Hello my fellow BC students.
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well. I want to start by sending my condolences to all those who are suffering due to this terrible pandemic and all of its consequences. With that being said, I am happy to say that we are very nearly done with this first semester of the academic year. And on behalf of myself and the Undergraduate Student Government, I’d like to give you a huge congratulations.
Regardless of how many classes you took or what grades you earned, you undertook an extraordinary challenge that hasn’t been experienced in over a century. You made the courageous choice to continue pursuing your higher education, even in the unique conditions of distance learning, and during a devastating global pandemic. While ultimately it is the best decision that distance learning be continued, it remains a serious issue that has brought many unique challenges to students and is often exacerbating the ongoing struggles of many students, making it virtually impossible to keep the same academic proficiency. That is why this is such an amazing accomplishment and you should be extremely proud of yourself, and proud to be a student at Brooklyn College, the flagship college of CUNY.
As we promised when we ran, the student leaders in USG have worked very hard to help “Move BC Forward,” and even though this semester has been hard for everyone, I truly believe that slowly, yet surely, we are moving BC forward through this unknown and perilous time. Like we promised, we have worked hard to foster the empowerment of students through advocacy, we have successfully brought many changes to make the institution of USG more accessible and inclusive, and finally, I am proud to announce that the fight for a free and fully funded CUNY, or “A New Deal For CUNY,” is now underway!
As your representatives in USG, we have worked hard to empower the students through our advocacy efforts and we have adopted many important causes including protecting international students from losing their visas, condemning racist policing and affirming that Black Lives DO Matter, fighting successfully to defend your privacy rights and stopping the mandated use of proctoring software, being one of the first student governments to call for an extension of the Credit/No Credit Policy, calling on Brooklyn College and CUNY to formally adopt an amnesty policy for students on all national election days, calling for the enhancement of all Brooklyn College Department websites, and most recently calling on the CUNY Board of Trustees and the Chancellor to change a policy to allow students who did not pay tuition and fees out of pocket to request an IRS form 1098-t if they so choose, thus providing some much needed financial assistance for those students.
As an institution, we are keeping students updated on USG actions and policies. We have built a new USG website, we have improved the USG Social media game, and we have updated the USG Constitution and Bylaws including instituting Rank Choice Voting for student elections. We have established stipends for Student Senators, we have published a monthly newsletter, we have facilitated and produced five episodes of our new USG Podcast called “Speak Up,” and we have held an ice breaker event and a Virtual Spirit Week.
In addition to advocating and working to improve USG, I am also very happy to announce the launch of the effort to pass “A New Deal for CUNY.” The coalition group CUNY Rising Alliance has recently introduced a proposal calling on the state government to pass legislation that completely overhauls the way public higher education is funded and supported in the state of New York. This proposal includes demands to make CUNY free for in-state undergraduates, to hire more mental health counselors and advisors, to increase the ratio of full-time faculty to students, including professionalizing adjunct compensation, and finally, to reinvest into our capital budget. As your representatives in student government, we promise to support this proposal and do everything in our power to educate and organize to get this proposal introduced and passed.
To conclude, I congratulate you again on completing a completely virtual and socially distant college semester. I am looking forward to serving one more semester as your Student Body President, and I want every student to know that the Undergraduate Student Government is here for you, we represent you, and we are here to fight on your behalf. We promise to keep up the advocacy and transparency and we will continue working to keep you informed, represented, and supported. Please always feel free to email us at email@example.com, visit us at www.bcstudentgov.org, follow our work at https://linktr.ee/bcstudentgov, and please check us out on any of our social media pages as we welcome you to contact us for any reason.
I truly wish you all the very best on your finals, and I truly hope for you to have a peaceful and joyous holiday season, and a safe and restful New Years and Winter Break.
With sincerity and regards,
Undergraduate Student Government Brooklyn College