Undergraduate Council President-elect Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18 and Vice President-elect Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18 plan to create a “multicultural cabinet,” establish UC caucuses for underrepresented groups, and mandate annual sexual assault prevention training workshops after assuming leadership of the UC next semester.
Sachee and Khansarinia were elected last week to lead next year’s Council, in a contentious race against three other tickets: Scott Ely ’18 and Evan M. Bonsall ’19, Eduardo A. Gonzalez ’18 and Alex Popovski ’19, and Grant S. Solomon ’18 and Alexander T. Moore ’18.
Of the 3,042 undergraduates who voted in the election, 44 percent ranked Sachee and Khansarinia as their first choice. Thirty-four percent ranked Gonzalez and Popovski first, 17 percent ranked Ely and Bonsall first, and six percent ranked Solomon and Moore first.
Establishing a multicultural cabinet was one of several initiatives on Sachee and Khansarinia’s campaign platform, with the aim of involving cultural group leaders in decisions made by the UC and in conversations with College administrators.
“We want to create this multicultural cabinet to make sure we're reaching out to as many student voices as possible, so they can be included in the very many important conversations that are going to be happening next semester,” Sachee said in an interview with The Crimson Sunday, the pair’s first since their election.
Sachee and Khansarinia also said they plan to work with student groups to help them create “freshman bridge programs” with the goal of making first-year students feel welcome on campus after Opening Days.
Sachee said she and Khansarinia would consider re-purposing some of the funding from this year’s new Grant for an Open Harvard College to help fund such bridge programs. Khansarinia said he and Sachee were considering other ways that the grant’s money could be better utilized.
Khansarinia also said he and Sachee wanted to create formal caucuses on the Council for underrepresented minorities. Khansarinia sponsored legislation earlier this semester to establish caucuses on the UC, but the legislation ultimately did not pass. Current UC President Shaiba Rather ’17 and Vice President Daniel V. Banks ’17 voted against the legislation, with Banks criticizing it as creating unnecessary “layers” of bureaucracy.
Sachee and Khansarinia said their highest long-term priority is to establish a mandatory annual sexual assault prevention training workshops for all undergraduates. Sexual assault prevention was a key focus of all of this year’s presidential tickets, with many candidates proposing strategies to address sexual assault prevention.
“The very first conversation with Dean Khurana we have, that's going to be the focus of the conversation,” Khansarinia said.
Earlier this fall, the College rolled out a mandatory online sexual assault prevention training module.
Sachee said her administration will focus on providing more resources to organizations like Consent Advocates and Relationship Educators and the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.
“They don't have enough funding and they don't have the resources,” Sachee said. “We're also going to be in constant conversations with CARE and OSAPR to figure out what their needs are.”
Other platform initiatives—including a “Q Guide” for student organization comp processes and a textbook buyback and exchange program—are also on the pair’s agenda for the semester.
During the interview Sunday, Sachee and Khansarinia addressed an allegation of voter coercion which delayed the results of the UC presidential election by more than three hours. Sachee and Khansarinia emphasized that the allegation was untrue, and that the independent UC Election Commission voted unanimously that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegation.
“We were very pleased that the record was cleared and the record was set straight. It's important for us to focus not on these incorrect claims but on getting things done for the student body,” Khansarinia said.—Staff writer Brian P. Yu can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianyu28.
Mental Health Features Heavily in UC Campaign PlatformsWhile all four tickets hoping to lead the Undergraduate Council have advocated increasing awareness and support for campus-wide mental health efforts, the tickets differ in their position on the UC's role in these efforts.
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