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 weighs in on proposed tuition increase, allocates funding to two cultural RSOs in weekly Senate meeting

Updates from this week’s Student Government Association meeting
Dylan Nguyen

On Wednesday, April 3, the Student Government Association (SGA) held its 1911th Senate meeting in the Student Union’s Cape Cod Lounge. During the meeting, the Senate voted to approve funding requests from two cultural Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and amended their own bylaws.

During officer reports, University Student Trustee Chris Brady encouraged SGA members to attend the virtual University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Meeting on April 10 to voice their concerns over the board’s proposal to raise tuition for all UMass students. Included within the proposal is a 2 percent increase in tuition for in-state students, 3 percent for out-of-state students and increases to the cost of dining and room and board.

Each of the five UMass campuses appoint one student trustee to represent their school’s student population and vote in general board meetings.

“I’m a little disappointed that some of the other student trustees voted for [the proposed tuition increase], but it just kind of reflects the really bleak situation [the UMass system is] in for funding right now”, Brady said.

In the Committee of the Whole, Speaker Jackie Fallon initiated a bonding exercise amongst present members of the meeting.

“We noticed the largest gap between leadership and Senators,” Fallon said. “I was hoping that Senators could pair off and they could go up to a member of leadership and just ask them what they’re up to.”

Fallon then called for a 15-minute recess to accommodate those observing Ramadan.

After reconvening, Chair of Social Justice & Empowerment Marco Ulysse and Senator Esther Onyeka held an anti-racism training, following up on their last presentation in December. Starting with a land acknowledgement, the pair highlighted various behavioral changes that SGA members can make in their daily lives to become more anti-racist.

Next, Senators approved a motion to allocate $6,160 from the DIA fund to the Haitian American Students Association (HASA) to fund their upcoming ZoeBash Block Party event at the Malcolm X Cultural Center. The event is a celebration of Haitian Heritage month and will feature outdoor games and activities, Haitian food trucks and live performances. The ZoeBash Block Party is a part of SoulFest, an annual campus-wide celebration of Black culture with events held by several RSOs.

The Senate also voted to allocate $7,926 in emergency funding to the Bengali Student Association (BSA) for their Holi Festival. The festival is free for all UMass Students and will be held April 20 on the east lawn near the campus pond. Holi is known as the “Festival of Colors”, and as such, part of BSA’s emergency funding will go towards washable paint, Super Soakers and a water slide, which BSA says represents a mix of Bengali and American cultures.

Following the presentations from cultural RSOs, Michel Flanagan, chair of the administrative affairs committee, introduced two motions which amended SGA bylaws. The first motion, 2024-S47, amends the sponsorship process for future motions, such as allowing Established Student Organizations (ESOs) to co-sponsor a motion. The second motion, 2024-S48, according to Flanagan, allows for anyone, regardless of affiliation with the SGA, to speak at weekly Senate meetings during announcements.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:02 p.m. after 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Nathan Legare can be reached at [email protected].

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