‘Old issues, new passion’: Amid and Tan talk 2019 goals

Sophomore Saba Amid, left, and junior Abby Tan, right, are student government’s incoming president and vice president. Together, they plan to spearhead initiatives including increasing the amount of campus-wide sexually transmitted disease tests available at the Student Health Center. Photo by Mia Fortunato

An almost 19-year-old Saba Amid sat in the student government president’s office in Argyros Forum 303 for the first time May 3. After being sworn in by two-term student president and senior Mitchell Rosenberg, Amid said the experience has been “surreal.”

“I was sworn in by Mitchell last night (May 2),” sophomore Amid told The Panther. “I then swore in (Vice President) Abby Tan and then all the senators. It was really emotional.”

After winning her bid for student government president over opponent junior Alex Ballard by eight points in March, Amid and Tan, a union, have plans for their first semester in office.

“(Student government) has a whole new executive board, except for Summer Khatib, director of elections. Only two people from this semester are returning,” Tan said.

A long-term initiative Amid and Tan plan to spearhead is increasing the amount of free sexually transmitted disease (STD) and infection (STI) screenings Chapman’s Student Health Center provides. Student government funds 150 tests each year, but Amid and Tan hope to fund enough for the entire student body.

“We need to make sure students are safe,” Amid said. “This means equal access to contraceptives and equal access to these tests. I don’t think we should be discriminating based on socioeconomic class. That’s a hindrance to people. Not everyone can afford to go get tested.”

With health insurance, STD and STI tests can cost between $50 and $100, according to the Urgent Care website. Without insurance, tests can cost up to $250. Some organizations, including Planned Parenthood, offer STD and STI screenings at a lower cost based on income, but cost can also depend on where patients go and what tests they take, according to the Planned Parenthood website.

“We shouldn’t let a lack of funds or a lack of financial stability dictate whether or not you should be safe and healthy,” Amid said.

Both Amid and Tan told The Panther that Rosenberg and student government vice president Arianna Ngnomire have left “big shoes to fill,” but they are looking forward to the new executive board’s changing dynamic.

“It is all women except the director of public relations, and he’s a person of color,” Amid said. “The way we’re going to look at issues will come from different perspectives.”