The Student Assembly (SA) brainstormed ways to deepen its communication and relationships with University administrators in its meeting on Tuesday night.
“We kinda have to put our foot out there first,” said Thompson Penn, chair of the Student Life Committee and CSOM ’25. “If we do that, they will start to, like, trust us more and approach us—rather than us going to them, they’ll come to us in the long run.”
Jake Kauffman, SA representative and CSOM ’24, suggested the SA seek out and assist the administration’s agenda proactively.
“I think that one of the things we do a lot in SA is just try to come up with policies on our own,” Kauffman said. “I thought that maybe we can look into seeing how we might be able to communicate better with offices on campus in terms of meeting them in the middle of finding out things that they want to achieve through us.”
Jonah Kotzen, the Council for Students with Disabilities’ policy coordinator and MCAS ’24, proposed inviting administrators like Vice President of Student Affairs Shawna Cooper Whitehead to sit in on SA meetings.
“We could always reach out to certain administrators, including Shawna, and ask them to attend an SA meeting like this so they can hear us talk or dialogue and kind of gain some more insight into what we’re feeling and how we kind of want things to go,” Kotzen said.
Chrishawna Johnson, AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC) policy coordinator and MCAS ’24, said some administrators have been dismissive of UGBC’s efforts in the past.
“Just from being an ALC rep., from our times with trying to meet in the middle with certain administrators, they don’t respect the work that we do, simply,” Johnson said. “That’s just from my department. I would just say that it seems very one-sided.”
Johnson then clarified that she would support a strengthened connection between the SA and the administration provided the correct boundaries are established.
“I believe that could be a very beneficial relationship, especially for administrators and students in the future,” Johnson said. “So I just think that we should be very careful because they’re very my way or the highway. But I’m pro—we just have to be careful.”
Various representatives around the room snapped their fingers in agreement with Johnson’s remarks.
“I think your honesty is really heard and appreciated in this room because I think we all feel that way too a little bit,” Kotzen said in response.
Kotzen also noted that when SA representatives eventually leave UGBC, individual relationships with administrators are often lost.
“If you know you’re not returning or if you know someone else is going to be taking up your position, then, like, ensuring that there is a continuation of our relationship with a specific person or with a specific office,” Kotzen said. “I feel like that’s the best way to gauge impact or gauge their advocacy or issues they want addressed.”
The SA later discussed the Student Life Committee’s progress helping to create a mental health resource tab for the Agora Portal.
“As of Thursday, I can gladly report that IT has officially approved the Agora Portal tab,” Penn said. “On this tab, there will be three boxes: one for CSW, one for UCS, and one for UHS.”
Members also revisited the University’s efforts to digitize Eagle IDs, making them available to students via their smartphones.
Kotzen said Kevin Coleman, manager of integrated security and information systems at BC, explained to him in September that BC was still planning the installation of necessary hardware for digital Eagle IDs across campus.
The rollout of digitized IDs should begin later this semester, according to Kotzen.
“I reached out to them, and their response was, ‘We’re already in the process of digitizing all BC IDs, and it should be good by spring 2023.’ So yeah, spring 2023—so around now.” Kotzen said.