CSG talks Promote the Vote, impending release of demographic report
The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government met Tuesday evening to address topics including revisions to the Campus Affordability Guide, additional installations of water refill stations on campus, as well as the upcoming election for CSG representatives for the 2018-2019 academic year. The assembly also discussed the continued inclusion of free menstrual products in various locations across campus.
The meeting opened with various guest speakers, including Erik Wessel, director of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, and Gina Cervetti, an associate professor in the School of Education. Wessel and Cervetti spoke to the assembly about the process of amending the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which will occur next school year. Every three years, the Statement is open to revisions and amendments by the University community, including all students. Cervetti stressed to the assembly the importance of raising awareness of this student right, which may be unknown to many.
“I know that this has been a challenging time on campus for many members of our community and that some of these challenges have related to issues of campus climate,” Cervetti said. “This is an opportunity to have an active role in shaping that.”
Additionally, Law School student Tom Allen presented to the assembly on a ballot proposal for the November 2018 election. Entitled “Promote the Vote,” the initiative will amend the Michigan Constitution in order to make it easier for Michigan residents to vote. The proposed initiative will guard the right to vote a secret ballot, as well as affording all registered voters an absentee ballot for any reason, among other changes.
“Voter participation for people our age (is) low,” Allen said. “This will make it easier for all of us to vote.”
According to Allen, the support from leading university student governments in the state will increase the likelihood of the proposal being approved. Due to CSG’s past endorsement of student voting initiatives such as the Big Ten Voting Challenge and Turn Up Turnout, Promote the Vote aims to garner backing from the University and to show students are seeking greater access to voting.
Following the guest speakers, CSG President Anushka Sarkar, an LSA senior, announced the upcoming release of the CSG demographic report, which will provide various data about the majority of the current assembly. In addition, Sarkar discussed the possibility of presenting a resolution to invest in revamping the University Health Services as well as other health resources on campus, due to an alleged lack of funding over the past few years. Efforts are continually being made to fight food insecurity on campus, according to Sarkar.
In addition to referencing the beginning of the revision process of the Campus Affordability Guide, which was criticized as out of touch and insensitive to the issues faced by low-income students, CSG Vice President Nadine Jawad, a Public Policy senior, proposed a resolution to urge University administration to include Middle Eastern/North African students into demographic research. Especially with the increased immigration of ME/NA individuals to areas such as Dearborn, Jawad said, there is a heightened need for representation of these groups beyond a racial or ethnic category marked “Other.”
“Not having this demographic report information … means that students are disadvantaged in (the allocation of) resources,” Jawad said.
CSG concluded their meeting by passing resolutions to promote and fund new Battle of the Orgs program and to support and fund an event empowering women and promoting the role of women in government.