UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Senate Members in Special Elections

Senators from left to right: Diderot Jean Philippe, Terral Ainooson, Vice President Ulisses Varela, President Juana Matias, Muna Kangsen and Denis Bogere.

On Sept. 26, the Undergraduate Student Senate held a special meeting to fill seats vacated by elected officials that were not available to serve. There were two empty College of Nursing and Health Science seats and five at-large seats to fill. Twenty candidates stood in front of present senators and delivered one minute speeches trying to sway votes their way.

The nearly three and a half hour meeting covered not only the senate races but also included an address by Ellen O’Connor, the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, followed by a question and answer session.

O’Connor spoke about three topics: parking, space allocation in the campus center and master plans for UMass Boston. According to her, “There is not another [business or college] in Boston that have our […] enviable statistics,” referring to the percentage of students and faculty that use public transportation to get to school, which a survey taken last year puts at 52 percent.

In regards to parking, O’Connor said that during the last year the school has spent $7.5 million on more than 500 new parking spaces. She also made promises, under the pressure of student senators, to request more space be used in the campus center exclusively by students.

The plan for the next 25 years, including the possible construction of another academic building and the destruction of the sub-structure parking apparatus were also discussed.

The main event, however, was the Senate special elections. Candidates of different ages, racial backgrounds and areas of study were represented. As well, almost all of candidates talking about wanting to be more involved in student affairs in some way.

Three of the new Senators gave particularly striking sentiments in their speeches. “Lead by example, lead from the front” is how Michael Fitzpatrick, who served seven years in the military and a year and a half in Iraq, stated his leadership abilities. Josiah Coffey, a Biology major and first year transfer student concluded his speech with “learning is not a spectator sport.” Halsey Bernard, a self-named “revolutionist” who claimed “with unity there’s force” was a last-minute addition to the ballot.

There were also a number of absent senatorial candidates. After the vote, and two subsequent tie-breaking votes in which every member of the Senate had to vote again, the winners were selected.

The following are the new members of the Senate: Kayla Baker and Uyiguosa Isibor, representing the College of Nursing and Health Science; Tara DeSisto, Fitzpatrick, Coffey, Jennifer Gil-Velazquez and Bernard are the new Senators At-Large.

The new Senators were seated with the rest of the Senate but were not able to cast votes on motions or resolutions until after taking their respective oaths of office. Those who did not win were encouraged to get involved with the Senate as volunteers, as they said for everyone on campus.

The audience was packed with candidates vyinig for seats in the student Senate. Let’s face it, being on the senate is the cool thing to do.