Central Student Government hosts final meeting under Schafer, Griggs
Tuesday evening, Central Student Government held its last meeting for the 2016-17 school year.
The meeting began by featuring several guest speakers, starting with Chief Diversity Officer Rob Sellers, the University of Michigan vice provost for equity and inclusion. Sellers presented details of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan, a five-year plan launched in October to help create a more diverse and inclusive campus. Sellers explained the planning process, creation and initiatives of the plan, but stated the most crucial aspect of the plan is accountability.
“It is extremely important that the plan be one that is about metrics and accountability,” he said.
Sellers stated the Board of Regents, University President Mark Schlissel, and individual school and college deans are all included when listing the members of administration who should be held accountable for upholding the plan. He explained the difficulty faculty has had in previous years dealing with issues like microaggressions in the classroom. Part of the plan works to tackle this issue, providing faculty with specific training to understand how to address problems of discrimination in the classroom and act on this understanding.
“Diversity is a necessary component but not a sufficient one,” he said. “We also have to have an environment that is equitable and inclusive for diversity to work.”
He also highlighted the idea that, while it is important for the plan to continue to create new initiatives, it is helpful to recognize the University has a number of programs already in place that are ready to be built upon and improved.
LSA senior Anna Wibbelman and Engineering sophomore Jason Comstock of Building a Better Michigan — a student advisory group involved with the development of University Unions and recreation centers — were also included in the lineup of guest speakers. They discussed the renovation of the Michigan Union, which was founded in 1904 and is the third-oldest student union in the country. They explained that last year, architects began gathering student input on how to renovate the Union, a project that will begin in May of next year, keeping the building open for the entirety of the bicentennial.
“The Union needs more vibrancy on the lower levels because when you walk in it’s very quiet and compartmentalized and it almost feels like you’re walking into a library, and that’s not how the Union was originally designed to be,” Comstock said.
Featured renovations will include the creation of an indoor courtyard enclosed by a glass roof, two new movement studios aimed at providing a space for the many dance groups that practice in Mason Hall, among others, and increasing the efficiency of fourth-floor space utilized by Counseling and Psychological Services in order to provide more private space for conversation.
The assembly voted on six resolutions, passing resolutions to increase the number of recycling bins around campus, to preserve the billiards room in the Union, to collaborate with the University in finding ways to fund the Leadership Engagement Scholarship, to allocate funds to UM Social Media to aid in the creation of a mosaic piece for graduation, as well as a resolution to encourage University Housing to include voter registration in Welcome Week programming. With this resolution, Residential Advisers will receive training in order to provide freshman students with necessary information and resources regarding registration.
CSG President David Schafer, an LSA senior, discussed several initiatives CSG has worked on throughout the year, including the recent establishment of the Student Fee Advisory Committee, which met for the first time on Monday. He also spoke of the impact of the bystander-intervention training program, which has held nine sessions throughout the year, training more than 300 students from more than 200 student organizations across campus.
Schafer and CSG Vice President Micah Griggs, an LSA senior, expressed their gratitude to the assembly, and spoke of their experiences within CSG as their terms come to an end.
“We’ve shared countless long nights together,” Griggs said. “Because of all of you we are closer to making our campus better for all students. … Serving as your vice president has been the greatest honor of my life that I will always remember.”
Schafer said similar sentiments and encouraged the members of the assembly who will continue in CSG to remember the impact they have on the student body.
“Never doubt the potential of CSG to enact positive and lasting change on this campus.”