Thursday, July 18

USAC recap – winter 2019

The Undergraduate Students Association Council is made up of 14 officers. They control tens of thousands of dollars in student fees. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

The Undergraduate Students Association Council is made up of 14 officers. They control tens of thousands of dollars in student fees. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

Claire Fieldman, president:

Platforms: Fieldman promised to reform sexual violence prevention training for incoming, new and returning students. She promised to increase transparency of the administration’s emergency decision-making and enhance emergency preparedness trainings. She also promised to build a women’s leadership network of students, faculty and alumni.

Quarter recap:

  • Her office hosted:

    • The expanded University of California Women’s Leadership Conference on March 3. More than 65 speakers and 300 people attended.

    • A Women’s Networking Night on Jan. 21.

    • A celebration event for International Women’s Day.

    • A sexual violence town hall, where students could ask administrators about university sexual violence policy and procedure Feb. 27.

    • The second annual South Campus Research Fair on Feb. 25.

    • A pie-themed safety policy event on March 14 to get student feedback about the BruinSafe app and discuss ways to improve safety on campus.

  • Her office placed “Know Your Rights” flyers and cards in Westwood bar bathrooms.

  • Her office released a survey about how students feel about Westwood.

  • Her office created and released a monthly newsletter.

  • Fieldman served as undergraduate chair of the UC Council of Student Body Presidents, which sets meeting agendas with UC President Napolitano and coordinates cross-UC initiatives.

Robert Blake Watson, internal vice president:

Platforms: Watson promised to establish a Good Clothes Good People redistribution center to provide students with free clothes and hygiene products. He promised to connect student organizations with USAC funding opportunities. He also promised to host monthly teach-ins between students and administrators on various forms of hate speech that occur at UCLA.

Quarter recap:

  • His office’s Financial Literacy Committee has worked with 30 student organizations to provide them with access to funding.

  • His office hosted a Q&A session on hate speech with Dean of Students Maria Blandizzi on March 4.

  • His office co-sponsored UCLA Pride Week.

  • For 10th and finals week, Watson’s office hosted a puppy de-stress event, a finals study hall and a food truck event.

  • The Good Clothes Good People redistribution center, which opened fall quarter, now provides clothes, menstrual and hygiene products, school supplies and professional attire. The center reports 92 percent of those who use the center are students.

  • Watson said student organizations can apply to receive funding from the IVP office until Friday.

Jamie Kennerk, external vice president:

Platforms: Kennerk promised to protect undocumented students, fight federal immigration policies, advocate for LGBTQ legislation, prevent rollbacks of current sexual assault protections and combat federal efforts to weaken gun control. She also promised to promote voter engagement with quarterly events and voter registration drives. She also promised to protect and increase financial aid and state funding for the UC.

Quarter recap:

  • Kennerk’s office coordinated petitions, campaigns and letters of support on topics including tuition, the DREAM Act, Title IX policy changes, hate crimes, banning assault weapons and gender recognition.

  • Her office hosted a Regents meet and greet Tuesday.

  • Her office co-sponsored UCLA Pride Week.

  • Her office traveled multiple times to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to lobby for tuition affordability, mental health resources, financial aid, a ban on conversion therapy, immigration reform and food security.

  • Her office worked with Afrikan Student Union to coordinate a Black Lobby Day on Wednesday.

  • Her office met with the UC Board of Regents, UCLA Transportation, Bruins for a Safer America, the LGBT Center, UCLA alumni networks, the California Coalition for Public Higher Education, housing groups, congresspeople, state Assembly members, Campus Assault Resources & Education and the Title IX Office to advocate for the office’s causes.

  • Her office advocated for The Agora housing project.

  • Her office helped facilitate communication between UCPath and students when students experienced payroll issues.

  • Her office attended the Move LA conference March 1 that aimed to promote clean and efficient transportation in Los Angeles.

  • Her office brought students to the swearing-in of Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove who represents the Assembly District 54, which includes UCLA.

  • Her office attended Regents meetings. She said her office highlighted misuse of student pronouns by professors at the February meeting.

  • Her office secured $7,700 to host the UndocuCoalition Conference in spring .

  • Her office is working to institutionalize voter turnout efforts. The office presented to the Board of Regents and met with the UC Office of the President about how to maintain increased voter turnout.

Nidirah Stephens, Academic Affairs commissioner:

Platforms: Stephens promised to raise $30,000 in scholarships for students. She promised to increase the number of courses on BruinCast and free iClickers available to students. She also promised to create a space for students to meet with counselors before each enrollment period to help students plan their courses. Additionally, she promised to monitor the use of petition-to-enroll numbers given by professors and to utilize the operational funds within the commission to give textbook scholarships to 100 students each quarter.

