As the executive board of Barnard’s Student Government Association, we are uniquely fortunate to have the opportunity to communicate with administrators from across the college on a regular basis. We have found administrators to be honest with and available to SGA throughout our tenures. We meet regularly with members of the administration in our public Rep Council meetings on Mondays from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Diana Dining Room, in our committee meetings, and in our biweekly meetings with Dean Hinkson. While these interactions are frequent, we have often found ourselves requesting “transparency” from the administration.
This cry for “transparency” is often echoed by the student body. As the tuition-paying members of the college, students rightfully feel they deserve to be a part of the conversations in which major college policies are changed. In the past two years, the administration made several changes that directly affected students’ daily lives, yet never took student opinion into consideration. While administrators believe that they have been transparent by explaining their decisions retroactively, the student cry for “transparency” is actually a plea for inclusion in the process.
If the administration truly wants to enhance our campus’s community, it must incorporate student responses when implementing change. We need to begin working together, instead of against one another, to create a college whose community is welcoming, and whose finances are secure. We’re aware that the administration cannot include students in every decision that needs to be made. But in order for students to trust the administration, they must actively include students in larger conversations that shape the college’s future.
“Loyal and true” Barnard students should collectively create opportunities to make their voices heard. As SGA’s mission is to provide channels of communication between students, administrators, and faculty, we call on students to take initiative in continuing SGA’s tradition of equitable self-government that holds both administrators and students accountable to such collaboration. This is the legacy we pass down to future generations of Barnard students, as we fight to protect the college’s core mission of developing strong, independent, and extraordinary women.
JungHee Hyun is the president of SGA. Candace Fox is the finance vice president of SGA. Julia Kennedy is the student government vice president of SGA. Malvina Kefalas is the communications vice president of SGA. Sarah Steinmann is the student activities vice president of SGA.
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