CSG completes an intergroup relations training, address community concerns, confirm election results

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 11:11pm

Central Student Government representatives rearrange their seating for a dialogue during the CSG Meeting Tuesday.

Central Student Government representatives rearrange their seating for a dialogue during the CSG Meeting Tuesday. Buy this photo
Prashanth Panicker/Daily

The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government convened Tuesday night to complete an Intergroup Relations training, address community concerns, and confirm election results.

The Program on Intergroup Relations, a social justice education program on campus, facilitates workshops for various clubs and organizations to teach participants about empathetic communication in a multicultural society.

“Today’s training, common ground training, is critical to our success in helping CSG become more inclusive and ensuring that we better understand intersectionality and the role of identities in the policy work in efficacy we do,” CSG President Daniel Greene, a Public Policy senior, said.

CSG also approved several new elected students at the meeting. Elizabeth Fakhoury, a Business senior, was approved as a justice for the Central Student Judiciary. Fakhoury has served on several undergraduate advisory boards and identified her ability to utilize this experience to become a mediator between students and the administration.

Eric Wriston, a Public Policy senior, was approved as the undergraduate student representative for the Library Council. Wriston works for the University Library in the Human Resources Department working with student input, and has sat in on internal employee boards. He expressed his commitment to making the library resources more known, accessible and equitable to students.

“Before I worked there I didn’t realize how many services they had, and I think that’s something a lot of students don’t know,” Wriston said.  

CSG also confirmed Taylor Lansey, an LSA sophomore, as vice president for the Student Organization Funding Committee. SOFC is the funding body of CSG’s executive commission and currently provides financial support to over 300 active student organizations.

“It’s about rewarding the student orgs that come back to us … and see what impact their making,” said Lansey.

CSG discussed a resolution to amend its current elections code, authored by Medical student Whit Froehlich and Law student Kevin Deutsch. During the CSG assembly held last week, the representatives addressed the concerns shaping their elections. The assembly established that CSG’s cannot prohibit these distinct separate parties from forming in elections

However, to improve the state of elections within their purview, CSG approved several new guidelines. A separate Elections Court will be implemented to address future party-related concerns, failure to meet deadlines will be reprimanded, names on election ballots will be randomized rather than alphabetized and transparent campaign endorsements will be mandated.

After the approval of this resolution, CSG continued its conversation on how to better its governing body.

The student representatives discussed a resolution to implement a definition of “executive official,” which is not included in the current CSG Constitution. Froehlich and Rackham student Sammi Meister proposed a resolution.

“This lack of clarity hinders the President’s ability to staff the Executive branch,” the students wrote.

In an effort to hear more student voices, CSG discussed a resolution to re-establish elected representative office hours. The author of the resolution, Benjamin Gerstein, an LSA sophomore, looked to the LSA and Rackham Student Governments’ policies to shape those of CSG. Both LSA SG and RSG require each elected representative to hold office hours to meet with their constituents, which has improved their respective reaches with the students they are representing.

This resolution was passed and will now require CSG elected representatives to hold monthly office hours to speak with students and hear their opinions and perspectives. CSG plans to measure the effectiveness of their office hours by surveying both students who attended and the representatives.

“Central Student Government’s . . . mission is to encourage student civic engagement, give voices to student concerns, and enhance student welfare and the Michigan experience for everyone,” Gerstein wrote.