March 5, 2015

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Jean Kim addresses SGA on housing, Governor’s proposal

Cade Belisle/Collegian

In the third meeting of the semester, the Student Government Association  had a number of items to tend to on their agenda.

The meeting began with an address delivered by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Jean Kim, who made a variety of announcements discussing student residential life for the next year and the plans to revamp the Faculty in Residence programs.

Kim explained that there will be faculty living in the new Commonwealth Honors College dormitories when they are completed and encouraged students to nominate faculty that would be a good fit for the program.

She also explained that if Governor Deval Patrick’s recent proposal to give more money to public universities was approved, then it would put a halt on fee increases for the next couple of years.

Secretary of Finance Zachary Broughton questioned what would happen to the recently passed Student Activities Trust Fund fee should the governor’s proposal pass. The $28 fee that was approved by a direct student referendum in December would funnel money directly back into student organizations and services.

Vice Chancellor Kim explained that since the Amherst campus, being the flagship university in the University of Massachusetts system, would receive a large portion of the potential funding, it is not likely that the SATF fee increase would go through, despite the referendum’s approval by the student body. She did offer that the topic can be revisited once the actual proposal is decided.

Following Kim’s announcements, role was taken and with 27 present senators, quorum was called.

One of the most poignant moments of the meeting was a motion sponsored by Speaker of the Senate Hayley Mandeville to formally recognize Jake Hoffman, a UMass student who passed away in the recent Rolling Green apartment fire on Jan. 21. Hoffman was a senior hospitality and tourism management major.

Mandeville proposed the motion as a first of its kind in the Senate. She explained that the SGA’s motions are a reflection of the opinions of the student body and that the body can use their opinions in different ways to help the student community.

The motion illustrated Hoffman as an infectious and curious person, in addition to being a dedicated student who loved being around people.

Students from the Jewish Student Union and the Jewish Leaders in Business clubs came to speak in honor of Hoffman’s memory. Members from both groups testified that Hoffman’s personality was one deeply felt by the groups and that he will not be forgotten.

The Senate passed the motion in a roll call vote. All members of the SGA stood as the motion passed in honor of Hoffman.

The final acts on Monday night’s agenda were motions to appoint new members to the Senate. Samuel Medeiros was sworn in as the Chancellor of Elections. Outgoing Chancellor of Elections Ed Tedesco was appointed to a North Senate seat, as he plans to help with budgetary issues, while Lauren MacCormack was appointed to an open Southwest North seat. Billy Bebrin, Dave Morin, Jacob Gorham and Vincent Vecchiarello were appointed to open Commuter seats. Finally, Aaron Shepard, Annie Mombourquette and Dan Burkowsky were appointed to open Commuter seats.

Ashley Berger can be reached at aberger@student.umass.edu.


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