The University of Michigan Residence Halls Association gathered on Thursday night in Couzens Residence Hall to discuss funding for various student groups, as well as the vacant position currently on their executive board created by the unexpected resignation of one member, who cited an unwelcoming environment as a motivation. The assembly heard from a diverse group of student representatives from several organizations on campus, and voted on new legislation regarding the selection of residence hall representatives for next year.
Speakers from Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) both presented information on their respective groups and submitted requests for funding from RHA. From upcoming fundraisers to compensating for past expenditures, speakers expressed the advantage of accruing residence halls’ funding for their efforts. Both organizations target students living in dorms for membership and support, and cited this as a reason for seeking residence hall funding. Both Omega Psi Phi and TASA received funding after describing their requests to representatives.
During reports from the executive board, various concerns related to unfilled executive board positions and the potential repercussions from this drawback arose. Assistant Director Eric Aiken assured students this bump in the road would not hinder RHA’s goals for the upcoming semester, and spots will be filled as soon as possible.
“We (have to) keep morale up,” Aiken said while addressing student representatives. “Remember that you have been sworn in to be a representative in order to represent the residents.”
These concerns follow the recent resignation of LSA sophomore Arsha Venkat, vice president of marketing. Venkat announced her resignation through printed slips of paper that were distributed to student speakers and representatives during Thursday night’s meeting.
“The environment created by some members of the executive board has been extremely difficult to work in,” Venkat wrote. “The attitudes expressed by this board are not in line with what the University claims to stand for.”
Venkat did not go into further detail regarding the reasons behind her resignation. Following the reading of Venkat’s statement, the assembly voted to accept Venkat’s resignation.
In an email, Engineering sophomore Dylan Rushton, the RHA president, wrote the executive board was disappointed to see Venkat’s resignation but hopes she has success in the future.
“We are sorry to see Arsha go,” Rushton wrote. “We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
Additionally, the student representatives heard from Rushton and Engineering junior Matthew Malinak, the RHA Vice President of Records, regarding a new resolution to amend the process of re-electing representatives for a second year on RHA. This resolution guarantees returning representatives housing while serving, an incentive many representatives found attractive. Based on a very low number of representatives returning to RHA, Rushton and Malinak proposed a new way of applying for a second year.
“The best way to learn something is by experiencing it yourself,” Rushton said. “What we would like (are) elections, or at least some sort of selection process that allows representatives to return to this assembly.”
The assembly voted to pass this resolution, giving current representatives the ability to serve another term on RHA more easily.