First-year seminar fails to show how to make one’s voice heard


Stanley Morales | Pexels

The Editorial Board

Baruch College requires all first-year students to take a first-year seminar class, which provides general information about campus facilities and resources available to them. Even though the idea of a class dedicated to teaching the core elements of a college sounds promising, Baruch’s FYS curriculum lacks the information about the CUNY governing branches and student representation beyond Baruch’s Undergraduate Student Government. 

First-year seminar does not provide enough information about the University Student Senate, which serves as student voice for the entire CUNY system. Since Baruch is not an individual college and is a part of CUNY, students should be taught about the general CUNY public university system as well. Most students start Baruch not knowing much about various CUNY opportunities, programs and benefits.

Beyond student representatives, there are crucially important governing branches of Baruch such as the Baruch Board of Directors and the CUNY Board of Trustees. 

These are the branches that make the decisions on how to use students’ tuition money, and fund most of the activities within Baruch. Board of Directors meetings happen once a month on campus, while Board of Trustees governs the entire Baruch College Fund. There are opportunities for students to voice their opinions in some of their meetings, but since students are often unaware that these meetings even occur, student engagement is low.

The Board of Trustees has a website called the Baruch College Fund Whistleblower Hotline, where students can report unethical behavior and policy violations anonymously. However, it is almost impossible for an ordinary student to know about this resource and similar resources unless they put time into research. 

Providing short biographies, job definitions and contact information of some crucial authorities like the CUNY chancellor, Baruch’s president, Baruch’s dean of students and the respective deans of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Zicklin School of Business and Marxe School of Public and International Affairs in the FYS handbook could not only increase student engagement within the school, but would also make the students more aware about the school they will go to for the next few years.