SGA votes to begin to fill cabinet appointments

SGA also voted to create new secretary of health and wellbeing position

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Ana Pietrewicz/Daily Collegian

By Alex Genovese, Collegian Staff

The University of Massachusetts Student Government Association convened their weekly meeting on Monday night, rather than their usually scheduled Wednesday meetings due to it being a “Wellbeing Wednesday” designated by the University. At the meeting, the senators voted to nominate the cabinet positions, secretary of finance and secretary of public relations & marketing.

Andy Rivas De Paz, a junior business accounting major and the candidate for the secretary of finance position, faced questions from some SGA members about whether he had enough experience to be successful in the position. During a 15-minute recess to read Rivas’s application, the senators discussed the candidate and his credentials.

Typically, the dministrative Affairs Committee would sponsor the appointments, but Chair Kyle Kendall explained that the vote to support Rivas De Paz was three nays to two yeas. According to Senator Nicholas DeFranco, a member of the AA Committee, Rivas lacked experience in finance and with the SGA. Some senators came to his defense, with Audrey Gabriel, chair of the Social Justice and Empowerment Committee noting that one “can’t get experience in SGA without joining.”

Following the recess, the senate discussed President Prabhu Rajkumar’s personal relationships with the appointee. Rivas and Rajkumar are members of the same fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi.

Senator John Harvey questioned whether Rajkumar’s reaching out to Rivas about the role created a conflict of interest. Advisor Lydia Washington clarified that as long as there is not a promise for a position for exchange of something, it is allowed. Additionally, Kendall noted that it happens for numerous positions in the past. Chair of the Academic Oversight Committee Julia Carino noted that “as a larger SGA cultural thing, I think it’s sad that just because someone is friends it’s a conflict of interest.”

Following a poll vote, Rivas was confirmed with 53 percent of the vote.

Shiloh Clark, a sophomore journalism major, was appointed secretary of public relations & marketing. Clark explained that she wants to reach more groups, particularly underrepresented groups. She also described how she would use data analytics to find success with SGA media. “

“My goal is to have as much positive media and educational media as possible,” Clark said. She explained that her focus in public relations would help her succeed in her role.

The SGA also voted to approve the 2021 space allocation proposal, which covers the new Student Union space. The proposal defines storage space and locker space for RSOs.

Additionally, the SGA voted to create the position of secretary of health and wellbeing. The position has a large focus on student’s mental health based off of the SGA’s mental health survey answers from students.

The SGA also presented the SGA budget for the 2022 fiscal year and proposed updates for the SGA election bylaws.

Alex Genovese can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @alex_genovese1.