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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

MacInnes-Barker / Henderson

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MacInnes-Barker / Henderson

The incumbent administration of the USG declared, during a recent interview with the Mass Media, that they are ready to make their case for their ticket in upcoming presidential race in April.

President MacInnes-Barker, who recently ascended to the presidency after the suspension and resignation of then President Terral Ainooson, set the mood at the beginning of the interview.

President MacInnes-Barker stated that despite the problems that the USG faced this semester, he firmly believes that the USG is making good progress. “At present, the USG is a functional and active in serving the interests of the UMB community,” he said.

The catch phrase for this ticket will be “passion into action.” The reason, according to SEOC Chairman and Vice-Presidential Candidate Travis Henderson, for choosing this particular phrase lies in “labors that President MacInnes-Barker and I have put forward for our fellow UMB students and our undiminished desire to continue all the successes that we’ve achieved, thus far, by winning this race.”

Both candidates expressed their confidence in their chances for winning the vote of their constituents, mainly because they know that they’ve had the experience and character to do what’s needed for UMB – which turned out to be the substance of the interview.

Coming to UMB

Before coming to scenic shores of UMB, the path tread by each UMB student is unique to their individual experience. The same can be said of Neil MacInnes-Barker and Travis Henderson, and the distinctively unique paths that each individual tread before becoming a member of this community.

President MacInnes-Barker started off as the son of immigrants who came to US, from England and Scotland, to seek a better life for themselves and their family. The MacInnes-Barker family lived and worked in Cape Cod as blue collar workers and lived on modest means.

Tragedy struck the President early on in his life when both his parents died when he was in middle school. After graduating from high school, President MacInnes-Barker joined the US Air Force as a paramedic responsible for “manning air-evac missions and medical contingency hospitals located in the UK and in Saudi Arabia.”

His duties called upon him to “transport and treat servicemen from the theater of operations to military hospitals in Europe.” During his time in the US Air Force, he acted at a supervisory capacity and was awarded several medals and awards, including the National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Outstanding Unit Award, Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, and a host of other accolades in recognition of his commitment to his fellow servicemen and country.

When President MacInnes-Barker returned from his tours of duty, he started his own property management company. He was also active in his community as a member of City Year, Boston Medical Reserve Corps, and union organizer.

The President also learned how to use hand sign language at DEAF Inc. as part of a scholarship from the Boston Medical Reserve Corps before coming to UMB. He has utilized that skill at and outside of UMB during his day-to-day life.

After engaging in those activities, President MacInnes-Barker explored the idea of going back to school to further his medical training. Initially, he chose to attend the University of New Hampshire. But during the spring of 2008, he chose to attend UMB on a part-time basis due to the “exceptional” nursing program and environment. After becoming the top executive officer at UMB, President MacInnes-Barker became a full-time student here.

On the other hand, Travis Henderson, a native of the City of Brotherly Love, took his own route to UMB via a serendipitous trip to Vermont. When he was looking for colleges, after a good run in high school, he initially considered attending the University of Vermont, but felt that the school didn’t feel right and had to search for alternatives.

Henderson stated that, “I actually stumbled across UMB when I was heading home from my visit to the University of Vermont and I was instantly taken in by the gorgeous scenery of Harbor Point. The decision was easy after the tour. The feeling of belonging I felt when I started here confirmed my choice.”

Chairman Henderson is the son of a small business owner and child therapist. His family lived in a suburb of Philadelphia. He has two sisters who are also attending college. Henderson was active in theater, marching band, and orchestra during his high school years.

Record of Scholars

The incumbent administration’s candidates are both accomplished students in their respective areas of study. They have been able to keep up their GPAs well above the USG requirement due to their strong commitment to both their studies and their duties as leaders within the USG.

President MacInnes-Barker is currently majoring in Environmental and Ocean Sciences taking courses in UMB’s Undergraduate Nursing Program as a part of a two-track system.

When pressed to know why he chose these particular fields, the President explained that he wants to make horizon to be wider than what it already is. He also noted that it’s a day-and-night experience for him to be learning about thing such as anatomy in a classroom after being on the front lines treating his former comrades-in-arms.

“When I came back from the US Air Force, it was very challenging for me to be in medical situations,” explained President MacInnes-Barker, “I had to do some soul-searching before [taking up medicine again].”

The experience of studying medicine, after working with the wounded and the dead in the military hospitals, is something that the President still processing and coming to terms with, according to his testimony.

Ultimately, President MacInnes-Barker decided to go back because he was “naturally good” at medicine and there wasn’t a real reason for him to not do so.

On the other end, Chairman Henderson is studying philosophy, which is something that he finds personally thrilling because, “it’s the study of what we know and being able to prove that you exist and allow us to confirm our hold over reality.”

