Described as a “strong leader” and “fierce advocate,” Bahar Navab began her appointment as UC Berkeley’s associate dean of students and executive director of the ASUC Student Union on May 1.
Appointed by Dean of Students Sunny Lee, Navab said she wants to focus on increasing financial stability, engaging students and alumni, reviving shared spaces and addressing safety concerns through this position.
“I am deeply committed to working with UC Berkeley’s vocal student leadership, along with faculty and staff, to realize the true potential of the Student Union,” Navab said in an email. “I believe in finding creative and compassionate solutions to difficult problems including safety and security, elevating basic needs services, and broader recognition of much needed culture change in how we approach business decisions.”
According to Adam Orford, president of the Graduate Assembly, or GA, Navab also plans to focus on providing as many services as possible virtually and, as a more long-term vision, reopening Bear’s Lair Tavern, a campus restaurant and pub located next to Eshleman Hall.
Orford also said he hopes the Student Union will shift to bringing in more businesses, such as Apple and Sephora, under Navab’s leadership.
Navab served as the interim assistant dean of students and executive director of the Student Union since August 2019. She was the GA president from 2011 to 2013 and was on the ASUC Student Union Board of Directors when she was a graduate student on campus.
In addition, as University Health Services associate director of insurance and business development, Navab was responsible for the Student Health Insurance Plan and the immunization program. She also led efforts to remodel the Tang Center’s pharmacy, according to Lee.
Last year, Navab chaired the Lower Sproul Fee Committee, which manages the student fee of $35 per semester to improve the facilities surrounding Sproul Plaza.
“We are so fortunate to have Bahar permanently take on this leadership role within the Dean of Students Office portfolio,” Lee said in an email. “She has exhibited excellent leadership in managing the ASUC Student Union through unprecedented times, … I am excited to see her continue in this position in serving and supporting the ASUC and campus community.”
Navab was described as “focused, considerate and hardworking” by GA Internal Vice President Liz Lawler and as a “strong leader” and “fierce advocate” by Ken Lohatepanont, chair of the ASUC Student Union Board of Directors.
Lee also noted that while Navab served in her interim position this past year, she navigated crises including the fall power outages and the switch to virtual services.
Melvin Tangonan, an ASUC senator and executive vice president-elect, said he will work with Navab to relieve some of the financial burdens student organizations face and to improve campus safety by collaborating with UCPD.
“It really speaks volumes just seeing her in spaces like (Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union) and Eshleman Hall or her going to senate meetings and talking about the Student Union,” Tangonan said. “These are primary examples of how she is out there for students to see and to provide that space for them to create a dialogue to ensure that our student experience as undergrads is fulfilled through the spaces that we see.”