Ethnic Studies with professors and hiring power
Major Cultures with classes on colonialism and race
responsibly through community input
Increase administrative support

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Statement of Support: Student Government Association of Barnard College

In light of the strike currently going on at Columbia, the SGA writes today to inform students that the SGA is committed to addressing issues of ethnic diversity, curricular shortcomings, and necessary institutional reform on our campus. These goals have been part of SGA's 2007-2008 agenda since the beginning of the semester. To address these issues, the SGA held a Town Hall on this subject in October, attended by Barnard College and Columbia University students, faculty, and administrators. All present expressed and stressed the need for additional steps to be taken to ensure that all Barnard students graduate having had the opportunity to intellectually engage with these issues. The SGA is thus committed to reviewing and assessing necessary curricular changes. Additionally, the SGA is calling for an Ethnic Studies major at Barnard, and the provisions to be set up for the eventual creation of a center.

The SGA also recognizes that the demands being made of the Columbia administration affect Barnard students. The SGA acknowledges that many members of the Barnard community, students, faculty and departments, have been active in the strike and in response to the strike, both voicing support and dissent. Although the strike is addressed specifically to the Columbia University administration, the SGA supports the call for changes that will improve the academic opportunities and quality of education that Barnard students receive.

Moreover, the SGA officially calls for various curricular and institutional changes at Barnard College that are in a similar vein.

The SGA expresses its support for the following:

1.The SGA calls for the Committee on Instruction to move forward on the creation of an Ethnic Studies major. Towards this end, the SGA would like to see a thriving, well-funded and administered Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER) at Columbia that can support an influx of Barnard majors. In the long term, the SGA supports the creation of a center at Barnard dedicated to the study of racial and ethnic power dynamics, similar to the Barnard Center for Research on Women.

2. The SGA calls for the incorporation of discussion of racial and ethnic formation into the 9 Ways of Knowing. For the short term, the SGA plans to facilitate the creation of a more diverse First-Year English reading list. In the long term, the SGA supports the Committee on Instruction in reviewing how to better incorporate these issues into the 9 Ways of Knowing, particularly looking at the Social Analysis, Cultures in Comparison, and Reason and Value requirements.

3. The SGA calls for the appointment of a Provost for Diversity. Many of our sister schools, as well as many Ivy League universities, have such an office. A Provost for Diversity will work closely with the deans and the President of the College to ensure fair hiring, tenure, and curricular practices.

4. The SGA calls for better communication between the Office for Multicultural Affairs at Barnard and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Columbia.

The SGA continually seeks student input, concerns and support on all of these initiatives and hopes that Barnard students feel empowered to work with the SGA. While institutional reform does take time, student voices are heard and ideas are supported by the administration through the SGA. The above mentioned goals are also part of discussions being held by Barnard faculty and administrators. The SGA does recognize the need for immediate and tangible examples of progress. From the SGA student representatives on the Committee on Instruction to all of the participants at our Town Hall, Barnard students have been actively engaged with this debate all semester. Please be encouraged to join your fellow students in these discussions by contacting or by attending our weekly Representative Council meetings, held every Monday at 7:45pm in the North Tower.