On Thursday, the Student Assembly (SA) of UGBC voted against an act that allows for the consultation of previous UGBC members. It also passed an act concerning official UGBC resource guides and confirmed five nominees for the 2021-22 academic year.
Dennis Wieboldt, SA representative and sponsor of the first act, said the amendment would give those who have previously held leadership titles on UGBC an opportunity to participate more formally during meetings.
“I think this is something that we saw last year—that it’s always good to promote consultation with people who’ve been in UGBC before and who just aren’t participating in future years,” Wieboldt, MCAS ’22, said.
Ivy DiBiase, SA representative and MCAS ’22, said she doesn’t like the idea of giving former members more of a voice than the general members of the student body.
“I don’t think we should be, like, privileging people just because they’ve been involved in the past,” DiBiase said. “Like, obviously there’s a reason why they’re not involved in the future and so, like, I just don’t really think that makes a lot of sense to me.”
Vice President Gianna Russi, MCAS ’22, said the process in which this proposed amendment was brought to the SA was flawed as it was created without collaboration and consultation from the current SA or future leadership.
Russi said this proposed amendment would allow continued executive board participation beyond the expiration of terms of office.
“This amendment would undermine the voices of students that would create an ever-increasing list of emeriti, who SA members would have to debate with on legislation,” Russi said.
Wieboldt motioned to table the proposed amendment, but the motion was denied and a roll call vote was taken, where the proposed legislation did not pass.
Wieboldt expressed his disappointment over the SA denying his motion to table the act concerning multi-year consultation and the subsequent vote against the proposed amendment.
“I’m dismayed at the fact that it went the way it did because if anyone had any issues I would have been happy to table it at the beginning of the meeting,” Wieboldt said. “Really wasn’t meant to cause a stir, just genuinely thought it would be a good idea to have a more formal role for people who had taken leadership in UGBC in the past.”
A legislative act proposed at the meeting creates official UGBC resource guides, including a general BC resource guide, an AHANA+ student guide, a students with disabilities guide, an LGBTQ+ student guide, a Montserrat student guide, and a multi-faith student guide. The act passed with 14 yes votes.
The SA also confirmed five nominees for positions for the next academic year, including the chair of the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC), three SA representatives, and the director of the division of environmental sustainability.
Lubens Benjamin, CSOM ’23, will serve as the chair of ALC. Benjamin said this position is the next step for him in making sure student voices continue to be heard and creating an inclusive environment on campus.
The SA confirmed Naziha Bugazia, MCAS ’22, Sophie Hoeltgen, MCAS ’23, and Tyler Gollin, MCAS ’23, as SA representatives for the 2021-22 academic year. Bugazia, Hoeltgen, and Gollin will serve as representatives for transfer students, student athletes, and first-generation students, respectively.
The SA also confirmed Giovanna Eichner, MCAS ’23, as director of the Division of Environmental Sustainability.
James Freirich, SA representative and CSOM ’21, questioned Eichner’s position on divestment.
Eichner said she was aware of the various approaches to divestment on campus and hopes that UGBC will be able to take a different approach.
“So we would probably leave divestment to CJBC, but if possible, I think the division would do a good job in allowing us to have more contact with administration, because right now, I know that EcoPledge, Real Food, all those groups don’t really ever talk to people in the administration,” Eichner said.
Freirich said Eichner should focus on making tangible change rather than working with administration.
“I frankly think it’s a waste of time to try to pursue admin,” Freirich said. “You guys won’t get anywhere on that front. I think, if anything, the thing that I’ve been trying to harp on is just reinforcing, trying to get, you know, tangible, so to speak, groundwork.”
SA representative Samuel O’Connor, MCAS ’21, questioned Eichner on her support of BC’s lawsuit against the City of Newton regarding Webster Woods.
Eichner said that at the time she was supportive of the decision to let the state reclaim Webster Woods, but that she is willing to learn more and change her position. Although the division will be interested in things like Webster Woods, Eichner said that will be mostly left to eco groups.
“I think we’re talking more about initiatives that will create tangible change on campus that we know can be done, and that will actually take big steps instead of just things being done already by the different eco groups,” Eichner said.
The meeting concluded with a discussion in which members shared their thoughts on the toxicity and circumvention of rules within UGBC.
Wieboldt said that for next year, he hopes everyone on UGBC will keep in mind the spirit of camaraderie that they should have.
“I think it’s something that we’ve struggled with over the last two years, but I think we make strides sometimes and then take four and a half steps backwards, and then take nine steps backwards, so hopefully next year we can, you know, get off on a better foot,” Wieboldt said.
Correction 5/3/2021 10:47 a.m.: A previous version of this article misattributed a legistlative act as an amendment, and that error has been corrected.
Featured Image by Amy Palmer / Heights Editor