At their first meeting of academic year, Central Student Government attempted to make headway on several campaign promises from last semester’s election, including a push to reintroduce a former bylaw outlining the role of student voices and input in decisions made by the Board of Regents.
The bylaw, removed in February 2011, does not require the Board consider student input explicitly or in any large sense. It suggests the student perspective be considered. However, CSG President David Schafer, a LSA senior, remains hopeful this step will be one of many toward a Board that is directly required to include student perspectives. Schafer and his party, newMICH, pledged to create a student seat on the Board of Regents during their campaign — the legality of such a position is still unknown.
“That bylaw highlights the importance of student input in University decision making,” Schafer said. “To reiterate, let’s not view this bylaw as the final product but rather as a foundation upon which more specific efforts can be built that match the spirit of this bylaw.”
The Board of Regents will vote on a proposal to reintroduce the bylaw during their upcoming Sept. 15 meeting.
The CSG resolution that encourages the Board to reintroduce the bylaw also includes a stipulation that the body increases its involvement with the Office of Student Life as well as other University of Michigan administrators, in accordance with the precedent set by Bylaw VII.
“Student participation in University decision-making is important to the quality of the institution and will be sought and encouraged,” the bylaw in question reads. “The Vice President for Student Life will assist students in promoting the establishment of effective mechanisms for such student participation. The University is best served when it considers the impacts of decisions on the student body.”
This is the second time the body has discussed the reintroduction of the bylaw. At a assembly meeting last March, then-CSG President Cooper Charlton discussed the possibility of CSG advocating for its reintroduction.
“In 2011 the Regent bylaws were ‘cleaned-up,’ so-to-speak,” Charlton said at the time. “Section VII was removed, which indicates the importance of student voice in the process of decision making in the University. We want to reinstitute (Section VII) and make sure that there is a healthy relationship. Let’s codify and show how important it is for students to have a voice in the decision-making process.”
The body was also addressed during their first meeting of the fall by E. Royster Harper, vice president of student life, who stressed the importance of Central Student Government members acting as leaders on campus amid an influx of new students.
“Last Friday, we moved in 6,500 new first-year students. It’s the largest new class in Michigan’s history,” Harper said. “We’re going to have to do our individual and collective work about how we live in a very different world.”
She also urged representatives to familiarize themselves with the changes to the sexual misconduct policy introduced last winter, including a stronger emphasis on affirmative consent and changes to the definition of intoxication and to require training session attendance.
“If it’s going to be a safe campus, we have to collectively make it a safe campus,” Harper said.