Class of 2021’s first-year representatives’ platforms focus on campus communication and sexual assault

Emily O'Toole

Last Wednesday, students elected two new first-year representatives to Student Government who aim to improve University communication and safety procedures for freshmen.

While in high school last May, applied learning freshman Adam Bergman heard an account of the on-campus stabbing from a friend of freshman Harrison Brown, who was killed during the attack. Bergman said he felt the University failed to dispute rumors regarding students’ safety during and after the incident. 

“Receiving all those text messages about what was going on around campus that day was just very frightening,” Bergman said. “I think that communication could’ve been better, and that’s my job as first-year rep.”

Bergman won 11.16 percent of the vote, and he said his responsibility as first-year representative includes improving communication during campus emergencies to clear misconceptions involving safety. 

Bergman said his campaign also addressed people’s concerns about preventing sexual assault on campus. An Nguyen, electrical and computer engineering freshman, said she’s glad Student Government is putting forth an effort to reduce sexual assault on campus, and that their effort should include better education for students on sexual assault prevention. 

“It does happen, (and) I do fear for my safety,“ Nguyen said. “I think there’s a solution but that we don’t know what it is yet, not until we bounce ideas off of each other.” 

Biomedical engineering freshman Alex Street, who won 12.01 percent of the vote, said students should use ride-sharing services more often, and they should stick together in possibly dangerous situations.

“That buddy rule’s a very big thing,” Street said “That sounds kind of cliche, but obviously the (reported statistic for sexual assault on campus) is very high, and I don’t see SURE Walk around a lot.”

Street said there should be a platform for people to be open about their experiences with sexual assault, but said he understands the difficulty victims have in talking about their experiences.

“At orientation they did a great job of telling you to reach out (to affected friends),” Street said. “There’s no harm to reach out — you have nothing to lose by trying to help them.”

Bergman said he looks forward to working with Street to accomplish their goals.

“I feel like no matter what, we’re going to jive really well,” Bergman said. “When we first met we just really clicked from there. I was hoping that he would win, and luckily he did.”