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SGA Is Good At Student Governing

Zora Neale Hurston was a true boss.

Once again, SGA revealed its capacity to get things done. Despite starting late and running long, members at this week’s Rep Council meeting heard from two student groups, voted on election guidelines and endowment proposals, and–our favorite–discussed the most recent Desserts After Dark results.

First, members of the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Constituencies under the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC) requested SGA support in their recent effort to split up under three different representatives on ABC. As three distinct communities, the presenters felt that being lumped together minimizes their representative’s efficacy at supporting and advocating for their needs. At a recent ABC meeting, the board declined to vote on the matter. In its current organization, each ABC representative represents a wide range of groups in a cultural, identity, or topical category, such as Pre-Professional, East Asian, and the wide-ranging Special Interest. Each of these categories contain many different kinds of groups with overlapping interested. SGA decided to save discussion on support of this division for a later time.

Next, SGA welcomed student group Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters (BOSS). BOSS is an organization of black female leaders who work to empower and support black women on campus. The group requested more active SGA support, as well as help to encourage members of minority groups to get involved in student government. SGA members readily agreed that this was a necessary step to pursue. BOSS members also spoke about encouraging instructors to include more people of color in their lectures. “In every single discipline, it is possible,” pointed out one BOSS member, who then suggested professors turn to Google if they need more ideas. BOSS also presented ideas for new initiatives, such as racial sensitivity training during NSOP, and hiring more professors of color.

Barnard Honor Board member Hillary Gabriele joined SGA’s election committee to discuss changes to SGA’s election guidelines. Notable changes include a new violation form that is accessible online and can be used by anyone who sees and wishes to report an election violation. Previous iterations of the election guidelines mentioned a form, but said form was not in use. Additionally, the guidelines clarified the involvement of the Honor Board as the body that would deal with any student who wishes to appeal the decision of the elections committee regarding a violation. SGA voted to approve these and other new guidelines.

Following these updates, VP Campus Life Angela Beam presented the results of SGA’s biannual student survey, Desserts After Dark. This semester’s 642 respondents seemed generally satisfied with Barnard services and SGA access. Survey results showed that students still want more allowances in Barnard’s winter housing policy and would appreciate access to student course evaluations when choosing their classes. Additionally, the survey results also showed an interest in a Facebook livestream of the weekly SGA meetings. SGA members were in support of this measure: “It’s free, so there’s no downside,” said senior class VP Emma Sukenik.

And then there was even more voting! Led again by Beam, the Rep Council voted to formally approve two more endowment proposals. Starting after spring break, endowment funds will be spent to open the Diana Center roof open for student use during select hours each week. Additionally, more funds will go towards buying new furniture for the Diana Center, which includes benches, chairs, and tables, primarily on the first, second, and fifth floors. The furniture will be of various styles, and will probably be orange.

Other updates:

  • SGA has improved so much at using the projector that Beam commented about the display “I feel like it’s always distorted, thats the most accurate I’ve ever seen it.” Hooray!
  • Representative for Academic Affairs Hannah Brody announced a new policy change that will allow Barnard transfer and dual degree students to take PE through their junior year. This advancement will make it easier for everyone to take classes like Women’s Strength or Group Fitness Sampler at their convenience.
  • Another listening session for the presidential search committee will be happening today, March 7, at 4:30 in Sulz parlor. Go to have your voice heard, stay to marvel at the existence of that strangely ornate room.
  • This Wednesday, SGA will be hosting the goodbye magnolia tree event you didn’t know people still cared about. There will be pink candy, buttons, and “other fun activities,” to celebrate (mourn?) the dead tree currently tethered to Barnard’s virtually inaccessible Lehman Lawn.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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