Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

SGA meets to vote on a new pedestrian safety initiative 

Two new members were appointed to serve on the judiciary branch and vote on a new pedestrian safety initiative 
Ana Pietrewicz / Daily Collegian

The University of Massachusetts Student Government Association met on Wednesday to appoint two associate justices and vote on a new pedestrian safety initiative at their weekly senate meeting.

The new pedestrian safety initiative is backed by the UMass police department and was voted on in response to two recent collisions on campus this semester.

“There is a really big need for this, [collisions] have been occurring [on-campus] not just this semester but in previous semesters,” said Chair of the Social Justice and Empowerment Committee Audrey Gabriel, who proposed the initiative.

This initiative is still in the early stages of creation, however, tentatively it would be implemented in three parts: education, enforcement and engineering.

This plan would promise that the University better address and closely monitor traffic concerns on campus.

A major concern, which some students expressed at the meeting, is that the implementation of this plan would result in campus over-policing. To combat this, the motion proposed implementing “a more progressive approach” and “construct[ing] automated enforcement.”

Part of the education aspect of the plan would be to educate students who hold a parking pass or regularly drive on campus on safe driving.

Safe driving would be enforced in various ways, Gabriel said. “This looks like the implementation of traffic calming measures,” she added.

A live virtual space for students, for example, may be created to comment on road and driving conditions around campus. Other ideas, including investing in higher resolution traffic cameras, were also suggested.

Roads, crosswalks and traffic lights would be improved all around campus to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment as part of the engineering concern. These would be more long-term goals and changes.

The SGA also appointed junior political science major Emma Lopez and sophomore legal studies major Aidan Hallerman to fill the empty associate justice positions.

The job of an associate justice is like that of the Supreme Court; A justice is tasked with resolving disputes of violations of bylaws and the SGA constitution by members of the SGA or registered student organizations.

A main incentive for choosing Hallerman and Lopez was due to their current class year. The SGA wanted to ensure that appointees would serve the position long-term to ensure consistency for at least a few years. The SGA also believed both will bring a new perspective to the judiciary branch.

“I want to learn more about these political and governmental processes that we have in our country,” Lopez said. “I want to be able to be an activist for students on campus.”

Hallerman said his main reason for wanting the position was his need to get involved on campus and to “represent my voice and other peoples’ voices in a way that seems effective.” Grace Lee can be reached at [email protected].

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