UGBC Passes Resolution Calling For Upper Campus Accessibility

The Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) Student Assembly unanimously passed a resolution calling for the addition of a more accessible pathway to Upper Campus at an SA meeting on Nov. 17. 

The lack of an accessible pathway currently hinders students with walking-related disabilities in their ability to take part in social, academic, and extracurricular activities on Upper Campus, according to Gianna Russi, a Class of 2022 representative and MCAS ’22. 

A referendum calling for the pathway passed with a 93 percent approval rating from BC students in the UGBC election this past September. The proposed accessible pathway would require approval and oversight from the Board of Trustees of BC, and is estimated to cost BC $500,000, Russi said. 

The push for an accessible pathway has been in the works for the past few years, according to Taylor Morales, Council for Students with Disabilities policy coordinator and MCAS ’23.

“This is a project that has really been underway for the past three years, in terms of members within CSD and within UGBC really working with admin to engage in conversations to make Upper Campus accessible to students regardless of their ability status here on campus, which it currently isn’t for students who have walking-related disabilities,” Morales said. 

SA representatives also addressed individual committee topics at the meeting.

Urwa Hameed, a Class of 2022 representative and MCAS ’22, said that the intersectionality committee will be working toward three initiatives—the divestment project, renaming “Columbus Day” as “Indigenous People’s Day,” and creating gender neutral bathrooms at BC.

Douglas Baker, a Class of 2022 representative and MCAS ’22, spoke on behalf of the student life committee, focusing on the current lack of shuttle buses around campus, which he said particularly impacts Montserrat students. 

Last year a shuttle bus ran once a week on Sundays to The Shops at Chestnut Hill, providing students with free transportation to go grocery shopping, but that bus is not running this semester, Baker said. 

“We’re going to try and have a sign up sheet starting with Montserrat where you can get the students that have demonstrated the most need from the University’s standpoint,” he said. “We can start there with a bus and then hopefully expand from there into next semester.”

Jack Bracher, a Class of 2022 representative and MCAS ’22, spoke on behalf of the academic affairs committee about the potential addition of new classes to satisfy BC’s cultural diversity core requirement. 

Bracher said that he hopes BC will make these opportunities better known to students. 

“We’re going to be working with them to publicize reforms that they have already made to the cultural diversity core,” Bracher said.

The University added several different courses under two tenants for the cultural diversity core—Engaging Difference & Justice and Difference, Justice, and the Common Good—where faculty can propose courses. 

Bracher also mentioned the possibility of BC adding accessibility education to the cultural diversity core, including the addition of a history course about the history of disability rights in the United States. 

Laura Perrault, a Class of 2021 representative and MCAS ’21, spoke for the academic affairs committee, focusing on end-of-semester course evaluations. Perrault previously met with Vice Provost for Faculties Billy Soo to discuss the matter. 

For the end-of-semester course evaluations, the University only releases a numerical score of the class based on student feedback. It could be helpful, Perrault said, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, for students to receive a bit more information from these evaluations to help them to make decisions about potential future courses. 

“We were just trying to find a way that could at least have some of those comments released so students know or have a better grasp of what the class is going to look like,” she said. 

At their meeting, Perrault and Soo discussed the possibility of including some COVID-19-related questions on this semester’s evaluations, including whether a course was still as impactful through a virtual format, Perrault said. Perrault hopes the University will release the responses to students, should they be included.

Featured Image by Maddy Romance / Heights Editor

December 3, 2020