Senate Notes: Fee Hike Might Be Averted

Gin Dumcius

Students might be saved from another fee increase, albeit a small $12 one, thanks to Student Trustee Omar Bukhari.

Bukhari had been meeting with UMass Boston administration officials over the summer to discuss taking part of the incoming $750 fee increase, recently approved by the Board of Trustees, and diverting it to the Student Activities Trust Fund.

Talks are still tentative, but Bukhari indicated the $12 of the fee would be set aside every year for the Student Activities Trust Fund.

A formal proposal will be made at the next Board of Trustees meeting in early November.

Because of a change in the way credits are calculated, the Student Activities Trust Fund, which is used by clubs and centers for events and organizations, encountered a shortfall of forty-four thousand dollars. The administration eventually bailed the trust fund out, but not before the Student Senate considered a 20% increase in early February, raising the Student Activities fee from $62 to $75. They ultimately voted against it, and the proposal was never sent to the trustees.

When the senate met several times over the summer, Budget and Finance Chair Reuben Urmeneta warned that another fee increase was on the horizon for next spring, and said that his committee would be looking into the matter, including ways to avoid it. Bukhari, reportedly frustrated with Urmeneta’s slow pace, went straight to administration officials to work out the issue, and came out with $12 dollars out of the $750 dollar fee increase.

Tampons Tackled

Some student senators were surprised to learn that among the Women’s Center’s request for office supplies were tampons.

“Why tampons?” Senator Robert Nappier said, raising the question of whether the senate should be funding such an item.

A representative from the Women’s Center explained that the tampons on campus, which are of the “OB” variety, are not safe, since there are studies linking them to birth defects and breast cancer. The tampons provided in the bathrooms and the Health Center are OB tampons, she said.

Senator and Student Events and Organizations Committee Chair Bryan Smith came to the center’s defense, stating that they were useful as an “educational tool,” and compared it to the Queer Student Union receiving funding for condoms.

The request for $507.33 was passed, with Senators William Roach and Robert Nappier opposing.

Roll Call Initiative Passes

The senate finally approved a roll-call voting system, an initiative and pet project of Senator Jesse Solomon’s since last year. Solomon proposed a roll call in order for students to see which way senators voted on what issues, to “ensure accountability.”

At the last senate meeting, the matter was sent back to committee after several senators expressed concerns of a roll call vote being tagged onto every issue which came before the senate, which was considered “too time-consuming.”

The vote was unanimous, but with a provision stating that the Steering Committee gets to decide which motions and issues get to be roll called. While dissappointed with the potential handicap it put on the effectiveness of the measure, Solomon admitted it was the only way for initiative to get passed. “I’m thrilled that it passed with the majority of senators’ approval,” he said, noting how long he had worked on it. “I’m really glad that it’s now going to be policy.”

Tally sheets of the votes will be put outside the senate’s Wheatley Hall offices, on information boards around campus, and the senate’s website at