How has your first year been as ASUC President? What were some of your office’s accomplishments?
William Morrow: First and foremost, there has been a campus leadership transition, as Chancellor Nicholas Dirks submitted his intended resignation this past August. I was selected to serve as the undergraduate student representative on the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee to UC President Janet Napolitano. In this capacity, I worked to ensure the utmost transparency and inclusion of student opinion in the search process. The search is expected to yield a new chancellor before this March’s Regents Meeting.
Additionally, ASUC Office of the President has taken the student lead on advocating on campus-specific challenges. A challenge this last semester was the #Fight4SpacesofColor and #Fight4QueerandTransSpaces Movements, which for a very salient cause occupied the ASUC Student Union’s Bookstore, a primary revenue source for the ASUC. I served for over two months as a mediator in negotiating a resolution to this challenge that should be finalized soon. I will continue working with them in negotiating a long-term path forward for a permanent space.
Finally, in the wake of the passing of two Berkeley students this past summer in instances of terrorism abroad, I urged the Student Regents to ensure that the topic of UC student safety abroad was put forward to the UC President and Regents, resulting in the publishing of a report, which is a starting point toward better identification of security threats in places where students go abroad.
UC Berkeley has endured a good amount of tragedy this fall. In the light of all this loss, how do you encourage your fellow students to go on?
WM: Losing fellow classmates and friends in such tragic ways is incredibly difficult. Each of these incredible individuals who have passed touched so many folks on this campus, so it is important that students in grief never feel alone. There are hundreds of other students struggling with the same feelings too. It is okay to grieve and take time for your emotions. Utilize the counseling and other resources for mental wellness offered by the University. This campus community must be a supportive space, and it is the responsibility of every community member at UC Berkeley to reach out to one another to check in, now more than ever.
How has the UC Berkeley community surprised you in its resilience and unity?
WM: The resilience of the UC Berkeley community in the wake of such sorrow and tragedy is inspirational. And it speaks to the incredible individuals our community lost. These individuals were resilient and brave, and there is no better way for our community to honor their lives than to embrace that spirit of resilience everyday.