The UC is committed to transparency. In that spirit, we provide here tracking of all promises made to the Harvard student body.
Advocate for an inclusive, physical space proximate to the Yard to serve as a multicultural center, where students from diverse backgrounds can access resources and socialize
- Referendum passed overwhelmingly with 1,402 YES votes, 400 NO votes, and 272 abstainstions
- There was a town hall attended by nearly 100 Harvard students held on January 26.
- UC members went to tour MIT’s new SPXCE that had just opened this semester and talk with the director and members of student government that helped push it through on Feb 9.
- The Undergraduate Council passed the Proposal for Action on a Physical Space for Belonging on March 25.
- UC Representatives, Nicholas Whittaker and Salma Abdelrahmen met with Dean Khurana with Dean Davis.
- Advocated to President Faust about the need for this space from constituents on April 6th.
- Dean Davis announces that Dean Khurana has accepted the UC Proposal to research the establishment of a multicultural center on campus on April 9th.
Partner with the FDO and FAS to create a first-year social space proximate the Yard and geared towards enhancing freshman life.
- We have met with the FDO and Dean Dingman to talk about a first-year social space proximate the Yard.
- An architect came last fall to look at 4 different spaces on campus to possibly renovate.
- Advocated to Dean Mike Smith on March 22, and emphasized the need for this. He mentioned that since the Smith Campus Center will be opened Fall 2018, they would like to wait to see how the space is utilized.
- Advocated to President-Elect Bacow for such a space that the new Dean of FAS should focus on on April 19th and May 2.
- We are continuing dialogue about how we can create a space and how the Smith Campus Center will fit into this.
Work with the FDO, building managers, and Office of BGLTQ+ to create an actionable plan for gender inclusive housing and gender neutral bathrooms.
- We have met with the FDO to talk specifically about gender inclusive housing, and talked with Dean Ranen, who was helping lead the committee to draft a proposal for gender-inclusive living spaces on Jan 26th.
- Dean of Freshman, Thomas Dingman officially announced on April 20th that Harvard would expand gender-inclusive housing to first-years!!
- The UC has also created a task force to push for gender neutral bathrooms.
- Trans Task Force came to our February 25th UC General Meeting during Community Time to talk about the need for gender neutral bathrooms & housing.
- Preferred gender pronouns feature will be coming to the HUHS check-in software this summer
- Met with the Accessible Education Office to talk about accessible maps on April 17. We are working with them and the Disability Alliance to map out all of the physically accessible spaces and gender neutral bathrooms.
Advocate for increased access to existing social spaces and more spaces in houses (e.g. a tutor storage space in Quincy).
- Met with Quincy HoCo to talk about the renovation of the Bullit Room into a social space.
- Met with the OSL & Rakesh to talk about funding for these spaces, and learned about the Physical Planning Spaces Committee that has a budget specifically for the renovations of these spaces.
- We are currently working to create a proposal to present it to Quincy House Administration & connect to other houses as well.
- Advocated for these increased spaces and opened dialogue during the Committee on Student Life meeting with administrators, faculty, and students alike on March 1st and March 22nd -- we were advised to talk to all the faculty deans.
- Met with Dean Smith on March 22 and he mentioned the capital campaign focusing a lot on securing funding for the renovation of new spaces. He said that it is important that faculty deans are on board with renovation and open to giving access to the larger Harvard community.
- Worked with House Committees and students on the Committee of Student Life to come up with best practices for parties, including increasing access and quantity of space on April 4.
- Met with the Faculty Deans Docket Committee on April 9 to present these practices -- they were excited about developing new spaces, and mentioned that houses do that during their renovation cycle.
- Presented these best practices to all of the house faculty deans during their monthly meeting on April 18th -- they were all excited about the renovations bringing in new spaces, and we talked about working with RoomBook to not only allow knowledge of these spaces, but also better access to these spaces by all students (with preference to those in the house).
Work with administration to renovate or develop physically accessible spaces, such as an elevator in the Phillips Brooks House.
- We have started dialogue with Dean Lauren Brandt, who is overseeing many of the physical space renovations.
