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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Academia Phenomenon: Students Speak in Opposition to the Student Senate

It’s an academia phenomenon. Students are beginning to speak in opposition to the senates’ methodologies and policies. Why? Students are flummoxed with the senates’ inability to perform its mission, inability to adhere to the UMB Constitution and Bylaws, inability to represent for the students by the students of UMass Boston, and biased attempts to sully and discredit The Mass Media.

(UMB) Senate myths: questioning performance, integrity, honesty, character, truth, responsibility, and reliability. It was and still is unproductive, preventable and inefficient.

This senate is like a cancer because senators do not peruse, or read at all, the senates’ constitution or bylaws and as a result manipulate the policies and procedures when it is convenient to them; the presidents’ rule is that of a dictator; senators perniciously made false accusations about my person to other senators behind closed doors and without identifying themselves; senators are protecting these senators making these false accusations; the vice president (of SGA) disservices the student senate and is a disingenuous adversary to the senate, to the UMB Constitution and Bylaws, and to the constituents at UMB albeit the vice president has shown he is capable of performing his duties partially; senators rely on subjective and biased information rather than garnering the information from an objective viewpoint; senators create a “good old boys network/infrastructure” and a “yes-man” approach while deliberating and adjudicating in senate and committee sessions; senators are defensive with their implementation of deliverables; senators are looking for immediate praise and gratification leading to pontiff status from their peers or the administration; senators choose dubious senators for leadership roles; for example, a chair of a committee, that are not based on merit, experience, or education; senators do not investigate divisive or inappropriate behavior and/or conduct, internally, either under the advice of the administration or by the senate leadership pressure(s); the senate presidents’ use of expletive remarks and his lack of respect to other senators, the student trustee, students, and advisors are unwarranted, unprovoked, malevolent, and most importantly, unprofessional; the student trustees’ inappropriate and misguided behavior and conduct reflect poorly to the UMass Boston system and academia overall damaging our reputation both short-term and long-term; the student senate does not represent YOU (caps added for emphasis); etc. etc.

I hope you are all familiar with the IBM commercial trailer depicting the executive board in a meeting room sitting around the table analyzing a new spoof gadget they just bought for their servers. If not, you should try to get a chance to view it. The executive asks, “What does the device do?” A manager states something like, “Ask the gadget anything pertaining to business and if the managers are insincere the gadget will ring its bells and blow its whistles.” The executive in charge quizzically asks questions to the manager’s sitting around the table. He asks a woman coworker sitting next to him, “How’s the inventory look for this week?” The woman replies, “Everything looks great.” The gadget rings its bells and blows its whistles. The executive asks another male coworker a question, “How are the numbers looking for NPV?” The coworker replies, “No problems on this end.” The gadget, again, rings its bells and blows its whistles. Finally the executive asks another coworker another question, “What do you think about …?” The male coworker fastidiously states, “I don’t think I’m a yes-man.” The gadget remains silent. My point to this charade reflects the last statement made by the male coworker. “I DON’T THINK I’M A YES-MAN” (caps added for emphasis).

I address the student senators who vexatiously and perniciously made false accusations against my name; you are cowards for not identifying yourselves. You are not student leaders nor do you deserve the titles that you presently hold in office. I expected more from our student leadership; this includes the senate president, vice president, and the student trustee.

I requested on February 19, 2003, from Senator Fritz Hyppolite, a formal investigation into this vexatiously false accusation made by the undisclosed senators. Senator Hypollite replied and told me, “The CCA committee cannot conduct an official investigation based on conjecture and accusations. As a chair, I will address this among all senators, but in an unofficial matter.” Senator Hypollite pedantically informed me, “Ad hominem attacks are not a violation of your civil liberties and does not warrant such action as a formal investigation.”

Ad hominem attacks may not be a direct violation of my civil liberties, but this type of heinous and vexatious behavior inside the senate will not be tolerated in our student government. Or will they? Where is the student leadership? Will these allegations against me go unfettered and unanswered? Will the senators who vexatiously accused me be disciplined? Where is the justice for this inappropriate behavior(s) and unjust act(s) for this case? What is the recourse for their consequences?

I have had enough of the games. I have several questions for the current and on-going student senates’ behaviors and actions, but these questions are germane to this issue. Why the conspiracy? Why can’t Senator Jesse Solomon or Senator Omar Bukhari reveal the senators who spitefully and sordidly made false accusations against my name? I would never even think to resort to this type of behavior. This is not only unprofessional, unwarranted, lacking severe leadership skills, but also CHILDISH (caps added for emphasis)!

I am asking the student senate, on a leap of faith, to help me and others who may be in similar situations, to restore my/our confidence in the University of Massachusetts Boston Constitution and Bylaws; the University of Massachusetts Boston Student Handbook on Code of Conduct; the Student Senate Constitution and Bylaws; and the Student Senates’ policies, behaviors, and conduct.

As a student of this University, I expect an answer and I expect a fair and just system. I will continue to strive for basic fairness and a just system; I will continue to investigate senate issues that are deemed important for newsworthy coverage; and I will continue to address any issue that warrants inquiry; not only for myself, but also for the constituents of the University of Massachusetts Boston. I am not looking for a badge on my shoulder, a title under my name, to be placed on a pillar or some sort of power bestowed upon me for my actions. I investigate these issues because they are important to me.

In The Mass Media article, February 20, 2003, page A4, “Fourth Floor Furor Over Article”, Senator Maria Moreno, states,

… the student senate has been encountering many discomforting articles that are being published by the staff of the Mass Media (sic) that are unprofessional, giving false reports about events and procedures that go on around the UMass campus. Instead of publishing articles that are filled with misleading information (sic) half-truths and some times out-right lies that make absolutely no since (sic) and that can be hurtful to the many students at UMass, I would like to recommend to the Editor of the Mass Media (sic) to take a minute or two and train its Mass Media (sic) reporters to properly research and interview before reporting.

Vice President Tuan Pham agreed with Senator Moreno, accusing the newspaper of “irresponsible journalism.”

Senator Hyppolite quipped, “It isn’t like your ideal example of objective journalism.”

Student senate should practice what they preach. Student Senate should form an ad hoc investigation committee to look into the wrongdoings of the student trustees’ sexual harassment and sexual assault; student senate should investigate the ad hominem manner several senators made false accusations that I pilfering senate mail from the student senate office; and student senate should investigate the senate presidents’ inability to lead this University professionally, successfully, and competently.

I wholeheartedly respect and honor The Mass Media’s in-depth coverage and persistence to report inappropriate and unacceptable behavior either by the student trustee or the student senate; and other newsworthy information. Their unequivocal, objective, and unbiased approach concerning these and other issues are newsworthy and I laud their hard work when faced with ignorant, selfish, self guided, egotistical, and misguided student trustee and senators attempting to sully and discredit their work. Kudos to The Mass Media for upholding journalistic integrity in the face of adversity.

This strategy (of infighting) has failed and continues to fail. It serves no purpose for the greater good of the UMB Senate, for the University of Massachusetts Boston as a whole, and more importantly, for the constituents of the UMB system. The Senate should abandon it immediately.

As a former senator, “[My] admonition: [Senate] needs to resist the urge to get defensive and instead innovate.” (Greene, Jay (2003, March 03). “Pecked By Penguins.” BusinessWeek, 85.) Take heed for the SGA at UMB will surely be crippled by self-infliction.

J. Stone Laraway IICM, MIS 2003