UCS discusses agenda, H1N1, advising, at meeting

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meeting for the first time in their new home in the new Blue Room, members of the Undergraduate Council of Students outlined their main goals for the semester Wednesday night. Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron and Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn updated council members on campus life initiatives.

The primary goals the council put on its agenda for the year include getting more involved in the debate over a proposed “student tax” on Rhode Island colleges and universities and increasing student involvement in the budget-cutting process overseen by the Organizational Review Committee and its several planned subcommittees.

The council also expressed interest in facilitating dialogue and communication about the report of the reaccreditation team from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which is expected to be shared with the community soon.

UCS President Clay Wertheimer ’10 told The Herald after the meeting that the agenda was a draft.

He said he hopes to improve the agenda by creating “measurables” that can quantify the council’s effectiveness. Wertheimer said making the agenda more specific and quantitative will create “accountability,” as both UCS and the student body will be able to measure the council’s progress.

Wertheimer also said he was actively working on a “State of Brown” address for President Ruth Simmons to give to the student body — most likely after the Corporation meeting in February. According to Wertheimer, Brown presidents have given such addresses in the past when there was need for them.

“This is something I’d like to institutionalize,” he said.

The meeting began with Bergeron and Klawunn addressing the council members and eliciting feedback on the Advising Central initiative, budget cuts, the new tutoring program and the University’s handling of the swine flu outbreak.

UCS members expressed concern that students might get confused by the overwhelming number of tutoring and advising programs available and might not be able to differentiate among them. The council did provide positive feedback on the University’s measures to prepare the student body for widespread H1N1 cases. UCS Corporation Liaison Melea Atkins ’10 said two things have gone very well — flu shots at Josiah’s were effective and professors were very understanding of students’ sickness.


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