CSG discusses budget, readership program and new committee
During their assembly meeting Tuesday night, Central Student Government discussed several resolutions, including the launch of a college readership program and the creation of a Constitutional Convention, a new committee specifically design to amend and create new amendments to the All-Campus Constitution.
The assembly also presented its budget for the year, with a projected total of $339,740.
During the meeting, CSG discussed the details of its $339,740 fall 2016 budget. Budgets for CSG are usually about $400,000; however, CSG Treasurer Kohlton Johnson, an LSA senior, said the lower total was calculated using the minimum projections he expects the body to reach this year.
The largest amount of the budget was reserved for the Student Org Funding Commission, which is the funding body of CSG. SOFC is slated to receive 52.5 percent of the disbursement percentages, $178,363.50 in total. According to Johnson, SOFC used to be allocated 42 percent of the budget. This increase comes after last year Treasurer Kevin Ziegler changed the allocation to 50 percent.
Johnson also highlighted that payroll, the amount reserved for the body’s office staff and the program manager, now has $61,153.20, which is 18 percent of the disbursement, per restrictions CSG has implemented on how much an individual CSG account can have. The mandate for payroll is a maximum of 20 percent.
The executive discretionary budget was allocated $28,028.50 — a disbursement of 8.25 percent, within the restricted range of a minimum of 2 percent to a maximum of 9 percent. The legislative discretionary budget received $21,233.75, which is 6.25 percent of the budget.
CSG students also debated a resolution calling for the creation of a Constitution Convention.
According to the resolution, CSG would create a new committee specifically designed to amend and create new amendments to the All-Campus Constitution, the guidelines to how CSG operates.
The resolution authors were Student General Counsel Joseph Hansel, a LSA junior, and Rules Chair Jared Ferguson, a Rackham student. Ferguson said he wanted to fix several mistakes in the current constitution — from grammar mistakes to legal loopholes.
CSG President David Schafer, an LSA senior, gave the resolution authors an accelerated timeline, asking them to schedule a Constitutional Convention by Oct. 15. Due to this timeline change, CSG postponed passing the resolution Tuesday night to flesh out the details of the document.
College Readership Program
Chief of Staff Noah Betman, an LSA senior, discussed the pilot for the College Readership Program, which will give students 24 hours of free access to The New York Times archives.
In 2011, the Michigan Student Assembly had a similar trial run with The New York Times College Readership Program, though just for paper copies. The program has seen positive results in other universities such as Pennsylvania State University and Michigan State University.
Betman stressed the potential the readership program had, saying it could benefit students in their personal and academic lives.
“It was hard to find a school that didn’t have a readership program,” he said.
He said under the program, the University will get 500 digital passes with 72 hours of free access. Five hundred University students will be able use the passes for the allotted access time before they expire. Then, 500 more students would be able to sign on.
The Times will send CSG weekly reports to gauge the activity of students.
The proposed budget for the plan was also discussed. The legislative and executive branches will be each paying $997.50 for the 500 digital passes. The program is slated to for seven weeks, from Oct. 3 to Nov. 20.
Bailey Oland, an administrative assistant senior from the Bicentennial Office, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting asking for help from CSG to promote the bicentennial program.
Oland said the office was organizing a series of activities for the upcoming bicentennial, including six festivals, and hopes to spread more awareness this year about the event.
There are six themes for the bicentennial event, including “Challenging Society,” referring to activism in all forms, and “Forever Hailing,” referring to Michigan’s spirit.
Betman told the assembly the demographic report of CSG is going through its final edits, and is expected to be on the organization’s website in the next few days.
LSA junior Aman Agrawal also discussed the organization’s new website, stating that it has experienced more traffic since the redesign. Communications Director Joe Shea, a Public Policy senior, said the site had high engagement, meaning visitors did more than scroll through the page, from several countries such as Canada, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
Chief Programming Officer Grant Rivas, an LSA sophomore, additionally discussed a town hall meeting the body is organizing in October regarding housing affordability.
Rivas said he hopes to see student leaders and City Council members alike at this event to discuss off-campus housing.
“We wanted to have a unified event where we can kind have an open conversation about policies, we can implement real changes in the current situations,” he said. “We can make things better for all students, but especially those who are lower socioeconomic status.”