Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

ECSU discusses rally to protest union-busting during Nov. 15 meeting


On Wednesday, Emerson College Students’ Union (ECSU) met to discuss various issues, including their protest on Nov. 17, the change to their meeting structure, housing issues, and mutual aid.

The union hosted tables in 2B Alley on Friday to promote both their organization and student rights by having students sign union drives—a petition to show students’ support—according to Amiri Rivera Sillah, a sophomore political communications major and the co-chair of student org communications for ECSU. 

At the rally on Friday, multiple ECSU members spoke and passed it off to members of the newly formed Emerson Union for Resident Assistants (EURA). 

“Show up to the rally and don’t be intimidated to speak,” Rivera Sillah said ahead of Friday’s rally. “We’ve had rallies in the past where people just come up and voice their grievances, and I think that’s so important because no one here has the power to stand up for what the students need.” 

In addition to the rally, ECSU also discussed changes to their meeting structure. Instead of the previously closed member meetings, ECSU will now conduct weekly open forums, encouraging students to attend, according to Rivera Sillah.

ECSU open forum meetings will be hosted every Wednesday in 172 Tremont in room 102, with various additional meetings held throughout the week. 

This week alone, ECSU has had 16 new union drive signups with over 800 Emerson students, according to David Szadic, a junior visual media arts major and ECSU co-chair. 

ECSU also spoke about housing issues and struggles that they have faced. One specific attendee voiced their concerns over trying to move off campus and the difficulties they faced when requesting housing changes in the past. 

Another attendee also addressed mutual aid and their concerns over where students’ money was going. The union demands transparency from the college about what their tuition is going towards, and a decrease in tuition and an increase in financial aid to correspond with inflation rates, according to Rivera Sillah. 

“Full administration and financial transparency, because students do provide 89 percent of the schools’ budget, and therefore should be consistently updated on the direction of their working, learning, and living conditions,” Rivera Sillah said. 

In order to help receive support, ECSU distributed envelopes and paper at their rally on Friday so that students could write letters to President Jay Bernhardt voicing their concerns. 

“We’re actually going to be organizing an action to send envelopes and dump them in front of Jay Bernhardt’s [office] just to have a show of how many students really do support and how many students are together and the rights that we do want,” Rivera Sillah said. 

The goal of Friday’s rally was to raise awareness about the ECSU and what they do, but also promote the RA union, which also held a demonstration that day, according to Szadic. 

“Get mad about it and get involved because there is change, and we can make a change. We just need to be organized, and we just need to make demands and put pressure when we need,” Rivera Sillah said. 

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Smitten
Kaitlyn Smitten, Staff Writer
Kaitlyn Smitten (she/her) is a freshman journalism student from Red Deer, Alberta. Canada. Kaitlyn is a part of the Emerson College softball team and enjoys traveling, reading, and listening to music. She aspires to be an investigative and/or breaking news reporter.

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