SGA passes bylaw amendment, discusses new campus projects

Six new special assistants appointed


(Anish Roy/Daily Collegian)

By Sophia Gardner, Collegian Correspondent

On Wednesday night, the University of Massachusetts Student Government Association amended their organization bylaws and addressed construction projects on campus.

Originally, the bylaws stated the secretary of diversity would work with the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success and similar groups which advocate for typically underrepresented student communities.

In the new amendment, cultural centers on campus are explicitly included in the groups that the secretary of diversity would work with. The amendment is the result of a plan for all cultural centers to move to Goodell Hall by 2023; the new policy will make it easier for the student government association to assist the cultural centers during the process of the move.

Lily Tang, the current secretary of diversity, said it allows her to “work directly with the students who run those spaces, as opposed to going through CMASS, and having to work top down.”

Another important discussion held during the meeting focused on construction projects that UMass finished over the summer and the projects that are still in the works.

Over the summer, parking lots 26 and 43 were repaved, in addition to several roads on campus.

New neuroscience labs were also finished in Morrill IV, giving UMass about 12,000 square feet of new lab space.

The Thompson Hall lobby was also renovated, as well as the auditorium in Furcolo Hall.

The Student Union project, which began in January 2019, was reported to be on schedule and will be enclosed by the end of February 2020. The framing for the ballroom was recently completed, according to the report. Developers will also decide on building furniture soon, a decision which will include both the SGA as well as the student body.

The Worcester Dining Commons renovation is also on schedule. The original Worcester Dining Common will be demolished and replaced by a new parking lot behind the new Worcester Commons building. UMass is currently reviewing how to landscape the area around the new building.

Upcoming construction projects were also discussed. In summer 2020, Eastman Lane and University Drive will be repaved. In spring 2020, the Fine Arts Center will begin renovations.

“It’s going to accommodate music, theater and art,” said Adam Lechowicz, a sophomore senator and political science major. “It’s going to add a black box rehearsal space, a costume shop and a recording studio.”

In preparation for the relocation of the cultural centers, Goodell is being renovated into the “student success center.” The current occupants of Goodell will be relocated to Bartlett Hall.

Lechowicz also announced that the Board of Trustees voted to begin the process of finding an outside developer to replace North Village and Lincoln Apartments.

“Families in North Village will theoretically be relocated to private apartment properties in North Amherst, to keep children in the Wildwood school district,” said Lechowicz.

However, there is some controversy about the short notice that the families are getting before they will have to move.

“Another meeting I had with a couple of people from the Graduate Student Senate resulted in conversations about the possibility of increased food insecurity and obviously housing insecurity because of this transition,” said Barkha Bhandari, and economics sophomore and a senator.

Bhandari also discussed the possibility of establishing a fund to help the families who are put in this position. This fund would be “specifically designed to help people who are in emergency situations because of the transition,” said Bhandari.

Sophia Gardner can be reached at [email protected]