Central Student Government President David Schafer, an LSA senior, spoke to the body about issues ranging from diversity to mental health support on campus at their first meeting of the semester on Tuesday,
Schafer specifically highlighted the need to increase the number of staff members in Counseling and Psychological Services, noting that four more full-time members have already been added after discussions between CSG and University Provost Martha Pollack.
“Last year the ratio stood 1 to 14,000 and now it should be down to about 1 to 1,150 to 1 to 1,200,” Schafer said. “Obviously there’s still work to be done but this is a really positive development and this is a strong foundation on which additional work and advocacy in the area of student mental health and well-being can be built.”
The body also discussed new directives to focus on during the year. Schafer said six new directives were considered as a focus for the body’s future goals. These directives include an increase of student input on University decision-making, fostering a more inclusive campus environment, an expanding student access to resources, conducting more sustained CSG outreach, enhancing student opportunities and promoting greater collaboration among students and student organizations.
As well, the body will commission a demographic report of the organization for the first time to be more transparent about the diversity on the assembly. A Michigan Daily report conducted last March found a trend in hegemonic practices after the presidential slot was filled by a man for the seventh consecutive year. In a comparison of CSG presidential and vice presidential representation to the student population, disparities were discovered across the board in almost all categories but white students.
“We are all really committed to ensuring that CSG is more inclusive, diverse and representative in the year ahead,” Schafer said. “I think it’s not only going to hold us more accountable as an organization to improve our diversity in the long term, but it’s also going to allow us to possibly set objectives and measures going forward and benchmarks that we can apply for our future now and in the long term.”
After the data is collected, Schafer said a report about the findings will be published.
In accordance with the directives, Schafer also discussed the launch of an executive order calling for an internal improvement taskforce within the body to improve its demographics and address their diversity as an organization, such as looking into methods of guaranteeing first-year student representation on the body. The taskforce would be staffed by the newly elected Student General Counsel as well as the Chief Justice and Student Judiciary, a member of the CSG Rules Committee and another member of the body.