Oppold Urges Change In Address to the UABy Laura McGrath Moulton
Undergraduate Association President Paul T. Oppold called for sweeping structural changes within the UA and greater long term planning in his ambitious and wide-ranging State of the UA Address last night.
Oppold explored his overall vision for a the future of the UA a proactive and policy-driving student government in his yearly speech. Currently the UA spends too much time simply reacting to events and administrative decisions, he said.
Oppold's address focused on the structure of the UA and its role in the larger MIT community. While characterizing the UA as "strong, responsible, enjoyable, active, and effective," he cautioned that it had nonetheless "reached the pinnacle of its current structure" and must be revamped if future progress is to be made.
Oppold plans to revamp UA
Oppold outlined a new UA structure to be developed in two phases. A "quick fix" will occur in the next six months and will involve a larger UA Council including representatives chosen by major and class year as well as by living group.
In the longer term, the structure of the UA would be more completely overhauled under Oppold's plan. The Council would serve more strictly as a legislative, rather than an executive body and would meet about once a month.
The executive branch would also be enlarged to create a "breadth in hierarchy" so that underclassmen could have more opportunities for advancement within the UA.
In addition, a cabinet would be created to serve as a more effective liaison with the administration. Cabinet members would be assigned to key administrators with whom they would meet on a regular basis. Oppold said that several administrators, including Associate Dean for Residence Life and Student Life Programs Andrew M. Eisenmann '75, have responded favorably to the idea.
Oppold also called for a more powerful role for the judicial branch of the UA. Noting that students facing disciplinary proceedings currently have recourse only to administrators, he called for greater student input and authority in matters of discipline.
To round out his vision of a more proactive UA, Oppold announced the creation of a new committee, the 2010 committee. He noted that 2010 will be in many respects the end result of the issues currently up in the air over 2001. The exact goals, duties and membership of the committee will be announced at a later date.
Oppold dicusses achievments
Oppold also discussed his administration's achievements. Recalling his campaign promises, he mentioned the Fall Festival, Spring Weekend, and discussion of the social role of the Student Center in fulfillment of his goal to find "alcohol alternatives"for under-graduates. In addition, he stressed his commitment to fostering "well-rounded oppor-tunities" through student activities funding boosts and careful evaluation of undergraduate scheduling.
Even as Oppold was making his address, the race to succeed him was begining. Petitions for candidates to be placed on the ballot for UA president are due February 20th.