Central Student Government brought multiple resolutions to the assembly floor at their Tuesday meeting, including proposals related to immigration policy and funding. During the session, CSG vetoed a resolution to support making the University a sanctuary campus and heard several options for spending the remainder of their legislative discretionary fund. The assembly also received an update on the University’s ongoing debate over the release of course evaluation data.
CSG President Cooper Charlton, an LSA senior, reported to the assembly that conversations about the release of course evaluations are ongoing with the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.
Cooper said the three stipulations CSG wants met are the release of course evaluations to advisers by Winter 2016, a written commitment by the Faculty Senate regarding a new course evaluation instrument by fall of 2016 and for the CSG executive committee to be given access to the content of course evaluations before an official release.
CSG Communications Director Alexandra George, a Public Policy junior, said CSG is privy to the information about course evaluations through one-on-one meetings with members of the Faculty Senate.
“We have a timeline for the release of course evaluations, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that deadline is met,” George said.
George said CSG felt its efforts regarding course evaluations are not finished, and noted that the ability to review the results further would make them more equipped to make suggestions for improving the instrument and the questions asked.
“For Central Student Government to have course evaluation data at our disposal, we not only gain the ability to utilize a system of checks and balances, but we can further our agenda to improve the instrument itself,” George said.
Along with course evaluations, Charlton also said CSG is working with LSA Dean Andrew Martin to examine accommodations for students who require additional time during exams.
CSG vetoes sanctuary campus resolution
The assembly vetoed a resolution to make the University a sanctuary campus for undocumented students. The resolution was promoted by the activist group By Any Means Necessary.
Nine assembly members voted in favor, 10 were opposed and 12 abstained from the vote.
The distinction would have meant that the University would promise not to turn over undocumented students to U.S. Immigrations Control and Enforcement, a pledge that has been taken up by several campuses and cities across the country, including Ann Arbor.
Before the assembly voted on the resolution, two amendments were allowed on the floor for voting, one written by BAMN and the other put forth by the Resolutions Committee.
The Resolutions Committee proposal aimed to clean up language in the amendment and remove words such as “racism” and “bigotry” to characterize the University’s opinion on undocumented students.
BAMN noted that they sat down with the Resolutions Committee to craft an amendment to their resolution, which is what they said they presented Tuesday, but CSG drafted their own resolution anyway.
CSG also considered resolutions regarding how to spend the remaining $18,000 of its legislative fund, which is the amount the CSG budget sets aside for its own projects.
CSG began the year with $28,000 to be allocated at the discretion of the assembly.
Currently, the only initiative that has been funded was an initiative to open dining halls earlier on game days, for which CSG gave Michigan Dining $10,000. The aim of the program is to curb dangerous drinking on these days. There is $18,000 left in the fund.
The Maize and Blue Cupboard, a food bank program for University students, was the first funding request heard at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Maize and Blue Cupboard operates under Enactus, an entrepreneurial organization founded at the University. The cupboard takes unsold food from local grocery stores that would have been thrown away and distributes it to students at the Michigan Union one Wednesday per month.
The request asked CSG to pay a $650 application fee for the program to register as a nonprofit as well as $350 for the creation of a stockpile of canned goods for distribution.
Public Policy junior Matt Fidel, a co-author of the resolution, said there were no downsides to CSG involvement in the project.
“It’s an ideal role for CSG,” Fidel said. “We can reach a greater number of students.”
Business sophomore Zoe Hawtof , current president of the program, said the Maize and Blue Cupboard is like a second kitchen for students on campus who are unable to travel to Kroger or afford the prices of closer grocery stores.
“We want to be that extra monthly go-to place when a student feels like they’re struggling,” Hawtof said.
A second funding request for 15 additional water refill stations around the University was also put forward Tuesday, totalling to $7,500.
Resolution authors said the request was an effort to satisfy sustainability initiatives on campus by encouraging the use of refillable water bottles and lower waste from plastic water bottles.
Business senior Kevin Ziegler, CSG treasurer, said Barbara Hagan, a representative from the Office of Campus Sustainability, approached CSG about the project.
“There’s really two costs — the cost of the unit and the cost of installation,” Ziegler said, “We’re just paying for the units.”
Ziegler added that he’d like to hear from students where they believe the stations should be placed.
Rackham student Jared Ferguson, CSG rules committee chair, noted that CSG has funded similar initiatives in past years. In 2010, he said, CSG funded 18 water refill stations.
“We’ve sort of been doing this off and on for the last several years,” Ferguson said.
Ziegler said the stations would be on both Central and North Campus to be accessible for all students.
CSG representative David Schafer, an LSA junior, said he has been talking with Bryan Baker, the Department of Public Safety and Security liaison to Student Life, about creating an online presence for University police officers with the hope of strengthening the relationship between DPSS and students.
Schafer said CSG is working to create weekly videos in which DPSS officers discuss their work on campus in areas such as sexual misconduct, drug and alcohol abuse and the medical amnesty policy.
Correction appended: The initiative with DPSS has been clarified.