Quarter recap:

  • Her office helped fund 100 textbook subsidies.

  • Her office distributed 30 free iClickers.

  • The Academic Senate Legislative Assembly, which Stephens appoints students to, passed a proposal to introduce a bachelor’s degree in music at the Herb Alpert School of Music.

Jay Manzano, Financial Supports commissioner:

Platforms: Manzano promised to create a scholarship to subsidize professional clothing for students in need. He promised to secure funds to alleviate the cost of textbooks. He also promised to develop a series of workshops that address vocational skills and to push the BruinCard Office to adopt an incremental fee for lost BruinCards. He additionally promised to put pressure on the University to return nonrefundable deposits and fees to students when there is no guarantee a service will be provided, such as the study abroad deposit. He also promised to advocate for the affordability and funding of higher education in the state.

Quarter recap:

  • His office’s Attire for Hire initiative, which aims to provide professional wear for underserved students, has fundraised $11,990 and confirmed an April 24 event where 44 students will receive $200 gift cards.

  • His office offered $2,000 to students in partial subsidies for parking permits and full subsidies for public transportation.

  • His office hosted a professional development event for first-generation students March 6.

  • His office received $5,000 to expand its lab coat loaner library from 12 to 150 lab coats.

Julia Ho-Gonzales, Facilities commissioner:

Platforms: Ho-Gonzales promised to host weekly office hours on Bruin Walk and to facilitate town halls. She promised to institutionalize student-centered advocacy to repurpose, reconstruct and reallocate space to better fit the needs of diverse student experiences. She also promised to promote sustainable food storage practices around campus. She also promised to restructure student services to foster a reuse culture on campus.

Quarter recap:

  • Her office has hosted weekly office hours on Bruin Walk throughout winter quarter.

  • Her office held roundtable discussions, rather than town halls, with student organizations to discuss issues including safety apps and the accessibility of university infrastructure to people with disabilities.

  • Her office released a survey about UCLA safety apps. Her office will co-host a study night event for finals week.

  • Her office held water conservation workshops.

  • Her office received funding to install three outdoor water fountains. The locations are still being determined as of publication.

  • Her office released a needs assessment survey to evaluate physical accessibility of thee campus with the Student Wellness Commission.

  • Her office hosted an awareness campaign for students with disabilities.

  • Her office hosted a Bruin Bazaar, where students could exchange old items.

  • Her office hosted a workshop on disability and consent for UCLA Consent Week.

  • Her office has received funding for saturation sensors, which will be used to conduct a wastewater audit.

Ayesha Haleem, general representative 1:

Platforms: Haleem promised to host a dialogue series facilitated by members of the community. She promised to organize weekly conversations at Kerckhoff Hall to foster student connections with administrators. She also promised to advocate for the creation of an international student resource center, a Dashew Center advisory board and an international student scholarship database. Additionally, promised to create institutional support for students who aren’t traditionally involved in USAC.

Quarter recap:

  • Haleem said her office helped remove the $75 overnight fee Hill residents must pay to stay an extra day in the residence halls over winter break.

  • Her office hosted multiple Konversations at Kerckhoff events with professors and USAC councilmembers. She said her office co-hosted a Q&A about hate speech on campus with the dean of students.

  • Her office hosted two speed dating events for student organizations.

  • Her office allocated $15,000 for a scholarship for international students. She said her office hosted a town hall to discuss issues international students face.

  • Her office is hosting a training event next week to help inform international students of their rights.

Bella Martin, general representative 2:

Platforms: Martin promised to advocate professors disclose and justify course costs during enrollment. She also promised to advocate for a bike lane in Westwood, and to create short videos explaining how USAC works in multiple languages.

Quarter recap:

  • Martin’s office made videos to highlight the lack of affordable textbooks and advocate faculty be more transparent about how much their course materials will cost during course enrollment.

  • Members of her office have attended North Westwood Neighborhood Council meetings to advocate for bike lanes.

Eduardo Solis, general representative 3:

Platforms: Solis promised to implement the National Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number on BruinCards. He promised to showcase the various stories of UCLA students who have used CAPS to demonstrate the necessity of allocating more funds to CAPS. He also promised to put pressure on UCOP to renew the funds given to the Undocumented Student Program. He also promised to bring nonprofit organizations to campus to offer legal advice to immigrants, to expand the food closet and to offer a larger variety of food to students in need.

