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UC Regents recap – Nov. 12

The University of California Board of Regents discussed funding for programs assisting students with food and housing instability as well as mental health issues on the first day of its November meeting. (Ashley Kenney/Daily Bruin)

By Elizabeth Sherwood

Nov. 14, 2019 5:01 p.m.

The governing board of the University of California met for the first day of its November meeting Tuesday. The Special Committee on Basic Needs met to discuss the allocation of funding for programs assisting students with food and housing instability as well as mental health needs.

Special Committee on Basic Needs

  • Lea Jarnagin, special assistant for student affairs for the California State University system, and Colleen Ammerman, student services specialist for the California Community Colleges system, said they have employed extensive measures in the CSU and CCC systems to assist students facing food or housing instability, including the implementation of food pantries and the streamlining of eligibility requirements for the CalFresh application.
  • Tim Galarneau, co-chair of UC Santa Cruz Food Security and Basic Needs, and Ruben Canedo, director of strategic equity initiatives at UC Berkeley, said new programs such as the CalFresh Outreach Toolkit, which seeks to normalize asking for help for basic needs, are particularly important for addressing concerns surrounding the stigmatization of basic needs programs.
  • UC Merced’s basic needs coordinator, Bavneet Kaur, said a unique challenge the Merced campus faces is the federal allocation of funds that are not intended for general mental health services. Due to the campus’ geographic isolation in Merced, students have limited access to health care providers and mental health care centers.
  • Faculty representative Kum-Kum Bhavnani said there is not necessarily a relationship between struggles for basic needs and requiring mental health services, and reminded the committee members that students who come from well-off backgrounds may also grapple with mental illnesses and potentially go unnoticed in the search for students needing assistance.
  • Denise Woods-Bevly, assistant vice chancellor for health, counseling and wellness at UC Riverside, and Andrea Gutierrez, director of basic needs at UC Irvine, said they have had some success with recently implemented programs at their campuses, including collaboration with student-led basic needs commissions, extension of food pantry hours and improved clinical case management.
  • Yvette Gullatt, vice provost for diversity and engagement for the UC, said the committee hopes to use graduation rates among individuals who received basic needs services as a rough predictor of the effectiveness of these services.
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Elizabeth Sherwood | Assistant News editor
Sherwood is the 2020-2021 Assistant News Editor for the City & Crime beat. She was previously a contributor for National News and Higher Education. She is a second year political science and communications student and digital humanities minor at UCLA.
Sherwood is the 2020-2021 Assistant News Editor for the City & Crime beat. She was previously a contributor for National News and Higher Education. She is a second year political science and communications student and digital humanities minor at UCLA.
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