Senators Propose Formation Of New Programming Body
Published: Monday, November 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, November 11, 2013 02:11
After two months operating under the new constitutional structure of UGBC, the Student Assembly (SA) is discussing further amendments to the constitution to separate programming from the student government.
At the weekly SA meeting on Oct. 29, Chris Marchese, SA president pro tempore and A&S ’15, gave a presentation outlining a preliminary proposal that would shift the focus of UGBC away from programming and toward advocacy. To do so, Marchese suggested the creation of a separate, independent “Campus Activities Board.”
In his presentation, Marchese analyzed the structure and effectiveness of student governments at peer institutions and looked at the history of UGBC, ALC, and GLC before proposing a new structure that would, in addition to divesting programming, merge the two branches of UGBC—the executive and the SA—entirely. After meeting with other senators and executives, however, he has removed the complete restructuring from his proposal.
“The biggest change for me has just been in terms of what I’m pushing for,” Marchese said. “Right now, I’m really just focusing on programming because I think that it’s overwhelming and a little unfair to change everything all at once because it really doesn’t allow people to think through one aspect, which is probably the biggest aspect, which is changing programming.”
Without presenting any formal proposals or ideas for implementation, Matt Alonsozana, UGBC executive vice president and A&S ’14, also outlined a vision for what he thought UGBC should look like in the future.
“UGBC should be the primary student advocate for Boston College and it should be focused on the democratically elected members of the Assembly,” Alonsozana said.
While acknowledging the importance of programming, he said that programming and advocacy are not necessarily aligned.
“They are two very different operations that are not necessarily mutually beneficial or mutually reinforcing,” Alonsozana said. “To allow each manner of operations to have the resources that it needs and the structure in which it is most comfortable will lead to greater benefits for the student body as a whole. That’s my vision for moving on into the future—where you have a programming board that is very responsive to the needs of the students and has its own independent resource channel away from the politics that UGBC can sometimes be involved in and, at the same time, you have a political discussion on issues where it should matter, on issues ranging from diversity to academic reform.”
During the Nov. 5 SA meeting, there was a debate on the floor as to whether or not splitting programming was the right move for UGBC and whether or not this year is the right year to do so.
“I just want to point out that we are less than 100 days into the new structure and that it isn’t perfect, but that it is also not being executed, I think, in the way that was envisioned,” said Alex Sarabia, senator and A&S ’14, at the meeting. “I think that it’s great that we are talking about structural changes that we can make, especially concerned with programming, but I think that we owe it to the organization that we are in now to make smaller improvements and see if we can make it run more efficiently.”
Chris Park and Isaac Akers, both senators and A&S ’16, along with Hagop Toghramadjian, senator and A&S ’17, spoke in favor of considering changes to the constitution this year. In addition to Sarabia, Ricky Knapp, vice president for student affairs and A&S ’14, and Tom Napoli, senator and A&S ’16, expressed doubts over whether this was the right year for the changes.
“We took a lot of time and effort in last year’s UGBC to create a new constitution,” Napoli said. “Frankly, I think that it is a little bit extreme to come up with a new constitution the next year. I’m worried that there is this issue with programming and that single issue with programming has been hijacked to change the entire constitution. I feel like we can make a change with programming without changing the entire structure.”
Alonsozana has said that he plans on holding a vote by Dec. 3 in the SA. Matt Nacier, UGBC president and A&S ’14, was contacted, but declined to comment before the executive branch had met to discuss the issue internally.