SGA discusses voter registration, gets answers from administration about academic calendar

“It is important that the student voice is not just heard but has an impact”

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Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian.

By Paulina Arce, Collegian Correspondent

The University of Massachusetts Student Government Association assembled on Wednesday evening to discuss the Massachusetts voter registration deadline, as well as concerns that were voiced about the creation of the 2023-2024 academic calendar.

The meeting kicked off with announcements from members of MASSPIRG, a statewide, student-run activist group that helps students register to vote in upcoming elections. Caitlyn Egan, a senior studying environmental science and public policy, reminded those in attendance to register for the upcoming Massachusetts state election, which has a registration deadline of Oct. 29. According to Egan, the group “has gotten 225 students to vote throughout the semester, and their goal is 300 by next week.”

President Shayan Raza turned the attention of the meeting to Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Farshid Hajir. Hajir addressed the faculty senate’s adoption of the calendar for the upcoming school year, which was crafted during a meeting this past Thursday that excluded student government members. In retaliation against this decision, the SGA wrote a letter to the administration, requesting a presentation of the calendar.

Hajir claimed that he thought the calendar had been presented to several SGA members — a claim SGA disputed. “I want to acknowledge my lack of communication which contributed to that. There’s a strange triangle of breakdown which led to the adoption of the calendar without an SGA voice,” Hajir said. “It’s important to have all the voices at the table, that’s where the best decisions are made.”

Hajir opened questions to the floor, where the senate questioned him about how the administration was going to avoid future miscommunication. “That’s really the most important question, how can we make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Hajir said.

He went on to say that he hopes to meet with Raza and other members of SGA on a regular basis. “I do think that once those seats are filled, no big decision by the faculty committee can occur without you knowing about it. It is important that the student voice is not just heard but has an impact,” Hajir continued.

Julia Curto, the former speaker of the SGA and current senator, also weighed in on the issue. “My concern, but also looking on the bright side, is that you guys had asked us what our wish for faculty senate was, and this is an example of how it is lacking,” Curto said. “It’s like a slap in the face to us, because nothing has changed.”

Following officer reports, the SGA had a presentation by President Raza on student and administration consultation policies and procedures.

The meeting wrapped up with a game of Kahoot on Robert’s Rules of Order, which was particularly enjoyable for the senate after last week’s difficulties.

Paulina Arce can be reached at [email protected].