CSG talks nearly $9,000 accounting error

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - 10:49pm

Members of Central Student Government meet at their weekly meeting in the Michigan League Tuesday evening.

Members of Central Student Government meet at their weekly meeting in the Michigan League Tuesday evening. Buy this photo
Claire Meingast/Daily

Central Student Government held its 10th meeting of the Ninth Assembly Tuesday night to discuss AirBus fees, temporary housing, funding for the Maize and Blue Cupboard and charging stations in libraries.

Near the beginning of the meeting, Engineering senior Mario Galindez,  member of the finance committee, said CSG had made an accounting error that resulted in an extra $8,930.22 in the assembly’s budget. Galindez proposed they put the money toward the CSG AirBus ⁠— which takes students to the Detroit Metro Airport during breaks and typically costs nine to 11 dollars ⁠— and make it free for students. Galindez said this would apply for Thanksgiving Break only. 

“There was an accounting error and we have $8,930.22 extra in the CSG budget,” Galindez said. “I’m thinking that the AirBus shuttle is nine dollars to go there and 11 dollars coming back. I think that should be a free service for students. It’s only slightly cheaper than the AirRide, and I think we would increase ridership and have more students use it if we make it completely free.”

The amendment to the budget was unanimously approved. 

LSA sophomore Sam Braden then introduced another resolution, which would provide housing for students who have nowhere to go during the holidays when dorms are closed or who are stuck without housing in between lease terms. Braden said he was temporarily without housing this summer and resorted to sleeping in Shapiro Library.

“If you’re sleeping in Shapiro, they wake you up,” Braden said. “So when I tried to sleep there, they woke me up every two hours. There’s really nowhere you can sleep safely on this campus. I think that’s a common issue.”

LSA junior Selena Bazzi said if the University was to adopt the resolution, the housing should primarily be for people who truly have nowhere to go.

“The purpose isn’t to buy the space for every single student,” Bazzi said. “It’s for the students who don’t have people that they can go to for money. Some people grew up in foster care and don’t have a home; they have nowhere to stay for those short time periods.”

Braden then introduced a resolution to appropriate more funding toward the Maize and Blue Cupboard. He said the cupboard gets a lot of their more perishable items, such as dairy products, from food gatherers when they are closer to their expiration dates. He proposed giving them $1,800 to get fresher food. 

“The intention of the resolution is to give the Maize and Blue Cupboard as much money as they need so they can buy fresh bread, milk and eggs until the end of the semester,” Braden said. “I used it over the summer and the stuff is very healthy, but it’s not the freshest and a lot of the stuff will go bad in a few days, just because that’s the nature of the food gatherer’s stuff.”

Braden noted this would only be a semester-long commitment, as next semester MDining is supposed to provide food to the cupboard instead of food gatherers.

Ross sophomore Sehrish Hussain said she works at the Maize and Blue Cupboard and is really proud of the work they do providing food for students, and said she wanted to make sure it is seen positively. 

“I am an employee at the Maize and Blue Cupboard, and it is very imperative that we as employees make sure that it is not stigmatized or seen as a pantry with damaged goods, or where expired food is given to students,” Hussain said. “The experience is that students who are food insecure have on-campus food, they come into the cupboard and they love it. Not only is there fresh food, produce, meat, cans, but there’s cooking ware, and I want to make sure the connotation of the cupboard is seen in a positive light.”

Braden then discussed a resolution which would fund more charging stations which would be placed in University libraries so students don’t have to worry about their phones or laptops dying. He added next semester the library will offer chargers for students to check out.

CSG also discussed an amendment which would address a lack of socioeconomic diversity in the organization and reserve a seat for one student who is Pell Grant eligible based on their FAFSA Student Aid Report. Braden noted this person would not be able to vote. 

“We should ensure marginalized students are not just advocated for, but included in CSG,” Braden said. “Not only because it’s a good idea, but because in CSG history we have not advocated for these students at all.”

The amendment for students eligible for the Pell Grant was approved at the meeting and will be put to the U-M student body in the November 2019 CSG election.