Election Results Are In; Few Expected to Care

Ben Whelan

It is election season again at UMass Boston, but the air is not abuzz with the usual democratic giddiness that often accompanies such events. As usual, all thirty seats on the Undergraduate Student Senate were relinquished for next fall and will be filled with the winners of the elections that took place last week. Unfortunately, in what has become a trend at UMass Boston, only twenty-seven candidates ran for seats meaning that all were effectively unopposed. Equally as unfortunate was the paltry voter turnout which was counted at 219, or less than two percent of the eligible voting pool.

All together, the incoming Senate will have representatives from every undergraduate college. The College of Liberal Arts will maintain the majority of the seats and has the most candidates at fifteen. The College of Public and Community Service is the least represented with only one seat belonging to Senator Jennifer Alderton.

Also included in the pool seat winners are eleven returning Senators who will lend their valuable veteran experience to a relatively young and inexperienced Senate.

Senate seats will not be the only thing turning over in next year’s Senate as the Senate will also be inaugurating a new President to fill the seat left by graduating President Juana Matias. Once it fills its empty seats through intra-Senate special election at the beginning of next semester, the Senate will then vote on a new President picked from the pool of current Senators.

In addition, all of the committee chairs will be turning over, bringing in fresh new ideas and leadership. The change in President and the turning over of the committee chairs will also form a new executive committee, which normally consists of the committee chairs, the President and the Vice President. Next year’s executive committee will be comprised completely of people who have never served on it before.

Also included in this election were three ballot referendums and the election of a Student Trustee, the Senate’s liaison to the Board of Trustees. Alex Kulenovic, who was also running unopposed, was re-elected to the position he has served in for the past two years and hopes to continue to make a difference, aided by his experience on the job.

“I’m very pleased to have another chance to represent students to the board. It’s clear that this year we have had a board marked by division and controversy, especially in areas extremely important to students, such as affordability and availability of key academic programs on campus,” Kulenovic said. “In this year especially I feel that I’ve been very effective at making sure student issues are the predominant issues that the board deals with, and next year we’re going to be proactive about pushing the students’ agenda forward.”

As for the ballot referendum questions, there was a mixed bag of results. Question one, which asked whether students would be in favor of $1 of student fees being used to support and fund public hig her education advocacy efforts, received overwhelming positive support from the student body. Question 2, which asked whether students would like to continue their support of MASSPIRG through an optional $7 student fee, also received a majority of “yes” votes although it was affirmed by a slim thirty vote margin. Question 3, which asked whether students would be in favor of expanding the current optional $10 Mass Media fee to an optional $15 student media fee was the only one of the referenda to not be supported by the student body and was decided by a 105-70 majority voting “no”.