SGA provides updates from student agencies

SGA appointed Undersecretary of Sustainability and Deputy Secretary of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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McKenna Premus / Daily Collegian

By Daniel Frank, Collegian Correspondent

The University of Massachusetts Student Government Association convened on Wednesday to discuss Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Student Legal Services Office and student agencies, culminating in a failed game of Kahoot on Robert’s Rules of Order.

President Shayan Raza opened the meeting by reminding the senate that “50 years ago, the SGA voted to change the UMass mascot from a term embedded in racism.” He advised members of SGA to look into the Native land UMass is located on in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. UMass is located on what is considered to be the land of the Pocumtuc Nation; the University was founded through the Morrill Land Grant Act through funds generated by the sale of those Native lands.

Raza was also “very pleased to share that the SLSO’s litigation reauthorization is on track to be renewed this December.” This follows several weeks of talks with UMass administration and the Student Legal Services Office. The SLSO represents students and needs their litigation power reauthorized every ten years.

A handful of agencies gave reports at the meeting. The Center for Education Policy and Advocacy announced that UMass will be hosting the Annual Impact Conference this February. The student-led conference will focus on student engagement. Those interested can find more information here.

Leigh Appelstein and Julia Benedetto of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian gave a presentation discussing the recent loan agreement between the SGA and the agency. Appelstein cited the “130 years of student reporting” to justify the need for the student-run newspaper to continue to function. The Collegian is planning to become agency compliant with the SGA and to hire a faculty advisor.

According to Secretary Joshua Gauthier, the agreement is “purely a business contract that will have no effect on their reporting.” Gauthier was commended by multiple members of the senate for his work in the negotiations.

Chief of Staff Ibrahim Akar announced plans to get a bike share program up and running, but is running into cost issues with local bike shops. Akar noted that he is looking at potential workarounds, but declared that “if you have a bike, hit me up.” He added that those with a spare bike in good condition can contact him at [email protected].

After an extensive interview process, Speaker Clare Sheedy reported that new senators should be added next week. The senate was given an extensive crash course on Robert’s Rules of Order —the rules that govern formal parliamentary procedure— which was then followed by an attempt at a game of Kahoot. Technical difficulties prevented the Kahoot from being played, to the dismay of the senate.

Finally, Jack Minella, a junior studying environmental science, was appointed to the Undersecretary of Sustainability, and Astrid Paz, a senior studying political science and legal studies, was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Daniel Frank can be reached at [email protected].