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The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met virtually Monday afternoon to discuss open-mic sessions for Senate Assembly members and extending the Go Blue Guarantee to the Dearborn and Flint campuses. The committee also provided a statement in response to Wednesday’s insurrection at the Capitol Building. 

Irina Aristarkhova, associate professor of art and design and chair of the Committee for Fairness, Equity, and Inclusion, and Jason Kosnoski, political science professor at U-M Flint, discussed the possibility of bringing the Go Blue Guarantee to the Flint and Dearborn campuses. The GBG waives tuition for Michigan students whose families make less than $65,000 per year.

“The DEI initiative often focuses on bringing diverse populations to campus,” Aristarkhova said. “This year, we decided to focus on defining inclusion.”

According to Kosnoski, students at the Flint and Dearborn campuses graduate with more debt because they lack the GBG program. Kosnoski presented a resolution requesting that the GBG be extended to the Flint and Dearborn campuses to support the goals of the One University Campaign.

For nearly two years, student activists from 1U have called on the University to adequately distribute resources across the three campuses, frequently attending Board of Regents meetings to advocate for their cause. One of their central demands is extending the GBG to the Flint and Dearborn campuses, which 1U members say will bridge the economic divide between the campuses.

Information professor Kentaro Toyama said extending the GBG will promote inclusion, a core tenet of DEI initiatives.

“The Flint and Dearborn campuses are where most of the diverse students are, so the easiest way for us to diversify our student body is to spend more on those campuses,” Toyama said.

The committee agreed, approving the resolution in a vote of 6-1. This resolution will be passed on to University President Mark Schlissel and his administration for further discussion.

SACUA also provided a statement in response to recent political violence at the Capitol, noting the importance of civil, non-violent public discourse and of stemming misinformation. A copy of the statement was provided to The Daily.

“The events of the past year, including racial violence, threats to the welfare of our elected leaders, and wide dissemination of falsehoods about our democratic processes have called into question the viability of our democracy,” an excerpt of the statement reads. “We are committed to ensuring the fact-based discourse upon which that democracy must rely continues to prevail.”

The statement was endorsed with six votes yes and one abstention.

The meeting also discussed the open-mic sessions, which allow members of the Senate Assembly — all faculty members — to discuss issues with SACUA. SACUA Chair Colleen Conway, professor in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, explained that all the chairs of the Senate Assembly committees and their members will participate in an open-mic night this coming semester.

“Any faculty member who wants to come forth and let a SACUA member know about anything will have that opportunity,” Conway said.

Members discussed the Senate Assembly agenda for their next meeting on Jan. 25, which will include 14 team members from Guidepost Solutions — a New York-based consulting firm tasked with implementing recommendations from the WilmerHale report into sexual misconduct investigations. The WilmerHale report was created in response to multiple sexual misconduct allegations against former Provost Martin Philbert.

Astronomy professor Elena Gallo said it is important that faculty members who voice their concerns to Guidepost are granted confidentiality.

“There’s a possibility that someone might want to bring up a story or issues that are extremely delicate and they won’t feel particularly comfortable doing that,” Gallo said. “It would be best if they have the ability to talk one-on-one with a Guidepost representative.”

SACUA members also discussed their upcoming election in March as well as the Nominating Committee, which will help finalize the list of candidates for the election. Members talked about the importance of having all schools and colleges represented on the list of candidates and in the committee. 

Neil Marsh, professor of chemistry, pointed out that no one from the Medical School was on SACUA this year.

“The reason there is no one from Medical School is because we had a whole bunch of people in the last election and the Medical School vote split, so there is an issue of having too many candidates and the rules are confusing as well on a limit of who can run,” Marsh said. “Figuring out how many votes people can cast on the ballot for the number of seats that are allocated would be really important.”

Daily Staff Reporter Kate Weiland can be reached at kmwblue@umich.edu

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