Running for vice president for academic affairs
Major: history and social studies
Below are excerpts from an interview with The Western Front.
Why do you want to run for AS?
“I believe that AS, and running for these positions, is not necessarily about me or about anyone person it’s about the betterment of the student body. Especially for the AS VP of academic affairs, I think it’s important to realize that education is all about accessibility and all students need the resources necessary to succeed and I’m here primarily for the students. I’m here to give students a platform to voice their concerns and to help them get the resources that they need to succeed.”
What issues do you want to tackle?
“I’m unsure of how much autonomy I have with these issues, but I really want to work on expanding the tutoring center a little bit at least with Math 112 and Math 114 as some of the most failed classes at Western. I don’t know the exact statistics on that but I hear that from a lot of people that those are classes a lot of students struggle with. A lot of feedback that I hear from students who are taking those classes is that they only get one or two of their questions answered in the tutoring center at a time because there’s so little tutors compared to the amount of students that need help. If I can expand that so that more students can get their questions answered that would be great.
“Also, if I can help get more input with bottlenecking in majors, I don’t exactly have the statistics on this either so I’m still gathering more information about this, but I do hear a lot of feedback from people in certain majors, like a psych major, there’s only one class or one session available for several hundreds of students who would like to take the class so their graduation timeline is pushed back by one, two or even three quarters. They can’t get into this class and they’re waitlisted because there are so many students who want to take it but only one session is offered. Those are two issues that I would really love to work on.”
How would you address these specifically?
“So, that’s something that I’m still working on and I think it’s definitely important for me to just realize that in this position I am a representative, that’s basically what I am. I’m here as the go-between for the students and the administration so the best way that I can address these specifically is put more students in committees, in places of power, so that either they have voting rights in the decisions that are made like with hiring or at least giving them a space to offer their opinions because I’m sure the admins work to create feedback opportunities for students to talk about what they would like but I think we can bring it a step further and put students actually in these positions of power so they can voice their actual opinions. So, definitely giving students a platform is one way I would like to address this specifically and creating more committees. That’s something that I’m still looking into and exploring because I still have quite a lot to learn about this position but it’s something that I’m definitely willing to learn and am excited to.”
What are your qualifications?
“I believe that as a student with intersecting identities, specifically as a student of color, I kind of have that perspective as well, even though I am a high-white-passing person who benefits from a lot of privilege in society, I believe I still do have that perspective and socializing and being around in the ethnic student center a lot, being around other students of color, I get that perspective about how to better serve them because I’m here for all students. But I especially want to help students who don’t have as many resources and help lift them up so that they can succeed and we’re on the same playing field as everyone else. And not just students of color but queer and trans students and students with disabilities. Every student that I can help to give them the same accessibility to these resources.”
How has being involved with the Student Ethnic Center broadened your views about academic affairs?
“So much of it is just little things that you may notice here and there that you can’t immediately point out. It’s hard for someone who doesn’t understand this perspective to completely sympathize with you. They may feel like you’re making it up or something or you’re just seeing a problem where a problem doesn’t exist, but for someone who has this lived experience as a person of color there’s little things that you may notice here and there that prevent you from succeeding and so I feel like all these little things that combine, sort of like microaggressions, combine to oppress students of color that it’s hard to completely address. I guess it’s something that I’m still working on answering as a question for myself. That’s something that as I learn how to answer I can better serve other students of color.”
Being in the Student Ethnic Center, has that opened your eyes or changed the way you see Western or view things?
“I don’t think it’s changed how I view things a lot. I think if anything it just makes me realize how little diversity there is at Western. Especially growing up in an area where there’s a lot of racial diversity and then coming here where 75 percent of the students are white students and 25 percent are non-white, just realizing how much non-white students come together in that space to be able to relate to each other with different personal experiences and share family values and everything. I think it’s important to realize that students of color need that space to be able to come together and feel a family, feel a sense of belonging, where there necessarily isn’t one.”
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