UA Update

Lerman Visits, Executive Positions Approved, and Senate Officers Elected

Before the Senate proceedings last Monday, Vice Chancellor and Dean for Graduate Education Steven R. Lerman ’72 met with students for a town-hall style meeting. Based on his experiences with the Institute, Lerman presented his perspective on how life at MIT has changed over the last decades, differences between undergraduate and graduate student culture, and the development of Athena. Additionally, he touched upon the bias that exists in the personnel aspect of the budget cuts due to administrators making the decisions, and he also mentioned the need for renovation both in dormitories and academic buildings.

The Senate meeting itself began with legislation that had been tabled at other meetings. Seventy-five dollars was allocated to fund Palestine@MIT from the UA Fresh Fund. Another bill was passed reforming the position of Secretary General so that the position interfaces better with the relatively new History Committee and the reformed Communications Committee.

The majority of the meeting dealt with approving executive positions and electing Senate officers for the 2009–2010 school year. Paul Baranay ’11 was elected Senate Speaker, Timothy J. Stumbaugh ’12 was elected to Senate Vice-Chair, Catherine A. Olsson ’12 was elected to Senate Representative to Finboard, and Richard A. Dahan ’12 was elected Senate Representative to Exec.

Elizabeth A. Denys ’11 was confirmed as Secretary General, Alexander W. Dehnert ’12 was confirmed as Treasurer, and Quentin Smith ’10 (also The Tech’s technology director) was confirmed as Vice President of Information Systems. The UA Finance Board will be chaired by Danielle J. Wang ’11 and co-chaired by Jarrell D. Johnson ’10. Cynthia A. Bouldrick ’11, Christopher T. Carper ’10, Emily Zhao ’12, and Suniti Sundaram ’11 were approved as members for the Finance Board. The UA Student Committee on Educational Policy will be chaired by Sukrit Ranjan ’10, with co-vice-chairs Ankit Gordhandas ‘10 and Liyan David Chang ’12. Rachel Meyer ’10 will serve as the Chair of the History Committee, with Dehnert as vice-chair. Alexandra M. Jordan ’11 was approved as the vice-chair for the Dining Committee. The Committee on Athletics will have Catherine Melnikow ’10 as chair and Zachary W. Rose ’10 as vice-chair next year. Aditi Verma ’12 will serve as the chair of the Committee on Space Planning. Kashif Rayani ’11 will chair the Committee on Student Life and will be working with vice-chairs Daniel D. Hawkins ’12 and Dahan. The Committee on Sustainability will be chaired by Samantha G. Wyman ’11.

The confirmed nominees to serve on Institute Committees next year is available at http://ua.mit.edu/nomcomm/nominees2009.pdf. A new slate for membership Corporation Joint Advisory Committee will be presented for approval at the next Senate meeting on May 11 along with appointments for other UA positions.

Finally, as the both the Dining Proposal Committee and Blue Ribbon Committee on Dining draft reports had been released, Senate discussed what the next steps should be with respect to dining, but decided that further discussion would be needed. An emergency Senate meeting will likely be held next week to address dining.

—Elizabeth Denys, UA Secretary General