Last night’s Barnard Student Government Association meeting had everything. An (in my opinion) unwanted visitor, student guests, administrative guests, and even a vote. Somehow, though, the main focus of the night was on microphones. Intrigued? Read on!
First, the visitor. Georgette Fleischer, disgruntled former-adjunct and union member, who was fired last May, following the the instillation of a new contract for adjunct faculty. Fleischer believes she was let go in retaliation for her work in the union (Barnard has tried to fire Fleischer before, siting negative student feedback, but she won a lawsuit against the College in 2015 and was reinstated). Fleischer, SGA’s most frequent open floor visitor, was there to ask students join her in protesting at President Sian Beilock’s official inauguration this Friday. If this keeps up, I might start protesting open floor.
Next: student guests. Yasmine Akki and Emily Miller, President and Vice President of the Multicultural International Student Club (MISC) joined SGA to talk about their club’s needs and possible collaborations. The club hopes to act as a gathering place for people with multiple ethnic, racial, linguistic, or cultural identities. This year, they’re working on expanding. The phrase “to be inclusive as possible” was repeated at least four times during their presentation, so it seems that they really would like to be inclusive as possible. To this end, MISC hopes to work with SGA as well as the administrative departments that deal with international students to make things better for everyone.
If you’re keeping track, you know that we’re up to meeting part three out of four: administrative guests. Wendy Garay, Associate Dean for International and Intercultural Student Programs (IISP), and Giorgio DiMauro, Dean for International and Global Strategy joined Rep Council to discuss the goings-on of their respective offices. They help international students with administrative work, especially dealing with visa status, as well as socio-cultural programming. Garay is also beginning work on a program for inclusive pedagogy.
Lastly, SGA voted on an endowment fund proposal. Each year, SGA uses this fund to create grants for programs or ideas that benefit the entire Barnard community. Rep for Information and Technology, Tahsina Saosun presented this proposal to buy iPhone, Android and MacBook laptop chargers for students to borrow on a short-term basis. This led to a conversation about different types of chargers, with Senior Class President Ambika Mookerjee valiantly daring to ask about PC chargers. For now, Saosun proposes just to buy MacBook chargers, which will not be helpful to the portion of the student population who do not use those types of computers. Besides, at least in my opinion, PCs just being better computers, Ambika explained that “a lot of times those laptops tend to be cheaper, so it’d be good for inclusivity.” If anyone is interested in the details of the very strange charger for my laptop, get in touch. I don’t think I have more than a few months before I lose it again. The proposal was voted on and passed unanimously. Cool.
In other SGA news:
Two microphones have been introduced to the meeting. This is a glorious addition, saving everyone minutes of complaining that they can’t hear each other. Of course, that time saved was more than taken up by figuring out how to pass the microphones around the room. Also, SGA–hold the microphone just a bit away from your collective face when speaking. Nice and audible can easily devolve into screeching and painful. But we’ll get there, maybe.
Newly elected Rep for Academic Affairs, Shreya Sunderram, joined for her first meeting. She reiterated her promise to spend this semester focusing on issues of inclusivity in the classroom. Good luck, Shreya. We maybe should have just chosen you at the end of last semester so you would actually have some time to get things done.