Sen. Kate Oh announced the creation of a residential theme floor for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American students Tuesday night at the Undergraduate Student Government Senate meeting, along with Senators delivering updates on other advocacy projects.
Oh has been working with Residential Education and Asian Pacific American Student Services to establish the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Leadership Floor, a new residential theme floor in Birnkrant Residence Hall.
The floor is intended to support students of Asian, Pacific Islander and South Asian, or Desi, descent.
Oh said that she had originally considered establishing the APIDA Leadership Floor in Fluor Tower, to align with the Latino Floor and Somerville Place, the African American residential theme floor, both housed in Fluor.
“Initially, what I was thinking was to have the APIDA Floor also be in Fluor Tower just because I think there’s always an intersection of these identities, and it would be nice to create an identity of West area as a multicultural area that emphasizes identity development,” Oh said. “But at the same time, I want us to encourage identity development in all spaces.”
After speaking with Residential Education Director Emily Sandoval about the logistical challenges of Fluor, including its high cost and suite-style rooms, Oh decided that Birnkrant would be the best choice to maximize student enrollment.
Birnkrant was also chosen because the honors college will be moving to the University Village next year, leaving the building without an identity, Oh said.
Before Oh’s proposal, Sen. Sabrina Enriquez announced the upcoming creation of the Middle East North African South Asian Student Assembly, which will house six student organizations. These organizations are currently held under the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly and the Black Student Assembly but felt that they needed a separate student assembly to focus on issues specific to MENASA cultures.
Following Enriquez’ proposal, Sen. Tiffany Lian called for the implementation of date-rape drug screening at the Engemann Student Health Center. Currently, students seeking date-rape drug testing must travel to hospitals off-campus, which can be a barrier for treatment, according to Lian. Making date-rape drug screening available at Engemann would allow for immediate testing.
“Right now, if a student suspects he or she has been roofied, they have no way of figuring out if that’s true,” Lian said. “There is no research within the health center to allow them to test for that. Some of them just want to know — it might not even be about pressing charges.”
Finally, Sen. Daniel Newman gave an update on his initiative to ban smoking at USC. As of last week, all four assemblies — USG, Graduate Student Government, Staff Assembly and Academic Senate — have declared themselves in favor of a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus, Newman said.
“The administration has told us repeatedly that once these four bodies accept these measures, they’re going to take it very seriously,” Newman said. “Now it’s just up to administration to look at this, and also on our part to make sure that the administration gets to this, hopefully by next fall.”