LSA SG talks resolutions regarding LEO, gender inclusive language
The University of Michigan’s LSA Student Government met Wednesday evening to address the body's election of the winter 2018 election director and four new resolutions, such as supporting the Lecturers’ Employee Organization and advocating for gender inclusive language in bylaws.
The meeting began with announcements from LSA SG President Nicholas Fadanelli addressing their initiative with the University to start classes before Labor Day and not hold classes on Election Day. Fadanelli reported that he has received positive feedback from administrators and is meeting with the registrar in March. Additionally, Fadanelli will soon be meeting with the provost to discuss the University’s consideration of discontinuing “Michigan time,” and having classes end ten minutes early, rather than start ten minutes late.
Academic Relations Officer Hanna Simmons announced that she and several other LSA SG members recently met with administration members of the Residential College to discuss scheduling conflicts with their language requirement. Because the RC is seeking more information on the issue, LSA SG announced their plan to send a survey to students to gather more information.
Andrew Mitchel, an LSA senior, was acknowledged as a highly informed constituent and elected as LSA SG’s winter 2018 election director. Mitchel voiced his concerns about the lack of information many LSA students have when going to vote for their representatives and announced his plans to make candidate platforms more available either through social media or an independent website.
LSA SG members discussed a resolution to support the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, focusing on LEO’s concerns that many University lecturers are grossly underpaid and have a high turnover rate of 40 percent. This turnover rate was said to be in part because of the low salaries, and also in part that the lecturers are given such short notice on whether they will be needed the following semester. Fadanelli underscored the importance of this issue, highlighting how many courses campuswide are taught by LSA lecturers.
SG members questioned the source of the money for a salary raise and whether it would come from a rise in tuition or University reserves. LSA sophomore Brooke Lennox spoke on the conversations she has had with her Russian professor regarding the issue and claims that University regents have the funding for raises. Lennox believes the issue is instead about convincing regents to allocate their resources toward these raises.
“I am in huge support of this,” Lennox said.
LSA SG members also introduced an amendment to previous election rules, focusing on their discussion during the election and clarifying the language of the law. The goal of the resolution is to streamline internal elections by fostering debate from all candidates at the start rather than having to repeat elections, as has been done in years past. LSA SG members also encouraged using comprehensive language to reduce confusion for members in the future.
Members then discussed an amendment to reform the Communications Committee’s ThisSucks@umich.edu, proposing to replace the “ThisSucks” account with a more centralized complaint form on their website. The sponsors of this resolution explained that this web page, Campus Complaints, would increase accessibility to constituents and amplify their voiced concerns.
LSA SG also addressed their internal climate, presenting an amendment about gendered language within their bylaws. The body passed a similar resolution in 2016, but is working to strengthen their bylaws to enforce the abolition of gendered language within their documents and meetings.
Admitting that it is difficult to enforce the use of gender-inclusive language, the sponsors urged the responsibility of every member to be inclusive. Members agreed the purpose of this resolution is to advocate for inclusive language and to encourage people to be educated on the issue.
LSA SG members attested to the effectiveness of such a resolution, despite the inability to be measured metrically, claiming that they have seen change since the original resolution in 2016. Their bylaws no longer include “he,” “him,” or other gender-specific pronouns, while other student governments’ bylaws allegedly still do.
External Relations Officer Lorraine Furtado said the committee will continue to fight for gender-inclusive language.
“We'll be here for you to help advocate for gender inclusiveness,” she said.