SGA remembers recently-passed former president

By Sam Hayes

The Student Government Association voted unanimously to honor recently-deceased former SGA President David R. Nunez and the work he did for the SGA during Wednesday’s senate meeting.

Nunez, survived by his wife, Judith, and two children, died unexpectedly from a heart attack at Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Mass. on March 3, 2011 at the age of 38.

The motion the SGA Senate passed was to “formally recognize David Nunez’s capable service as SGA President and … formally honor the memory of its former chief executive and commemorate through this motion David Nunez’s life as a valued community member and student advocate.”

The motion to honor the 1994 president was sponsored by current president Brandon Tower.

“We have a responsibility to pay tribute to those that have dedicated service to the SGA,” said Tower before the Senate. “We are not so fortunate to [not] have them with us anymore.” Tower was contacted about Nunez by another former SGA President, he said.

A cosponsor of the motion, Senator Jarred Rose, discussed why the motion was written.

“Being president, you give time and service to the campus community,” he said, “[President Tower and I] thought it was a nice and respectful gesture to honor [Nunez] this way.”

At the outset of the meeting, Student Trustee Mike Fox discussed Nunez’s importance and lasting impact on the current SGA.

“Something that [the motion] does not fully mention is that David Nunez was one of the key people that composed our bylaws and our current constitution,” said Fox. He simply put it that Nunez had the “creativity and imagination to realize that [in 1994] new student government was needed.”

Fox not only endorsed the motion, but asked the senators to reflect on what Nunez’s efforts meant to the student government.

“Former SGA President Nunez was able to look at what a structure of a SGA needs to be, realize what the needs of the campus were and adjust accordingly,” he said. “It is worth asking ourselves [if] there are further adjustments we can make in regard to being a student government and representing others.”

Nunez also began access to the Student Activities Trust Fund, the main supply of funds the SGA can allocate to Registered Student Organizations (RSOs).

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, Fox discussed the likelihood of fee hikes.

He explained that due to maintenance costs and the increase of faculty salaries and due to cost of living increases, fees are likely to rise between five and seven percent.

Massachusetts has allocated about $1 billion for the maintenance costs, he said, but in order to keep a balanced budget, UMass does not often get much of that funding, so the increased costs can fall to student fees, explained Fox. In order to minimize the fee increases, Fox wants the state to pay the faculty increase.

“We are working with faculty and administration to get our senators to have the state pay the cost of living adjustments,” said the student trustee. “The argument is simple: Pay our teachers.”

SGA technology expert and web designer Sam Azar announced that a new textbook swap website for UMass students only will be officially up on April 1.

The proposed program’s page on Facebook describes itself as “made for students by students in an effort to fight costly textbook prices and the University’s low cash back for used textbooks.”

The domain UMasstextbookswap.com has been registered and is the current location. However, Azar announced that the SGA is working with the Office of Information Technologies to obtain a UMass.edu address.

Sam Hayes can be reached at [email protected]