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 passes resolution for public education and stresses voting in upcoming election

Posters in dorms, golf cart rides and tabling will be seen on campus during the week of March 11 to promote voting
Dylan Nguyễn
Daily Collegian (2024)

The Student Government Association (SGA) held its 1908th regular meeting in the Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Union where it discussed emergency funding for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), next week’s presidential elections and revealed the headliner for this year’s spring concert.

The meeting began with announcements about upcoming events. The Hunger Free Campus initiative was announced which will allow the Department of Higher Education institutions to address food insecurity.

It was then announced that the Engineers Without Borders organization is hosting an auction night on April 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. to help fund upcoming projects in Ghana and Kenya.

Mackenzie McNeil, chair of outreach and development, announced the spring concert with a video made by UPC who showed Flo Rida as the headliner for this year. He will be performing at the Mullins Center on April 28 at 6 p.m.

The importance of getting enough votes to run the elections was stressed, with presidential elections taking place next week. “This is one of the most impactful ways to represent your students,” Speaker Jackie Fallon said. Five percent of the students need to vote for elections to take place and if not, the election process will start over. The goal will only be reached if a minimum of 1,250 students vote for their next president.

During his Cabinet report, Chief of Staff Anthony Nassar discussed the plan for the Bike Share program at the University of Massachusetts. The program will allow students at UMass to lend a bike for the full academic year; applications will be open for the rest of the spring semester, and then will be open for the next academic year.

Issues with gender exclusive housing were brought up by Secretary of Public Relations and Marketing Hadiya Ahmad, who attended the Muslim Student Association (MSA) Executive Board meeting this week. Members of the MSA touched upon their needs for a designated prayer space for Fridays and gender segregated housing for Muslim women.

“There’s a couple [of] Muslim students I’ve talked to that didn’t particularly like how males would come into a female-designated bathroom,” Ahmad said.

The main stressor of the meeting was voting. Voting starts on Monday, March 11 and goes until the night of Wednesday, March 13. SGA Advisor Sid Ferreira told members this year’s activity surrounding elections is the lowest he’s seen. “It is imperative that you guys get out there and get the buzz going,” Ferreira said.

These votes will ensure that SGA has a smooth start in the fall semester, and there will be a concrete government which the student body can rely on. Posters in dorms, golf cart rides and tabling will be seen on campus during the week of March 11 to promote voting.

A motion for emergency funding for UMass Club Golf  passed, which would allow further review to give the team $12,000. This past fall, the UMass Club Golf team qualified in the NCCGA national golf tournament where they became the number one team in the north region.

“There’s multiple courses we’ve played over the years. Each and every course we go to we’ve gotten amazing feedback from golf professionals,” Mike Pietrini, treasurer of the Club Golf team said. Giving the money to the team would help to continue to let us shed a good light on the UMass community, he explained.

A second motion was made to pass the Resolution in Regard to Higher Education for All which “establishes that UMass [will] serve underrepresented communities,” Senator Ella Prabhakar said.

This resolution includes the Debt Future Act, which eliminates tuition and fees at all public colleges in Massachusetts and offers additional aid to people that are eligible for Pell Grants, Prabhakar said.

The Cherish Act, included in this resolution, is a bill which will put $500 million of new funding in the Department of Higher Education System. This bill will help improve working conditions and pay for faculty at public universities and help to fix the issue of capital debt. This resolution was passed with no objections.

The Resolution Regarding the Passage of Endowment Tax was also passed, which will tax private college endowments and use that money to fund public education. In Massachusetts, 13 universities collectively have $75 billion in their endowment, Prabhakar said. The bill will create a 2.5 percent excise tax on private college endowments exceeding a million dollars, which will then be used for public education.

To conclude the night, SGA stressed again the importance of this year’s election and the urgency to spread the word about voting.

Eva Maniatty can be reached at [email protected]

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