By Radwan Farraj
Resolutions addressing enrollment and increasing costs recently made their way through the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) in an effort to help relieve the pressure students take on with each semester. The resolutions target course packets, pathway course textbook costs, and advocate for sample syllabi on both the Brooklyn College website and CUNYFirst before the start of a semester.
USG officially proposed to the Brooklyn College administration under Joint Resolution 015 that undergraduate departments be required by fall 2022 to upload sample course syllabi alongside course descriptions that are already available on the BC website. According to the resolution, institutions like the University of Texas already offer sample syllabi on their version of CUNYFirst for enrolled students. Aharon Grama, USG Co-President, told The Vanguard, “We’ve been seeing this a lot and we even see…the philosophy department is doing it.”
With a new Brooklyn College website rolling out next year, USG hopes the sample syllabi could be implemented then.“It doesn’t have to be extensive or meticulous, but it should give more details than a course description about what the format of the class would look like and assignments,” said Iqura Naheed, USG Co-President.
Joint Resolution 019 advocates for free course packets when possible, with USG proposing to the BC administration that it take effect by spring 2022. Naheed told The Vanguard these packets, especially during online semesters, have been a considerable concern of students since they are typically expected to buy their packets from printing places like Far Better Copy.
“The intention of the student government passing this was to eliminate this sort of barrier as well,” said Naheed. “…But if it’s not necessary, it feels more feasible that things be uploaded or sent electronically [rather] than students having to pay out of pocket and go to get a course packet.”
BC students are required to take at least 14 pathway courses during their undergraduate career, which according to USG’s Joint Resolution 020, “the cost of books can exceed $150 per class, totaling over $2,000 per student for all pathways courses.” USG proposes that BC eliminate textbook costs for all pathways by fall 2022.
“These are mandatory classes. And as we know, cost is a barrier to a lot of students getting an education,” Naheed said. Many science departments across CUNY use OpenStax, a free textbook service, rather than requiring students to pay out of pocket, Naheed explained.
Both Naheed and Grama hope to see effective implementation of all these resolutions by the BC administration.