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 appoints new associate speaker and presents prospective budget

Second-to-last meeting of the year sees SGA make appointments and approve funding requests
Kalina Kornacki

The 1902nd regular meeting of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Student Government Association was called to order in the Student Union Cape Cod Lounge on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The senate appointed an associate speaker and associate justice and were presented with the planned FY25 SGA budget and approved two funding requests.

The meeting began with announcements made by student representatives of MASSPIRG, who encouraged students to show their support for the organization in their Hunger Free Campus Initiative. The initiative seeks to establish SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) vendors on campus, while maximizing student access to food pantries on and off campus.

In anticipation of the winter holidays the SGA announced they will be holding a holiday party next week and are looking to organize a “Secret Santa” event that will be held during the last senate meeting of the semester.

Secretary of Diversity Tanyi Muanya announced his undersecretaries will be hosting a campus-wide diversity roundtable on Saturday in the SGA office to discuss how they can aid students further in regards to DEI. Secretary of Health and Wellbeing Amira Elmansoury will also be holding office hours to aid members who are experiencing harassment or doxing due to the current political climate.

Elections were held to replace the outgoing Associate Speaker Carol DeRose. Naomi Bloom, a freshmen psychology major and member of the Outreach and Development Committee, was the only student nominated for associate speaker. Bloom spoke to the senate detailing her plans, and elaborated on why she’d be a good fit.

“I believe in the importance of diverse perspectives and that every voice is absolutely valuable and necessary for the SGA and our student body to thrive. Additionally, I am committed to making sure that I will be there to give support and assistance to Speaker Fallon, the chairs, senators, and any other member in or out of student government who needs it, especially newer members,” Bloom said.

When asked about her limited experience in SGA, Bloom stressed she could have an easier time connecting to new SGA members in the spring, saying that “I’ve literally just been there, like I get it, the new experiences and stuff.” Bloom was then appointed to the position.

The SGA also appointed Hailey Martin, a sophomore legal studies and public policy major, to the position of associate justice after a unanimous vote.

Vice President Joshua Gauthier held a presentation detailing his focus for the 2025 budget. The current budget for SGA currently stands at $303,227.05 and the proposed one would be about $291,175. This optimized budget would pilot a program to reduce SGA costs and put more money towards Registered Student Organizations.

Gauthier explained that instead of allocating money from a high-level agency pool, they will be giving the Ways and Means Committee and the president of the Ways and Means committee more agency. The committee can then “nominate a number at the end of the year to put on the S1 as a line item,” Gauthier said.

The senate then reviewed two amendments to the bylaws. The first amendment codified that the chancellor of elections may appoint a vice chancellor of elections with a majority vote from the Elections Commission. The second amendment also delt with appointments, detailing that all members of the Executive Cabinet can recommend one or more undersecretaries for appointment by the president. Both amendments passed.

Members of SGA presented a funding request for a multicultural night in front of the senate. The motion allocated $11,500 from the DIA fund for an event focused on exposing students to different cultures in an effort to break down barriers and stereotypes, with hopes that this will result in a more culturally aware student body. Attorney General Ian Harvey specified that the request from the SGA itself falls within the SGA rules for funding. The motion was then passed.

The final request for funding came from the Black Student Union. BSU requested a budget of $10,080 in order to host a Black History Month Showcase on February 16 in the Student Union Ballroom. In addition to the grant, they also plan to hold two separate fundraisers selling donuts and stickers leading up to the event.

Ifeoma Onyenwe, a senior kinesiology major and the vice president of BSU, said that “celebrating Black history through events, presentations and performances allows students to engage with and appreciate the rich and diverse culture of the Black community.”

This request was approved as well.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:41 p.m. The senate will meet for the last time this semester next week.

Katie Katz can be reached at [email protected]

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