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SGA Learns Who’s BOSS

Reminder to exercise your right to vote in SGA elections if you haven’t done so already! Voting takes place on myBarnard and is open until noon on Wednesday, April 17th. Make the suffragettes proud. #BoldBeautifulBarnard

Last night, SGA representatives heard from Maat Bates and Robrenisha Williams, board members of the Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters, and Martha Tenney and Shannon O’Neill, archivists at the Barnard Library. Founded in 1969, BOSS celebrates its fiftieth anniversary at Barnard College this year by exhibiting the “10 Demands” archival collection in collaboration with the Barnard Library and Archives on April 26th.

These “10 Demands” include demands for increased black enrollment, recruitment, and access to Barnard; demands for education, books, and records that are relevant to black students; and demands for physical space allocated to black students on campus, which resulted in the Zora Neale Hurston Lounge in the Quad.

However, the Zora Neale Hurston Lounge isn’t enough. Many college campuses have special interest housing to support student cultural communities, but Barnard has none, so the demand that “We want selective living for black students at Barnard” still has not been met. Moreover, Representative Idris O’Neill highlighted that there is an overall lack of campus resources that are specifically dedicated to black students, since many campus events, programs, and spaces are dedicated to students of color more generally. To qualify this statement, BOSS board members Bates and Williams and Representative Tirzah Anderson also acknowledged the unique access that black students have to space on campus that other students of color do not have. For this reason, they voiced a need to advocate for BOSS’s affinity groups, such as Mujeres and their Petition for Space Allocation.

One demand, in particular, hit a little too close to home: “We want an immediate end to harassment by campus security”. Sadly, half a century later, the incident with Public Safety on Thursday night and many other instances of racism on campus make it clear that BOSS’ “10 Demands” have yet to be adequately met.

Image via Bwog Archives

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