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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Chancellor Motley Addresses UMB Undergraduate Student Senate

Senate members listen as UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley addresses student concerns at an open Q & A session. The October 10 meeting was well attended by faculty and students.

Chancellor Keith Motley addressed the Student Senate about campus issues and discussed his plan for the future of UMass Boston. There was also a question and answer session when students were able to address the Chancellor directly.

Motley was introduced by the Vice President of the Student Senate, Ulisses Varela, after which Motley got on the microphone and spoke about how he had a rough weekend because his wallet was stolen and quipped that he “witnessed a good Samaritan […] someone who took my money but sent back the wallet. They also took Legal Seafood certificates, but they left the Barnes and Noble certificates, so I knew it wasn’t a UMass Boston student.”

Motley also discussed his pride that almost every Senator was present at the meeting saying, “[When] I came to this campus, they told me the students didn’t want to participate […][so] thank you for meeting and convening [today].” He also talked about establishing leadership that would brighten not only today’s UMass Boston campus but future classes of students as well.

Speaking to disagreements between Senators about various issues including budgeting and finance, Motley stated “support each other, know that you’re not going to always agree […] agree to disagree sometimes without all the drama related to that.”

The question and answer session was the big draw of the meeting. The first question came from a CPCS student, who inquired about the lack of tutoring services for legal education and asked if “there is something that’s being done to assist us?” Motley answered that his “entire career has been dedicated [to making sure] that students get services regardless of their backgrounds. This is one university, [and this is being broadcast on live television], so know that the Chancellor knows about this. No one will ever do something to you on this campus because they are going to discriminate against being in some particular entity […] while I’m Chancellor here, diversity is embraced.”

The second question brought was asked by a student in a wheelchair and inquired about the status of an ADA compliance officer being instituted in the school.

Motley said that he was working “immediately” on that, saying “there were many changes that have happened that I am proud of, but there are some hires that have to happen that I am not so proud haven’t happened yet. I am concerned about what happens during a fire if we can’t get our students out that are disabled. I am concerned about the doors being put on wrong.”

The student replied that when a disabled student calls the administration about a ADA problem they basically get “bounced around […][and] told that the school doesn’t have an ADA compliance officer.” Motley replied that he would “make that call myself […] and I will correct whatever the information is. All of us must act in that capacity to help you. [Everyone] should be helpful to you.”

Senator Ali Al-Sabbagh asked if students in clubs will be allowed to travel abroad in this coming year to which Motley replied “If I have to choose between whether you think I’m cool and your safety, guess what, safety is going to win every time. [But] it would be so hypocritical of me […] to talk about you living in this kind of world and being exposed, yet not letting exposure to happen because of some [outdated] rule. I’ve asked your president to meet with me monthly […] to talk about issues.”

Senator Michelle Traccia asked about student housing and if the presence of a Student Housing Officers means that UMass Boston housing was coming “whether students liked it or not.” Chancellor Motley replied that all colleges have Student Housing Officers to make sure that students who live close enough to “throw a rock and hit the buildings,” found cheap housing around the school.

Though there were around seven people that had questions that did not get to ask them when President Juana Matias finally “cut” Motley, the students who were present seemed to be satisfied with the Chancellor’s responses.

The senate hopes to have Motley return for a similar session every month.