Barnard students are largely frustrated with the current shortage of Barnard jobs available for work-study recipients, the results of the semesterly Desserts After Dark survey, which was presented to Barnard’s Student Government Association on Monday night, have shown. Respondents also expressed in the survey a desire for a more transparent relationship between SGA and the administration and lack of awareness about confidential resources for issues related to Title IX on campus.
Desserts After Dark, an optional survey sent out to Barnard students each semester, consists of questions written by SGA representatives that are meant to gauge areas where SGA can improve in its role as a group of elected representatives. This year saw a record low turnout, with only 355 responses compared to last spring’s 430. The number of responses has decreased exponentially over the past few years—601 students participated last fall, while 780 students participated in the fall of 2016.
This year’s questions asked respondents to gauge how often they use the new spaces accessible to them in the Milstein Center, to assess student employment at Barnard, and gauge their perception of Public Safety, among other issues.
In response to a question asking respondents about their engagement with SGA on campus, 65 percent of respondents said that they’d like to see better facilitation of the relationship between the administration and the student body. Of 354 respondents, only 50 percent said that they had voted before in spring elections. 32 percent of respondents this year were first-year respondents, and were not eligible to vote in last year’s elections.
Of the respondents eligible for student jobs through Barnard Financial Aid, 47 percent reported having student jobs. Of the 81 students who responded that they have on-campus jobs, 63 percent of respondents said that they used none of the resources available to them at Beyond Barnard, including mock interview prep, advice on building a resume, and assistance with revising cover letters.
When asked how they view Public Safety, 61 percent of respondents said “a source of help” and “protection.” However, 21 percent of respondents said “someone who will get me in trouble,” and write-in responses included “inaccessible, inconsistent, rude,” and “I think they’re there as placeholders; they don’t make me feel more safe.”
Earlier this month, Public Safety Executive Director Antonio Gonzalez’s presentation at an SGA meeting spurred many questions from representatives, particularly focusing on the need to remedy the relationship between students of color and Public Safety officers.
The survey also found that students aren’t aware that representatives for a variety of student resources are confidential resources for Title IX violations. When asked if they are aware that Being Barnard employees are confidential resources, only 51 percent of 335 respondents said yes.
Survey results also suggested that Barnard students either do not have sufficient information about some of the new spaces in the Milstein Center or do not know how to access them. 88 percent of respondents have never used the Digital Humanities Center, 78 percent have never used the Design Center, and 90 percent of respondents have never used the Elsie K. Sloate Media Center. 70 percent of respondents have never used the Vagelos Computational Science Center, and 93 percent of respondents have never used the Movement Lab.
91 percent of respondents recorded never having used the Center for Engaged Pedagogy, which is still in the process of hiring its inaugural director.
Also at the meeting, Columbia College Student Council Vice President of Finance Adam Resheff, CC ’19, requested additional funding from SGA for this year’s Bacchanal spring concert. The need for an additional $6,000 arose when the Bacchanal Committee said it had rescinded an offer it had made to an artist who “made remarks that were derogatory towards members of the LGBTQ community,” Resheff said during the meeting.
In order to fill this vacancy, the committee found a new artist, who requested more money than the initial offer extended by the Committee. Though the exact amount needed is still unclear, SGA passed a motion to give a portion of $6,000 for the event in proportion with the ratio of Barnard students attending the event.
When the Bacchanal Committee initially notified CCSC that more funding would be required, CCSC agreed to provide the money without first consulting the other student councils because of a quickly approaching administrative deadline, leading to confusion among the other councils, Resheff said.
In response to concerns, Resheff defended CCSC’s decision, emphasizing that members believed it was important to bring in a new artist due to the anti-LGBTQ comments.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that of the respondents eligible for student jobs through Barnard Financial Aid, 11 percent reported having student jobs, when in reality, the figure is 47 percent. The article also stated that 63 percent of respondents used none of the resources at Beyond Barnard, while the figure is 63 percent of the 81 students who responded that they have on-campus jobs. Spectator deeply regrets these errors.
Staff writer Bruce Acosta can be contacted at email@example.com.