The Student Assembly (SA) of UGBC confirmed Svea McNally, Lynch ’22, and Christopher Rizzo, MCAS ’22, to chair positions within the executive branch on Tuesday night.
McNally and Rizzo will serve as the chairs of the Council for Students with Disabilities (CSD) and the GLBTQ+ Leadership Council (GLC), respectively.
UGBC President-elect Jack Bracher, MCAS ’22, cited McNally’s past leadership positions within CSD as grounds for why she is best qualified for the position.
“In her previous experience as CSD policy coordinator and CSD assistant director, Svea has exemplified her commitment to furthering the mission and the work of CSD,” Bracher said. “I’m confident that under her leadership, CSD will continue to build on its progress and enhance the work of projects such as the Upper Campus accessibility project and disability awareness initiatives.”
Rizzo stated that his vision for the GLC is twofold.
“This dual mandate is to advocate for and protect queer students on campus while also creating community and building bonds of friendship between queer students at Boston College,” Rizzo said.
The SA confirmed both McNally and Rizzo unanimously, without questioning or debate.
Representative Douglas Baker, MCAS ’22, was confirmed as a member of the UGBC Parliamentary Board. Baker—who was nominated by UGBC Vice President Kevork Atinizian, CSOM ’22—will serve in the position for just two weeks, as a new board will be put into place with the spring 2021 inauguration.
Baker’s confirmation initially failed after James Freirich, SA representative and CSOM ’21, motioned to proceed to vote prior to a period of debate and questioning, and no SA members objected to the motion.
The SA proceeded to the initial vote, where nine representatives voted yes, three voted no, and nine abstained.
According to the UGBC Constitution, members of the Parliamentary Board must have committee chair experience. As a result, only Baker, Bracher, and Urwa Hameed, MCAS ’22, are eligible for the position. Bracher said he did not want the position and, according to Atinizian, Hameed would likely need to recuse herself given the cases that are likely to come before the board in the near future, leaving Baker as the only candidate.
“I have no clue why we wouldn’t debate it,” Atinizian said.
The SA reconsidered Baker’s nomination, this time with debate and questioning.
During the debate of Baker’s confirmation, Julia Spagnola, MCAS ’23, shared her concerns about the demographics of the Parliamentary Board should Baker be confirmed.
“I just feel personally that the Parliamentary Board should represent our body and … my concern is that if Doug were on the parliamentary board, then it would be three men, and there are a lot of women in this group,” Spagnola said.
In response, Jack Carter, CSOM ’23, said that he understood Spagnola’s concerns but since there are only two weeks left in the semester, it would be better to fill the position with Baker now rather than wait another week to fill it with a woman.
“If we’re being real, it seems like Doug can just step in and do this one for two weeks,” Carter said.
After the period of debate and questioning, 19 representatives voted yes and eight representatives abstained.
Following Baker’s confirmation, Freirich pressed Bracher on whether he plans to nominate Mitzy Monterroso-Bautista, MCAS ’22, next week to the position of director of the Diversity and Inclusion Division for a third time.
Bracher said he will not be nominating anyone for the position next week but did not say whether he would nominate Monterroso-Bautista again in the future. Freirich said that if Bracher were to nominate her again—despite the SA having voted against her confirmation twice—it would hurt the legitimacy of the confirmation process.
“I do think there is certainly value in the confirmation process,” Freirich said. “At least to me, I do feel that it kind of … gives it a lack of legitimacy to the voting process.”
The meeting closed with a discussion of BC’s decision to not allow guests at the Class of 2021’s Commencement ceremony as well as its naming of New York Times columnist David Brooks as this year’s Commencement speaker.
Representative Ivy DiBiase, MCAS ’22, expressed concern about Brooks’ background. She said that Brooks has a history with homophobic organizations and would make some students feel uncomfortable.
“From what I’ve found, David Brooks has done keynote speaking events with an organization that has raised money for anti-LGBTQ+ organizations,” DiBiase said. “To me, that’s a huge slap in the face if we’re willing to have a speaker at graduation who has contributed to homophobic organizations.”
SA Representative Samuel O’Connor, MCAS ’21, responded by noting that it would be impractical to change the Commencement speaker at this point and that from the dozens of complaints he has received, students’ main concern about Commencement is that guests will not be allowed.
Complaints arose especially in light of other schools allowing a limited number of guests at their ceremonies at Fenway Park, which has a lower capacity than Alumni Stadium, according to O’Connor.
“I just have to be representative of who I’ve heard from and not one person has said that,” O’Connor said. “It is just not a chief concern of students and students are overwhelmingly concerned … [that] their parents are not welcome at graduation.”
Correction 4/16/2021 11 a.m.: A previous version of this article stated that McNally and Rizzo were confirmed to the Executive Council. Chair positions are not on the council, just within the executive branch.
Featured Image by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor