CSG discusses COVID-19 spread on campus, concerns over MDining reopening

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 10:43pm

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Courtesy of Varsha Vedapudi

The University of Michigan Central Student Government met over Zoom Tuesday night to discuss community concerns with the Washtenaw County stay-in-place order and MDining’s reopening.

Jarod Taylor, MDining staff member and LSA senior, is a student coordinator who works at South Quad Dining Hall. Taylor is pushing back against the University’s efforts to reopen in-person dining when winter semester begins. He said there has been no communication from the administration on the details of the re-opening. 

“We feel that the risk that this would raise, not just student dining workers but all employees of MDining is unacceptable and we are seeking any help we can get to push back against efforts to open in-person dining,” Taylor said.

Dr. Emily Toth Martin, who advises the University’s administration and Washtenaw County officials by providing reports on COVID-19 data, answered questions from CSG members. She said the stay-in-place order issued Tuesday by Washtenaw County, which asks undergraduate students to remain in their residences unless they must leave for an approved reason such as getting food or seeking medical care, will give the rising COVID-19 case numbers on campus a “pause” and solve capacity issues in quarantine and isolation housing.

“The county has a lot of tools it can use and I expect to see those,” Martin said. “Recommendations without enforcement do not do a whole lot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more strong reinforcement.”

Martin said that similar two-week orders have been implemented at other universities to curb rising cases. She said the order is specifically for undergraduate students and not graduate students since the increasing case numbers were among people between the ages of 18 and 22.

“Doing two-week pauses in partnership with the public health department is actually not that uncommon of a thing,” Martin said.

CSG also voted to postpone the recall of LSA junior Sam Braden as a representative. Braden was previously removed from his speaker position for alleged misconduct during CSG meetings and failure to efficiently perform his responsibilities in the role. 

The Assembly also voted to delay the confirmation of Elections Director Thibaut R. Pardo-García by one week, citing the proximity to the CSG election candidacy filing deadline. 

Rackham student Austin Glass explained the motion for postponing Pardo-García’s confirmation by a week. He said having an election director right now — even a temporary one while the permanent position is filled — is necessary for the filing process and elections to run smoothly.

“I appreciate the committee’s concerns about the nominee,” Glass said. “But I’m asking you to see the reason and logic in delaying this vote. Doing so is better for the assembly and the executive nominees committee to have greater freedom of choice by interviewing candidates (for the position of election director), and it’s much better for the student body and for candidates from within.”

Daily Staff Reporter Varsha Vedapudi can be reached at varshakv@umich.edu

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