UC Leaders Announce Plan to Fund Opening Days Programming

As Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana has come under fire for rejecting a proposal for a summer program tailored towards low-income and first generation students, the leaders of the Undergraduate Council have announced plans to fund additional programming for freshmen during Opening Days.

At a meeting with the Student Advisory Committee of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, UC President Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18 and UC Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18 said they hoped to help fund 89 affinity groups associated with the SAC.

Khurana at the UC Meeting
Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana speaks at an Undergraduate Council meeting in Harvard Hall on Sunday evening. During the meeting, Khurana explained why he rejected a proposed summer program for low-income and first generation students.

“The notion is that we’ll give you the money to welcome students to your groups, such that the funding that you’re using for those programs now are not taken out of your regular budgets,” Khansarinia said.

While Sachee and Khansarinia said during their campaign they hoped to create freshmen “bridge programs” during Opening Days, those efforts came to the fore last week after Khurana rejected a plan with similar goals. At the UC’s meeting Sunday, Khurana discussed his decision not to approve a summer program for low-income and first generation freshmen.

Now, Sachee and Khansarinia are taking steps to aid first-years once the school year has started.

“We were all disappointed about the decision about the first year bridge program, but we understand the different factors going into that. And so one thing Yaz and I have been very keen on is us, as students, taking the challenge upon ourselves while we can,” added Khansarinia.

The UC leaders also announced their plans in a school-wide email.

“We know this is not a replacement for a comprehensive first-year bridge program, but it is a critical starting point,” the duo wrote late Wednesday.

During the meeting, the UC leaders said they hoped that their plan would motivate groups to plan more events for freshmen.

“Many of you guys have programs like a barbeque or some kind of meet and greet at the beginning of the year, but what we intend to do with this extra plot of money would be to encourage you to increase that programming,” Khansarinia said. “With this extra money, you can hopefully increase the length of that programming so perhaps go from a welcome lunch to an entire day of programming.”

Sachee noted that the plan would be to spread out programming over two weekends, so more freshmen would be able to attend multiple events.

There are plans in the budget to incentivize these groups to partner together in order to not spread the money too thin, according to Khansarinia.

“We have 89 programs in the SAC, and so if we divide up all this money between 89 different groups and each individual groups hold their own programming, that becomes a bit more difficult because the funding gets significantly diluted,” he said.

—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at andrew.zucker@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJZucker.

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