The University of Michigan Central Student Government convened Tuesday night in the Michigan League to review the Student Organization Funding Committee’s work and proposed resolutions before the end of fall semester.
CSG President Daniel Greene, a Public Policy senior, opened the meeting by welcoming representatives and reviewing upcoming CSG events. He said CSG will provide free food in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library and the Duderstadt Center Wednesday and Thursday for finals, and is sponsoring an event with mental health groups Wednesday night that will offer ways to reduce stress.
“We have a lot of structural events going on, especially with finals coming up,” Greene said. “The idea is while sitting in that chair or immediately upon leaving the room, you will have 10 new things or hopefully things that you can do to reduce your stress and anxiety.”
Greene then introduced students of the Latino/a Theatre for Social Change to perform a play titled “Dear University of Michigan.” The play highlighted the experiences of undocumented students on campus.
Performers said they hope to see several changes on campus: the addition of a legal services officer with a specialty in immigration, a change to the “28-month rule” regarding in-state tuition, the addition of a phone number for legal services to the back of Mcards and an increase in career services and other resources for undocumented students.
Performer Daniel Lopez, an LSA senior, said the University’s current policies have failed undocumented students and changes are vital for the success of future undocumented students and the University as a whole.
“University of Michigan, you were not ready for me,” Lopez said. “You need to do more and better for the many undocumented students that will come after me. They are your future and some of your greatest resources.”
Following the performance, Greene said he hopes to see a resolution-building workshop in January based on the issues addressed in the performance. Many CSG members expressed interest in sponsoring a potential resolution to support the undocumented community of students.
SOFC Head Chair Anthony Garvey, an LSA senior, presented the SOFC fall 2018 Membership Report which stated student groups submitted 328 applications for funding over nine deadlines throughout the semester. Student groups can apply once for each deadline.
Garvey said there was a 33.36 percent average award rate for funding applicants. He noted the two largest student groups to receive funding were athletic student organizations such as Quidditch and club ice hockey.
He also said bystander intervention training is required for student organizations to receive more than $1,000 from SOFC. Garvey said 70 organizations completed this training with about 130 authorized signers by the end of the semester.
Garvey also noted the $65,000 left in the fund will roll over into the winter semester, as funding requests typically increase by 50 percent.
“We had about 328 different student organization applications requesting over $500,000, which is an incredible amount for one semester,” Garvey said. “Club sports and other athletic organizations receive a large majority of our funds, and that’s because they actually apply more often than student organizations, as well as they have an extraordinary amount of expenses.”
After reviewing the SOFC report, CSG looked at resolution proposals. The first resolution proposed holding funding for a large-scale, high-profile mental health summit on campus in March, attracting people from on campus and elsewhere. Another resolution focused on food insecurities on campus. A planned expansion of the MAIZE and Blue Cupboard has been delayed, leaving some students without access to food. The CSG resolution proposed providing short-term support while awaiting more information on the MAIZE and Blue Cupboard. Both resolutions passed.
Additionally, the Student Assembly looked at changing the process of selecting the SOFC chair to nomination by the outgoing CSG president and review by the outgoing Assembly’s Executive Nominations Committee. The nomination would then be approved by the new Assembly.
Greene stressed the importance of listening to students. Specifically, he expressed concern over changing the SOFC chair nomination procedures because this would place emphasis on his opinion, even though he would no longer hold his current position.
“To me, elections are a demonstration symbolic of the needs, desires and wants of our student body and our constituency that’s updated every year, both in November and March,” Greene said. “How can I as a president for this Assembly — who was elected a year ago — make decisions for the next Assembly, knowing that the upcoming election can produce new mandates and produce a shift in the desires of the student body that’s reflected within the democratic institution before me?”