A number of UR student organizations will hold an event on Feb. 15 to exchange information about issues and grievances of the University’s student body. Titled “The UR Concerns Fair,” its mission is to understand these problems in order to address them with the administration.
Junior Mansoor Khan, one of the main organizers of the event, hopes the fair will create “an atmosphere of open communication” between the students, organizations and administration.
Student organizations and individual students will set up tables to provide and gather information on their issues. Organizers of the event also plan to invite the Deans of the University. Nineteen tables have been confirmed, addressing a wide range of topics.
Issues that directly affect campus life will be discussed. Freshman housing will represented by the Freshman Housing Council.
Problems with campus parking will be handled by the Campus Parking Committee. The lack of practical vegetarian choices in dining halls will be addressed by a nonaffiliated student table.
Minority student concerns will be handled by the Spanish and Latino Students Association. The Black Student Union will dedicate a table to keeping alive the memory of the MSAB protest of 1999. Homophobia and Safe Zone issues will be represented by the Pride Network.
The Women’s Caucus will have a booth handling domestic violence, discrimination and reproductive issues.
Men Against Sexual Assault, the Community Services Network, and the Students’ Association will also have tables. Grassroots will be addressing campus recycling problems.
University policies will be discussed by groups such as the No Sweat Coalition, which focuses on the fair treatment of workers manufacturing UR apparel in sweatshops. The “Fairly Traded Coffee” campaign, which demands just compensation for workers at plantations supplying University coffee, will also be represented.
The fair is entirely student organized, receiving no funding from UR. The fair originated from concerns by organizers that there is no effective communication between UR administration and the student body.
The idea for the fair was born from the need to bring up the issues on campus that previously had no forum.
“We hope to take issues out of dark corners and throw them into the light,” organizer and senior Kirk Scirto of No Sweat and Amnesty International said. “To focus [them] and show the students that they can make a difference.”
“We think there’s been a lot of misunderstanding that developed [in our past dealings with the administration],” said Woodcock. “With correct presentation, we hope that this will not be seen as a conflict with the administration.”
The organizers are enthusiastic and hope that the fair will become an annual event. “We hope that this fair will open channels of communication between the student body and the administration and that it’ll become an annual event where we, as the student body, can collectively address our concerns,” Khan said.
The UR Concerns Fair will take place in Hirst Lounge on Friday, Feb. 15, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 – 7 p.m.
If you wish to become involved in the fair or get a table to represent an issue, contact Khan at email@example.com.
Uzilov can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org