- We have connected to the Disability Alliance and PBHA and are currently talking to both of them.
- Met with Dean Smith to talk about house accessibility on March 22 -- he mentioned that this is a huge priority of house renewals and they are looking at how to create interventions in buildings. This is a longer timeline since Massachusetts has a high bar and making campus completely accessible is tougher.
- Met with the Accessible Education Office to talk about accessible maps on April 17. We are working with them and the Disability Alliance to map out all of the physically accessible spaces and gender neutral bathrooms.
Institute and enforce a Plan for Inclusive Excellence consisting of actionable steps to promote diversity, belonging, and inclusion, within the UC
- Passed legislation to institute the Plan for Inclusive Excellence through UC general council
- Met with the Task Force on Bridging and Belonging to get guidance on how the UC can institute the PIE.
Work with the OSL to mandate a Plan for Inclusive Excellence for all officially recognized clubs as part of club registration.
- Started meeting with Dean O’Dair to understand how to best implement in other organizations (most likely through leadership training).
- Met with the Steering Committee on Bridging and Belonging (Danielle Allen and Banks) to talk through what does the Plan of Inclusive Excellence look like for the Undergraduate Council (re: gender equity, racial equity, etc.)
- We are planning on piloting this over the next semester within the UC.
Advocate for Gender 101 Trainings across campus by working with the Harvard Women’s Center to create a training plan for the entire college.
- Legislation on November 5th to allocate $1,000 from First-Year Class Committee budget to pilot “Gender 101” training sessions in freshmen entryways.
- Emails to Peer Advising Fellows end of January to set up 10 Gender 101 Trainings
- Coordinated with Entryways and Women’s Center to schedule 20 trainings during study breaks to pilot
- After this semester, we will be reviewing these trainings and create a plan to move forward from there
Make sure peer counseling groups have furnished spaces and advocate for better spaces for these groups.
- We met with peer counseling groups and got information on how much they would need/what they would want to spend on. We wrote legislation and passed it through our UC General meeting on Dec 3rd.
- We allocated $6000 to peer counseling groups to help furnish their spaces, and they received the check and are in the process of receiving checks/buying their furniture.
Direct the Student Initiatives Committee on the UC to outreach to Hoco’s to collaborate with the goal of every house begin working towards creating a college-wide event that becomes tradition.
- We have brought up this idea with the HoCoCo (the chairs of all the houses), and are in the process of figuring out a plan for this upcoming year.
- Winthrop Underground piloted this past semester as an all campus party.
- Funding for class-wide programming was discussed at the new Student Funding Board formation meeting and institutionalized funding will be decided during the Fall 2018 Funding Board meeting (the week after Shopping Period)
Create a new publicity system for the Undergraduate Council, so that we can ensure all students are getting the information equally, and not dependent on individual reps in their houses or yards.
- Worked with HUIT to retrieve the UC Secretary account linked to an FAS email account.
- Coordinated with the Registrar to get all Harvard College students’ emails for this list.
- The UC Secretary Email has gone into effect this semester, and emails every student about events going on with the Undergraduate Council.
Create a progress bar under all of our campaign policies to track meetings and actions and keep accountability on the UC website.
- We began development of the new UC website in December 2017
- We launched the new UC website, including progress bars, on May 7, 2018
- We are currently maintaining and updating the website with our progress bars every week at the latest to ensure that the student body is up to date on our meetings and progress.
Create “Harvard Conversations”: A weekly program for faculty members and 10-15 students from all years, concentrations, and backgrounds to converse about a given topic over catered dinner in Senior Common Rooms of houses.
- We created a proposal in December 2017, which was sent out to all the Faculty Deans for feedback and approval.
- We created a task force on the UC to run the logistics of these dinners.
- We connected to the Office of Undergraduate Education, and met with Dean Harris multiple times, who agreed to fund this pilot program $5000 for the semester.
- We passed legislation through the Undergraduate Council on Sunday, Jan 28 to allocate $3000 to this initiative through a Burst Pack. This passed unanimously.
