannon acknowledged that her biggest concern about this undergraduate syndrome was the fact that “positive health choices are being looked at negatively.” Peer educators and SGA members agreed that “stopping the glorification of busy” was a campus-wide priority, and discussed the best way to do so. According to SGA’s next guest, though, there are some more critical situations on campus than being busy.

Rep Council continued with a presentation by one of CCSC’s Reps to Student Services who called, in conjunction with SGA, for Barnard to formally adopt the Good Samaritan policy approved by Columbia’s governing boards last year. This policy, by the way, is apparently the best in the country, so get it while it’s hot. And, it’s working across the street. Following statements of the pretty obvious, like the fact that Barnard Residential Life basically follows this policy anyway, and that the policy is ineffective if only implemented at Columbia, SGA unanimously voted to support the resolution.

And then we have the posting policy. Here’s where everybody stands, assuming they still stand where they stood last night:

  • SGB, under the leadership of its chair David Fine, who visited SGA last night, has voted not to comply with Barnard Student Life’s stamping policy. Fine defended his decision at the meeting, explaining that it originated because the “administration did not consult any student representatives…when crafting this policy over the summer” and because of a “probably more philosophical disagreement with the policy,” that it “poses a logistical burden to [SGB] groups.” As a consequence, Fine explained, “student groups are just skipping Barnard…and driving a further wedge into the community.” The policy does not officially go into effect for all SGB groups until the Board’s next town hall, currently scheduled for December 6th.
  • ABC, under the leadership of President Saketh Kalathur, basically agrees with SGB. However, as ABC operates differently, their decision to support noncompliance with the policy took effect immediately following the approval of its executive board, and its focus is that if an ABC receives sanctions for its noncompliance, “ABC will take complete responsibility” for them.
  • SGA is frustrated. It’s frustrated with the policy, about which they’ve been in discussion with Student Life all semester. It’s also frustrated with the actions of SGB and ABC, and, in the words of Junior Class President Aliza Hassine, confused about “where the communication was with us before this was started.”

There was communication, says David Fine, but right now all three groups are stuck between a proverbial rock and a stamp. Fine explained that when he met with Director of Orientation and Activities Joyce Lewandowski, working in Dean of Student Life Jessica Nunez’s stead, Lewandowski explained that though Student Life was eager to hear student feedback on the policy, they would not be reviewing it until next semester. What’s next? SGA’s survey, which has been live for two weeks, is available here. SGA “recognizes that if we wait until the end of the semester that means we’re not letting our students benefit from the flyering that SGB and ABC provides on our campus,” and respects the urgency of the situation. All those homeless flyers can’t be doing too well, after all.

Rarely busy stock photo model via Shutterstock

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14 Comments

  • SGA says:

    @SGA Damn it, SGB and ABC! You know as well as we do that student government is impotent!You guys were supposed to help us save face when we’d inevitably fail to get the Dean to change her mind! Why did you have to be on the right side of common sense and student freedom by taking such a hard-line position? Now we either lose what little credibility we have left with the students, or we never get invited to the Dean’s soirees!

  • Wait says:

    @Wait Bwog pays for stock images? (or perhaps just looks it up on shutterstock, then uses google image search to find a non-watermarked copy)

    1. Alex says:

      @Alex Actually, Shutterstock gives us access for free. It’s probably a marketing gimmick.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous “Barnard to formally adopt the Good Samaritan policy approved by Columbia’s governing boards last year. This policy, by the way, is apparently the best in the country, so get it while it’s hot.”

    What does this mean? Could the author explain what the policy actually is?

    1. The Basic Rundown says:

      @The Basic Rundown Columbia’s GSP, known as the Responsible Community Action Policy, covers illegal use of alcohol, illegal possession of alcohol at the scene should medical help be necessary, and use of illegal drugs in the event that someone is in medical danger. It protects the student being called in for, the caller, anyone else at the party, and any organization affiliated with the party. GSPs rarely go beyond alcohol use, and rarely protect students beyond the person being called in for and the person calling in.

      http://housingservices.columbia.edu/content/alcohol-and-other-drug-policy#Community

    2. The Basic Rundown says:

      @The Basic Rundown Columbia’s GSP, known as the Responsible Community Action Policy, covers illegal use of alcohol, illegal possession of alcohol at the scene should medical help be necessary, and use of illegal drugs in the event that someone is in medical danger. It protects the student being called in for, the caller, anyone else at the party, and any organization affiliated with the party. GSPs rarely go beyond alcohol use, and rarely protect students beyond the person being called in for and the person calling in.

  • BC'13 says:

    @BC'13 Why is SGA upset that ABC and SGB are not going to comply with the policy? This is really something SGA should do themselves, that would send a message to the College that the policy is awful.

    1. Anon says:

      @Anon I don’t think SGA is upset that SGB and ABC aren’t complying with the policy – rather that SGA is already in the process of coming up with a replacement policy – just based off of what I saw from the meeting last night. It seemed SGA was/is working on it and SGB was working based on its’ mission but then ABC just decided to tag along when they really dont know what is going on.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous How would any “replacement policy” be a good idea?

        1. Anon says:

          @Anon I have no idea what kind of policy they would create but I guess it should be one that results in a repercussion for the club if the flyer was reported to be a problem after the fact – definitely not before it’s hung up.

          1. Posted by The Spec says:

            @Posted by The Spec “Don’t Be A Pussy, join the Blue and White!”

    2. was at the meeting says:

      @was at the meeting SGA isn’t upset with SGB or ABC, they also don’t like the policy, which makes things harder for ALL student groups on campus. They just aren’t doing a non-compliance thing because they prefer to try to get it changed. However, the added pressure being brought to bear on Student Life by the non-compliance votes will probably help SGA move things along faster, to the benefit of us all.

      2 individual SGA members were upset about little nitpicky things in the statements, and they kind of took over the conversation, but those 2 didn’t represent the whole of SGA.

      1. Anon says:

        @Anon at least those 2 spoke up because it just seems like SGA has no opinion. SGB taking the world by storm

  • anon says:

    @anon btw this is excellent reporting

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