CSG discusses previous resolutions, receives SAPAC presentation
The University of Michigan Central Student Government convened Tuesday night to discuss resolutions regarding the Career Center-sponsored JCPenney Suit Up program and the possible creation of a task force to confront absentee voting. Student Assembly members also attended a Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center presentation and addressed their sentiments regarding last week’s meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, CSG President Daniel Greene, Public Policy senior, nominated Rackham student Bryan Kim-Butler to the Central Student Judiciary. Kim-Butler earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College as well as a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University. He currently instructs English 125 at the University as a Graduate Student Instructor and is in his second year of a doctoral program.
Greene supported Kim-Butler’s nomination and said his five years of prior legal experience in New York made him more knowledgeable and qualified. Engineering junior Zeke Majeske, chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, echoed Greene’s approval of Kim-Butler.
“I agree 100 percent that Bryan’s probably the most qualified person that has ever come across our desk,” Majeske said. “He currently holds three degrees, if you include the master’s degree he’s already earned as a part of the Ph.D. program, and they are in three different things. We also believe that all of his primary experience provided with the fact that he still has three or four years left to contribute to Central Student Government and provide us with his expertise makes him an even better candidate.”
The assembly then confirmed Kim-Butler to the position.
After Kim-Butler’s confirmation, CSG Vice President Izzy Baer, LSA junior, voiced concerns regarding last week’s meeting. At the meeting, Assembly members discussed an event discussing the controversial felony notification policy implemented at the University earlier this month.
“I saw blatant bias and sexism in this discussion,” Baer said. “I also felt disregarded about my own knowledge and expertise as well as that of others, including the authors that came. Students dedicate years to this type of advocacy, and that does deserve in itself a level of respect.”
Multiple Assembly members also commented on last week’s meeting in which personal testimonies were shared. CSG Kinesiology Representative Izzy Puig, Kinesiology senior, said the environment established in the meeting concerned her.
“I joined CSG because I loved the thought of not only bettering the University, but having the opportunity to better at least one student’s Michigan experience — but I think and I hope that we all joined CSG with that goal in mind,” Puig said. “The comments and actions of some from last week have made me fear that individuals here that were elected and appointed to enhance the Michigan experience have other priorities that exclude just that.”
During the meeting, the assembly approved a resolution to upgrade the compiled code article on conflicts of interest to a conduct and ethics code, a resolution to prohibit objection to a motion to move to the previous question, a resolution to discourage any examinations on Election Day 2020 and a resolution to provide funding and rules for travel expenses for Assembly representatives to external groups.
One resolution allocated $405 to the Suit Up event sponsored by the Career Center. According to Baer, the number of students who participate in the semesterly event drastically increased since CSG began funding the event. The Assembly also passed the resolution.
Additionally, CSG members discussed a resolution to create a special task force in order to investigate the methods the University can take to curb the difficulty in voting absentee. According to LSA representative and freshman Sam Braden, though voting at the University has significantly increased in recent years, the rate of absentee voting has decreased.
Baer said the University Council decided to not support this resolution on the basis that it had the same goal as the Edward Ginsberg Center’s TurboVote program. The resolution will be discussed after Spring Break.
Later in the meeting, SAPAC representative Danielle Edwards, Rackham student, talked to Assembly members about the role of SAPAC and how to show support to a survivor of sexual assault. According to a 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct presented by Edwards, 22.5 percent of undergraduate women and 6.8 percent of undergraduate men reported a sexual assault experience while a student at the University. The survey also said undergraduate students were three times more likely to experience sexual assault than graduate students. Edwards explained the importance of listening to and supporting survivors of sexual assault.
“Most people who are telling someone (about their sexual assault experience) are telling a friend, especially the first time they disclose,” Edwards said. “That is why we are here. You all are the friends that people need to confide in.”
After Edwards’ presentation, CSG members continued their discussion of resolutions. They considered a resolution to make certain necessary amendments to the portion of the compiled code pertaining to financial operations of Central Student Government. LSA junior Nicco Beltramo said the finance section of the compiled code has limitations, but felt the resolution should be passed.
“I think the best way to address that is to pass this resolution as it currently stands and then to look at areas where additional work is needed,” Beltramo said. “I think also rejection of this resolution at this point in time would be actually more destructive than necessary and wouldn’t really address the principle at this point.”
Majeske disagreed with Beltramo. He said by voting to pass the resolution, the Assembly would give up the responsibility to check with other branches regarding CSG’s use of their allocated funds.
“I think this is a not insignificant responsibility the Assembly is about to vote to give up,” Majeske said. “Even though if we don’t do it now, the way the government documents are written right now, we are given a responsibility that is significant to check what the executive and other branches of the government are doing with the money that we allocate them in the budget. I am asking you to vote on that idea.”
The assembly passed a resolution to amend the elections code to allow for endorsements by non-candidate registered party members and a resolution to oppose the policy requiring employee disclosure of felony charges and convictions.
Majeske motioned to discharge a resolution to define a quorum for the executive nominations committee from the committee. Representatives then voted to incorporate the changes to the resolution Majeske presented to the Assembly.