- We emailed out an interest form to different faculty members and had over 60 who were interested.
- We connected with a house from each neighborhood, Quincy, Cabot, Winthrop, and Leverett, who will be hosting 5 dinners this semester.
- We started running these dinners on February 12th, and have them every Monday and Wednesday evening.
- Instituted a weekly publicity system and sign up for these dinners.
- We have been getting feedback from the dinners & will use that to inform our next steps.
- An amazing success with the program, and looking forward to the future!
Institute the Matchmaker Collaboration Grant, a grant in which officially recognized student groups who submit applications are randomly paired with another organization on campus. They will be given $150 to have a social event for members of both organizations. Receipts will not be collected.
- We created the matchmaker grant by passing legislation through the council at a general council meeting in November, 2017
- Each week, new recipients are randomly selected and announced in UC General Council meetings
Restructure the UC website to be a centralized base that lists all mental health, sexual assault, spiritual, religious, and ethical, and financial resources on campus and within Harvard.
- We are currently working with mental health groups and sexual assault prevention groups, along with college offices, to ensure that the resources are all there.
- We are in collaboration with the Interfaith Forum and different religious groups to understand what would be best for students in terms of spiritual, religious, and ethical resources.
- We are working with the College offices and our Treasurer to help consolidate financial resources.
- These will be up by Fall 2018 for the new school year.
Sponsor collaborative dinners between peer counselors, mental and sexual health educators, administrators, and affiliated students to facilitate administrative support and open channels of communication towards promoting mental health for peer counseling groups.
- Plan to begin Fall 2018
Host and support events that mix student leaders and administration to facilitate stronger connections.
- The Multicultural Center Town Hall on Jan 26 brought together students and several administrators.
- We started a “Meet the Deans” series with our UC members in order to facilitate lunches with the various deans at the college, and from its success, we are looking towards expanding it out to student leaders.
- Funding for Student Organization Leadership + Administrator event failed to pass through the UC General Council
- We continue to hold regular town halls and work with individual student organizations on administrative issues on an ad-hoc basis
Create a page on the UC website which serves as a hub linking alumni connection resources.
- We have been collaborating with the Harvard Alumni Association and the Office of Student Life to think through how student groups are currently accessing and utilizing alumni.
- It is important for groups to register all members on the Hub, as starting last year, it will help keep an alumni database synced that will help inform the HAA.
- These are the current services that are offered for student organizations.
- We will link all of the resources we’ve identified to the new UC website’s “Resources” subpages in Fall 2018
Bridge the gap between the OSL, the Admissions Office, and student groups to help cultural organizations reach out to potential new members.
- Talked with Joe Flanagan and Dean Miller from the Office of Student Life to understand how student groups work together to recruit new members.
- We are starting conversations with the admissions office to see if this data can be released to cultural organizations.
Create a training for the new treasurers of every organization at the beginning of each semester on how to navigate the grant system and other systems of funding, so that organizations do not need to rely on institutional memory.
- The new training for the treasurers during the Spring Semester was held on Monday, February 12 from 8-10 PM in the Winthrop Senior Common Room. This was school-wide publicized and treasurers of student organizations were emailed about the session.
- Our current Treasurer holds office hours every week in Lamont Cafe.
Advocate for bringing back the Dean’s Student Life Travel Fund for safe travel practices for organizations.
- Met with Dean Miller to discuss this fund, advocated for its reinstantiation, and arrived at the conclusion that it would be brought back but re-oriented towards academic travel. The reason why it was pulled originally was because there was a lack of accountability about the funds and how students were using them.
- Legislation was brought before the council to retroactively help offset costs for student groups and was voted down.
Support student organizations by incorporating an Alumni Connections Workshop through leadership training, so that all organizations understand how to access the alumni network.
- The leadership training is currently in development for Fall 2018, and will include a component of Alumni Connections Workshop.
Partner with the Women’s Center to develop a workshop about gender dynamics in male dominated spaces.
Plan to begin Fall 2018
Advocating for textbook accessibility by working with the Financial Aid Office to better publicize how financial aid can be used towards textbooks.
