Interview by Benjamin Dahan
Please introduce yourself!
My name is Junet Bedayn, but I go by Junie. I come from a small town up in the mountains of Northern California. I grew up mostly being outdoors (hiking, backpacking, river-rafting, etc.) which helped me develop a love for the environment. I went to a very average public high school in my town, which helped me develop a love for student engagement and education in general. This past year I decided to take a break from school and get out to travel, work for various organizations within Latin America to broaden my perspectives. Now I’m here in France.
What do you think the role of a Student Representative at Sciences Po Reims is or should be?
Firstly, the role of the student representative is to represent the needs and desires of the student body. And to not only effectively communicate those needs with the administration, but to negotiate and find solutions to get results for the students on campus. Really to shine a light on the needs of the students, communicate to the administration about that and get results.
Why are you running to be a student representative?
I’m running because in my school we had no avenue of communication or representation like we do here at Sciences Po. In high school, I actually had to create a lot of those avenues myself and with my friends, and I felt we got really good results when students came together and presented our ideas to our administration. We were able to make important changes on our campus, make important reforms that improved the quality of education that was provided to us. With that in mind and with that past experience, I feel like this is a critical opportunity that we have here as students to be represented and I feel that with my experience I’m able to negotiate with the administration, able to talk and persuade on behalf of the students.
What makes you qualified for this position?
In my own high school, I started in my second year by joining a committee of administrators that decided the goals of our school. I really tried to change the focus from school spirit and our dress code to a greater focus on the importance of education and the arts. I served on that committee for the rest of high school, and I ended up [its] president. I was asked to join a district-wide committee that decided on the budget of all the schools. We decided what money would be allocated where, which programs would be prioritized, and of course, there I argued for smaller classroom sizes, more qualified faculty, and a better focus on the arts. In my last year, we decided to go to the highest branch of government within the district, which happened to be the Board of Trustees. We petitioned the board and were able to get a student elected to the board, which I ran for and was elected to. Lastly, as we were finishing up the year, the administration and I got together and established a program that worked with a randomly selected set of students every two weeks and students would give their feedback directly to the administration, who would then take action to resolve the issues of the students.
As a Student Representative, what would be your mission or your main goals this year?
I have a few focuses that I would want to implement as a student rep, first being the quality of education being provided. The majority of professors here at Sciences Po are wonderful, but there are a few that aren’t necessarily effective instructors, and it is very important that students have a role in the evaluation process of all of our professors so that the administration can understand what a professor may be lacking or when a professor shouldn’t be holding the job that they are holding. Not only do I think students should be involved in that evaluation process, but we should see results from our evaluations. Another aspect of quality of education is standardizing curriculum within each subject so that if you’re in an intermediate math class, you are doing the same thing that someone else in an intermediate math class is doing and you’ll be evaluated on the same scale.
Secondly, my major focus is communication. I hope to create a school-wide calendar with all administrative deadlines and events on it, so that you don’t have to be checking facebook and moodle and your email and your student space to try and figure out all these dates, and be overwhelmed by it all. Also, I want to encourage the administration to foster a kinder relationship students, that will allow an open door policy, so that if students really do have an issue, they know who their administrator is, where to direct the complaint or issue, and have confidence that after talking to an administrator they will find resolution.
Thirdly, I want to focus on student health. First by creating a more comprehensive gender and sexuality program on campus, so that students can feel safe and have access to education of where to they can go to get contraceptives, who to call when they don’t feel comfortable walking home alone, or who to get in touch with if they’ve been in an uncomfortable or even violent situation. Secondly, I want to make sure that students who are having trouble with their mental health know which resources to tap into, so on our student space, I want there to be a tab for student health where students can create appointments with the school therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.
What is the one thing that as a student representative, you’d like to change or reform?
Mostly, I’d like to focus on the relationship between students and the administration. We need to understand that a lot is asked of the students, and in return, we have the responsibility to ask a lot back from the administration. To have a relationship where we feel like we can be listened to is important: How the year has been going for us? What issues have arisen? What has been going well? And for the administration to not only hear us but to act on our concerns. I really want to help foster a better relationship.
Finally, if you could visit any moment in time, past or present, where would you go and why?
I would definitely want to go back to San Francisco during the 1960s, up to 1969. Just to be a part of that cultural transformation, to experience the psychedelic revolution, the sexual revolution, the civil rights movement, the feminist movement all coming to a head all over the bay area and around the country.