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January 30, 2024

FSU Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

January 30, 2024, 3:30pm (Zoom)

Executive Committee Members Present: Caroline Coscia (President); Sana Haroon (Vice President); Suha Ballout; Lynne Benson; Dana Commesso; Monique Fuguet; Jessica Holden; Patricia Krueger-Henney; Linda Liu; Jared Poole; Wei Zhang

Others Present: Lorenzo Nencioli (FSU Senior Staff Member); Katie D’Urso (MTA Field Rep); Joel Fish; Suzanne Morris; Natalia Scarpetti; Lakshmi Srinivas


  1. Approval of Minutes: Motion to approve the minutes of the December 5 Executive Committee meeting. Motion seconded. Motion passes.

  2. Katie D’Urso – MTA Representative: Katie announces that she will be representing UMass Amherst full-time starting next week, but she will stay on our Core Bargaining Team through this current cycle. Our new MTA representative will be Maria Hegbloom, a tenured faculty member at Bridgewater. Katie will work closely with Maria to help her transition into her new position. Katie provides an update on the Newton teachers strike: MTA is helping with the strike behind the scenes. Newton teachers would appreciate any support we can give them. They are on the picket line from 7:30-1:00 every day and are holding rallies over the weekends. There is a fundraiser to pay for fines that have been imposed on the teachers. All of their proposals are on their website, including having a social worker in every school.

  3. Spring 2024 Election: Caroline announces that she will run for re-election for President. Dana: The spring election is officially underway. The Elections Committee has received one nomination so far for a tenured position. The deadline for nominations is February 23. Travis Johnston continues to run Qualtrics for us.

  4. 2024 Annual Meeting: We must hold this membership meeting every year in order to adopt the annual budget. We must have 20 FSU members in the meeting in order to do business. Motion to hold the 2024 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, April 23 from 3:00-5:00pm. Motion seconded. Motion passes.

  5. Semester Initiative – International Faculty (Sana): Sana asks that the FSU sponsor an event with Dr. Pallavi Banerjee, a gender studies scholar at the University of Calgary, who will be giving a book talk on International Women’s Day, March 8, from 12:00-2:00pm. Dr. Banerjee’s talk will comprise the first hour of the event and will be followed by a lunch. Dr. Banerjee’s work focuses on the impact of the visa process on the family and on gender relations, and is relevant to many of our faculty colleagues and graduate students. Sana requests $200 of funding from FSU, which would match the same amount being provided by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, the Women’s Center, and the Asian Studies Department. Motion to sign on as a formal sponsor of the event. Motion seconded. Motion passes. Motion to contribute $200 for this event. Motion seconded. Motion passes. FSU will deliver flyers to key people in Administration.

  6. Quick Bargaining Updates: The LGBTQIA+ Caucus is holding a forum next Thursday, February 8, to discuss any concerns or priorities that members might have for bargaining.

    The Core Bargaining Team is meeting 2-3 times in February to prepare proposals. Main table sessions will begin after spring break. FSU is meeting with the Administration in a couple of weeks to discuss bargaining modality. We want to bargain over Zoom.

  7. Spring Membership Outreach Plan: We currently have a low number of new members who join the FSU. We have a high number of associate lecturers at UMass Boston. We should reach out to new faculty to encourage them to join the union. We can specifically reach out to Senior Lecturer IIIs, since we recently won that rank for them in bargaining.

  8. Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Black Life: Caroline shared Marie Bowen’s email regarding this position with the Executive Committee. Faculty Council received the same email. The nomination deadline is February 16. Nominees must be tenured, and the person selected would start in the fall for a two-year position. FSU has the ability to nominate someone.

  9. Committee/Activity Updates: Lynne provides an update on the University Dining Committee, where she serves as a representative. The committee met on December 14. There was a petition with 174 signatures to reopen the University Dining Club. The UDC reopened in September 2023, no food or amenities are provided, just the space. There are no napkins, dinnerware, water, or microwave. Discussion of Sodexo’s monopoly on our dining services and the fact that the university has a responsibility to provide a space that fosters scholarly collaboration. The Restorative Justice Commission is getting involved with the UDC committee.

    Sana leads a discussion regarding student groups’ dining needs. Various student groups have petitioned the university for ethnic and halal food at university events. When students ask for this food, Sodexo can’t provide it, and Sodexo charges a per attendee fee for outside vendors. Vendors must go through an expensive and cumbersome process in order to be a vendor on our campus, and they must reapply every year. This issue is magnifying racial discrimination on our campus and across our city. Discussion of how this intersects with our faculty’s concerns and how to support our students who are being affected by this. Ideas include collaborating with the student government, getting a copy of the Sodexo contract, and writing pieces on this for The Point and the Mass Media.

  10. Outstanding Items: Georgianna Melendez’s position: We have been told that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is being restructured. Who is doing the restructuring?  Discussion of a New York Post article on UMB removing DEI statements from job postings:

    Dana provides an update on the new NTT faculty, a new initiative at the university. FSU participated in the orientation.