Quarter recap:

  • Solis’ office is holding an ongoing UCLA Spark crowdfunding campaign, “We Love You, UndocU,” to fundraise for undocumented students. The campaign has raised just over $2,600 so far.

  • His office went on a lobbying trip with the EVP office to Washington, D.C., to advocate for college affordability and immigration rights. The teams met with 81 congressional offices.

  • His office held phone-banking sessions to get grant funding for undocumented students.

  • His office co-hosted a Know Your Rights workshop for immigrants.

  • His office held an open mic event for people to talk about their struggles.

  • His office collected 677 petition signatures to expand food closet services on campus.

  • His office collected 700 petition signatures and a letter from Sen. Dianne Feinstein to convince the BruinCard office to add a suicide hotline number to BruinCards.

George Louis Faour, Student Wellness commissioner:

Platforms: Faour promised to hold events during the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week and work to remove the stigma associated with conversations on alcohol and drug misuse. He promised to create a space dedicated to providing easy access to mobility aid, such as crutches and standard wheelchairs. He also promised to assess how accessible UCLA buildings are by surveying students. He also promised to expand co-programming efforts.

Quarter recap:

  • His office completed its National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week platform and hosted events every day of the week, including a kickoff event, a photo gallery and panel discussions.

  • His office hosted roughly 50 events this quarter and several awareness weeks, including I Love My Body Week and Consent Week.

  • His office released a needs assessment survey to evaluate physical accessibility on campus with the Facilities commission.

  • Faour said the Ashe Center offered to pay for borrowable crutches and wheelchairs in line with the commission’s mobility aid platform. However, they are still determining a location to store the mobility aids.

  • His office expanded free menstrual hygiene product access from two to seven stations around campus and on the Hill.

Jessica Kim, transfer student representative:

Platforms: Kim promised to advocate for reducing appointed leadership positions from two-year to one-year terms so transfer students can apply. She promised to create more informational sessions and community-building events for transfers. She also promised to advocate for allocating university apartment space for transfers.

Quarter recap:

  • Kim’s office compiled information and set up a social media posting schedule to standardize the function of the office. The transfer student representative’s office is the newest of all 14 current USAC offices.

  • Her office held Transfer Pride Week during week 3.

  • Her office held two off-campus housing events.

  • Her office co-hosted the South Campus Research Fair with the president’s office.

  • Her office held a de-stress event on the Hill for transfer students.

  • Her office held a transfer involvement fair and mini Enormous Activities Fair for transfer students.

  • Her office held office hours at the transfer center throughout the quarter.

  • Her office created the transfer diversity series, a recurring event which will partner with other student groups to highlight diversity within the transfer student community.

  • Her office met with organizations that will be included in a reference pamphlet for transfer students.

  • Her office will hold an internal election to support one candidate running for the office next year. Kim said this aims to reduce transition time lost to elections.

Bethanie Sonola, Community Service commissioner:

Platforms: Sonola promised to increase resources available to all UCLA service organizations. She also promised to support UCLA service organizations in improving risk management and safety practices.

Quarter recap:

  • Sonola’s office allocated $22,325.57 from the supplemental fund for service to 33 student organizations.

  • Her office co-hosted Homelessness Awareness Week.

  • Her office collected testimonials for future lobbying efforts.

  • Her office created new internal positions.

  • Her office replaced two broken CSC vans.

  • CSC sent 24 people to the University of Virginia’s IMPACT National Conference to learn about civic engagement.

Sarena Khasawneh, Cultural Affairs commissioner:

Platforms: Khasawneh promised to create an initiative that would allow any student to gain the funds, knowledge and platform to host an event on campus. She promised to hold a fair of ethical companies to address social justice issues. She also promised to create a database that will combat gentrification in Los Angeles by highlighting coupons for businesses owned by people of color.

Quarter recap:

  • Khasawneh declined to comment about her office’s progress this quarter.

Alley Madison, Campus Events commissioner:

Platforms: Madison promised to make events more accessible by varying the timing of events. She promised to direct the commission to feature events driven by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and other underrepresented groups. She also promised to create an online polling tool so students can voice which events they would like to see brought to campus.

Quarter recap:

  • Madison did not reply to a request for comment about her office’s progress this quarter.

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Morris is the 2018-2019 assistant News editor for the campus politics beat. She was previously a writer for the campus politics beat. She is also a second-year global studies student at UCLA.

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  • Lance

    Let’s face it, being an international student away from home is difficult, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including representation from school councils, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.
    Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.
    It explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
    It also identifies the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Good luck to all at UCLA or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must