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SGA Learns About Petition To Change First Year Curriculum


This is the photo that came up when we searched “student government”… yay team!

Back again in all of her Barnard Bearoness glory, SGA correspondent Maddie Stearn recaps last night’s student government meeting. Packed with issues regarding elections, funding, and a petition to change curriculum, the meeting covered issues that you surely want to be informed about. 

This week’s meeting had quite the packed agenda, and it was off to a start with speeches from the candidates for Junior Class VP and Representative for Campus Affairs. Members will vote on each candidate and both positions will be filled by next week. SGA members also received an update from JCCC on the approval of $2,000 in funding for the Muslim Protagonist Symposium. The funding was required for rent after the Muslim Protagonist Symposium was unexpectedly moved from Teachers College to SIPA.

Claire Bouchard (BC ‘15) stopped by to make a presentation on potential alterations to the First Year Curriculum, as well as to present a petition describing the proposed changes. At the meeting, Bouchard served as the mouthpiece of an increasing number of Barnard students who are dissatisfied with the First Year Curriculum as it currently stands. Outside guests joined Bouchard at the meeting to support her presentation as well as reaffirm their reasons for advocating changes to the program. Bouchard’s presentation highlighted dissatisfaction with the current program’s focus on the Classics, as well as its “western centric high academia pedagogy,” and proposed “First Year Critical Thought” as a possible alternative. In this proposed model, First Years would confront concepts that may be foreign to them, including power systems, social structures, construction of identity, deconstruction of current events, and the silencing of marginalized voices. These concepts could be introduced in the form of books that represent current topics of importance from around the globe. During the Q&A portion of the presentation, Bouchard cited the “Reacting to the Past” seminar as a good model for other First Year seminars, particularly because it encourages student engagement.

Despite voicing concerns and proposing changes to the First Year Curriculum, Bouchard said that she and others have been generally ignored throughout the curriculum review. She expressed her hope that SGA will provide feedback on the petition to change the program and will, ultimately, use its power to survey the entire student population on the petition. You can read the entirety of the petition here.

Like clockwork, the SGA meeting proceeded to cover external updates. Here are some upcoming dates, applications, and events to look out for:

  • Applications for the Mural Project in Hewitt are due February 26th. Don’t miss out on the chance to leave your mark!
  • The Junior Class Council is hosting a blood drive this Friday from 10am – 5pm. The truck will be out by the Barnard gates. One donation can save up to three lives.
  • The Food Advisory Board is still accepting responses to their survey.
  • Get a flu shot on Wednesday, February 18th in 199 Reid from 3-6pm.
  • Save the date: DSpar is hosting a fireside chat on Monday, March 2nd at 6:30pm. Look out for the application in an email from SGA early next week.
  • Applications are still open for the Board of Trustees Dinner.
  • SGA comment cards are going into mailboxes soon. Fill one out and place it in one of the red SGA boxes in the Diana (hint: there’s one in the mailroom on that pillar).
  • The Earth Institute is accepting application for the Green Fund through February 20th.
  • First years can look forward to monthly study breaks with Insomnia Cookies.

There’s no “I” in “Team” via Shutterstock

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