SGA elects new speaker and associate speaker

The Student Government Association also passed a motion regarding the Elections Commission bylaws


Shilpa Sweth / Daily Collegian

By Sophie Hauck , Collegian Staff

The University of Massachusetts Student Government Association elected Clare Sheedy as speaker and Jackie Fallon as associate speaker during their meeting on Wednesday evening.

Senators nominated Senator Clare Sheedy and incumbent speaker Julia Curto to run for the speaker position. Sheedy received 15 votes, while Curto received 12. Senator Jackie Fallon and Chair of the Administrative Affairs Committee Colin Humphries received nominations to run for associate speaker. Fallon received 16 votes and Humphries received 10. One senator abstained from the associate speaker election.

Each candidate had five minutes to address the senate floor before senators voted. Sheedy centered her speech around improving the culture of SGA.

“There’s a real lack of community here. Some people have even talked to me directly about how they are uncomfortable in this body and don’t feel heard,” Sheedy said. “I will create a signup sheet … so I can have a meeting with each and every one of you at a minimum of once a semester. I will make a new Slack channel so you can all talk about going to get food together.”

Sheedy also addressed the low retention and attendance rates in SGA.

“I also recognize that a huge part of retention in SGA is ensuring the wellbeing of our senators,” Sheedy said. “I will work with you to make SGA something you prioritize in your schedule and will increase our attendance, upholding our attendance policies.”

Curto spoke to her experience as speaker, saying that her knowledge of the position would enable her success.

“This role has given me the knowledge to know what works and what doesn’t,” Curto said. “I can take these things I have learned from this year to better work on supporting students.”

After their speeches, each candidate had five minutes to answer questions from senators. One senator asked Sheedy about her knowledge of the procedures the speaker must lead during every SGA meeting.

“I’ve already started reading the bylaws and figuring out how they relate to me as my position,” Sheedy said. “I also have all summer to be able to learn, which I will do. I am very dedicated and committed to this position.”

Another senator asked Curto if she would uphold meeting attendance policies.

“I’m going be honest, I dropped the ball on that one this year,” Curto said. “Getting thrown into this role, there were a lot of things going on, and I one hundred percent should have been more on top of that.”

In the race for associate speaker, Fallon explained that her job in the UMass Residential Life Student Services Office prepared her to take on this new role in SGA.

“I have gained experience in expressing concerns for students and understanding the barriers and solutions moving forward,” Fallon said. “Most of all, I have learned how to effectively voice concerns to administrators and how to have a productive conversation about real issues on campus.”

Humphries ran in hopes of improving SGA management.

“We have experienced a lack of organization, participation and action, all while the organization has been plagued by personal feuds and a revolving door of senators,” Humphries said. “I am running for associate speaker so that I can help bring about these changes and restore the student government to a respected and powerful organization.”

“If the UMass Student Government Association could thrive before, why not now?”

Chair of the Finance Subcommittee Ian Harvey also sponsored a motion to change the SGA Constitution bylaws regarding the Elections Commission. Harvey returned to the Senate floor after first proposing the motion at an SGA meeting two weeks ago. Senators initially expressed concerns with Harvey’s instructions for the Elections Commission to take notes during all their meetings.

Harvey’s amended motion requires the commission to record and publicize the minutes of “any and all meetings of the Elections Commission.” Sensitive information will be exempt from notetaking, which SGA advisor Lydia Washington noted may lead to disagreements during future elections.

“I’m not really sure about the [sensitive information] exemption because the next fight we are going to have next year when this happens is what does that really mean?” Washington said. “You do what you want to do, but it’s on record … we’ll be back here next year.”

The senate voted to pass Harvey’s motion, which will go into effect during the SGA’s next legislative session.

After the meeting, Sheedy expressed excitement to lead the SGA next year.

“I would say we’re in a really good position because we don’t have significant ties to the SGA,” explained Sheedy. “Not having been here since I was a freshman … doesn’t mean that I’m not qualified to be in this position.”

“Sometimes clean slates are good.”

Sophie Hauck can be reached at [email protected]