What I will do for you
I would like to take a chance to share my plans for some of the most pressing topics facing our campus right now, as well as some of the priorities that students have directly addressed to me. I plan to change this campus for the better, but I will not heavy-handedly push an agenda forward without first including students in the conversation.
Our academic experience would not be what it is without our professors, but this facet of Rice isn’t enough if we aren’t connected with a representative group of professors to guide us. Our provost is already invested in recruiting diverse faculty members, and I understand that multiple groups and existing initiatives are working to accomplish this. How can students fit into this? It is my priority to actively gather input from students to decide what we want in a more diverse group of faculty. I will be proactive about working with the existing initiatives to address these concerns directly with the provost and reaching out to the appropriate administration to ensure that these goals are achieved. I will push this for you.
Future of CTIS
Senate Bill #4 is a huge leap for our campus in addressing deeply rooted cultural issues surrounding sexual assault and general sexual well-being. The Critical Thinking in Sexuality task force has worked eagerly throughout this term to shape the class and push it towards a reality. As Student Association president, I will collaborate with and advocate for them to finalize their efforts. In this time of transition, it is crucial to work with the members of this committee to ensure this progress continues and we do not lose sight of our goal to eliminate sexual assault on our campus. Moving forward, my priority is to engage students in the conversations surrounding the future of the bill. This will be in the form of more updates on the task force’s work and more frequent opportunities for discussion on how the class will be shaped and exist in the future. What content will the class cover? Who should take the class? How does this affect those students on specific scholarship requirements? The entirety of campus must address these issues with the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum, not just a select group of students. I will achieve this for you.
Is this internal SA committee receiving the structural support it deserves? With no sustainable funding source and a number of bureaucratic barriers from its status as a subcommittee under another internal committee, this year’s Senior Committee has somehow still done a wonderful job and set a high precedent for future Senior Committees. But from my conversations with those involved in the programming, people are frustrated with the lack of support and simultaneous high expectations. We must critically look into the SA’s internal structure to ensure we are providing those necessary resources that enable this organization to actionably address students’ priorities. This applies to other groups and organizations that affect a large population of our campus, based on where your priorities lie. The SA should be a resource to enable positive changes by groups on campus. I will work on this with you.
Sexual assault on campus
It’s up to individual college leadership to address specific instances within a college. I trust the judgement and responsibility of college executive committees to have these important discussions within their communities. But it is critical to recognize sexual assault is not isolated to specific instances within the colleges. It is crucial here to separate how we navigate administrative policies (Code of Student Conduct, alcohol policy, etc.) from how we set community values for ourselves. It is important to take direct action to address these violations of our collective values. I want the SA to reach out more directly to students through independent forums separate from Senate to focus more intimately on such important topics. I will pursue this with you.
Originally published on Liu’s campaign website.
Joan Liu, SA Presidential Candidate, Jones College ‘17
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In the midst of a global pandemic, Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education, announced new Title IX regulations that govern how schools handle allegations of sexual assault and harrassment. Under the guise of restoring due process, the changes harm and undermine survivors by enhancing protections for those accused of misconduct.
The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have given rise to a new phrase that has been thrown around by media outlets and social media users across the country: “We are all in this together.” Don’t get me wrong — I am not denying the fact that every person in this country has been impacted by the virus in some capacity, and I am certainly not denying the rise in local expressions of solidarity. Over the past couple months, we’ve seen students and volunteers across the country donate their time and resources to help their neighbors. Young people have come together on social media platforms to address issues surrounding mental health and online learning, creating a sense of community while also practicing social distancing. I am not denying the presence of solidarity. What I would like to discuss, however, is the fallacy of solidarity in a racialized society.
The pandemic might justify making tests optional for the upcoming admission cycle, though I still think they should be strongly encouraged for those who can take it, but I don’t think de-emphasizing tests in the long term is the right approach.