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UC Leaders Talk Social Space and Sexual Assault With Faust

In their last meeting with University President Drew G. Faust, Undergraduate Council leaders on Tuesday discussed campus social spaces and the results of the University-wide sexual conduct climate survey with Harvard’s top administrator.

The meeting struck a similar tone as the undergraduate student government leadership’s meeting in February: UC President Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 and UC Vice President Dhruv P. Goyal ’16 approached the half-hour conversation with the intent of briefing Faust on the progress on their initiatives, rather than voicing demands.

“Different from past leadership meeting with President Faust, our meeting was more informational and less demanding,” Goyal said.

The duo has taken the same approach in their conversations with other top administrators. In a meeting with Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana earlier this semester, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal used the time to reflect on the year and brief him on Council initiatives.

UC Forum
Undergraduate Council leaders Ava Nasrollahzadeh '16 and Dhruv P. Goyal '16 at an open forum with President Drew G. Faust and Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana in March.

The current UC leadership’s approach to dealing with administrators strikes a stark contrast from last year. Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal’s predecessors, former UC President Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15 and former UC Vice President Sietse K. Goffard ’15, used their first meeting with Faust to request a $250,000 increase in student group funding, staging a rally outside her Massachusetts Hall office in the process.

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The current UC leaders devoted a large part of their Tuesday meeting to discussing the recently released findings of the University-wide sexual conduct climate survey. Among other points, the survey found that more than 30 percent of senior women at the College surveyed reported being victims of some kind of sexual misconduct during their time at Harvard.

Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal said the UC should have some role in starting more effective dialogue on campus regarding sexual conduct. Nasrollahzadeh proposed UC-hosted town halls to educate the student body about community-wide sexual conduct.

At the meeting, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal also proposed providing more shared social spaces for freshmen. According to the two students, Faust was receptive to the idea.

In their discussion about social spaces, the UC leaders did not speak with Faust about recent moves by some all-male final clubs to include women in their ranks, despite recent revelations that administrators have placed pressure on the groups to change.

In an interview after her meeting with Faust, Nasrollahzadeh said she saw the actions of the Fox and Spee Clubs as a “good initial step forward” for the College’s social scene. Nasrollahzadeh, a member of the all-female Bee Club, added that she welcomes other clubs to transition to co-ed membership as well.

Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal did update Faust on Omni, a smartphone application for undergraduates that contains informational features similar to the University-wide “Harvard” application. According to Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal, the app has been downloaded more than 4,000 times, and about 60 percent of its users visit the app one to three times each day.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalin.cunningham@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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