student advocate’s office gets some publicity September 7, 2007Posted by AP in Uncategorized.
from the daily cal. i like how in the last paragraph his initials become “AJ”.
Five Minutes With… Ajay Krishnamurthy
Student Advocate Hopes for Visibility
BY JULIA SZINAI
Daily Cal Staff Writer
Saturday, September 1, 2007
The Daily Californian sat down with the ASUC Student Advocate Ajay Krishnamurthy, who said he hopes to improve the visibility of his office and make it more progressive.
Daily Californian: Can you describe your position and why did you choose to run for student advocate?
Ajay Krishnamurthy: The student advocate’s office is billed as … the student’s public defender, which means that we represent and advise students having disputes with the university. That can range from anything from ‘I was accused of plagiarism,’ to ‘I was accused of assault,’ to grade appeals, financial aid and residency issues. … UC Berkeley is not an easy place to get through, even in the best of circumstances. But when students are facing problems … they really do need some kind of institutional shoulder support. I don’t think that really exists outside of our office that much.
DC: What kind of issues are facing students today?
AK: I don’t think there is a single issue that is most prevalent. … We are set up in a way that we deal with conduct issues, academic issues, residency, as well as grievances, which is any time a student is bringing a complaint to the university. … An overriding theme is that sometimes there is a lack of transparency about how things are processed in the university, where students are not really sure where they should go to resolve certain issues. … That’s really where our role comes in.
DC: What kind of tools do you have to increase the transparency of those issues?
AK: This office has built up a lot of good will with the administration in the last five or six years. … Even though we may be seen as an adversary, we are not really. Ostensibly the administration and our office are working for the same thing, which is to try to help resolve those issues. … We have built up a lot of capital with them and so we can start being a little bit more progressive in the work that we do.
DC: Are you working to make the office more visible to students?
AJ: That is our biggest issue we are facing this year. I think we do a great job with the cases we handle and we do handle a good number of cases, a little bit under 400 per year. But most students don’t know we exist. … What we really need to do is try to create a kind of formalized referral process so that … administrators can refer them to us. … Right now any time a student is accused of a conduct violation they get a letter from our office in the same file. Hopefully we can get a similar system with the financial office … as well as advising office.