Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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 holds spooky senate meeting

SGA appoints senators to advisory board
Dylan Nguyen

The 1898th regular senate meeting of the University of Massachusetts Student Government Association was called to order on Wednesday, Oct. 25. The Halloween spirit was in the air at the Student Union’s Cape Cod Lounge, with several SGA members in costume as they performed their sacred duties.

Speaker Fallon opened the meeting by offering support and resources for affected students of “current global events,” including mental health resources at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health.

Meanwhile, outside the meeting multiple students were arrested at the sit-in occupation of the Whitmore Administrative Building hosted by UMass Students for Justice in Palestine and UMass Dissenters. Protestors were pressuring UMass to cut ties with military contractors and to release a statement of support for students impacted by the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The senate appointed senators to faculty committees, swore in three associate justices, approved an ice-skating student organization’s emergency appeal and participated in a costume contest.

Serene Omran, a junior biology major and vice chair of UMass’ MASSPIRG chapter, spoke to implore senators to write testimonials that can be given to state representatives next Wednesday for its Lobby Day event. MASSPIRG will meet with around 20 representatives at the Massachusetts State House to discuss a bill on transitioning UMass to clean energy sources.

Currently, UMass’ Climate Action Plan strives for a carbon-neutral campus and for the campus to use 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Attorney General Ian Harvey spoke for Secretary of the Registry Afra Rindani, who was absent. Rindani wanted to communicate that she will be “speaking with sororities and fraternities next week to conduct Greek life organization transition discussions.”

UROC chair Sam Tran said he has been in discussion with administration about “expanding the scope of RSOs, not just as extracurricular activities but as co-curricular activities.” As Tran put it, this would allow faculty to better understand and guide the activities of RSO’s and receive the funding they need. Tran believes this would be especially helpful with STEM-related RSO’s.

Tran also announced that the UROC committee is working on the RSO constitutional review process.

“We chose to do the constitutional audit in this semester, not because it is easy, but because it is hard,” he said, decked out in a comprehensive John F. Kennedy costume.

President Tess Weisman, Vice President Josh Gauthier and Chief of Staff Anthony Nassar gave the senate a presentation on Student Advisory Boards and the Faculty Senate. Student Advisory Boards (SAB) are small advisory committees with each vice chancellor. The Faculty Senate consists of committees and councils surrounding departmental concerns and help advise University planning and governance.

Farshid Hajir, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, stressed the importance of having students on those committees, and said that in the past “decisions from faculty were put in entirely different directions because students were present.”

The Wellman Document, which dictates the relationship between SGA and the University, requires that Student Government Members sit on SAB and Faculty Senate committees.

Vice President Gauthier allocated the council seats auction style, with a loud, booming voice. One by one, he auctioned off each council, and upon filling a seat, he confirmed it with a thunderous thud of the gavel, enthusiastically shouting, “Sold!”

Speaker Fallon invited all senate members wearing Halloween costumes to compete in the SGA’s costume contest. The costumes included Joe Burrow, the Lorax and a fully inflated “SpongeBob SquarePants” costume.

Ina Rahalkar, a mathematics and political science double major, Erik Teodoro, a legal studies and political science double major and Jonathan Fornash, a political science major, were all unanimously appointed as Associate Justices.

The SGA also passed three bylaw changes, one adding gender identity to the SGA’s anti-discriminatory statement and Equal Opportunity Policy, another placing gender neutral language in the bylaws and a final change to clarify the SGA’s power to call emergency meetings that complies with Massachusetts state law. This included notifying the public if an emergency meeting occurs. Attorney General Ian Harvey initially proposed each and they passed unanimously.

UMass Ice Skating Club also presented to the SGA after their appeal hearing so the RSO could receive formal approval. During the regular process, the club was denied. The administrative affairs committee concluded that there were process violations and misinterpretations of the application language, both which met the standard of a successful appeal.

The motion to recognize UMass Ice Skating Club as a Registered Student Organization was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m.

Nathan Legare can be reached at [email protected]. Daniel Frank can be reached at [email protected].

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