Plan to begin Fall 2018
Pushing the College to fund condom distribution through SHARC and tampon distribution through the Women’s Hygiene Campaign.
- Ran pilot program for free menstrual hygiene product distribution in seleect First-year dorms
- Ran second pilot program for free menstrual hygiene product distribution in seleect upperclassmen houses
- Created a survey to the Harvard College student body on menstrual hygiene products and collected over 2,000 responses
- Created a proposal and presented it to Katie O'Dair
- Presented Proposal to Rakesh Khuraha
- In conversation with University Facilities teams to discuss implementation
Instituting electronic voting internally within the UC so that voting procedures on legislation are more accurate, efficient, and transparent.
- We partnered with Academic Technology Services, HUIT, and Cabot Science Center Library to use clickers for our weekly meetings.
- We installed the technology needed to incorporate this and taught the council how to use the technology
Demand a policy of affirmative consent rather than unwelcome conduct through working with the Title IX office.
- We have talked with Our Harvard Can Do Better to hear about the current work that is being done and help collaborate on this.
- Met with Seth Avakian and are connecting to the Title IX office to learn more about why the policy of affirmative consent is not in place.
Work with CAMHS, HUHS, and the university administration to hire more full-time mental health professionals, with an explicit focus on diversity.
- Met with Dr. Lewis and CAMHS team on March 8th with Trans Task Force to talk about making CAMHS more accessible, and from that meeting, preferred gender pronouns feature will be coming to the HUHS check-in software this summer! This way, receptionists and counselors alike will not misgender students.
- Worked with HUHS & CAMHS to release data from mental health survey to students on May 2nd. We are following up about the results of CAMHS feedback forms to see students’ experiences with counselors.
Work with SMHL and CAHMS to develop a training module for proctors, tutors, and resident deans to ensure knowledge of mental health issues and make referrals to available resources. This module would be implemented either as a required electronic training module or an in-person annual training session, working with SMHL’s in each house.
- We appointed a representative on the UC to be our liason with SMHL.
- We are in contact with the Bok Center and SMHL to create this training module.
Fight for administration to affirm commitment to standards of 2011 policy and continue to improve it, in light of Betsy DeVos’s proposed Title IX Policy changes.
- On December 12, 2017, President Faust sent out an email releasing the 2017 Report of the University’s Title IX Office and Office of Dispute Resolution.
Work with Title IX to make the sexual assault training module more interactive.
- Participated in a focus group with CARE and other student representatives to provide feedback and talk about the language of the sexual assault training module.
- Met with Emily Miller, the College TItle IX Coordinator to talk about making the module more interactive.
- We were connected with Nicole Merhill, who works with Title IX on the University level, and is working to make the module interactive. The designer has to have myriad qualifications to make sure whatever they produce is fully accessible. This requires a formal training for certification.
- Title IX Office will look into research about what’s possible before moving forward.
Work with Title IX and the Registrar to put an advising hold on my.harvard to ensure all students go through sexual assault training.
- We advocated for having this advising hold to Dean Khurana.
- We met with Emily Miller, College Title IX coordinator, and talked through ideas of having an advising hold or having faculty deans involved when it comes to admonishment.
- We are in contact with the Communications Manager for the Registrar’s Office to talk about making this a reality.
Ensure that every house has a first-gen, low-income tutor and a race relations tutor and that they receive a stipend from the University, just as Fellowship & CARE tutors are compensated. Push for expansion of the First-Gen, Low-Income Student Advocate at the FDO to support students of all years.
- We are beginning to start conversation about how to tutor hiring with faculty deans to ensure that every house has quality resources.
- With the new integration of the FDO and OSL, we are in conversation with the Dean of Students Office to ensure there is a First-Gen, Low-Income Student Advocate in general.
Ensure that the peer counseling groups have funding that is institutionalized for dining hall swipe access during their training period before the school year begins.
- Last year the UC provided funding for meals during peer counseling group training. We followed through this year to ensure that each group actually got the funding necessary funding for last year.
- We are checking in with the Dean of the College’s office to ensure that funding still exists for opening days for peer counseling groups.