He singled out epistemology as his favorite field of philosophy. At the same time, he is thrilled about learning about the philosophy of music and how people experience it, considering his past experiences with the musical arts. Chairman Henderson is also considering the challenge of taking on history as second field of concentration in his studies, though he has some doubts about whether he can take on the workload.

Both men have noted that their time constraints prevent them for pursuing extracurricular activities outside of student government impossible.

“In order to be in student government, you have to give up a lot of time in order to get anything done,” explained Chairman Henderson, “Because I looked at joining the baseball team when I came to UMB and it would’ve consumed my life. The USG is comparable to that kind of commitment.”

President MacInnes-Barker also acknowledged that it was difficult to do anything else outside of his duties as the chief executive officers. In part, it’s also due to his extensive office hours and his work at his property management company.

Resume of Service

The two running mates have an interesting past together, as they both joined the USG at the same time, last spring, and have been good friends and amicable political relationship since that time.

“Interestingly, Neil and I met in the Healey Library when I was buying a shake from Jazzman’s Café,” explained Chairman Henderson, “At the time, I had my trumpet with me at the time. Neil came up and asked me what I had in my trumpet case. I told him that it was full of smoothies and everything started from there.”

Being the President of the USG and SEOC Chair has not been an easy task, as both individuals were quite passionate and elaborate on their service to their constituencies, during the interview with the Mass Media.

President MacInnes-Barker has worked as Vice-President and President, since he joined up, and has worked on the behalf of the USG for many hours each week. He’s also worked without pay even though he is entitled to a stipend under both posts and is often the last student to drive out of the parking lot.

On the other hand, Chairman Henderson has been learning to be the SEOC Chair with a “sharp learning curve” since the resignation of then President Ainooson, who played a big role as the liaison to the students and clubs on campus.

“It’s been really hectic this semester, as I’ve had to figure how to do my job without Terral,” stated Chairman Henderson, “I’ve working night and day to do my job right by talking to all the clubs and addressing their concerns. If you followed for me for a day, you’ll see how much people rely on me.”

President MacInnes-Barker chimed in by saying that, “Travis should have five staffers to do his job, but he’s done all of it by himself.”

The school administration, according to both President MacInnes-Barker and Chairman Henderson, has been a “valuable partner” in the USG’s effort to serve the UMB student body.

“It took us a short time to realize that the staff here works for us and not against us,” said Chairman Henderson, “If we come to them about a problem and we have a solution, they’ll work with us to resolve our dilemmas.”

Present Problems

One of the main issues of this presidential race has been on the matter of open government. Many students told the Mass Media, during an informal survey, that they didn’t know that had a student government and had little to no idea what its function was at UMB.

During the interview, President MacInnes-Barker acknowledged that not all students understood where the USG was and how it worked, but stated that he had taken measures to broaden the student body’s awareness of the USG – including the sign that the USG has in front of its offices on the 2nd floor of the Campus Center that tells passing students where the student government is located.

All of the contact information and office hours of the leading members of the USG is available on the dry-erase boards in front of the student government offices.

“We want to tell people where we are and we want to hear their concerns are and continue to solve them,” said President MacInnes-Barker, “The Campus Connect program was initiated [under my leadership] and we’ve received a lot of feedback. [Some were silly], but we got a lot of good feedback from [both students and school administrators].”

When President MacInnes-Barker was a senator, during the spring semester of ’08, a staff member in Wheatley complained about having a office with bad working conditions, including bad air circulation and a leaky ceiling. President MacInnes-Barker told the Mass Media that he used his “personal philosophy” of examining the issue from both the students’ point of view and the staff member’s perspective.

“If a staff member is uncomfortable in their office, then that’s going to affect how that staff member deals with their students,” explained President MacInnes-Barker, “and that’s not something that’s [acceptable] because it affects students [and their education].”

Campus Connect is a program that’s meant to build a sense of community and not limited to students, because, according President MacInnes-Barker, it’s “for anyone walking in the halls, including staff members, administrators, and faculty.”

The issue of RSO funding was also discussed at length during the interview. It was one of the flashpoints of the interview, as both candidates became very passionate on the matter.

Both President and SEOC Chair stated that they felt that the current RSO funding policy is on the right track and serving their constituency in a satisfactory manner.

“I personally worked for 36 hours, during the past week, to get $18,000 of unspent RSO money,” explained Chairman Henderson, “Now we have all this money to spend on activities that students can enjoy at events that we’ll work to fund. This is the type of work that we really want to continue to do for our fellow students.”

He goes further by explaining that he goes through the budget “line by line” to make sure that the RSO funding is being spent on a premium for student clubs and centers, in addition to making sure he knows what’s suppose to happen on a daily basis.

In summary, Henderson stated that “there are some clubs that don’t need a lot of money and others that need a lot more money to do what they want. The caps on each club’s funding can be maximized when clubs combine their efforts and funds for their individual events and activities.”

Vision of Better Days

About the Contributor
Dillon Zhou served as opinions editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2010-2011