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New UC Identity Coalition Discusses Q Guide for Comps

UC General Meeting
Members of the Undergraduate Council listen on as Yousra Neberai ’18 (right), Victor C. Agbafe ’19 (center), and Nicholas Whittaker ’19 (left) announce the formation of an identity coalition to advise the UC on matters concerning “underrepresented minorities and marginalized communities.”
Undergraduate Council representatives and Harvard Foundation interns discussed the UC’s plan to create a Q guide for comps at the first meeting of a partnership between the two organizations, according to UC President Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18.

Sachee and UC Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18 said they intended to bring together student organizations representing minority students during their campaign last fall. The coalition’s first meeting took place March 1, several weeks after the UC voted to form the group with the Harvard Foundation’s Student Advisory Committee.

Sachee said the UC's and Foundation’s collaboration, dubbed an “identity coalition,” discussed the Q guide proposal because she thought undergraduates on the Harvard Foundation would “have had experience” in the comp process.

Dylan R. de Waart ’19, co-chair of the Harvard Foundation’s Student Advisory Committee, said the coalition’s discussion about the centralized guide to evaluate comps was “fruitful.”

“Making a list of which comps are the hardest, would that make things more exclusive rather than inclusive? There was some fruitful discussion about how that would be implemented and what that would look like and what the effects might be,” he said.

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The coalition brings together more than 90 groups associated with the Harvard Foundation. While these groups elect to send a representative to the meeting, students who are not part of an affinity group can still speak at the meeting, according to Sachee.

“One part of the meeting, we leave for a student forum, so anyone can sign up and bring an issue to the larger committee,” Sachee said. “If you are very interested in these kind of issues and want to be more closely related to these kind of issues and discussions, you’re more than welcome to come.”

Dr. S. Allen Counter, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Foundation and Associate Dean of Students David R. Friedrich also attended the coalition’s first meeting.

“I think the Harvard Foundation is a brilliant organization to be partnered with in discussing issues of culture, race, and diversity at Harvard,” Sachee said.

Adams House representative Nicholas P. Whitaker ’19 said he hopes these meetings will allow more voices to provide input on UC legislation.

“The monthly meetings are going to be places where we will basically force ourselves to listen to multicultural groups and identity groups and receive their information and give them a chance to speak up specifically on Undergraduate Council legislation,” he said.

Sachee said she intends to discuss freshmen “bridge programs”—a way for first-year minority students to connect during Opening Days—at the next meeting.

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

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