May 17, 2022

The Westfield Voice

(Westfieldvoice) News and Classifieds

Letters to the Editor

4 min read

Dear editorial staff and campus community,

Tuesday’s vote within the Student Government Association, of which I participated in, is the exact essence of the amazing form of democracy that we have on this campus.

There were several things that came out of the meeting. First, 10% of the student body participates in the general election. Typically, in a MASSPIRG referendum year, the student body would see a question pertaining to their mandate on the ballot.

The Senate ended up making the vote to keep MASSPIRG on campus. Why is that?

The Senate is made up of seventy students who represent the entire 5,000-plus undergraduate students that attend this university. With a 10% voter turnout, that means about 500 people fill out a ballot.

With the figures that were given to me by MASSPIRG itself, a solid majority of those 500 or so students vote to keep them on campus. They approve the mandate and they are good for another two years.

With the senators being tasked to represent all of the student body, according to our constitution, I agreed with the executive board in their calculated decision to hold the vote within Senate instead of on the ballot.

It is our duty to represent the student body and vote on the tough decisions come before us.

Secondly, the decision was very productive. The senators all brought important points to the floor and aired the concerns that needed to be said before we made our vote.

Having the vote within the Senate was key because we were very informed, especially after having an over two-hour discussion with the MASSPIRG representatives. We were more educated that the general campus population, which is why they sent us to the Senate in the first place: to be educated on the issues well enough to vote in their stead.

Thirdly, we voted in a democratic vote. The vote was not one-sided, and that is okay. After the motion to send the question to the ballot was defeated, we were voting on whether or not to continue our support of MASSPIRG on this campus.

A ‘yes’ vote meant we continued our support and they stayed whereas a ‘no’ vote meant we did support them and they had to leave campus.

An overwhelming majority supported MASSPIRG and that is great.

During the lengthy discussions before the vote, I was dead set on voting against extending our support for MASSPIRG because the waivable fee, the main issue that was brought up, was not going to be changed.

When the senators agreed that the waivable fee should be dealt with, a couple of us, myself included, brought up the need for more information to be given with the student bill so that students and their parents understand where the $9 fee is going to.

It was the belief of the senators that students were paying the $9 blindly in some cases because they either didn’t understand where it was going, or they didn’t feel it was worth waiving when the total bill is so high anyway.

My vote changed to ‘yes’ once it was decided that we would have to educate the campus better on what MASSPIRG is doing, where the waivable fee goes, and instructing students and parents to inform themselves about whether they support MASSPIRG’s efforts or not.

When it was decided that this was a possibility, then my vote changed to ‘yes.’

The point of this letter is to explain why I decided to change my vote, especially after leading the charge against the waivable fee, which will continue to exist. I was conflicted up until the second I had to say my vote.

These issues are what my fuel my service in the Student Government, just as they fuel a lot of my fellow senators’ work.

I want to extend a ‘congratulations’ to MASSPIRG for their securing of another two-year mandate, and a ‘good job’ to the Student Government Association for remaining the solid voice on this campus.

I also recognize the unique circumstance that allows this letter to appear in print in The Westfield Voice. As editor-in-chief, I did not have to send the letter to the editor, as I would be receiving a letter I wrote myself.

I decided to write this in letter format because to put it in the ‘Editor’s Desk’ would be inappropriate and not in accordance with my belief in keeping my two positions on this campus separate.

If any senator or constituent wants to respond or offer their own opinions of the meeting, please send your ‘letter to the editor’ to [email protected]

Sincerely,

Joshua Clark ’15

Representative-at-Large

Student Government Assoc.

 

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