CSG conducts identity training, debates SOFC resolution

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 10:29pm

CSG members talk amongst themselves during representative training Tuesday in the Michigan League.

CSG members talk amongst themselves during representative training Tuesday in the Michigan League. Buy this photo
Asha Lewis/Daily

The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government convened Tuesday evening to conduct assembly-wide identity training. The Student Assembly also discussed a previously vetoed resolution regarding the nomination of a chair for the Student Organization Funding Committee.

Public health senior Lloyd Lyons, executive diversity officer of CSG, instructed the identity training for CSG members. Topics of discussion included gender pronouns, the danger of not speaking up on important issues and unconscious biases.

“In our world, we interact with multiple people across campus with various identities,” Lyons said. “Think about how you are interacting, how you are talking and the level of respect you are communicating to people.”

Lyons included an activity in which assembly members analyzed four songs: “Juice” by Iyla, “No Such Thing” by Dan and Shay, “Cual Es Tu Plan” by Bad Bunny and a remix of “Location” by Khalid. In discussion, the Assembly considered social factors and biases impacting their thoughts on the songs.

CSG President Daniel Greene, Public Policy senior, said he believes it is impossible for biases to be completely erased.

“Those biases are presented to you, and you have to work backwards to remove them,” Greene said. “I don’t think we can change what’s going on in our subconscious, but once it becomes conscious thought, we can take action.”

To conclude the presentation, Lyons encouraged the Assembly to create an inclusive community inside and out of the University. He asked members to think about what changes they want to see in the community as well as ways to take ownership of their respective communities.

“You all have an impact — you were elected,” Lyons said. “People are choosing you for a reason, so what will you do with that impact?”

Also at the meeting, Law School students Victoria Allen and Austin Del Priore were confirmed as the Winter 2019 election directors. LSA sophomore Evelyn Winter was also confirmed as chief of staff. The CSG election dates were approved for March 27 and March 28.

CSG also reconsidered a previous veto of A.R. 8-033, titled “A Resolution to Reschedule SOFC Chair Confirmations.” The Student Organization Funding Committee chair oversees allocations made by SOFC. The current nomination process involves an application and three executive meetings to confirm a new SOFC chair, leaving the position open during spring, summer and the beginning of fall semesters.

Engineering junior Zeke Majeske and Medical School student Whit Froehlich presented the resolution to CSG members at a meeting on Jan. 22. In their presentation, Majeske and Froehlich suggested a new process for the SOFC chair nomination by having the outgoing chair nominate at least two individuals to take their place and the incoming Assembly vote.

In the proposal, the chair of the Executive Nominations Committee would vet the nominees and present them to the outgoing Assembly. The Assembly then would vote on the nominees and a candidate would be chosen by the first meeting of the next Assembly. This process takes the CSG president out of the process entirely. Majeske and Froehlich said they hope to fill the SOFC chair before the spring and summer semesters so they can prepare for the upcoming academic year.

The resolution was later vetoed by Greene. In an email sent to CSG members and later obtained by The Daily, Greene explained his reasoning behind his veto in an email statement to the Assembly.

After consulting with the executive team, active and past leadership members of SOFC, and members of the Assembly, I concluded that A.R. 8-033 does not adequately address the temporal gap and introduces new concerns and vulnerabilities in naming future SOFC chairs,” Greene wrote. “I also remain concerned regarding SOFC’s status as a committee and to what extent it should — or should not — reflect the rules, procedures, membership eligibility, and politics of the other CSG Assembly committees.”

Greene went on to write that he believed the new SOFC chair nomination should not be the responsibility of the current SOFC chair, and the SOFC does not allocate funds during spring and summer semesters, making the need for an SOFC chair unnecessary during this period.

In an interview with The Daily, Majeske and Froehlich said they did not see the outgoing SOFC chair nominating a new chair for the following year as negative. They emphasized that taking the president out of the nomination process of the SOFC chair will help put a new chair into place earlier in the year and during summer months.

“My impetus for this resolution was a little bit of a frustration with the thinking that I was going to be able to help the Assembly make a decision about these people who were going to be spending 50 percent of our government’s funds that we are supposed to be able to confirm or reject, and they (the SOFC nominee) were introducing themselves to me as already having the position,” Majeske said. “If they didn’t do that, we wouldn’t have been able to allocate funds to student organizations … it’s work that needs to be done over the summer and within the first couple weeks of the school year.”

Froehlich echoed Majeske’s frustration and said they want the resolution to encourage Assembly members to become more involved with SOFC nominations.

“We would expect that they (the outgoing SOFC chair) would have someone specific in mind that they wanted to select?” Froelich said. “This also has the effect of empowering the Assembly to exercise its oversee of SOFC better.”

Before voting on the resolution, Greene said he supported the pursuits of Majeske and Froehlich, but felt major stakeholders in SOFC had been left out of the resolution.

“At the end of the day, I will always respect the decision of the Assembly — they have the right to override me,” Greene said. “But I ask that you consider the fact that I’m not saying, ‘No,’ I’m saying, ‘Can we please do this right?’”

The Assembly voted to potentially override the veto. This vote to override failed and the bill will not go to committees.

CORRECTION: The story previously stated the resolution was to be sent to committee. It has been corrected to say the failure to override the veto means the resolution will not go to committee.