Name: Robson Winter
Position: Vice President of University Affairs
Slate: A New Hope
Major: Political Science Major
Why did you decide to run for this position?
“I really got involved in advocacy when I was in high school. When I got here to SDSU, I was so warmly accepted into so many communities and I just knew I wanted to give back. So I got involved in A.S and I got to keep doing these really cool projects, for example; Rock the Vote, where I got to increase student engagement and last year I even got to go to the State Capitol to lobby on behalf of San Diego State, all these cool experiences and what really made me run for vice president of university affairs is I got involved with the Academic Senate in a few ways last semester.”
“So first, I began to sit on the subcommittee, known as the Undergraduate Council: which looks at all academic policy. From that committee I got to do some really cool projects like working on extending the Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) being optional and looking at the SDSU advising model. Then I was involved with the academic senate decisions both on spring break and extending the credit/no credit option for students. So I got to give a public comment on behalf of credit/no credit and organize the public comments for spring break. When that whole fiasco happened and all of our students’ mental health was disregarded in that decision, I saw the need for student advocacy at all levels of academic policy-making which got me really passionate about this position. “
What makes you qualified for this position? What is your history with A.S.?
“Currently I serve as the College Arts and Letters representative, which means I sit on the arts and letters student council and I get to work with advisors, faculty and staff. I work as a liaison between A.S and the R.S.O that the student council supports, which is fun for me because I love seeing how those organizations support our students. On the other side of things, I am also involved in the external relations board where I’m the vice chair and that means working with local and state politics and doing our best to advocate for SDSU students. I also sit on the financial affairs committee which means I have a holistic understanding of the A.S. budget, our revenue sources and the funds that we have available to students.”
What would you like to change at SDSU?
“I really believe that the shared governance model at SDSU needs to be looked at, when it came to Spring Break and all five students that sit on the Academic Senate, three undergraduate students and two graduate students voted to keep spring break, yet the vote wasn’t even close. Furthermore, spring break was originally shot down in the November senate meeting, that was because students came and talked about the mental health impacts and Administration came back with Rest and Recovery days as a supposed solution. However they did not consult students on those rest and recovery days. So, I believe it’s extremely important, when we’re looking at what ways we can do better is making sure that students are involved in all of those conversations that have to do with students’ concerns and interests.”
Can you name something you like and something you dislike about A.S.?
“Yes, something I like, honestly the other side of the same coin, as I said shared governance has work that needs to be done but the great thing about A.S is its ability to bring together so many student voices. With my position as vice president of university affairs I would share Your Voice Matters Campaign, which can be used to reach out to so many different students and it’s just a great way to make sure that the students’ voices are being heard. Shared governance is important because I work with plenty of faculty who are always asking ‘what is the student voice, what is your opinion on this?’ So that’s great that they want the student input but what I think would be really neat to do as A.S, is to make sure the student voice in every meeting is being heard and responded to in every meeting.”
What will be your top three priorities in this role?
“So the biggest priority, I’m going to look to get Respondus monitor banned on our campus, other universities have done the same, because it’s an invasion of student privacy. Not just that but it disproportionately affects people based on their socioeconomic statuses. That’s not fair to all students or if it’s a student parent. So we have to make sure that in the way our academic policies are working, all students’ needs are being addressed and at their equitable.”
“Second, making sure that when it comes to fall that we have that safe transition, that it’s a smooth transition, and it’s an equitable transition back, because a lot is going to have to happen. There’s going to be a lot of transparency because when students register for classes, they need to know when they need to be in person, when it’s going to be online, what parts are going to be hybrid? They need to feel safe coming back to our classrooms and the honest truth is that, not every student it’s going to feel safe this fall. We need to make sure that we still have options for these students to continue to obtain their degrees on pace. We can’t leave behind students that don’t feel safe coming back, we need to still have support for all of them. On top of that, we’ve all had a year-and-a-half online now and it might be overwhelming to come back to some of these classrooms. So making sure that our faculty and staff are ready to support our students in the diverse experience that everyone has had and make sure that every student is supported.”
“Last but not least, what we talked about a little bit, my third priority is looking at shared governance and making sure that we’re re-examining the role that students can play in every meeting. Asking what other means we can have students in, making sure that our students are comfortable speaking up in those meetings and sharing the student voice. The great thing about vice president of university affairs is I get to chair the University Council, the Academic Affairs Committee and the University Affairs Board. Which means there will be tons of students that I know will be really passionate about advocacy and making sure they’re in all of these meetings and getting a say and making sure that we’re bringing in the holistic student voice through campaigns like Your Voice Matters, that is beyond important to me.”