A display of fruit and dessert in an empty Ferris Booth Dining Hall

The Share Meals app has been approved!

Barnard Bwogger Dassi Karp covered the bureaucracy at last nights SGA meeting which involved seven candidate speeches and updates on the Share Meals app.

At Barnard’s SGA meeting last night, Rep Council was in full polite bureaucracy mode. SGA’s current Rep for Academic Affairs, Shoshana Edelman, is leaving the council to study abroad next semester, and this week’s meeting was devoted to selecting her replacement. Applicants for the position were invited to present their qualifications and visions for the position with a two minute speech, followed by questioning. The Rep Council was supposed to vote and inform the winning candidate later that night. They did not do so. Curious? Its less interesting than you think. Read on to find out why.

Though the only official part of the agenda was hearing the candidate speeches, SGA did manage to keep its streak of interfacing with administrative or student guests. “For once we have an open floor guest, which is really exciting,” remarked SGA President Angela Beam (we don’t really miss you, Georgette). The leadership of WBAR, Barnard’s freeform radio station, joined SGA to ask for support in their request for a new space. Currently, WBAR is housed in the basement of Brooks hall. Apparently, this location was supposed to be temporary, as the station was moved there during the construction of the Diana Center in 2007. DJs have reported health concerns, such as dust allergies, which makes it difficult or impossible for them to use the space. The space is too small, and often too hot to hold meetings in. Additionally, being in a Barnard dorm makes it difficult for non-Barnard CU students to access the space, because though Public Safety has a list of approved names, it is often incorrect or not updated. These factors make it difficult or impossible for WBAR to do what it does best, building a community of performers and artists with a place to express themselves. SGA will take this proposal under consideration.

The real focus of the night were the speeches. Seven candidates presented. Though each had a slightly different take on how would they would approach the position of Rep for Academic Affairs, and had varying past experience and qualifications, none were especially distinctive. Ideas presented include helping students get academic credit for internships, increasing diversity in the classroom, making Foundations/Nine Ways requirements more clear and easier to fulfill, a self-scheduling finals system, increased support for transfer and international students, improving the wait-list process, and updating department websites to actually include current information. All seem like quite worthy goals, though I assume many would prove very difficult to achieve because, you know, Barnard.

The process for Rep Council appointments to replace vacancies is detailed in SGA’s constitution. Article VI Section 2 details the process. Written applications are first read without names by an anonymous committee led by VP Policy, who are then supposed to recommend two applicants to present at the meeting of the full Rep Council. After the speeches, in an internal meeting, the Rep Council is supposed to vote on which of the two should recieve the appointment, by a two-thirds majority. This procedure was not followed, with seven candidates presenting, followed apparently by a simple majority vote. Because of these missteps, Rep Council will re-do the appointments procedure next Monday, December 11. It is unclear to me exactly how that will work–must Rep Council somehow forget the speeches they’ve already heard? I know this is what you are most anxious to find out in this, your last week of classes, so stay tuned, and try if you can to not let this keep you up at night. Let’s not be too harsh on SGA– mistakes happen sometimes, even mistakes that can easily be avoided by reading your own rulebook.

In other news:

  • The Share Meals app, while not in the running at Barnard yet, has been approved for use by Barnard’s General Counsel. This app, which makes helps students connect with each other to give and receive free food and meal swipes, has already been operating at Columbia’s non-Barnard dining halls. “Hopefully it will be up and running soon,” said President Angela Beam. Soon is a relative concept at Barnard, I’ve learned, so don’t get your hopes up.
  • Because of new rules instructing all Rep Council members to make external announcements at each meeting, some members have taken to reciting their email addresses when they have nothing else to announce. I see what they’re going for here, but really, their emails are already public available information. So maybe lets stop that?
  • Rep for Sustainable Initiatives Sylvie Rosen announced that there will be reusable takeout boxes available in Barnard dining halls next semester. Nice!

We love technology via Columbia Dining