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 2023 Elections: William Calvin Tompkins

Student trustee candidate looking to improve campus infrastructure and equity

In the running to become the next student trustee of the University of Massachusetts Student Government Association is William Calvin Tompkins. He’s a junior BDIC major who was a part of the SGA for a period of time over the past two years.

Tompkins is a former member of the SGA’s Ways and Means, as well as the Outreach and Development Committees. He is a former vice president of the Residential Hall Association and a current member of the Title IX Task Force.

Tompkins’ main goals are to advocate for the renovation and building of new dormitories and dining halls on campus by following the University’s 2012 master plan, which was updated in 2020 but has not yet been entirely implemented. He believes that this will help solve the issues of overcrowding and housing quality.

“During my time as RHA vice president there were numerous times when students would come up to me and talk about the outbreaks of mold, rats, spiders, cockroaches,” Tompkins said. “Things that shouldn’t be happening in a dorm where I pay $4,000 a semester to live.”

To meet these infrastructure and construction goals, he hopes to build a relationship with UMass Building Authority Chair Victor Woolridge, who serves on the Board of Trustees.

If elected, Tompkins would also like to use his position to work on financial policies behind issues of equity and inclusion, such as tuition costs, disability services and racial justice.

“I am a queer, disabled, Latino student on campus that is also low-income and currently lives on campus,” Thompkins said. “So when we talk about the issue of intersectionality and making sure that students are being well-represented, I like to think I can speak to that experience.”

“Not to the full extent,” Tompkins added, “But I can speak as a student who has been discriminated against and who has faced these larger systematic challenges on campus.”

As student trustee, Tompkins hopes to expand funding for Disability Services, which has only two full-time staff members in the whole department.

“How do we make sure that disabled students on campus are well represented, but also making sure that their needs are met? Often, it’s mostly just financial,” he said.

Tompkins wants to push through on the debt-free future campaign, which seeks to reduce or make tuition free for students, to increase the racial and socio-economic equity on campus.

“We are a state college,” he said. “The point of these universities is to provide a high-quality, low-cost education for all students, yet it routinely does not do that for students of color, especially for queer students like me.”

Tompkins acknowledged the large scope of his ideas and hopes to set a foundation for student trustees in the future to continue them.

“A lot of the plans I’m talking about, these are big plans. These are not things I’m saying, ‘oh they’re going to happen next semester,’ but they’re things I want to get started,” he said. “Leadership isn’t about doing what’s good for you right now. It’s for helping the person that’s coming behind you.”

Kami Nguyen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @kamihnguyen.

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