- Holding the Campus Accountable to its Diversity Initiatives
- In Fall 2017, for the first time, UC Berkeley will administer its very own campus climate survey, separate from UCOP. Surveys such as this are crucial in developing a quantitative perspective of what students are feeling and identifying populations on campus that are struggling or are receiving inadequate resources. Our last campus climate survey administered by UCOP was inefficient and largely demonstrated information we already knew: 1 in 4 students feel uncomfortable on campus, and 1 in 4 of those students are likely to be students of color, queer and/or trans students. As President, Zaynab will continue my work on improving campus climate by leading the focus group of stakeholders to help develop and administer the new campus climate survey.
- Take Action Against Hate Crimes on our Campus
- Hate crimes nationwide have been on the rise, and our community will not be exempt. There currently is no accessible hate crime reporting form available to students, despite Dirks’ continuing to cite it as a resource. There is no systematic way to address hate crimes on campus, regardless of who is affected by them. As ASUC President, Zaynab will create a system of hate crime reporting that is equitable and accessible for all communities. She will create a process that accommodates the needs and safety of vulnerable communities and that does not necessitate UCPD interaction with survivors.
BASIC NEEDS SECURITY
- Fundraising to Fight Food Insecurity
- The UC Berkeley Food Pantry has become impacted to the point of being insufficient. This is a good problem to have because it means students are using it, but the time has come for growth. As GFI funds for the pantry deplete, the ASUC must support the Pantry and pursue alternative funding and food opportunities. As ASUC President, I will negotiate further funding resources from university admin, pursue grants to support the Pantry, integrate basic needs security into the University’s philanthropic outreach, and defend agricultural resources and sources of fresh produce to the Pantry such as the Student Organic Garden.
- Improving Housing Security through Financial Aid Reform
- To calculate off-campus financial aid, the UC uses the Cost of Attendance survey without comparing that data to actual market-values of rent. As students live in illegal sublets or cram more people into a unit than allowed through rental agreements to lower the costs of rent, the reported rents to the Cost of Attendance survey are lower than the actual market-value of rents. As a result, off-campus financial aid is deflated and students are provided with insufficient resources to find housing. Homeless students and low income students who are currently having difficulty becoming housing secure would benefit greatly from a financial aid system that accurately reflects the costs of living in Berkeley, that factors in the actual market-value of housing costs in Berkeley. As ASUC President, I will work with the Financial Aid Office to reassess this process. Additionally, I will engage the Berkeley Student Co-ops to improve advertising and outreach to EOP students.
- Creating Physical Spaces on Campus to Destress
- Our campus is drastically lacking in spaces for students to destress. This is in part caused by the lack of study spaces, which results in spaces intended to be centers of student activity naturally being used as study spaces as well. As ASUC President, I will work to establish construction standards requiring that new academic buildings have more open and spacious lounge and study spaces in the first two floors and that the campus explore opportunities for conversion of existing spaces to lounge and study spaces. Additionally, Zaynab will facilitate the purchase of additional furnishings for the Student Union space to facilitate de-stressing and self-care on campus. By streaming Cal Athletics events throughout the Student Union when they occur and promoting more programming, we can transform the Student Union into the center of student activity it was designed to be.
- Bringing the Student Union Back to Students
- The Student Union is not yet a truly affordable and accessible student organization event venue. The reopening of Pauley has provided an incredible resource for many student organizations but there are still a variety of limiting factors that, as ASUC President, Zaynab will work to resolve. Currently, Pauley Ballroom is largely used for non-university affiliated events, which is necessary for revenue generation. However, this limits the availability of the space and makes scheduling for student events difficult. As ASUC President, Zaynab will work with the Student Union Board of Directors to establish a Priority Registration window for student organizations to use their single free booking of Pauley before the reservations are dominated by off-campus paying entities. Additionally, Zaynab will renegotiate the contract the Student Union has with Chartwells to loosen restrictions on student organizations catering outside food to their events. This becomes especially problematic when cultural organizations are unable to cater specialty and ethnic cuisines relevant to the events they are hosting. This will build into conversations about how to facilitate the termination of the Chartwells contract when it expires unless they dramatically improve the treatment of their workers and their labor policy.
- Student Safety as a Basic Need
- Threats against the most vulnerable members of our campus community will reach a peak in the coming year that we must be prepared for. As our campus becomes more of a target, UC Berkeley must ensure that UCPD and BPD will at no point cooperate with ICE. Furthermore, Berkeley must strive to be as demilitarized a campus as possible. As ASUC President, Zaynab will ensure that the needs and personal well-being of all students on campus are prioritized and that each student is able to feel safe on this campus. Safety is a prerequisite to being able to effectively be a student, and it is thereby the obligation of the University to treat student safety as a basic need.
- Survivor Support through Reporting Feedback Processes
- Confidential advocates and other survivor resources require more and better advertising of resources, particularly at new student orientations. Unlike Tang Center Social Workers, for whom there are surveys that students can use to give feedback, there is no feedback process for social workers, advocates, and Title IX Complaint Resolution Officers. Especially as Title IX enforcement is threatened across the country, survivors of sexual assault at UC Berkeley must have the mechanisms available to them to provide feedback on their experience navigating the reporting process. Feedback must come from the survivors using these resources, not just from representative members of advisory committees.