Senate Meeting: USG passes resolution urging for computer science major, charters new club

[USG Column] - Credit_


Edgar Llivisupa, Sports Editor

Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government met for its 13th and final Senate meeting of the fall 2021 semester on Dec. 7.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Osvaldo Garcia presented a resolution emphasizing student demand for a computer science major.

The resolution mentions how other highly ranked colleges offer the major and that Baruch is the only senior college within CUNY to not offer a computer science degree.

It also states that preparing students to enter the growing computer and information technology field aligns with the school’s mission of social mobility.

There is also a reference to USG’s 2020 Computer Science Survey where 80% of student responses believed that a computer science major would better prepare them than the computer information systems major to enter the workforce.

Several board members questioned how the new major would affect the computer information systems department. Chair of Philanthropy Jason Galak thought the new major could lead to the end of the computer information system major.

Garcia said that the computer information systems department will continue to exist and is currently aiding the implementation, along with the mathematics department, of the new computer science major.

Garcia compared two other majors at Baruch, public affairs and political science, to explain how computer science and computer information system majors can coexist.

“It’s nice to have multiple options for students, especially students who want to enter tech because it provides them with skills and more opportunities,” he said.

Rep. Sen. Shokhrukh Dusmurodov, majoring in computer information systems, said that both degrees are different as computer science teaches how to build software while the other teaches how to use software to build databases.

There were also questions about student demands as only 100 of approximately 15,000 undergraduates completed the USG survey that was distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garcia said that while the major is being implemented for the 2022-2023 academic year, the college needs to gauge student interest. If more data were to be collected, it would prolong the resolution and the major.

The board passed the resolution in a required unanimous vote of, 19-0-0.

The meeting then shifted to discuss matters of the Baruch Athletics Department and its projected finances for equipment.

Rep. Sen. Larry Gomez outlined details from Baruch Athletics’ proposal to purchase new equipment for the Fitness Center. This includes obtaining new cable cross and roman chair exercise machines, hand

weights and rack system, fitness mats, medicine balls, floor pads, a mirror, hallway runners and signage. The estimated total cost is between $22,000-$29,000.

The current cable cross and roman chair machines are broken and will be replaced with equipment obtained via a three-year lease paid annually, priced at $8,499 and $550 respectively.

The department wants to move to leasing equipment as it provides the chance to assess whether to extend the lease or obtain newer equipment. The other equipment will be purchased outright.

Interim Associate Director of Student Activities Crystal Tejada, who recently announced she’s leaving Baruch, added that the treadmills in the fitness center were leased prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and extended as the equipment underwent minimal use.

Tejada asked Athletics who will pay for an extended lease after the three years.

“It’s not fair for the expectation that USG three years from now, who hasn’t been elected or chosen to even be part of the team, to be expected to incur this cost,” she said.

Athletics will consider their options with the equipment company and attempt to secure funds to extend gym equipment leasing independently.

Tejada also said that Baruch Athletics hopes to reopen the fitness center for the spring semester, although new safety guidelines in reaction to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 could affect that decision. Currently, the center is only open to Baruch athletes.

Chair of Clubs and Organizations Snigdha Sarker said that she will begin to market her “speed clubbing” initiative mentioned in a prior meeting.

Chair of Graphics Vicki Xiao said that the Baruch TikTok account is live, and she will meet with applicants that are interested in filming content for the social media page. Executive Vice President Richard Reyes reminded Xiao to upload the video to Instagram reels for students without a TikTok account.

Sarker introduced the Baruch Business Brigade, a chapter of the organization Global Brigades, seeking to obtain a club charter.

In its presentation to USG, BBB Vice President Elizabeth Ho said that the club’s parent organization’s mission is to help small businesses by providing business tools around the world.

There are over 400 university chapters across the country including at City College, Hunter College and Columbia University.

BBB President Maximilian Propisnoy explained that club members can participate in networking events, take advantage of educational resources and analyst programs to participate in brigades, where volunteers run workshops in foreign countries to teach financial principles and planning to small business or community-owned banks and its members.

Volunteers also raise a minimum of $1,500 that is invested in a community bank.

Ho said that there are in-person brigades and virtual telebrigades. The club plans to conduct a telebrigade with Panama in August 2022 and volunteers need to fundraise at between $250 to $390 to participate.

In the future, Propisnoy said he hopes to expand its presence on campus and work with other professional organizations at Baruch.

“One issue that I’ve noticed as a sophomore at Baruch is that a lot of folks tend to be very selective although I personally want to change that, I want to be more open to allow anyone in because I feel that as long as anyone is teachable and they have skills and the drive to learn, they can be a member,” Propisnoy said.

The board asked the club about its fundraising ability and how the funds are used and stored.

Propisnoy said that they are considering selling branded merchandise, hosting concerts or partnering with local ethnic restaurants. Ho said that the chapter has a fundraising page hosted by the parent organization with a donation link.

Reyes asked Rep. Sen Humas Ali, who is on the club’s education team, how the club could benefit students. Ali said that the club’s values align with Baruch students’ goals of learning about financial services and working towards making a global impact.

USG President Alison Lee asked what would occur if fundraising fell short. Propisnoy said he believes the money can rollover from between years. He also needs to clarify if a brigade can transition from in- person to virtual and the procedures for an absent volunteer in case of an emergency.

Tejada said she has been in contact with Global Brigades’ national office and reminded the board that they could wait until these fundraising questions and concerns are addressed before voting on the club’s charter.

Sarker mentioned that any travel initiatives require confirmation from the Office of Student Life advisors.

Baruch Business Brigade was chartered as a club in a 17-1-1 vote. Chair of Appeals Julie Margolin voted against the charter while Ali abstained from voting.

“We look forward to next semester, we will fundraise, implement our program and we hope to work with you guys in the future,” Propisnoy said following the vote.