Opinion | Staff Editorials

An endorsement for Barnard’s SGA president and vice president elections

Polls for the Barnard Student Government Association elections opened at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19 and will close at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 22.

In the past few years, Spectator’s editorial board has only endorsed candidates for the Columbia College Student Council, Engineering Student Council, and General Studies Student Council elections. We’d like to recognize the integral role Barnard plays in the University community by including SGA in Spectator’s annual endorsement tradition.

As with our CCSC, ESC, and GSSC elections endorsements, we invited the SGA candidates to meet with us as an editorial board. We also read through the candidates’ platforms and attended the SGA candidates’ forum. Ultimately, we issued endorsements to candidates we unanimously support as an editorial board.

Our ideal candidate has a detailed platform, a thorough understanding of the Barnard community, and the determination to communicate the needs of students to the Barnard administration.

SGA President

Eva Baransky, BC ’17, has no previous SGA experience but has actively served the Barnard community as a constellation leader and McIntosh Activities Council president. As the current McAC president, it is clear that Baransky understands event planning and community building. We also appreciated Baransky’s stated goal of creating a clearer channel of communication between students and administrators.

Baransky’s platform largely hinges on creating a more trans-inclusive environment at Barnard. While we agree that much remains to be done to clarify Barnard’s trans admissions policy and better serve gender-nonconforming or gender-fluid students, we felt that Baransky’s proposed strategies are overly simple.

Sara Heiny, BC ’17, and the current SGA representative for academic affairs, has served the Barnard community well as the curriculum has shifted from the Nine Ways of Knowing to Foundations. Like Baransky, Heiny has emphasized better communications between the administration and students.

Heiny’s platform highlights improvements to Barnard’s winter housing policy, recognition of Greek life, and general affordability. In light of Barnard’s updated winter housing policy, which grants students increased accessibility to housing over the winter break, we worry that Heiny’s platform has lost much of its substance. We also worry that Heiny’s platform generally lacks concrete action items and specificity.

Therefore, we endorse neither candidate for SGA president.

VP Policy

Lucia Solorzano, BC ’17, has experience working in SGA as the representative for transfer, international, and community student interests. Her platform highlights cleaning up “organizational snafus” and improving SGA’s member retention rates. As such, we feel that Solorzano’s platform is too inward-facing, and does not propose any policy suggestions that might serve the Barnard community’s interests.

Maya Edwards, BC ’17, also has extensive SGA experience, having served SGA as representative for campus affairs for two years. Edwards, who has worked with Residential Life and Housing on campus policy pertaining to sexual- and gender-based misconduct, is clearly literate in Barnard’s current policies. We feel that Edward’s emphasis on collaboration with student advocacy groups will help SGA craft policy that is fully representative of the Barnard community.

Therefore, we endorse Maya Edwards for SGA vice president of policy.

VP Finance

Evelyn McCorkle, BC ’18, is running unopposed. McCorkle has experience working alongside the current VP of finance as part of the Financial Review Committee. While we appreciate McCorkle’s focus on making Barnard’s funds more readily available to student clubs and organizations, we feel that her platform fails to provide a detailed plan to do so.

Therefore, we do not endorse Evelyn McCorkle for SGA vice president of finance.

VP Campus Life

Angela Beam, BC ’18, is the current SGA representative for college relations and an editorial cartoonist for Spectator. She is also running unopposed. Beam has extensive experience planning campus events, including the 2015 Seven Sisters Conference and Glass House Rocks. Beam recognizes the dual role of the vice president of campus life: to plan events at Barnard and represent Barnard students at event planning meetings for larger University functions.

Therefore, we endorse Angela Beam for SGA vice president of campus life.

VP Communications

Margot Langstaff, BC ’17, and the current vice president for communications, is running unopposed. The specificity of her platform indicates her experience with SGA: in particular, we appreciated her focus on improving SGA’s communications strategies through Town Hall events and by updating the software it uses to contact the student body.

Therefore, we endorse Margot Langstaff for SGA vice president for communications.

The authors are members of Spectator’s 140th editorial board. Catie Edmondson and Clara Chan recused themselves from contributing to this editorial due to their continued coverage of the elections.

To respond to this staff editorial, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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