U.S.E.S. Committee Checks in

A year after UCSD commissioned one of its most comprehensive studies of undergraduate life ever, administrators are lauding the analysis’ potential as a reference for campus improvement.

While the Undergraduate Student Experience and Satisfaction report — compiled by a team of faculty, student leaders, administrators and alumni — spurred some minor institutional changes since it was released, administrators said, they are more impressed with its prospective use.

“There have been some achievements we’re proud of,” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson, U.S.E.S. committee’s chair. “But we’re looking for this to be a pivot point from which other departments can find how to best satisfy the students.”

Since the report’s release, Geisel Library has extended its hours, catering to “the need for … a commitment to 24/7 learning,” as stated in the report by the U.S.E.S. steering committee, an offshoot of the original U.S.E.S. group that identified more specific ways to improve student life.

The original U.S.E.S. report stressed an overarching campus culture that is “legalistic,” which became a concentration for the steering committee. A workgroup was commissioned to investigate student discontent with residential security officers brought to light by the committee.

Earlier this year the workgroup released its report, which linked the bitterness between RSOs and students to campus policies as well as student perceptions of the officers. The RSO department, the report stated, institutionally possesses duties that conflict with students’ desires. Student leaders, however, found the workgroup’s findings one-sided. In a letter sent to Watson, A.S. President Harry Khanna and others lampooned the workgroup’s recommendations, which included increasing the number of exams on Fridays to reduce unlawful behavior.

“By placing blame squarely on the students in this manner, we are losing confidence that the issues raised in the U.S.E.S. report will ever be addressed,” they stated in the letter. While there have been tangible impacts from the report, Watson said, committee members are realistic about its reach.

For example, Watson said while the group recommended a guarantee of four-year on-campus housing, funding deficits at the school and at the UC level make the suggestion unlikely to be adopted.