Barnard’s Head Student Admission Representatives Resign, Protesting Suspensions and Evictions of Students

The representatives say that they worked under “extreme” circumstances and received minimal support from the College.

Photography by Samantha Candelo-Ortegon

On April 21st, Maya Passman (BC ‘24), Karen Chavez (BC ‘24), and Molly Murch (BC ‘24) announced their resignation from their positions as Head Barnard Student Admissions Representatives (HBSARs). 

“When hundreds of police officers in riot gear came onto our campus forcefully arresting peaceful student protesters, some of whom are our colleagues and friends, we realized we can no longer be complicit in advertising this school to prospective students, nor can we truthfully encourage people to come here,” the representatives stated in an open letter to the Barnard Administration.

“It’s been extreme, incredibly hard,” said Chavez in an interview with the Bulletin. “As a student worker in admissions while seeing all of the damaging things that Barnard has done to its students, all of the censorship, it has been very difficult to navigate.”

As HBSARs, Passman, Chavez, and Murch worked in Barnard’s admissions office, gave tours, and spoke with prospective students and families. “Student representatives are truly the reason why Barnard receives more and more applicants each year and is able to become a more selective college,” the students wrote.

The former HBSARs write in the letter that they are “appalled with the college’s decision to suspend and evict students,” because it is “a complete contradiction of Barnard’s academic mission to ‘disagree better,’ something that has been repeatedly encouraged by President Rosenbury herself.”’

Chavez says that during campus tours, she was often “badgered with questions” regarding student safety on campus, but did not feel “prepared to give answers.”

The student representatives wrote that they met with President Rosenbury in February regarding “concerns” about “censorship and disciplinary threats” of Barnard students, but that she provided   “little to no answers.”

“[Rosenbury] completely dismissed all of our feelings,” says Chavez. “She did not answer any of our questions, and provided no sympathy to what it’s like being a student worker that represents the college.”

“We are incredibly grateful to our three Head Barnard Student Admissions Representatives for their work with the Admissions Office over the last three years,” A Barnard College Spokesperson says. “We are deeply appreciative of their time and many contributions in sharing their passion for Barnard with countless prospective students.”

The Spokesperson also affirms that “Barnard is committed to ensuring our community remains a safe and inclusive place, while also ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to express their views, including through protest and demonstration.”*

The students’ statement follows the resignation of a Barnard CARES Responder on April 20th due to similar concerns regarding suspension and eviction of student protestors who participated in the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Columbia University.

Passman, Chavez, and Murch continue to be dedicated to “work to educate prospective students on the actions this administration has taken on its own students and community to ensure they make an informed decision regarding their commitment to Barnard.”

The representatives reaffirm their commitment to representing “the Barnard community and the current state of its students,” but will “no longer represent the Admissions Office.” 

*This article has been updated to include a comment made by a Barnard College Spokesperson.

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