News, University News

UCS holds internal elections for three positions

General body elects students to UFB, UCS, discusses ResLife, accessibility with admin

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, September 26, 2019

At Wednesday’s general body meeting, UCS members discussed concerns about ResLife and accessibility.

The Undergraduate Council of Students elected the chair of the Student Activities Committee, the UCS-Undergraduate Finance Board liaison and a UFB representative at its general body meeting Wednesday evening.

Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Koren Bakkegard also heard student concerns about residential life, among other topics, at the meeting.

Alex Song ’20, who served as student activities chair last year, ran uncontested and was re-elected. The position was open because the student chosen in last spring’s executive board elections no longer attends the University.

Ellis Clark ’23 was elected UCS-UFB liaison over Vasu Agarwal ’22, who also ran unsuccessfully for UFB representative. Clark will serve on the Student Activities Committee and facilitate collaboration and communication between UCS and UFB.

Anika Ahluwalia ’23 took the UFB representative position over Mukul Khanna ’23, Bright Tsagli ’23, Agarwal and Clive Johnston ’23, who was not present for the election. UCS President William Zhou ’20 read Johnston’s speech.

For the first hour of the meeting, UCS members primarily gave feedback to Bakkegard on residential life at the University.

Bakkegard was hired Aug. 1 and oversees the Offices of Residential Life, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Student Support Services and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center and Student Activities, according to the Division of Campus Life.

“At this point in time for me, all information is useful information,” Bakkegard said at the meeting.

Issues that came up multiple times included dorm building safety, increasing transparency in the room placement process and accessibility in dorms and other campus buildings.

On accessibility, several general body members said Graduate Center and Wriston Quadrangle dorms lack well-functioning and easy-to-access elevators. Chair of Student Wellness Shivani Nishar ’20 also said that ramps built at the back of buildings can further stigmatize and separate students with disabilities.

The general body referenced incidents of mold and disrepair in dorms at the start of the year, and brought up concerns about how the University handles these situations.

Bakkegard said ResLife works closely with Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Management to manage mold and similar situations when students call in reports.

Students also highlighted the importance of dorm safety. Suggestions included working with the Department of Public Safety to better spread information on how students can keep their buildings safe.

First-year representative Zane Ruzicka ’23 asked Bakkegard about the staff turnover in recent years at ResLife. Bakkegard said that the staffing structure of the office has been changed in the past few years, but there are currently three vacant positions — associate dean and director of residential education, assistant director of operations and one of six area coordinators.

At the start of the meeting, UCS Chief of Staff Melissa Lee ’20 introduced herself as the Council’s ombudsperson for the year. General body members can submit anonymous feedback to Lee, who will respond as necessary.

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