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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

Student union updates point program for fall 2023 semester

Ling Shi
Members of the Student Union during their general meeting.

The Emerson College Student’s Union (ECSU) has updated its point program for the semester, largely concentrating on its ongoing strife with improvements on financial aid and issues surrounding affirmative action and Title IX. 

The point program, established in the summer of 2022, lays out the most pressing community exigencies and potential solutions the ECSU will be working towards in negotiations with Emerson’s administrations. It is revised every semester to keep pace with the new student body. 

ECSU updated its program with nine revised core points for the semester based on student feedback and opinions, said Dylan Young, a junior visual media arts major and ECSU’s interim chair of national development.

“It was important to identify where the pieces of need are,” Young said of drafting the points for the semester. “The program gives students an official institutionalized say in advocacy.” 

The nine core points address students’ rights to collective bargaining, transparency on financial and administrative decisions, protection for vulnerable communities, and students’ expanded accessibility to healthcare services and other school resources, among others. Young said ECSU also votes on last-minute changes that surface during the year. 

The point program will continue making strides in improving financial aid, said David Sazdic, a junior visual media arts major and the interim chair of the student org communications for ECSU.

“We are constantly going to be focusing on financial aid because it is an issue that affects every student and something that Emerson can improve on,” he said. 

The program will also urge the college to seek legal loopholes to continue pushing for racial-based affirmative action in the wake of the Supreme Court’s outlaw of considering the races of college applicants. 

Young said it is also necessary for Emerson to prioritize instituting class-based affirmative action to achieve campus diversity and the growing perspectives of the student body. 

ECSU is also working towards building a mutual aid program between the college and its surrounding communities. Emerson students and professors would bring in members of the city’s downtown to the college for peer tutoring and educational guest lectures.

The point program as a whole is “starting to focus on building an Emerson education that is representative of the student body” and the Boston neighborhood the college is actively gentrifying, Young said. 

Issues behind Title IX have caused consternation among many students, Young said, adding that it has been the most frequent matter students reach out to ECSU about.

The main line behind the point program assessment for Title IX is that the college’s administration needs to add more funding to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO/Title IX), Young said. 

Emerson’s OEO has four staff members, which Young said is insufficient for the college to function at an acceptable capacity when dealing with students properly.

The point program demands the college match the needs of students by creating more programs for care-based solutions and protections for victims, including expanding consent workshops run by professionals and the Emerson community. 

“We want to find a system we can incorporate into the office to make victims more comfortable at Emerson,” Young said. “There is no way the administration will know what this will look like unless students put it together.”

Another goal of the point program is to launch a separate program that targets unionizing on-campus student workers.

Sazdic said the program’s step in organizing student workers is crucial to prompt collective action on helping workers understand their rights and demanding more from Emerson. 

ECSU is working on contacting current student workers to hear what they believe can be improved. 

“The wheels are turning now, and we are hopefully going to hear a lot more from workers on campus because things can be better for them,” Sazdic said. 

The point program also calls for students who are part of oppressed communities to participate in faculty training on the issues of Emerson’s marginalized populations. 

Young said throughout the semester, ESCU will continue to adhere to student suggestions and communicate with other student organizations to keep tabs on the program. 

“The students, faculty, and staff are the workers and customers of this college, and we absolutely define who this college is,” Young said. “We should take into our own hands the direction of this college, along with the administration.

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About the Contributor
Olivia LeDuc
Olivia LeDuc, News Editor
Olivia LeDuc (she/her) is a journalism student and assistant editor for the campus coverage of The Beacon’s news section. When she’s not reporting, you can find her crocheting or going on yet another long walk in the city.

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