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The Collegian News Blog

SGA welcomes new interim vice chancellor

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

At their first meeting of the semester tonight, the Student Government Association voted to welcome new Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Esther Terry, who will be taking over the position in the wake of Michael Gargano's resignation, and to voice its confidence in her commitment to working together with the UMass student body. The SGA expressed optimism that interactions between students and the new interim vice chancellor would be more positive than they were with Gargano, saying that recent years marked "negative trends in student affairs" at UMass.

After passing an amendment to correct the spelling of Terry's name from "Ester" to "Esther" in the text of the motion, the senate passed the motion as follows:

Whereas, as of Jan. 25, 2008, Vice Chancellor Michael Gargano resigned from the position of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and whereas Esther Terry has been appointed to the position of interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and whereas the general trend of student affairs over the past four years has been to limit student autonomy in particular student governments on campus and whereas the student body believed that these trends necessitated a campus-wide student strike on Nov. 15 and 16, 2007, and whereas the appointment of a new interim vice chancellor of student affairs is a tremendous opportunity to reverse the negative trends of student affairs, by working in collaboration with the student body in a way that has not happened prior to Vice Chancellor Gargano's resignation, therefore, be it resolved that the undergraduate senate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst extends welcome and its confidence in the new interim vice chancellor of student affairs Esther Terry's commitment to student development.

Click here to hear audio of the meeting (Media Credit: Meg Murphy).
posted by Meghan Murphy, 10:21 PM | link | 0 comments |

Breaking news: free energy drinks at Du Bois

If you need a little extra boost this morning, be sure to stop by the Monster Energy truck parked between the W.E.B Du Bois Library and the Student Union. Two promotors are handing out free samples of the "Java Monster," described on the label as "coffee + energy."

Judge for yourself if it truly is a "premium coffee and cream, brewed up with killer flavor, supercharged with Monster energy blend."

Either way, it's a free pick-me-up on the way to that pysch 100 lecture.
posted by Derrick Perkins, 11:10 AM | link | 0 comments |

Republican club secedes from MACR

The UMass republican club voted to secede from Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans - a state-wide coalition of campus conservative groups - last night after MACR chairman Brian Gwozdz circulated an e-mail calling for club president Brad DeFlumeri to step down.

The e-mail, signed by 29 MACR officials and leaders from campus conservative groups across the commonwealth, accused DeFlumeri of allegedly sexually harrassing female members of MACR member groups. The letter called on DeFlumeri to step down by Feb. 6, at which point MACR would have moved to derecognize the republican club.

DeFlumeri refuted the allegations, calling them "outlandish."

To hear audio of post-meeting comments from Brad DeFlumeri, Derek Khanna, vice president, and Jonathan Tabb, club secretary and publicity director, click here.

Full article here.
posted by Derrick Perkins, 12:18 AM | link | 0 comments |

CSD to fund Spring Recess buses

Monday, January 28, 2008

In an article printed in the Spring Back To School 2008 edition of The Massachusetts Daily Collegian entitled “Gargano resigns before new term,” UMass Spring Recess: Gulf Coast 2008 President Amanda Baldi was quoted in saying, “Before [Gargano] left, he told us he’d arrange for the funding for Peter Pan buses for the trip, but he never followed through with Peter Pan.”

Since the publication of the article, The Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life Center for Student Development (CSD) contacted Baldi and informed her that the CSD would in fact be funding transportation for UMass Spring Recess: Gulf Coast 2008.

“UMass Spring Recess is really grateful to the Office of Student Affairs and the CSD,” said Baldi.
posted by S.P. Sullivan, 11:37 PM | link | 1 comments |

SGA to Gargano: 'Thanks for resigning'

Following fast on the heels of former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Gargano's departure from the University, the representatives of the Student Government Association released this statement to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian:

"We thank Michael Gargano for his resignation as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. More importantly, we thank you- the current student body, and especially those who participated in the recent general student strike-for issuing the final blow to his career at UMass Amherst.

Since Gargano's arrival in 2003, Student Affairs has attempted to…

1. Gentrify our campus by:

- Cutting staffing and operating budgets for the Everywoman's Center, the Stonewall Center, and the ALANA support programs by approximately 50%

- Allowing the University' outreach efforts to disintegrate: since 2003, the campus has lost all of its major grant-funded outreach programs, including Talent Search and the Division of Outreach

- Supporting a group of students who participated in a drunken photo shoot in the Student Union where they used KKK imagery to mock ALANA students. Gargano worked with this same group of students to eventually eliminate the Office of ALANA Affairs.

