The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 2nd

'Source of student advocacy': Student Body President Reeves Moseley looks to year ahead

Headshot of Reeves Moseley by Robert Campell.
Buy Photos Headshot of Reeves Moseley by Robert Campell.

Reeves Moseley didn’t expect to begin his term as student body president during a pandemic. 

Though his administration’s main focus for the last several months has been the well-being of UNC students during the pandemic, his team is still aiming to work on key platform pillars like civic engagement, combating gender-based violence and supporting students’ mental health this fall.

The rising senior from Argyle, Texas, who took on his role as president in April, became involved in Student Government as a first-year. He served on the Undergraduate Senate for three years and became the executive assistant to former Student Body President Savannah Putnam as a sophomore — the same year student protesters toppled Silent Sam.

Moseley said he was infuriated by the inaction he saw from the UNC System, and noticed a divide between many UNC students, as well as a disconnect between students and Student Government, spurring him to choose the campaign slogan, “Bridge the Divide.”

“Student Government is supposed to serve as that direct source of student advocacy on campus, but people saw it as just another organization and, more so, they saw it as elitist,” he said. “I wanted to change the perception of that and I wanted to be representative of all students.”

He ran on a platform of bridging the gap between the University and traditionally marginalized student groups, as well as the gap between undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Federation.

Now, he said he is also working to bridge the gap between students and University administration when it comes to information about COVID-19, working to provide resources and answers to students about returning to campus in the fall.

Moseley moderated a webinar in early June, where students could ask Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and public health officials questions about the Carolina Roadmap for the fall semester.

Danny Bowen, chief of staff of undergraduate Student Government and Moseley’s policy director during his campaign, said the COVID-19 pandemic has been at the forefront of discussions with administrators and students.

“I think Reeves and our administration more broadly is doing a good job trying to be the bridge between students and the administrators,” Bowen said. “We spent a lot of time providing input into the Roadmap website.”

However, the Moseley administration is still working to mobilize several other policy goals. With the 2020 election fast approaching, voter registration is a high priority, he said.

“The past couple of months have shown what a pivotal election this is going to be, not just the presidential election, but down-ballot races as well,” Moseley said. “Given the fact that UNC is a super precinct with thousands of students and with an on-campus polling location, it’s more important than ever that we not only register students, but mobilize and bring them out to the polls.”

Moseley’s administration is also focusing on sexual assault prevention and awareness. 

He said his administration has renamed its gender-based violence prevention initiative Constellations, because the previous name was triggering to some individuals.

“Constellations aims to shift the narrative surrounding gender-based violence from response to prevention,” he said.

He said his administration will partner with the GPSF to create educational programming for students and faculty about violence prevention, intersectionality and healthy relationships on campus.

Another primary concern for Moseley is students’ mental health, particularly due to the self-isolation students experienced during quarantine.

“We didn’t have that same Carolina experience and we didn’t have those support systems that we’re so accustomed to,” Moseley said. 

Moseley said he spoke with Ken Pittman, executive director of Campus Health, about ensuring Counseling and Psychological Services will be prepared for a potential influx of students with concerns related to COVID-19 and racial inequity.

There will be no access fee this year for students who come in for counseling at CAPS related to those two concerns, Moseley said.

He is also working on a collaborative mental health initiative with the N.C. State University and Duke University student body presidents, so students from each school can show solidarity with each other during a difficult fall semester, he said.

His administration is planning to collaborate with other universities to conduct an Intersectionality and Mental Health Conference in 2021. According to the Undergraduate Executive Branch’s Mental Health Committee, the conference will address diverse areas of mental health within the Triangle.

In the wake of worldwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality, Moseley said his administration will also be focused on equity work more than previous branches and is trying to implement implicit bias trainings.

“We’re preparing to support student activists on campus because we’re anticipating a ramp-up of protests,” he said. “So, making sure that policing is a discussion at hand, that police are not being predatory like they historically are with students and student activists on campus, and having those conversations and taking that to administrators so they know that that will not be tolerated come the fall semester.” 

Though this year’s incoming first-years will face difficulties and adversity, Moseley said he is confident they will succeed at Carolina.

“I think this incoming class, including the transfer students, will be remembered for their resilience,” he said. “I’m optimistic about the fact that students are going to be able to overcome it, and once everything returns to as normal as it can be, students are really going to be able to thrive.”

@sararaja_

university@dailytarheel.com



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