Amendments to Regents' bylaw proposed at CSG meeting

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 11:31pm

Todd Sevig, Director of Counseling and Pyschological Services, speaks on student mental health concerns during the Central Student Government meeting on Tuesday.

Todd Sevig, Director of Counseling and Pyschological Services, speaks on student mental health concerns during the Central Student Government meeting on Tuesday. Buy this photo
Greg Goss/Daily

 

The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government proposed an amendment to the Board of Regents bylaws to reintroduce a section pertaining to student voice at their meeting Tuesday.

The body also heard from Todd Sevig, director of Counseling and Psychological Services.

In his executive communications to the body, CSG President Cooper Charlton, LSA senior, addressed the previously existing Section VII of the regent’s bylaws, which discussed student affairs and the incorporation of student opinions in University affairs.

“In 2011 the Regent bylaws were ‘cleaned-up,’ so-to-speak,” he said. “Section VII was removed, which indicates the importance of student voice in the process of decision making in the University. We want to reinstitute (Section VII) and make sure that there is a healthy relationship. Let’s codify and show how important it is for students to have a voice in the decision-making process.”

Public Policy sophomore Jacob Pearlman, CSG student legal counsel, wrote in an e-mail interview that CSG was working with several executive officers to re-add the language.

“CSG is working closely with Vice Presidents Churchill and Harper to add language to the currently nonexistent Chapter VII,” Pearlman wrote. “This language will reaffirm the University’s commitment to ensure that students are in an environment to thrive as Leaders and Best.”

Pearlman added that CSG is currently collaborating to put together the proposed language, and aim to have it adopted in the next few months. Changing the Regents’ bylaws requires vote of the Regents at one of their regularly scheduled meetings.

Guest Speaker

Sevig addressed the assembly Tuesday on the advances CAPS has made in recent months to provide resources to students. In particular, he discussed the CAPS after hours phone service which was launched in October 2015, an increase in students seeking services and an upcoming event later this month on suicide prevention.

“We are the student counseling center,” he said. “We don’t exist just to exist for me, for the professional staff, and we don’t technically exist for the University. When we wake up in the morning our sole purpose is to care about is you, and your 43,000 other classmates.”

Sevig said starting in the fall, all incoming students will be provided Mcards with the CAPS after hours phone service number on the back.

CSG has discussed endorsing this initiative multiple times in recent weeks, and passed a resolution supporting the new Mcards Tuesday.

The CAPS phone service went live on Oct. 5 of last year, and Sevig said it took two to three years to research and put together a functioning system. In the first months the line averaged 70 to 100 calls, but in recent months the number has settled to an average of 65 to 70 per month, according to Sevig.

“This is a signal that the University does care about you,” he said. “They care about your mental health, both crisis-oriented and from day to day. Also, we are not aware of any other colleges or universities that have put a mental health-dedicated phone line on the back of their IDs.”

New Business

A new resolution was brought to the assembly floor Tuesday night regarding in-state tuition for nontraditional and undocumented graduate students . The resolution states that, if passed, CSG will work with the Coalition for Tuition, Migrant and Immigrant Rights Advocacy and other organizations to encourage the University to extend in-state tuition to these groups.

Currently, the University offers in-state tuition to undocumented undergraduate students, following a vote to change the residency guidelines by the University’s Board of Regents in July of 2013.

One of the resolution’s authors, Public Policy masters candidate Luz Meza, said the proposed change would enhance campus diversity.

“Diversity isn’t a word that people just throw around,” Meza said. “It’s something that we are actively working on on campus.”