The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government met virtually on Tuesday for the first time since the dismissal of now-former University President Mark Schlissel. The assembly discussed the establishment of a new task force to recommend a replacement for Schlissel and a resolution to set a budget for the winter semester.
LSA senior Vincent Pinti, CSG Representative and Resolutions Chair, was one of the sponsors of the resolution to create the task force for seeking and recommending a new University president. Pinti said students should have input in the search process because the decisions that the University president makes can directly impact students on campus. The proposal also requires representation from the Flint and Dearborn campuses and a minimum of four female members.
“It (having input in the search), I believe, is one of the single biggest opportunities that we have been granted as this assembly and any assembly before it,” Pinti said. “The president of the University, it goes without saying, is an incredibly critical role for the day-to-day goings of this university, for the way we do it and perceive it as an institution, and the way marginalized groups survive on this campus. And I believe that we must be the ones that select the next president.”
Joseph Lobodzinski, LSA senior and CSG Vice Speaker who also sponsored the resolution, said Schlissel’s presidency failed to listen to the concerns of the student body. Lobodzinski also said the task force, which would be distinct from the official search process, was necessary to address the “rampant climate of sexual harassment and assault on this campus.”
“We as students need to take the charge and (on) this initiative, even if it means just doing our own thing,” Lobodzinski said. “Because we definitely can’t rely on University leadership to do anything anymore.”
Rackham student Hayden Jackson, the student organization committee director, was one of multiple people who challenged the resolution on grounds of practicality and inclusivity.
Jackson said the proposed task force lacked staff and faculty representation, which limited its perspective. He also said the scope of the job was unrealistic for a student task force.
“This is going to result in a decision that isn’t going to be taken seriously by anyone,” Jackson said. “Frankly, (it) may not end up being the best decision even for the students, given the limitations on CSG to actually doing this.”
Claire Arp, LSA sophomore and CSG representative, agreed with Jackson about the practicality of the task force and added that the makeup of the task force should be more inclusive to marginalized students.
“We should have specific members on the task force to represent specific interests that we want to make sure will be represented by the next president,” Arp said.
The resolution was moved to a committee for further discussion after a motion to advance it failed by a vote of eight CSG members in favor and fourteen members opposed.
CSG also discussed a resolution to set its budget for the winter semester, referring the resolution to a committee by unanimous consent.
The assembly also heard a report by LSA freshman Taylor Quick, the deputy elections director, on the November CSG elections. It also participated in a workshop led by Disability Culture at the University of Michigan, an organization that advocates for disability culture on campus.
Additionally, Business freshman Lauren Billnitzer and LSA freshman Bipasha Ray were both unanimously confirmed as co-chief programming officers.
Daily Staff Reporter Eli Friedman can be reached at email@example.com.