LSA SG passes resolution to add ballot question on “Michigan time”

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 10:58pm

 Lorraine Furtado, external relations officer, speaks at the LSA Student Government meeting in Mason Wednesday.

Lorraine Furtado, external relations officer, speaks at the LSA Student Government meeting in Mason Wednesday. Buy this photo
Sarah Kunkel/Daily

LSA Student Government met Wednesday night in Mason Hall to discuss ballot questions for its upcoming elections. The body also passed a resolution with a vote of 15-10, with two abstentions, to add a binding ballot question to the Winter 2018 election ballot on whether government should support the Universitye’s decision to end Michigan time.

Michigan time is a practice used across the University of Michigan campus of starting classes ten minutes later than their scheduled times. This was intended to allow students enough travel time between back-to-back classes. However, not all of the University’s colleges, such as the School of Nursing, use Michigan time. On Feb. 19, the University and the Provost’s Office announced Michigan time will end on May 1 in order to make collaboration among the different colleges easier and instead, classes will end 10 minutes early. Common student critique was a lack of transparency in making the decision.

LSA SG President Nicholas Fadanelli, an LSA senior, sponsored the resolution, citing the mission of the government to serve LSA students and their concerns.

“Part of this is not only to establish what our stance should be, especially given that our mission is to actively seek the voice of LSA students and their interests, but also to grant students something where they do have a say regarding this,” Fadanelli said.

Counsel Nathan Wilson, an LSA junior, was also in support of the resolution.

“I think there’s some disagreement about the question on the merit of changing Michigan time,” Wilson said. “The opposition that I’m understanding is getting bound up into having to oppose the replacement of Michigan time because of (an) instinctive reaction from students and that on the merit we should be opposing the change to Michigan time just for the sake of a guttural student instinct. I don’t think that this opposition holds true in the circumstances like these where it is not an issue that students are unfamiliar with.”

Elected Representative Amanda Delekta, an LSA junior, raised concerns over the binding nature of the proposal and a potential lack of representation.

“I think there’s a difference between asking a question and being bound to their response,” Delekta said. “We are in this room to discuss these issues and have a conversation … it’s dangerous to just link yourself to that binding question. Also, I think we all need to think about how though students may be educated about Michigan time, the number of students who vote in our elections is so small, so it’s not a representative sample of our student body.”

A petition has 734 signatures as of Wednesday evening asking the administration to not remove Michigan time, citing concerns that professors will not end class at the proper time and may run over.

“As of May 1, they’re getting rid of ‘Michigan Time,’ a long-standing tradition and travel time for students, and shifting it to leaving 10 minutes before the end of class,” the petition reads. “We already know how often professors spill over class time and this will most likely end in students arriving late to their other classes and still showing up on Michigan Time.”

The organization also voted on the proposed topics for the student government’s upcoming election ballots. These topics include pass/fail usage, an establishment of a General Learning Center and residence hall card readers.

Fadanelli also mentioned LSA SG will meet with University officials regarding the University’s endowment fund investments. Last month, the Detroit Free Press released an investigative report stating the University invested $4 billion of its $11 billion endowment into global projects by top donors.

“It’s the belief of LSA student government that if there is no issue like the University is claiming, having an investigation just to show the public, because this is a public institution, that everything is up to code would clear the University’s name,” Fadanelli said.

Two resolutions were also proposed. One included allocating $500 to LSA facilities to install a water refill station in Haven Hall, while the other will make an amendment to the student government's bylaws to standardize the designation of subcommittees.