UA Update

Elections, Senate Meeting Updates, and the Dining Proposal Committee

Electronic voting for the UA elections ran from Monday at 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. Paper ballots are available today from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in Lobby 10, and election results should be published tomorrow.

Before the Senate proceedings last Monday, Senate held a town hall style discussion with Dean for Student Life Chris Colombo, followed by a discussion with members of the Institute-Wide Planning Task Force’s Student Life Working Group. Dean Colombo mentioned the Division of Student Life’s interest in promoting student-alumni relations and emphasized preserving tradition throughout the process of making budget cuts. Additionally, he mentioned that the cuts for fiscal year 2010 have already been made. Muriel Medard, the chair of the Student Life Working Group, requested that students input as many cost-cutting ideas as possible into the Institute-Wide Planning Task Force’s Idea Bank. She also suggested that the best way to change decisions made for the 2010 fiscal year, such as the closing of Lindgren Library and the Aeronautics and Astronautics Library, in future fiscal years would be through communicating as many “better” ideas as possible to the various working groups.

During the Senate meeting on March 16, Senate passed a bill allocating Mass CPR $1500 from the Senate discretionary budget. Students from Course 12 brought a resolution to Senate expressing their concerns over the closing of Lindgren Library. This prompted Senate to discuss whether or not Senate is the appropriate body to evaluate budget-related decisions made by administrators who much more familiar with the relevant finances. However, Senators did show interest in a resolution expressing the flaws in the process used to arrive at this decision, as they believed it was neither transparent enough nor inclusive of all parties affected. The resolution was tabled until the next Senate meeting on April 6, so that it could be rewritten to emphasize the process involved in making the decision instead of the decision itself.

Last week, the undergraduate representatives on the Blue Ribbon Committee on Dining successfully convinced the rest of the committee and Dean Colombo to release both the dining survey data and the focus group transcripts to the Undergraduate Association so that they can be made available to the MIT community. The data was requested by the bill passed in Senate last week. It will be used to aid the UA Dining Proposal Committee in drafting their report.

Seven members for the Dining Proposal Committee were approved by Senate based on the recommendations of the Nominations Committee. The committee currently consists of Vinayak V. Ranade ’09 as chair, Daniel D. Hawkins ’12 as vice-chair, Adam Bockelie ’11, Lyla J. Fischer ’11, Jonathan E. Goldberg G, Allison C. Hinckley ’12, and Fangfei Shen ’11. The Dining Proposal Committee’s first meeting occurred yesterday night. The committee’s meetings will be open to the public, and contributions from the community are encouraged. For more information about the committee, please visit http://ua.mit.edu/dpc/.

—Elizabeth Denys, UA secretary general