SGA Senate debates tobacco ban with Vice Chancellor Jean Kim

By Ashley Berger

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

At last night’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, the Senate had the opportunity to ask Vice Chancellor Jean Kim questions about the administration’s feelings and opinions on the recent and much-debated tobacco ban policy.

Additionally, the SGA also welcomed new faces to next year’s cabinet, including Sens. Jarred Rose and Hayley Mandeville, who were elected as Speaker and Associate Speaker, respectively. Graduating seniors of the Senate said farewell and offered advice to their peers.

Vice Chancellor Kim took to the podium to answer inquiries regarding the potential smoking ban slated to go into effect in 2013.

“I was assured by the Faculty Senate that there was student representation when the Faculty Senate created the recommendation,” explained Kim.

A strong opponent of the smoking ban, Sen. Josh Davidson asked how the Faculty Senate feels it had the authority or the responsibility to propose such a motion.

“The recommendation was not just for students, but would affect the campus as a whole,” replied Kim. “Faculty and staff work here and live here. While you as a student senate may make these recommendations, the Faculty Senate does the same and then it goes to the provost and then to the chancellor.”

An unsatisfied Davidson presented a follow-up question, asking, “Who has original jurisdiction? Students are primarily affected because we are the biggest body on campus.”

“What the [Faculty Senate] can do is come up with various legislation that they think impacts certain parts of the campus,” answered Kim. “But it is ultimately up to the administration to decide what the policy will be. Administration holds the jurisdiction.”

“Faculty senate proposed what they wanted to see done and the administration took that proposal… Nothing prevents the Graduate Student Senate (GSS), SGA or the Faculty Senate from proposing any type of legislation that they see fit,” she added.

Davidson replied, “The main point is that if we had presented legislation like this, we would not have felt the same reciprocation.”

The SGA has been developing a motion for several weeks which would ask Chancellor Robert Holub to intervene and delay deliberation on the tobacco ban policy. That motion has been tabled until next year when Speaker Rose will present it.

Elsewhere last night, in his final address to the Senate, Student Trustee Mike Fox first acknowledged his stances on the proposed fee increases.

“I am voting against the base fee increase as a statement for the need of affordability and more innovative approaches by all advocates for our University,” he said.

Fox, generally a representative that votes down any type of fee increase, voted for the Flagship fee. He explained, “We are the flagship institution of Massachusetts public higher education and as such, we need more money.”

As a departing senior, Fox presented a few lasting remarks to the Senate body about his experience in the SGA and imparted some words of wisdom to the members remaining in Senate for next year.

“Most recently I’ve learned that service doesn’t always earn recognition,” he said. “Take pride in the fact that whatever work you do, as long as it spreads good in the world, it is significant.”

“Without our passions and our desire to serve, this room is hollow,” he added. “Keep reaching out to new groups on campus, never view yourselves as reaching a plateau of accomplishment. Make this room ever more relevant by always accepting new ideas and views.”

Speaker Modesto Montero gave a similar speech of appreciation not only to the Senate but also to a variety of programs on campus that in some way affected his time as Speaker. Associate Speaker Tina Kennedy and committee chairs also gave their thanks.

The Senate then moved to nominate, elect and appoint the new Speaker of the House and Associate Speaker.

Sens. Rose and Paola Ozuna were nominated for the speaker position, which they accepted. Sen. Dan Stratford was also nominated but declined.

Sens. Mandeville, Nick Barton and Andrew Eaton were all nominated for the position of associate speaker.

In an 18-11 vote, Rose was appointed speaker. With 19 votes, Mandeville was elected to the position of associate speaker.

The positions went into immediate affect as Rose took the podium to call the special orders of appointments and further main motions.

The meeting continued with the appointment of the new cabinet members. Current Attorney General Kyle Howard was re-appointed to the position. Timothy Katz was appointed to the position of chief of staff. The secretary of sustainability position was given to Cameron Kackley. Avae Thomas was appointed as the secretary of policy and external affairs. Current Chair of Finance Ben Johnson was appointed as the secretary of finance. Matt Rheault was sworn in as the secretary of web management.

The four-and-a-half hour meeting was brought to a close at 11:30 p.m. when custodial staff arrived. Next week’s meeting time is to be determined but will deal with the budget, which wasn’t presented in its entirety during last night’s meeting.

Ashley Berger can be reached at [email protected]