CSG closes investigation, proposes resolution for member compensation and discusses creation of student regent

A member of the By Any Means Necessary party speaks in favor of a resolution condemning Richard Spencer at the CSG meeting in the Chambers Tuesday.

A member of the By Any Means Necessary party speaks in favor of a resolution condemning Richard Spencer at the CSG meeting in the Chambers Tuesday. Buy this photo
Joshua Han/Daily

 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 12:58am

During its weekly meeting, Central Student Government proposed resolutions to compensate its assembly members financially and to create a student Regent that would serve on the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents. 

The compensation resolution, if passed, would pay CSG members for their work in the organization. In its proposed form, the president and vice president would be compensated hourly and representatives would receive stipends. Historically, CSG members have not been paid, as they are often considered a volunteer positions. However, many universities do pay their student government representatives.

Last year’s Leadership Engagement Scholarship was created to provide funding for low income student leaders interested in extracurricular activities they may not have time for otherwise. The scholarship received backlash, however, due to the possibility of increasing the student fee paid for CSG's budget. 

Members of the assembly, however, had concerns with the resolution based on how the compensation would be distributed. Rackham student Marzia Oceno debated the resolution because of laws regarding international students and financial aid.

“As an international student, I’m pretty concerned about the fact that according to how it’s shaped, if it’s a grant, it’s a grant,” Oceno said. “If it’s paid by hours, this can reduce participation for international students in CSG because they cannot get their money.”

CSG will vote on the resolution next week.

The resolution to establish a student Regent would create a student non-voter added by CSG who would serve on the University’s Board of Regents. An amendment would have to be added to the Michigan constitution for this to occur. This has been a goal for CSG in the past, however there is ambiguity surrounding the position.

Last year, during former CSG President David Schafer's term, CSG also wished to see a student member of the Regents. However, Regent members are elected statewide. The position also would have to be proposed in one of the three ways: the change can be placed on the ballot by a citizen-led initiative garnering a minimum of signatures, be referred to the ballot by the state legislature, or be amended through a constitutional convention.

Other proposed resolutions included purchasing “Munchie Money” $5 coupons for students to use toward food at University-affiliated food vendors and $5 gift cards to Barnes & Noble for study supplies during the final examination period.

Ethics Committee Chair Lloyd Lyons, a Public Health senior, also announced an ethics investigation, which regarded a statement and whether or not there was an “improper usage of CSG materials” by an assembly member without consulting CSG, had been closed. This member, Lyons clarified later to the Daily, had released a statement weeks earlier regarding #UMDivest on the behalf of CSG without discussing it with any of its members.

The group voted to not seek penalization of LSA senior Joe Goldberg, who is also on the executive member of the assembly, Lyons said. The ethics committee has concluded that Goldberg had not been the assembly member who sent the email. Goldberg had followed up with the representative who had and found that she was not sending the email on behalf of the entire assembly, but a select few CSG members. 

“It was a statement on how to act (like) CSG stating we need to act in a certain way around this issue as it’s a divisive topic, where of not seeing the second half of him correcting himself it could be seen as CSG only takes one side on the issue and it’s not going through a collective process of letting the members themselves think about an issue,” Lyons said.

Goldberg also spoke to the members.

“I am glad to see the committe clear my name of any wrongdoing,” Goldberg said. “I thank them for their time and diligence in making a firm, thoughtful and attentive decision. ”

In a majority secret ballot, the group voted Engineering sophomore Zeke Majeske the new ethics committee vice chair.

Majeske has been outspoken this past semester. During CSG’s debate to support the name change of science building C.C. Little, Majeske was one of the few critics of the resolution — which passed, 25 in favor and four against.

Majeske said in an interview with The Daily he had concerns with the lack of historical context in the resolution that did not compare the former president to people of his time.

“I voted no because I thought the resolution was really one-sided. I didn’t think they brought up any of the concerns of the people who actually didn’t want the building to change its name,” he said.

In community comments, members of BAMN, the national coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, expressed concerns over the ending of the DACA program’s effects on undocumented students and the possibility of Richard Spencer speaking at the University.

Last meeting, Kate Stenvig, an organizer for BAMN, linked the violence that unfolded in Charlottesville, Va., in August to Michigan State University's decision to not allow Spencer to speak on campus.

“There are a lot of campuses that have denied him … and that doesn’t have anything to do with the First Amendment,” she said. “Everywhere Richard Spencer has gone has been accompanied with physical violence.”

A resolution calling for the University to prioritize student physical, mental and emotional safety over Richard Spencer passed 20 to 3.

Majeske proposed an amendment to ask students not to engage in potential violence if Spencer were to come to campus. However, the amendment failed due to concerns over its relevancy, since the University is still negotiating with Spencer’s group.

The student assembly also discussed the campus-wide email sent Tuesday by CSG President Anushka Sarkar, an LSA senior, and Vice President Nadine Jawad, a Public Policy junior, regarding a statement on opposition to Spencer’s potential visit, on grounds of safety concerns.

As of Tuesday evening, according to Sarkar, the statement had received over 3,400 signatures. She plans to present this to the Board of Regents meeting Thursday.

“We did not come to the University of Michigan to put our lives on the line,” the statement reads. “We did not come to the University of Michigan to live in fear of being harmed.”

CORRECTION: With new information from CSG, the updated article details another representative has sent the email.