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UCS expresses support for ACCRIP reps

Council reviews initiatives, votes in confidence of president, vice president

The Undergraduate Council of Students voted to affirm “the autonomy and privacy of University representatives” in response to a third-party organization’s “attempt to intimidate” members of the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies, according to a statement read at its general body meeting Wednesday.

The third-party organization sent 16 “unsolicited” messages over the course of 48 hours to the personal emails of committee representatives, said Co-Appointments Chair Sam Caplan ’22, reading from the statement.

The Council declined to publicly name the organization during the meeting, with UCS Vice President Jason Carroll ’21 expressing concern that it would bring the group more attention.

The Herald previously reported that the Brown chapter of a group known as Alums for Campus Fairness sent a student member of ACCRIP nearly 20 identical emails over several days, calling on ACCRIP to “support the Jewish community at Brown and vote against the action to divest from companies allegedly contributing to human rights abuses in Palestine.” ACF-Brown could not be reached for comment by press time.

ACCRIP voted Monday afternoon to recommend that the University divest from “companies identified as facilitating human rights abuses in Palestine,” The Herald previously reported.

The Council wrote in their meeting agenda that ACCRIP student representatives told them that a statement from UCS “reaffirming our school’s democratic values would help them feel supported in their roles” and solidify “the importance of student voice in university governance.”

The Council’s statement will be published on their website, Carroll said.

Also at the meeting, Chair of Student Activities and Elections Board Co-Chair Alex Song ’20 presented on 37 new student groups the Student Activities Committee and the Student Activities Office have approved for the spring. The Student Activities Committee and SAO also reviewed applications for recategorization and reactivation.

Groups approved include Students for Trump at Brown, Bruno for Pete Buttigieg and Students for Warren, according to Song.

The general body also voted in confidence of both Carroll and UCS President William Zhou ’20. Prior to the votes, Zhou and Carroll discussed their responsibilities and highlighted their internal and external initiatives this semester, such as a leadership training for student government, the reduced minimum deposit requirement for GET and the first-year representatives position implemented this fall.

“Everything we do we really do in collaboration” with other UCS members and committees, Carroll said.

First-Year Representative Zane Ruzicka ’23 asked about updates to the Council’s initiatives to improve access to filtered water on campus. Carroll said the University agreed to carry out around $60,000 in repairs to improve water quality on Wriston Quadrangle. The University did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Zhou added that members of the Council met with representatives from the Office of Campus Life to discuss the feasibility of adding water fountains to buildings throughout campus.

UCS Historian Samra Beyene ’22 asked about plans to address the Nov. 1 Herald Editorial that called for the Council to “do more to turn student feedback into tangible changes.”

Zhou said in response that analysis of the UCS Fall Poll results will be released early in the spring, and the Council is creating a “State of UCS” report to summarize ongoing and completed UCS initiatives and projects.

At the start of the meeting, Chair of Academic Affairs Livingstone Harriott ’20 gave updates on his committee’s projects.

One project will gather feedback and personal testimonials from the undergraduate student body on their “experiences with academic life at Brown,” Harriott said.

UCS will also partner with CareerLAB to connect Category III student groups with CareerLAB workshops, and the committee will create a spring semester e-handbook over winter break.

At the end of the meeting, Chair of Student Wellness Shivani Nishar ’20 presented on the Leavetaking Peer Program, a Wellness Committee initiative to send notes and care packages to students on leave. Nishar asked each general body member to write a letter to be sent to a student on leave.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that a student representative on ACCRIP did not respond to a request for comment by press time. In fact, the student representative did respond to the request for comment. The Herald regrets the error. 

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