Undergraduate Student Government President Roaya Higazi and Vice President Caleb Hineman plan implementation of their policy goals while transitioning into their new roles amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Courtesy Jacob Chang

Undergraduate Student Government President Roaya Higazi and Vice President Caleb Hineman have COVID-19 on their minds as they transition into their new roles, but implementing the policies they outlined in their campaign remains a central focus.

Their campaign put together a 42-page document of proposed policies, which details additional support services for underrepresented student groups, more resources for students struggling with their mental health and a wage increase for student employees. 

Adding Services

Higazi, a fourth-year in city and regional planning, said the administration plans to advocate for additional services for students who have transferred or changed campuses. These students tend to lack important information and guidance concerning transfer credits, adjusting to student life and using mental health services while transitioning to Ohio State.

“We had some folks on our campaign who were campus-change and transfer students who talked pretty frequently about their experiences and their need for more support within that part of their transition,” Higazi said.

The document also outlines a plan to add an LGBTQ+ Center on campus, but Hineman, a fourth-year in natural resource management, said COVID-19 has made it more difficult to get started.

“It’s very much in the primary and infancy stages of its creation,” Hineman said.

The administration is currently working on an LGBTQ+ campus climate survey. Hineman said the project will be inclusive to all levels of the university community and administration.

Mental Health Aid

According to the policy document, Higazi and Hineman plan to look for ways to increase the number of counselors at the university’s Counseling and Consultation Services and the number of sessions provided for students while also making it easier for students to schedule these appointments.

According to previous Lantern reporting, students currently have 10 counseling sessions covered by fees each year, but unless it is an emergency, they must first have a phone-screening and be put on a waiting list before they can schedule appointments, according to the CCS website. CCS does not have walk-in counseling hours.

Still transitioning into their roles, the duo hasn’t had the chance to reach out to anyone regarding these policies, but Higazi said they plan to meet with CCS in the coming weeks.

Wage Increases

Higazi said she and Hineman want to help a campus group named Fight for 15, which has called for the university to increase the minimum wage for student workers to $15 an hour.

“One of our goals is to work closely with them and see what their work has looked like in the past few years and what gaps they believe USG can help them in filling, and that way we can take that advocacy to the administrative level to support existing student movements,” Higazi said.

Read the policy document below: