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UCS prepares for structural makeover vote

Creation of new positions, bi-weekly general body meetings proposed to increase efficiency

The Undergraduate Council of Students reviewed structural changes proposed by the UCS Outreach and Advocacy committee and other council members at its general body meeting Wednesday.

Proposals for the UCS Executive Board included creating new positions for a chief of staff and a communications director. The incoming UCS Executive Board will appoint students to both positions for general body approval April 29 so that “the whole E-board is together for the summer,” said UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15.

Council members also proposed the creation of a management board “to run UCS logistics and operations,” Srinivasan said. The board would also include two new positions: a general body secretary and a community relations manager who would “take on anything … with the Providence community beyond campus,” said Ryan Lessing ’17, chair of the UCS Admissions and Student Services committee.

The inclusion of experts — including graphic designers and students with extensive policy knowledge — on the council not necessarily as general body members was also proposed. The model is “very prevalent at Yale,” Srinivasan said.

OAC would meet on an ad-hoc basis to respond to immediate campus issues “before they become long-term projects that are dedicated to a specific program area committee,” according to the draft of the proposal.

The general body would meet bi-weekly, with the council hosting administrator visits or open-forums on “off weeks” as needed, Srinivasan said. “The bulk of the work (members) do is in committee, and we want to put more weight on that,” she added. This restructuring would increase the need for improved advertising of open forums, said Peter Dutton ’18, a UCS general body member, who was recently elected chair of the UCS Admissions and Student Services committee effective next semester.

The council will vote April 29 on a resolution to create a summer working group that would review the proposal in detail. The group would serve to make specific recommendations so that any code changes can be passed at the first general body meeting of fall 2015. “I would love to pass code changes at the end of this year … but a lot of us are really nervous about changing code without thinking about the details of how these changes are going to be implemented,” Srinivasan said.

Benjamin Gladstone ’18 also presented a resolution he drafted calling for “increased sensitivity” to LGBT students. The resolution, which the council will also vote on April 29, includes requests to change the male or female prompt on Brown’s admission application, establish accessible gender-neutral bathrooms in University buildings and create funds for students whose parents or legal guardians stop providing them financial assistance when they come out, Gladstone said.

The resolution also requests increased resources for the LGBTQ Center. “Even just trainings about pronouns and names changes … a lot of that is not happening to the fullest capacity because there’s only one Kelly,” he added, referring to LGBTQ Center Program Director Kelly Garrett.

Srinivasan said President Christina Paxson P’19 appreciates the council’s mental health letter delivered last week and “is waiting on the Mental Health Community Council’s recommendations to be able to move forward.”

The Alcohol and Social Policy Review committee will meet Thursday to hear from independent students living in program housing on Wriston Quad about their experiences, said Sazzy Gourley ’16, UCS vice president, chair of the OAC, and UCS president-elect. The committee will use these students’ experiences to frame discussion about the possibility of social events in the future, Gourley added.

The UCS Student Activities committee will host new leadership orientation next week, focusing on BearSync for all approved student groups, said Dara Bernstein ’18.

The council also approved the Socially Responsible Investment Fund as a Category 3 student group and the Black Pre-Law Association as Category 1.

A previous version of this article misstated the name of a student group given Category 1 status. It is the Black Pre-Law Association, not the Black Pre-Law Society. The Herald regrets the error.



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