One University meeting sets out structure for future of coalition

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 8:02pm

U-M Flint Student Government, University staff and students meet over video conference to discuss uniting the three University campuses at the LEO Office in Ann Arbor Thursday.

U-M Flint Student Government, University staff and students meet over video conference to discuss uniting the three University campuses at the LEO Office in Ann Arbor Thursday. Buy this photo
Cameron Hunt/Daily

On Thursday afternoon, representatives from the recently formed One University Campaign met for their second coalition meeting at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus, discussing a number of resolutions regarding the future leadership and objectives of the campaign. A satellite conference was held on the University’s Dearborn campus, and in Ann Arbor at the Lecturers’ Employee Organization and Graduate Employees Organization offices.

The One University Campaign, which was founded last semester, aims to promote equity, specifically in funding and opportunities provided to students, between the University’s campuses. Both the lecturers’ and graduate students’ unions have taken an active role in promoting the University’s policies of diversity, equity and inclusion across the three campuses.

LEO President Ian Robinson, a member of the 1U campaign, explained promoting the campaign’s goals would serve to increase equity of funding and student opportunities between Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint.

“You can make a really big difference in Flint and Dearborn, in terms of amount of money there is available per student, with transfers from Ann Arbor or from Lansing that look pretty small by comparison to the overall budget we have here in Ann Arbor,” Robinson said.

Robinson also emphasized negotiations with the Board of Regents and administration have been difficult — despite the Ann Arbor campus’s endowment and revenue from tuition, many University leaders are reluctant to reallocate funds to Dearborn or Flint.

“Right now they’re the kind of people who came up with, and are now defending, the policies that come in the way of equity,” Robinson said. “The current view in Ann Arbor is that each of our three campuses should have watertight compartments across the three campuses so that resources can’t really be transferred back and forth.”

During the coalition meeting Thursday, attendees began to set out a coalition platform, delineating the objectives of the 1U campaign. In crafting this platform, attendees voted on whether or not to include measures such as equalizing faculty funding across campuses, expanding the Go Blue Guarantee to Dearborn and Flint, and allocating funds to scholarships and study abroad programs.

Tyrice Denson, director of foreign outreach for Student Government at U-M Flint, began the meeting by describing recent actions 1U had taken to gather support among the staff and student body for the coalition’s goals.

“We went and presented to Central Student Government to outline the platform to them,” Denson said. “The feedback I got from that was overwhelmingly positive. I think that a lot of people in CSG are supportive of the idea of breaking down those barriers and having more equitable resources.”

The central discussion point Thursday was the creation of a 1U steering committee, which would be tasked with overseeing the day-to-day work of the organization.

According to the proposal announced during the meeting, these tasks would include establishing all campaign-related agendas, finding speakers for public action; engaging the media and elected officials and creating communications.

Attendees at the meeting decided members would self-nominate for positions on the steering committee, and ideally represent a wide range of University perspectives, including undergraduates, graduates and lecturers as well as tenured and untenured professors.

LSA junior Sharif-Ahmed Krabti was one of the 1U members who self-nominated for a position on the newly established board. Ultimately, four members volunteered for positions from Flint, one from Dearborn and three from Ann Arbor.

As a member of the new 1U leadership structure, Krabti explained he was optimistic about the foundation the steering committee would provide for the future of the organization.

“I’m feeling really confident about the decisions we made,” Krabti said. “I’m glad that we are putting forth a steering committee and a platform, pending approval. Those are all really tangible first steps. I feel really good about the coalition’s structure, it has a big focus on equity and inclusivity within the conversation and the decision-making process.”