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UGBC Eliminates Programming Department

Asst. News Editor

Published: Monday, December 9, 2013

Updated: Monday, December 9, 2013 22:12

The Student Assembly (SA) approved an amendment to the UGBC constitution on Tuesday that will separate programming from the student government. The measure passed 38-1, with Nanci Fiore-Chettiar, senator and A&S ’15, abstaining. Alex Sarabia, senator for the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC) and A&S ’14, was the only one to vote against the amendment.

The conversation on a new programming structure began in the SA at the end of October this year, but Matt Nacier, UGBC president and A&S ’14, said after the SA meeting that the idea of splitting programming from UGBC has been discussed for a couple of years.

“The conversation has been around for years—it came up my freshman year and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the first time someone had talked about it,” Nacier said. “Now, I think that it’s because Matt [Alonsozana, UGBC executive vice president and A&S ’14] and I were in a position and felt that UGBC was ready to make that split.”

According to Gus Burkett, director of the Student Programs Office (SPO), UGBC discussed a potential programming split last year and SPO did not play a large role in the discussions.

“[The programming split] was not something that [SPO] pushed on UGBC,” Burkett said. “We facilitated the discussion. It is something that, nationally, there are a lot of different models. Either way [the vote] went, we were prepared to deal with it. We did not have a prescribed agenda on what we are going to do.”

The timing of the split comes within months of a controversial Fall Concert result, but Nacier said that this decision was not made as a result of that event. He also said, though, that the Fall Concert could be considered a catalyst, albeit a minor one.

“It is not because of one incident that we had this shift happen … I think that it was on a lot of people’s minds before the Fall Concert,” Nacier said.

Both Nacier and Alonsozana focused on the question of UGBC’s role for the student body. This question revolved around the relationship between hosting programs and advocating to the administration on behalf of the student body.

“The fundamental question that we need to answer is, ‘Is it UGBC’s job to keep putting on these events or should there be a board that specifically concentrates on this?’” Nacier said. “You find it difficult to strike a balance between the two [programming and advocacy]—where to put the resources and the emphasis. There are times when UGBC can be stretched thin in terms of attention and energy.”

“Our mission statement says that we need to be taking care of student needs,” Alonsozana said. “I don’t doubt that students are interested in programming—that’s one of the main drivers of UGBC energy, effort, and resources—but if it’s true that UGBC should be providing for programming, then I’m glad that the vote last night acknowledged that UGBC is taking better care of programming by giving it better resources and a better structure. I think that it would have been completely opposed to student need if UGBC had persisted with the present structure.

“We know that with programming leaving, UGBC will truly be a unified policy advocacy tool for the student body. Everything in UGBC will be devoted to that goal—initiative programming, heritage programming, things of that nature. Everything has some sort of advocacy background or purpose in mind.”

As a part of the process, Denise Pyfrom, vice president of programming and A&S ’14, held meetings with her department to determine the stance that UGBC programming had on the issue.

“A month before the [SA] vote, I had open meetings with all of programming and anyone else in UGBC to talk about their thoughts and concerns,” Pyfrom said. “We came to a general consensus that this is what we wanted to try—95 percent were for it. Those who weren’t were concerned about what it will look like.”

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