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Paxson endorses Act4RJ policy demands

Task Force on Sexual Assault’s final report to include movement’s policy change suggestions

President Christina Paxson P’19 sent a letter Wednesday to the Task Force on Sexual Assault endorsing the student movement Act4RJ’s demands for sexual assault policy change, said UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15 at the UCS general body meeting Wednesday.

Srinivasan said she and Sazzy Gourley ’16, UCS vice president and chair of the UCS Outreach and Advocacy committee, met with Paxson in response to campus conversations surrounding sexual assault. Paxson endorsed the recommendations made by Act4RJ of a policy nature and reiterated by UCS in a Herald guest opinions column last week, she said. Paxson added two policy suggestions for the task force: addressing issues of confidentiality for both complainants and respondents, and examining additional ways of handling conflict of interest cases, she added.

The task force’s final report will include the original text of Paxson’s letter, Gourley said.

Srinivasan and Gourley also met with the Mental Health Community Council Monday to discuss suicide prevention and peer adviser training, Srinivasan said. Currently, advisers themselves are not provided with the necessary training to address advisees’ suicidal thoughts, she said. Additionally, advisers “themselves don’t get the support that they need,” she said, adding that she plans to standardize a single online feedback system for offices such as the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Student Life.

The Undergraduate Finance Board approved an $8,000 UCS budget for next academic year, up from $6,000 this year, but below the requested budget of $12,000, said UCS Treasurer Malikah Williams ’16.

Members of the UCS New Initiatives Fund finished interviews this weekend and funded 20 of 30 applicants, Williams said, adding that she will meet with Vice Provost for the Arts Michael Steinberg after spring break in response to several applications from arts groups.

Williams, Gourley and Timothy Ittner ’18 met with Liza Cariaga-Lo, vice president for academic development, diversity and inclusion, to review the Diversity Action Plan draft. Cariaga-Lo hopes to formalize the report by May, Ittner said. “While we have a decade-long goal, we would really like to see more incremental goals, so that we hold ourselves accountable,” he added.

Elena Saltzman ’16, chair of the UCS Academic and Administrative Affairs committee, solicited feedback on the “advising roadmaps” flowchart the committee designed to distribute to rising sophomores at their March 31 class meeting. Many council members offered positive reviews as well as graphic design suggestions. “I feel like it’s really great and really beautiful, but also I look at it and I want to scream,” Gourley said of the flowchart.

The handout will also include a glossary of advising terms and resources pertinent for sophomores, Ittner said.

The initiative comes in response to concerns from the dean of the College office that “we have a lot of different advising resources, but students don’t know how to get to them all, don’t know what they all are,” Saltzman said, adding that these resources could fill a 10-page Google Doc. With its flowchart, the AAA committee aims to create “something you can actually navigate” without overwhelming a student, she added.

The UCS Campus Life Committee met this week with Associate Director of Dining Services Peter Rossi to discuss strategies for presenting student feedback — collected from What to Fix Brown and the suggestion box in the Sharpe Refectory — to Dining Services, said Walker Mills ’15, chair of the UCS Campus Life committee and a Herald opinions columnist.

UCS Media Director Alana Bhatla ’16 said she plans to publicize past and current UCS projects through graphics on the council’s website and Facebook page.

In preparation for elections for leadership positions on UCS and UFB, the council approved the 2015 Elections Board, which will include Chair Heather Sabel ’17, Vice Chair Ryan Bahar ’18, Sahil Prasad ’18, Errol Danehy ’18, Gian Christian Ignacio ’18 and Helen Gerstenjeed Abreu ’18. Sabel, Bahar, Danehy and Abreu are UCS general body members, while the other Elections Board members hail from outside the council. “They all seem super enthusiastic,” Sabel said.

The council approved 10 student groups for categorization or re-categorization. Six student groups gained Category 1 status, including First-Generation College Students, Brown Student Chamber Orchestra and Black in Business at Brown. Three groups gained approval as Category 2, including Brown Market Shares and the Bear Bones, while Brown University Film Forum and Social Enterprise Ecosystems for Economic Development achieved Category 3 status.

A previous version of this article misstated that President Christina Paxson P'19 endorsed Act4RJ's demands. In fact, she only endorsed Act4RJ's demands of a policy nature. A previous version of this article also misidentified Paxson's two policy suggestions for the task force as a mechanism for addressing conflicts of interest and a move to an independent investigator model. In fact, they were addressing issues of confidentiality for both complainants and respondents and examining additional ways of handling conflict of interest cases. The Herald regrets the errors.


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