SGA looks to the future this week.

SGA looks to the future this week.

On this Super Tuesday we look at our own elected student governments to figure out what, if anything, they are actually doing. In SGA this week, for example, Raji Ganapathy reports on the conversation between SGA and Barnard’s Dean Hinkson. 

SGA’s meeting this week was dedicated to holding a formalized conversation with administrative special guest, Dean Avis Hinkson. The conversation was intended as a means of promoting communication between the administration and the student body, as well as to discuss common goals or suggest issues to address in the upcoming year. Throughout the course of the meeting, various contentious topics relevant to the student body were discussed, including housing accessibility and meal plans.

Hinkson got the ball rolling by briefly describing her responsibilities as Dean of the College – working with students and staff to improve productivity and connectivity on campus. She also stated that she is currently busy organizing Convocation, Commencement, and Family Weekend, which are a few of her major Dean-ly responsibilities.

Representative for College Relations Angela Beam asked Dean Hinkson to elaborate on her ideas and opinions regarding Barnard’s Athletic Community. Beam shared that she wished to strengthen Barnard’s identity within the umbrella of Columbia athletics, considering that it remains the only women’s college to compete in Ivy League sports. Dean Hinkson responded by affirming that she too hoped to foster a stronger community for athletes at Barnard, suggesting more community-building events, such as a dinner for all female athletes at Barnard and Columbia, as a way to achieve this goal.

Representative for Inclusion and Equity Hannah Seymour brought up the disparity in price for housing in single versus a double room. Seymour pointed out that lower income students might feel pressured into a decision due to the cost of a single room, and that other schools tend to keep these prices equal, assigning students to singles based on seniority rather than whether or not they can afford it. Hinkson stated that Barnard’s housing prices were reflective of the type of rooms available, hinting that a revision in this policy would not occur anytime soon.

First Year Class President Emma Barnett criticized the current policy regarding the first year meal plan. Barnard first-years are automatically placed on the most expensive meal plan option, which allows for nineteen meal swipes every week. Barnett stated that most first years do not use all of these swipes and requested more flexibility in terms of choosing a meal plan in the first year. Barnett also suggested the establishment of a meal share program, in which students could donate unused meal swipes to those in need. Hinkson stated that this issue would be addressed in the new policy for Barnard’s food program, scheduled to be released next Wednesday.

Throughout the course of the meeting, Dean Hinkson fleshed out her goals for the upcoming year. She repeatedly stressed increasing diversity on campus, emphasizing that the definition and scope of diversity were ever-changing. She mentioned that the population of international students at Barnard has grown exponentially in recent years, and that this trajectory will probably continue, contributing to Barnard’s increasingly diverse student population. Hinkson also mentioned that she hopes to engage alumnae and parents more in career development opportunities for Barnard students. When asked what she envisions for Barnard in the year 2020, Hinkson stated that she hopes for more reflection and insight to assess who we are and what we want. She mentioned re-evaluating Barnard’s relationship with Columbia and enhancing its utilization of campus spaces as possible issues to address.

In other update news,

  • DSpar’s last fireside chat of the year will be on March 8th from 5-6 PM! Applications are due by Friday, March 4th. The topic for this fireside chat is “Political Correctness Culture in College”.
  • A Round Table talk hosted by the Student Academic Advisory Committee will be held next Tuesday, March 8th at 6:30PM in the Ella Weed Room. The subject of this week’s discussion will be microaggressions.
  • The second to last Lerner Pubs of the year will be this Thursday, March 2nd, at 9:30. Bring 2 IDs!

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