Stand with Dreamers and commit to using our resources to support undocumented students.
- Met with Act on a Dream and Katie Derzon to talk about how UC can support undocumented students on Feb 8.
- The UC voted to pass a Statement of Solidarity with DACA and TPS Recipients and Undocumented Students on March 4th.
Push for Harvard College to officially change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.
- Met with Native Americans at Harvard College and heard the need for Indigenous People’s Day to be completely recognized on Harvard’s calendar (the petition was endorsed by the UC in Oct 2016, and Cambridge City Council changed the name of the holiday in Oct 2017)
- Met with Dean Smith on March 22nd to advocate and he mentioned that this was done at the University level, since it says both the state and nation level labelling. He mentioned that changing the calendar is oftentimes a multiyear endeavor.
- Met with Dean Khurana to discuss this name change on March 23rd -- was told that this happens at a University level, and all internal, non-official documents use Indigenous People’s Day; the current Harvard Calendar uses both names since they are different on a federal and city level
- Brought this up to President Faust at our semesterly meeting on April 6 -- she mentioned that last year, the University asked the individual schools to make the decision of how to name it and will look into where the University currently uses the name.
- We will be following up with President Faust and President-Elect Bacow as the year continues on.
Create a coalition to push for education studies as a secondary at the college.
- The UC has been actively working since Fall 2016 with HGSE Professor Kay Merseth to create a proposal and get faculty on board with the secondary. We are currently in contact with Professor Reuben, who is now spearheading the Secondary Field for Educational Studies, and Dean Harris, the Dean of Undergraduate Education.
- We outreached to students and partnered with the Bok Center to do filming for an Education Secondary on February 20th, February 22nd, and March 2nd.
- Stayed in close contact with the Education Policy Committee in which the proposal had to be approved through.
- The UC Education Committee released this video on the Importance of an Education Secondary on April 4th.
- Dean of the Graduate School of Education James Ryan announced that the Education Secondary had been approved on April 11th, and the Crimson announced on April 12.
- Since then, there have been several articles that have come out, from an editorial to an op-ed to excitement from students!!
Advocate heavily for ethnic studies and the hiring of more diverse faculty.
- The UC has connected with TAPAS to learn more about ethnic studies.
- Met with Dean Gay on March 1 to talk about the importance of ethnic studies and the hiring of diverse faculty with TAPAS.
- Met with Dean Harris on March 20, where he mentioned they would be convening faculty to hear their common goals with this proposal, and we planned to hold a larger meeting with faculty and students together in the discussion for the end of the year.
- Advocated to Dean Smith on March 22 meeting about the history and continued work and need for it.
- Advocated to President-Elect Bacow about the importance of diverse hiring and focus on Ethnic Studies for the new Dean of FAS.
- Had a planning meeting on April 21 with undergraduate and graduate students to prepare for faculty and deans discussion meeting.
- Ethnic Studies Discussion on April 26th with Dean Gay, Dean Kelsey, Dean Harris, and various faculty members who expressed interest in helping this. We talked about a framework in which to approach this conversation and what the timeline looks like. Dean Gay said the low-hanging fruit are hiring more diverse faculty.
Push for getting American Sign Language recognized as a language requirement by the college.
- The UC has met with the Department of Linguistics to learn more. We have connected to the Deaf Action Committee (DAC) organization at Harvard, and we are learning about the process of how to get a language requirement to count. We have connected with faculty members as well, who support the initiative, to help write a motion for the faculty to vote on if needed. We are waiting to hear about the steps in the process of how to move forward.
- Met with Dean Harris on March 5 to talk about ASL as language citation. He had said “The Committee studying the language requirement plans to recommend that ASL meet the language requirement; this will be an uphill fight in the Faculty, but we are doing what we can to make the case. Citations (which require 4 terms beyond beginners level) will take longer, as we do not yet offer 6 semesters of ASL, and may not be able to for some time.”
- We will continue to work with DAC to mobilize student support, whether it is writing more letters, creating a video, or otherwise to push this initiative forward.