Staffer Caroline brings you updates from this week’s action-packed SGA meeting featuring President Spar and Divest Barnard (conflict perhaps? Drama? Read on).
It is always a good SGA meeting when D-Spar and her posse come to give updates from the administrative side. It’s an even better SGA meeting when a student group shows up to protest, especially if the group is Divest Barnard.
President Spar characterized this upcoming year as an “implementation” year. After setting in motion three major projects last year (the new Barnard library, the revision of the transgender policy at Barnard, and a curriculum review), the administration is currently sorting out details regarding these initiatives. According to Spar, by 2020 Barnard is going to look like a very different place.
The 2016 Global Symposium was brought up by President Spar as well. This year, the eighth annual symposium will take place in Paris. Discussions and panels will be held ranging in topics from the refugee crisis and how it is affecting women to the progressive policies regarding women’s rights that have been implemented in Europe. For the first time, because delegates will be in the fashion capital of the world, there will be an emphasis put on the fashion industry.
Once the floor was open to SGA reps to ask President Spar questions, Divest Barnard silently took center stage, directly in D-Spar’s line of vision, holding signs with slogans such as “Whose side are you on?,” “Our futures are not for sale,” and “injustice is not investment.” This protest was ignored by much of the committee, but Divest remained and questions commenced.
The first question asked was about the emergency policy and procedure in light of last year’s fire, to which D-Spar answered that it was being reviewed. Another rep brought up STEM at Barnard. This year and in following years, the administration is looking to specifically give computer science majors more support at the college. Recently, there have been 3 million dollars put aside to hire a professor to chair a new computer science department at Barnard. This is a work in progress, but Barnard College is committed to ensuring that the applied math and sciences become stronger as a whole at Barnard. The final question asked by a SGA rep was about how Barnard is looking to improve accessibility for disabled students. This was given the “new Barnard” answer: Barnard Campus will be completely flat and the underground tunnels will be straight by 2020!
Finally, in the last 5 minutes the floor was opened to external questions, giving Divest Barnard their time to shine. Unfortunately due to a time restraint, Divest Barnard only was able to ask two questions, both of which were tactfully addressed by President Spar. When a Divest member asked President Spar how an institution committed to social justice could continue to justify being invested in the fossil fuel industry, President Spar chuckled. She then responded that she will continue giving the same answer she has given to Divest before, the issue is being brought up on the board level and more time will being to be invested in this process. A follow up question was asked by another Divest member. She brought up the fact that climate change disproportionately affects women and how, as an institution based around women, Barnard could support that. Spar gave pretty much the same answer as the one given before…basically “we will look into it.”
Time was up, Divest Barnard was left without their
Other updates from SGA:
Fossil Fuels via Shutterstock