USG reflects on past year and transition process at Town Hall



Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government held their biannual town hall to inform students on the goings on around the senate table.

The town hall, which was held on May 2, was moderated by The Ticker’s news editor, Sheik Floradewan, and live streamed onto the paper’s Facebook page by the business editor, Noah Fleischman.

The questions were originally intended to be collected from the student body using a Qualtrics form by the Office of Student Life, but the results of the form, revealed to The Ticker by OSL Associate Director of Student Life Operations Savanna Ramesy, yielded only two questions.

These two questions were asked, and the remaining questions asked were collected from Ticker staff.

On the topic of the gathering of questions, USG President Radhika Kalani explained that the form was created through OSL to ensure that it would not be influenced by the senate members.

“I know last, last town hall we had a problem where a USG had made the forum for the questions and I know that it may have looked like we changed the questions or added our own ones,” she said. “We wanted it to have an unbiased source, so we asked our advisor. I just told her how to format the whole form and then she made the forums, so she had access to the answers. She was the only one that had access, Savanna.”

Additionally, an issue occurred with the setting for the town hall, as it was initially set to occur in the first-floor cafeteria, but a scheduling complication with OSL led to the event being moved into USG’s conference room.

USG reserved the cafeteria around three weeks in advance, according to Kalani, but they only found out that the location would have to be moved within the hour before the town hall.

Despite these issues, the town hall continued as planned, and was sectioned into questions about the town hall itself, the current USG, next year’s USG, events, initiatives, and miscellaneous.

There were multiple questions about the resignations that occurred this year, a total of six, with the last one happening during mid-April when Vice President of Legislative Affairs Navjot Pal Kaur resigned the week before spring break.

On this topic, the speakers said that there wasn’t much they could do to prevent resignations, although they do regret that they occurred.

“I think it’s unfair to group resignations as people not feeling they were part of the table. Resignations happen for a multitude of different reasons. It could be anything from having a class during senate time to not having enough time for USG,” said Dakshatha Daggala, the chair of clubs and organizations and president-elect. “I don’t think there’s a specific way you can fix resignations to minimize them to zero. I think what we of next year’s USG are trying to do is making sure we constantly communicate with our members to make sure that if they are going through a situation where they cannot be putting 100% into the role, that we know ahead of time so that we can either work with them and make sure that we can help them balance things or if they do have to resign it is for proper reasons,” she continued.

Other questions were focused on the performance of specific USG members, such as one question that inquired why Chair of Appeals Ray Colon voted against approving several club budgets during the weekly senate meetings.

“If you look at which ones I voted no for, it was for clubs that I felt we didn’t really need that large of a budget or didn’t show enough spending,” he said when asked about it. 

The clubs he voted no on can be found in the minutes of the meetings, posted on USG’s website.

Another person-specific question was addressed to Raul Cruz, the treasurer. He was asked why he ran with Imagine Baruch instead of with POP!, which was the incumbent party, during the USG elections for next year. 

Cruz’s only response to this question was, “Just because,” with other members remarking that it was for personal reasons and that this was an inappropriate question.

A few questions asked touched upon topics that were discussed in the previous semester’s town hall, such as about the implementation of a moss wall — which, according to Kalani, is no longer happening — and an initiative involving QR codes.

The latter initiative has been completed, and QR code stations have been posted on many of the bulletin boards throughout the Newman Vertical Campus building. The codes allow students to report broken infrastructure that they sight on campus.

“Basically, what it is, is just a form where you submit anything that you see that is broken,” explained Executive Secretary Andrea Maribel Soto. “For example, the water filters, right? We already had one submission saying that they are either red or yellow and that they need replacing. Another example could be like one of the stalls in a bathroom is broken, things like that. And then this form goes to me and also to the campus affairs representative and also to Savannah Ramsey, who is part of OSL.” 

The livestream of the town hall can be found on The Ticker’s Facebook page, and the next USG town hall will take place sometime in the mid to late Fall 2019 semester.