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Letter: UCS is committed to transparency

To the Editor:

I’m disappointed by the recent Herald op-ed’s (“Shorter ’17: UCS needs to be transparent,” Sept. 28) framing of the Undergraduate Council of Students’ work toward informing our new members of Brown’s context as part of a conspiring liberal agenda.

On Sept. 24, UCS went into an executive session, as has been done numerous times in past administrations. During that meeting, the UCS executive board gave new members an overview of Brown and the context of the past few years. We dove into issues surrounding Title IX, mental health, work done by the various identity groups and much more. These are hard topics to engage with, especially for those just entering Brown. We wanted new members to ask questions and learn without the fear that soundbites would be taken out of context and plastered in the media. This was not a session to create policy nor was it a conspiracy to hide our “own agenda … that could prove unsettling even to the generally liberal Brown consensus” as Shorter suggested. The Herald actually published an article (“UCS introduces accessibility initiatives,” Sept. 15) a week prior clearly outlining our strategic plan and vision for the year.

Given campus media’s long history of misrepresentation, taking things out of context and editorial decisions that further marginalized groups of color, we made a choice to not let them record our new members during this educational exercise. This is the only executive meeting planned for the semester. I commit to an open Brown and will continue to talk about the things that matter. Shorter’s argument is a distraction from the good work we must do to continue to move Brown in a better direction. This is the responsibility we inherit, and I hope The Herald chooses to cover what matters as well. We look forward to partnering with The Herald in accomplishing these goals.

Viet Nguyen ’17

UCS President

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