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SGA Discusses Ombuds, ODS, And More

Weekly SGA meetings are open to all Barnard students, but we all know you’re too busy cramming for midterms to participate in the general will like Rousseau wants you to.  Instead, guest writer Leena Chen has got it covered for you.

The meeting began, as usual, with announcements from each of the SGA representatives. If you’re a Barnard student, please vote on the proposed SGA Constitution! On Wednesday and Friday, representatives will be tabling with Schmackary’s Cookies, so be sure to make the most of your tuition and student life fees by exchanging your vote for a free cookie!

Today, three new campus staff members introduced themselves, their backgrounds, and their roles to SGA representatives during the meeting. The first new staff member was DeShaunta Johnson, the Student Ombudsperson. Since many students tend to be unfamiliar with this resource, Johnson began by explaining that Ombuds is an impartial, informal, and confidential office that is employed by Barnard, but is independent from it. With her professional background in psychotherapy, Johnson serves as a resource to help students navigate difficult situations by helping them clarifying their thought processes and by facilitating communication with other offices, if necessary. Students with complaints, conflicts, or other concerns can schedule appointments with Johnson on Mondays from 8 am to 2 pm in Hewitt 112 by emailing dojohnso@barnard.edu. All appointments are entirely confidential, and there are no records kept of students afterward.

After some questions from SGA representatives, the mic was turned over to Holly Tedder, the new Director of Disability Services. Tedder has been hosting many small-group listening sessions in the 3rd floor Diana lounge as well as one-on-one meetings to hear about students’ experiences with ODS, both good and bad. She’s eager to spread awareness of and to expand available campus resources for students with disabilities. Tedder has also been in communication with faculty to hear their perspective on the process of creating suitable accommodations for ODS-registered students. Fun fact: To increase accessibility, faculty members are not permitted to ban laptops in the classroom!

Last but not least, Roger Mosier, the new Vice President for Campus Services, introduced himself as the replacement for Gail Beltrone. His role on campus is to oversee over 225 employees in Facilities, Public Safety, Dining, Housing, Events Management, and more. His priority is to familiarize himself with staff members and their concerns, which drew many eager rounds of snaps from SGA representatives. To form a clearer picture of Barnard campus services, Mosier hopes to meet with staff members in small groups without their supervisors present. Currently, his primary project is in space planning, or figuring out how to shuffle people and classroom materials into Milstein from their previous locations.

At the end, SGA representatives voiced concern about the understaffing in Facilities and Events Management, which has led to delays in addressing urgent work orders, inefficiency in events set-up and clean-up, injuries due to slippery pavement in winter weather, and more. Unfortunately, Mosier largely avoided answering the question, pointing to the difficulty in requesting Barnard administration to hire more staff members. That’s bureaucracy, I guess.

Bold, Beautiful, Barnard via Bwog Archives 

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