Barnard students have voted in favor of a referendum asking the Student Government Association to write a letter to the administration asking them to divest from eight companies that “profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians,” SGA announced in an email to students on Wednesday.
Of the 1153 students that voted on the referendum, 64.3 percent voted in its favor. Almost 50 percent of students voted in this year’s election—which included council positions and the referendum—compared to 30.9 percent last year, which at the time was the highest record for an SGA election.
Though the referendum has passed, SGA is not required to write a letter to administrators, as the referendum suggests. Instead, members of the Representative Council will make their own decision on whether or not the letter should be written and sent, though they will take the result of the student vote into consideration.
Members of SGA will discuss the outcome of the vote during the internal portion of their upcoming meeting on April 23. Following this meeting, members of SGA’s current Representative Council will vote on whether or not to write the letter.
If the council votes to send a letter to the administration, SGA’s Executive Board will draft the letter before the end of April, according to the email. The final letter would then need to be approved again during the internal portion of their meeting the following week. If these conditions are met a letter would be sent to administrators on May 1.
The referendum was introduced after representatives from Columbia University Apartheid Divest attended SGA’s meeting on March 19 and requested that SGA formally offer its support. In response, SGA instead initiated a student body-wide referendum that was included on this year’s elections ballot.
Since the initial proposal was made by CUAD, students have vocally campaigned for and against the referendum, including tabling, flyers, and social media campaigns.
A week after CUAD spoke to SGA and plans for the referendum were announced, representatives from Aryeh, a Jewish student group that supports a two-state solution, spoke in front of more than 100 students at SGA in opposition to the referendum.
Students have also expressed concerns that the referendum unfairly excluded those who opposed the boycott, divest, sanctions movement from fully participating in the conversation.
Along with the results of the referendum, SGA also announced the winner of this year’s council elections. Of the 21 positions open for election, 10 were uncontested, including four of the five executive board positions. This includes the position of SGA president, which went to Nicola Kirkpatrick, BC ’19.
Kirkpatrick said she is excited to begin her work as president and plans to first tackle space allocation issues in the new Cheryl and Philip Milstein Teaching and Learning Center, that will open this August, to ensure that all students have their own space on campus.
“It’s about time students of color, and our LGBTQ and FGLI communities have dedicated areas on campus” Kirkpatrick said.
See the full list of winners below.
SGA President: Nicola Kirkpatrick
Vice President for Policy: Mia Lindheimer
Vice President for Campus Life: Hannah Stanhill
Vice President for Communications: Kim Samala
Vice President for Finance: Rachel Nordlicht
Jr. Representative to the Board of Trustees: Jessica Cruz
Representative for Inclusion and Equity: Tirzah Anderson
Representative for Campus Affairs: Chelsea Sinclair
Representative for Information and Technology: Yasmine Kaya
Representative for Arts and Culture: Phanesia Pharel
Representative for Health Services: Ava Adler
Representative for Food and Dining Services: Yeliz Sezgin
Representative for Seven Sisters Relations: Idris O’Neill
Representative for Sustainable Initiatives: Caroline Cutlip
Representative for Academic Affairs: Solace Mensah-Narh
Sr. Class President: Rhea Nagpal
Sr. Class VP: Hannah Yoo
Jr. Class President: Gabi Garcia
Jr. Class VP: Celine Zhu
Soph. Class President: Tina Gao
Soph. Class VP: Norah Hassan