Massachusetts Daily Collegian

SGA discusses funding and new senators

By Sam Hayes

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Marsha Gelin/Collegian

Marsha Gelin/Collegian

Despite vocal opposition and heated debate, Jarred Rose was appointed to the vacant Southwest South senate seat during last Wednesday’s Student Government Association meeting.

“I’m pretty happy about it,” said Rose through restrained laughter about his senate appointment. “Being back is exciting.”

The 20-year-old junior was an SGA senator last year for the Orchard Hill Residential Area, but served as special assistant to the president for the fall semester after losing his seat in the election.

Rose took the seat previously held by Tyler Reed, who vacated the position when he moved to Central Residence Area.

Nick Barton, an SGA Senator and chair of the Administrative Affairs committee, which sponsored Rose’s candidacy, saw Rose as well-suited for the position. Barton claimed Rose had “an acute knowledge of the Senate and the SGA bylaws” and that “there is nobody on campus more qualified for the position who is not already in the Senate.”

Not all senators were as supportive of the motion as Barton, including fellow Southwest South senator Ben Johnson, who led the opposition. Johnson argued Rose already had an SGA position and that “something the senate voted unanimously for was new people.”

Johnson and SGA President Brandon Tower both referenced an argument they had about the appointment, which occurred earlier in the week. Tower called the altercation “completely inappropriate” and apologized.

 “We are a student government,” Student Trustee Mike Fox said. “I don’t think we should take things too personal…in four or five years, no one is going to know who the hell we are.”

Acting speaker Tina Kennedy told the Senate that “if [they] want to act like middle-school girls [they] can leave.”

With support from President Tower and Senator Broughton, and later mediation by Speaker Modesto Montero, Rose was elected by the senate. Johnson abstained from voting.

“We wanted to give other people a chance [for the open Southwest South seat],” said Johnson in an interview after Rose’s appointment. “I think Jarred will be an important senator. [He] has the seat now and that’s it.”

“I can understand the argument of giving someone a chance,” said Rose. “I tried my best to get someone into this seat last semester [when I was] special assistant. But I think I will be a good senator.”

“The people that [Ben Johnson] wanted, I would love for them to be in the Senate if there was another seat,” Rose went on.

Rose explained that being a senator is a “very interesting position.”

“[An SGA senator] is important enough to talk to the important people, but is still just a regular student,” he added. “Being special assistant was highly administrative, [but being a senator] allows me to do more on my own, [work on] more creative projects.”

Specific projects Rose discussed included organizing a campus-wide foot race to raise money for scholarships, restructuring the Residential Housing Association and area governments to increase autonomy, and moving the whole campus to a four-credit class system.

“They’re scared of the state,” said Rose, regarding the University of Massachusetts’ faculty. He explained that he believes the faculty is afraid of changing all classes to four credits because it will appear to the state legislature that the faculty want the same amount of pay for teaching fewer classes.

“We are never going to pass this with the faculty alone; we need student support,” said Rose, who added that he feels the four credit proposition would push students to take four classes and allow them to focus more.

In addition, a motion to allocate Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) more money for startup costs was later passed at Wednesday’s meeting. Now RSOs can get up to $200 from the SGA for startup costs without going before the Senate and arguing their case.

Financial Committee chairman Ben Johnson explained that, “Traditionally RSOs are asked to fend for themselves” and it is increasingly “harder to fundraise in this economic climate.”

 “We’ve been working hard to support groups on campus,” said Johnson, “and RSOs are the life of campus.”

Balaj Rai, Ben Lees, Justin Thompson, Juan Moreira and newly-appointed Secretary of Finance Janam Anand worked on the legislation to provide aid to the RSOs.

In addition, SGA commuter senator Nathan Lamb announced his bid for SGA president.

Sam Hayes can be reached at [email protected]

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