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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The SGA Weekly Briefing: Double Feature Edition

The SGA Weekly Briefing: Double Feature Edition

Since the beginning of this school year, the Student Government Association of the University of Massachusetts Boston has already had two general assemblies. During the first general assembly of the SGA, on February 3, 2010, a total of seven proposals were deliberated upon by the quorum. The issues raised, at this meeting, involved the budgets of the student clubs, buying new computers for the SGA and other student organizations, and many other important issues concerning the well-being of the student body. All of the proposals brought up were new business.First Assembly Here is the breakdown of the proposals brought up this week and their outcomes: (a) Allocate $425 to continue the SURVEY Program. The SGA voted unanimously to renew the SURVEY Program, which was started during the fall of 2009 as a method for gaining a general sense of the concerns of the student body at UMB. Little, if any, serious discussion was raised about this proposal – as most senators seem to have agreed that the program has been successful. (b) Purchase 12 Dell Computers for the SGA and Student Activities. The SGA voted to use $10,104 of their budget to buy 12 Dell Computers via the preferred vendor program that UMB has will Dell. These computers will come with optimal graphics, fast processors, and the technology that will make them substantially more energy efficient than the computers used by the SGA and other student organizations on campus. The idea of buying from Apple was raised, but it was rejected on the basis of economic efficiency. (c) Approve the Budgets for the Student Clubs and Centers for the Spring Semester. The SGA voted to approve a budget of $68,000 for the clubs and centers for the spring of 2010. There was a special emphasis for club coordinators to spend all of the allocated budgets and with detailed plan for how the fund allocated to each organization is spent. All the remaining money in each student organization’s account will be lost if it’s not spent by the end of the semester. (d) Push back the Senate Elections to April 5, 2010. The SGA voted unanimously to have the regular Senate Elections pushed back to April 5, 2010. This extension pushes the elections back two weeks beyond the original schedule. The reason for this decision came from issues of logistics and deadlines for candidacy submissions. The SGA has said that it expects the voter turnout to exceed the numbers at the fall elections of 2009. (e) Request a centralized and binding rulebook for student activities at UMB from Student Life. The SGA voted to pass this measure amid passionate discussion over the wording of the proposition. The intent, according to SGA leaders, was to take the first step in ridding the arbitrary rules that has frequently prevented student organizations from holding events due to surprising rules cited by UMB Administration and Police. Concern was raised about new rules being added to the existing body of rules and was the subject of a defeated amendment. (f) Fill 6 vacant Senate seats. The Speaker of the SGA decided to fill five of the six vacant seats in the Senate with a group of five UMB students who showed up to fill the seats. This proposal was originally meant to be voted on by the SGA, but it was overruled by the Speaker. The remaining seat remains vacant as of the end of the general assembly. (g) Support clubs in their search for affordable printing outside UMB. The SGA voted to pass this measure. Currently, Quinn Graphics is the preeminent supplier of posters, flyers, and other paraphernalia used by student organizations at UMB. This proposal was meant to create more competition by encouraging student organizations to utilize other vendors for their printing needs and, thereby, allow for remedies to problems that have arisen with the quality of products coming out of Quinn Graphics – including timely delivery and the condition of the delivered product. The Second Assembly The SGA’s 2nd General Assembly was held on February 17, 2010, and focused on a host of propositions that has resulted in the confirmation of a new SGA Vice President, the approval of the individual budgets for student activities, approved funding for humanitarian efforts for, and approving the Harbor Art Gallery’s request for new equipment. Here’s the breakdown of the assembly’s proceedings in terms: (a) Confirm Mr. Neil MacInnes-Barker as the official SGA Vice President. Mr. MacInnes-Barker, the Acting Vice President of the SGA since the fall semester, was confirmed by the SGA. The new Vice President has served without pay since he started serving last fall and has once again forfeited pay as the official Vice President. During the assembly, some senators expressed strong concern over the Vice President’s possible succession to the Presidency in case President Ainooson is unable to serve his full term – which could leave a three to four week interim until the April General Elections. The dissenters voiced angst over the transparency and democratic nature of allowing the Vice President to succeed President. Others in the SGA have countered by point out that the SGA’s bylaws, which govern the succession procedures of the SGA, are based on the US Federal Government and should be considered sufficient. (b) Put a referendum question on the ballot in the April General Election to make minor changes to the SGA Constitution. This measure was passed unanimously by the SGA. Under this proposition, amendments to the SGA Constitution will be up for some minor editing to smooth out the language of the document. The student body of UMB will have the opportunity, during the April General Elections, to decide whether these changes are acceptable. No major changes within the actual provisions of the constitution will be changed. (c) Approve the creation of an Elections Ad Hoc Committee to supervise the April General Elections. This proposition was passed unanimously. This committee will be made up of 5 to 6 UMB students who are interested in the student politics of this campus. It will be charged with supervising the upcoming elections for Student Senate and the Presidency of the SGA. According to the Speaker of the SGA, Dan McDowell, this committee “will simply decide upon what is a fair election package to be available to candidates. Our elections are the equivalent of publicly funded elections in that regard.” (d) Move $28,134 from the general treasury of the SGA to the SEOC account. This measure was passed unanimously. In taking this move, this sum will be spared from being seized for being unspent at the end of the current fiscal period. It remains unclear how and if this money will be spent during the spring semester or at some other time. (e) Approve the individual budgets of each student club and center from the approved budget. This proposition was passed unanimously. A total budget of approximately $70,000 will be appropriated to the student clubs and centers of UMB for the upcoming fiscal period. The full listing of how this sum will be distributed is available at the SGA office in the student life office area on the 2nd Floor of the Campus Center. (f) Vote to appropriate $3,900 to Alternative Spring Break to send students to El Paso, Texas. This measure was passed unanimously. The UMB chapter of Alternative Spring Break is planning to send 12 UMB students to El Paso, Texas to help build housing for displaced people who have lost their homes due to recent natural disasters and other prevailing circumstances. This group will be chosen by a committee formed by the staff members of Alternative Spring Break. This trip is being done again due to the positive response from students who have participated on the last trip. (g) Vote to appropriate $3,900 to allow UMB students to build humanitarian housing in Atlanta, Georgia. This proposition was passed unanimously. Its provisions are exactly like those in proposition (g), except this trip will be supported by Community Collaborations International, a nonprofit organization that founded in 1994 and has manages volunteers from over sixty colleges providing disaster relief and completing environmental and human service projects nationally and internationally, according to the organization’s website. (h) Approve a stipend of $1,750 for the Vice Speaker, John Ward, from the SGA treasury. This measure was passed with some dissent. Due to changes in the bylaws of the SGA, the Vice Speaker became a member of the Executive Cabinet during the fall semester. All members of the cabinet are entitled to a stipend for their services to the SGA. The funding for this measure came from the stipend forfeited by the newly confirmed Vice President’s stipend and the Harbor Art Gallery Sitter’s stipend. According to Mr. McDowell, “The Vice Speaker’s current role includes taking minutes, being prepared to run or attend a meeting in my absence or inability to attend, and is also a voting member of the budget and finance committee, in addition to whatever other projects they take on.” (i) Vote to appropriate $12,900 for buying new equipment for the Harbor Art Gallery. The proposition was passed unanimously passed. Keith Raboin, the Chairman of the SGA Budget & Finance Committee, stated via email, that Steven Pierello, the Director of the Harbor Art Gallery, has requested “various technologies to display digital art and a new computer as well as new presentation materials in the form of banners.” The intent is to revamp the Harbor Art Gallery to allow for animations and other forms of new media art from UMB student artists to display their artwork for their fellow students and campus community members to view and enjoy.

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