By Michael Sugerman, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 15, 2014
In its first meeting Tuesday night, the fourth Central Student Government assembly officially swore in its new executives and assembly members, all of whom pledged to “preserve and champion the all-campus constitution of the Ann Arbor student body.”
The new assembly discussed three resolutions — one supporting a budget increase; another establishing a CSG partnership with the Alumni Association to expand the LEAD Scholars program, which grants four-year merit scholarships to underprivileged students and a third that would allocate funds to make CSG backpack tags to increase awareness of representatives within the community.
The most discussed resolution was the budget-focused one — which suggests a two-dollar raise to the student fee. The fee has not risen from its current rate, $7.19, since 2005.
The resolution reads: “Contingent upon approval of the fee limit increase by the Board of Regents, the Assembly supports raising the Central Student Government fee to the maximum limit approved by the student body and the Board of Regents.”
Business senior Michael Proppe, former CSG president, said in a presentation to the assembly that the fee, which is the CSG’s primary source of funding, could even be raised by $2.81 to an even 10 dollars.
Proppe said raising the fee would only increase tuition .015 percent, compared to a 32 percent increase in CSG revenue that could be used to aid student organizations— a goal
that was impeded this year by lower enrollment and less “carry forward” funds from past administrations.
Business senior Eric Kibler, CSG treasurer, added that CSG’s recently updated policy of providing rolling applications, three times each semester, for student organizations seeking funding has increased the use of funds, which drains the budget more quickly. Hence, a larger budget could help meet the needs of more student organizations.
“We have more organizations applying for more money. We are actually awarding more money to organizations,” Proppe said. “The carry forward has come way down. We have an average of 260K per year in the old system compared to 40K now”
According to a campus poll sent out by the CSG last week, 60 percent of the 2,000 student respondents support the $2 increase, whereas 50.19 percent favor the $2.81 increase.
Although the assembly did not vote on the resolutions, members did elect the 2014-2015 speaker and vice speaker of the assembly: LSA junior Christian Bashi and Public Policy junior Laurel Ruza, respectively.
In his opening remarks to the assembly following this selection process, Public Policy junior Bobby Dishell, CSG president, welcomed new representatives and also plugged the accomplishments of Big Ten on the Hill earlier this month.
Big Ten on the Hill is a spring conference in which student government delegations from each university in the Big Ten go to Washington, D.C. to meet with their state’s Congressional representatives and lobby for initiatives that are beneficial to college students.
Rackham student Adi Sathi, the executive director of the Association of Big Ten Students, said in an e-mail that the event was a success.
“It was a great honor to work with such great student leaders and discuss higher education policy as well as campus issues such as mental health and sexual assault prevention with the 14 schools in the Big Ten,” Sathi wrote.