UGBC Update: Bias Incident Response Team, Lower Campus Printers on Fall Agenda

The summer may have been a period of rest for many Boston College students, but they can rest assured that the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) was hard at work. Over the course of the past four months, UGBC made a number of policy and organization changes to reflect newly-elected President Thomas Napoli, A&S '16, and Executive Vice-President Olivia Hussey (A&S '17)'s campaign slogan, "Back to Basics." With the start of the new school year upon us, these changes will help to better serve students and follow through on promises made during the UGBC presidential election season.

UGBC, formerly under the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), is now operating under the Office of the Dean of Students, reflecting the shared goals of the two organizations: to serve students, respond to criticisms and make the necessary changes. UGBC changed its constitution to reflect these changes but will still be physically housed in Carney Hall.

Structurally, the Student Assembly has been restructured into seven committees--Women and Gender, Mental Health, Student Rights, Environment and Sustainability, Academics, Campus Improvements and Identity. "The adjustments we made to our Student Assembly committees represent an important internal change for our organization," said UGBC President Thomas Napoli in an email. "[This restructuring] will allow our own SA to more effectively function on the issues that students care about. . . we hope these changes will make UGBC more approachable to outside students."

After listening to feedback from students across campus, the Office of the Dean of Students has created a Bias Incident Response Team to better report bias incidents within the university. This change will be enacted in the fall and UGBC’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Afua Laast, LSOE '16, and Chair of the GLBTQ Leadership Council Nick Minieri, A&S '16, will be serving on team. The creation of this new team will allow students to report bias incidents anonymously if they choose.

Following the push for a GLBTQ Resource Center in the spring, driven by a petition signed by more than 540 students to not donate to BC after graduation until the creation of such a center, the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) has met its long-term goal of institutionalizing Queer Peers and the GLBTQ Undergraduate Society (GUS). The Office of the Dean of Students agreed to take over GUS and Queer Peers in the 2016-2017 academic year, with this coming year acting as a transition year. GLC will oversee the two groups until the official turnover, when both organizations will be fully institutionalized on their own.

Additionally, after multiple years of student advocacy, the university has agreed to test out the use of printers on Lower Campus. ITS Support Services is on track for a printer installation in Corcoran Commons as a pilot test this fall.

UGBC also has a list of exciting speakers and events planned for this academic year that will explore mental health on campus, trans identities and persons with disabilities. Make sure to keep an eye out for more details regarding the names, times and places of these speakers and events.

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Nicole Strik