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May 14, 2017

Student trustee candidate Kabir Thatte looks to create his own path as a UMass legacy student within SGA

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

Kabir Thatte, a junior political science and economics dual major, has been involved in the Student Government Association since the fall semester of his freshman year and is now seeking the student trustee seat.

“I’ve always wanted to contribute to the campus in the best way I possibly can,” Thatte said.

Thatte has held a number of positions during his time in SGA, including senator and a variety of committee positions.

“I’ve been able to observe different issues, different problems and different things that plague our campus since I’ve been here,” he said.

Thatte added he feels confident in his ability to convey what students are thinking and important issues on campus to the Board of Trustees.

Currently chairman of Administrative Affairs, Thatte and his committee have worked on making the elections process cleaner and more efficient. He said past elections have shown there are flaws in the system.

One of the issues Thatte recognizes at UMass is the representation of graduate students.

“They have some of the biggest issues on campus that almost go unnoticed, especially by the undergraduate student body, and to an extent, even more so, the administration and the university system as a whole,” he said.

He said there are graduate students who have issues that undergraduate students may not be able to relate to, such as having children, being a teaching assistant with course loads and having to pay heavier loans than undergraduate students.

“As trustee, I would meet with (graduate students) weekly, as often as I could, in any capacity that I need to because it’s an ever changing issue that keeps involving more and more problems that encompass it,” Thatte said. “If the (Graduate Student Senate) and the graduate student body as a whole need help communicating those, the trustee needs to do that and undergraduate students need to get behind that as well.”

He also said proper representation for groups in general is something that is important to him.

“There’s so much that needs to be said and problems that need to be fixed and they’re not being done effectively,” Thatte said.

Thatte talked about the plan released by the Diversity Strategic Planning Steering Committee, saying there was work that had to be done because it was not comprehensive enough and did not detail significant points.

He added that the language used in the document did not clearly indicate differences between racially based discrimination and incidents. Though he understands the document is a draft, he hopes there will be continued efforts to shape it.

As a legacy student of the University of Massachusetts, Thatte recalled the different paths members of his family took. His grandfather was a fellow in the chemistry department in the 1960s when he came from India along with Thatte’s father, and lived in the Lincoln Apartments.

His older brother attended the University from 2001 to 2005 as a microbiology student on the pre-med track, while his sister attended from 2005 to 2009 as a political science and art dual major.

“For me, I think being a part of this trustee position culminates a lot of what I want to do in my life,” Thatte said. “I want to give back to others in the best way I can.”

Thatte said he based his decisions around his parents and how they went through various struggles, such as living in poverty.

“Their life was about struggle and perseverance and giving to others,” he said. “That’s what I base my experiences off of.”

If Thatte is not elected to the position, he said he would find other ways to contribute.

“This is my time to give back to the student body,” he said.

Catherine Ferris can be reached at caferris@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Ca_Ferris2.

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