2. Militarize our campus by:

- Encouraging random, unsolicited police patrols in dormitory hallways

- Eliminating students' right to appeal "Level One" offenses as defined by the Code of Student Conduct (CSC), hence limiting students' right to due process, as guaranteed by the US Constitution

- Spending thousands of dollars of student money installing surveillance cameras, then using shady footage from these cameras to suspend students "participating" in the recent riots, hence fueling multiple lawsuits against the University.

- Toughened the "picketing code" (our homegrown variety of Bush's "Patriot Act"), which threatens to punish students by expulsion for participation in campus demonstrations and free speech activities

3. Curtail student decision -making power and student-initiated activities by:

- Allowing student organizations to suffer from increasingly strict policies, decreased access to student space, and increased costs to use student space and equipment

- Interfering with student organizations' and governance bodies' independence and ability to spend their own funds

4. Generally put students "last" by:

- Steamrolling ahead with a plan to force all incoming students to live in first-year only housing beginning in fall 2008, which will turn nearly all of Southwest and Orchard Hill into first-year housing and push upper-class students off campus

- Fostering general feelings of distrust, exclusion, administrative paternalism and antagonism among studentsAt the same time, students have resisted these efforts at every turn.

Since Gargano's arrival, students have successfully:

- Blocked his efforts to install random bag and room searches

- Released funds for student-initiated outreach programming.

- Reversed proposed staffing cuts to RSO advising staff

- Attracted national attention for last fall's "general student strike."

- Voted "No Confidence" in Gargano's abilities as a Vice Chancellor less than 2 years after his arrival on campus.

- Helped to block Gargano's hire as the president of Westfield State College.

- And-alas-helped to force Gargano's resignation from the University.

Gargano's departure offers an opportunity to collectively re-evaluate what ourcampus can, and should, be. Yet his policies will outlive his presence. We remained concerned about the future of student life at UMass Amherst:

- Will Student Affairs continue to ignore our University's mission as an accessible, affordable land-grant institution designed to serve, welcome, and support ALL students?

- Will our campus respect student decision-making power, or will the administration continue to assume that they know what is best for us?

- Will the campus' new leadership passively allow Gargano's policies to unfold? Or will they use Gargano's resignation as an opportunity to find solutions to long-standing issues of campus diversity, democracy, and respect for students?

- At the close of this semester, will you the students nod in agreement with thesigns that welcome you to campus with the proclamation, "Students First," or will Gargano's slogan remain an empty promise?

We encourage you to help shape the answers to these questions. Since last fall's student strike, a team of elected students has been meeting with administrators to negotiate solutions to many of these issues. Plans for another strike-and other possible actions-are in the works. Visit: http://strike.umassgss.org/

Lastly, our greatest sympathies go to the students at Louisiana State University (LSU). We are considering plans for an "activist spring break" to LSU - contactus if you'd like to join us in offering solidarity (and continued condolences)to the students at Gargano's new home."
posted by Derrick Perkins, 9:03 PM | link | 2 comments |

Campus mourns passing of student

Friday, January 25, 2008

The University of Massachusetts announced the sudden death of student Jennifer Morganson early Wednesday morning via a campus-wide email. Morganson, 22, passed on Jan. 16 of a brain aneurysm. A senior undergraduate in Women’s Studies, Morganson was on track to graduate at the end of this year with honors.

Born in Boston, MA, Morganson originally attended Ithaca College before transferring to UMass Amherst. She was laid to rest in her hometown of Guilderland, NY, on Monday, Jan. 21.

“Jennifer Morganson was truly an amazing person. She was the type of person you felt you could become best friends with only moments after meeting her,”
said Ryan Benedict, a close friend of Morganson and recent UMass graduate. “I wholeheartedly believe that Jennifer was going to change the world. She will be missed.”

Morganson’s family asks that any memorial contributions be sent to:

Medical Ministry International
P.O. Box 1339
Allen, TX 75013

posted by Collegian Staff, 2:07 PM | link | 0 comments |

Gargano steps down, follows Lombardi to LSU

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Michael Gargano has resigned, announced the University of Massachusetts early Thursday morning.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by associate chancellor Esther Terry.

Since he was appointed in 2003, Gargano has been a lightning rod for criticism of the UMass administration’s more unpopular policies, including police in dorms and the University’s response to rioting after sporting events.

A recent candidate for the position as president of Westfield State College, Gargano will officially step down tomorrow.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette and Springfield Republican reported online Thursday that Gargano will follow former UMass Amherst Chancellor John Lombardi to Louisiana State University, where Lombardi is now President. Lombardi left UMass in 2007, and was replaced by interim Chancellor Thomas Cole.
posted by Collegian Staff, 3:58 PM | link | 1 comments |

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