On April 16th, Achraf Fadhel from B.Lab and Bianca Brunori for TEAM, candidates for the Board of Directors, took part in an online debate event organized by Bocconi Tv in collaboration with Tra i Leoni and Radio Bocconi for the upcoming #Elebocconi2021, which will be held on the 21st and 22nd of April. Here is a summary of the main points in case you missed it!
*Unless when they are explicitly indicated in quotes, both the Moderator’s questions and the candidates’ responses have been reworded or paraphrased for length and clarity*
Tra I Leoni: When presenting the names of the candidates taking part at the debates for the various collegial bodies, Team presented five girls while Blab only chose male candidates. To what degree do you deem gender equality as an important issue?
AF – BLAB: The fact that all debaters were male was a pure coincidence, as candidates at debates were randomly chosen. In fact, in our list both genders are equally represented. In our electoral program, we have many proposals about inclusion and gender equality. First of all, we want to work inside our Association: that’s why we have an international division. Actually, most international students that are candidates are females. We are also proposing that UniBocconi sponsors the Milano Pride.
BB – TEAM: When talking about gender equality and inclusion, I believe our points in the electoral program are very strong. For instance, we are proposing that sanitary pads are available on campus at capped price. Introducing gender neutral bathrooms is also among our proposals.
Bocconi TV: How do you feel about your campaign? Are you happy and proud of yourself and of your team?
BB: I am very happy of the team we built. I believe we built a program that is able to address important topics such as diversity and inclusion.
AF: I am super proud of the campaign we conducted so far. I am very satisfied with the profiles are present in our lists, who have already experience as representatives. I am also proud of how our representatives stayed in Milan even during red zones and of the seriousness they had when writing the program. I also want to point out that TEAM’s proposal concerning sanitary pads was already something Blab worked on in the past.
BB: I remember that, but you were proposing sanitary pads for free. However, since a solution wasn’t achieved, we believe it is important to address the problem again.
Radio Bocconi: We can say that we are now in a period of transition, I would like to know what are your priorities in order to come back towards normality.
- Screenings whenever someone is tested positive in classroom/residence
- We want Bocconi to inform fuorisede and international students about the possibility of getting vaccinated in Milan. Adding safety and hygiene products (e.g., masks) to distributors is also one of our proposals
- Finally, we would also like it to be clear of what is the Respondus procedure in case of connection problems
- On a general basis, we believe that it is important to implement the main lesson that Covid really taught us, which is the possibility of matching flexibility and quality
- Possibility to convert internship that were held in remote
Tra i Leoni: The pandemic entailed a general decrease in students’ mental health. Do you think Bocconi does enough in terms of counselling and how you intend to provide further psychological support for students?
BB: The counselling service is active; however, the main issue is that it is not able to focus on the extra-academic sphere, especially for what concerns the individual sessions. What we propose is having two possible paths within the individual counselling: one related to the academic sphere and its relatively short-term solutions, the other one being a long-term one addressing the underlying causes. Moreover, we propose a higher frequency for group activities, which are now held for two or three times. We would like group activities to be held on annual basis for instance.
Bocconi TV: What does your association mean, in a very broad sense, to the university? Is it “more” than simply an electoral list? Do you consider it as a place where people in need can find something?
AF: Blab has been active in the University since twenty years and it has the majority of seats since 2011. Blab has always, I’ve personally seen my colleague representatives helping with any sort of problems, especially for what concerned scholarships and financial aid, which makes me particularly proud.
BB: The main point is that TEAM offers a vision, planning projects on the long run. I would also like to underline that our Statute guides us in our activities. The Statute expresses the principles of freedom, participation, democracy and equality. Of course, long term goals are slower to be achieved, but we believe big change can be achieved through little steps in the right direction.
AF: I always hear from your candidates the word “long-term”, even in other debates. However, when the financial situation of a student’s family has been destroyed by Covid, what does long-term mean? For instance, if someone has a problem with a scholarship, how can long-term solutions help that person?
BB: Working on the long run does not mean neglecting short run problems. For instance, in our program we included the possibility to postpone payments when moving to a higher tier to avoid failure to meet instalments deadlines.
Audience: What are you proposing to make campus more inclusive for black students and minorities?
BB: First, we want to give student the possibility to report this issue as to allow the University to comprehend to importance of this issues, through having numbers explaining the entity of the problem.
AF: As you can read, my name is not fully Western so this is something I really care about. One of our proposals is to have yearly survey to report episodes of discrimination on campus; we also want to install helping points at University to help international students with any kind of procedures.
Audience: How do you plan to leverage alumni network in the near future?
AF: There are actually existing programs that are not particularly known, such as a mentoring program. However, seats are limited and we are planning on expanding them.
BB: A relevant point would be increasing the number of available seats, while also matching students with mentors according to what they do and whether they could share a similar path. For instance, as a woman I would personally like to have a female mentor that went through a similar career as the one that I’d like to pursue.
Audience: What is your plan to have more international reps at high level?
BB: I’m very happy that we managed to have two international candidates to the school bodies this year; I think it is very relevant, as what I’ve seen from my experience is that they really give a different perspective when tackling academic issues as well as mental health and diversity
AF: Two years ago, we only have one international candidate, while now we have six. At the next elections, we want to achieve even more. We also already have many class reps, course reps and residences reps that are international students.
Radio Bocconi: Please identify a weak point in your past program and how you have improved it. Also, identify a weak point of your competitor and how you have improved it.
AF: Compared to the program of two years ago, I’m very happy of the progresses made on the ISU proposals about scholarships. In general, I’m proud about the progresses on proposals concerning equality. About Team’s program, I believe it shows very little attention about what is actually going on at the University. For instance, in their ISU program there are mistakes at points 4.6 and 4.7, as I don’t understand what is the connection between the CASA Committee and ISU for instance.
BB: I am aware of those errors and I am truly sorry for them and I would like to apologize. This sheds a light to the issue of miscommunication between University and representatives.
Audience: Inclusivity is not just about representation, how will you endeavour to uphold the behaviour standards of individuals across the University (e.g., Professors, administrators, peers)?
BB: After awareness, some actual actions should come. I believe that stronger rules should be introduced in the honour code concerning these topics.
AF: First of all, all students can report any misbehaviours to the Garante degli Studenti. Our honour code protects students from discriminatory behaviour, but those cannot be always proven. What we could do is introducing related questions in evaluation surveys at the end of courses.
Question from audience for TEAM: Why did you publish your electoral program so late?
BB: When writing down a program you need to make compromises, we just wanted to be sure that our chosen priorities were the right ones.
If you want, make a question to the other candidate.
BB: how are you going to improve internship opportunities for 1st and 2nd year students as it is written in your program? Moreover, how does your Resit proposal work?
AF: As for the first question, we want JobGate to include more international opportunities for 1st and 2nd year students. As for the second question, the condition for the student to Resit is to stay in corso. If a student eventually goes fuori corso, the grade taken at the Resit exam is discharged and previous rejected grade comes back.