2020 Central Student Government Voter Guide

Monday, March 23, 2020 - 5:26pm

The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government will hold elections March 25-26 online. CSG handles tens of thousands of dollars to provide student services, conduct advocacy work on behalf of students, fund student organizations and represent the student voice to University administration. With three parties running for the executive ticket and dozens of issues affecting students, it can be difficult to choose who to vote for this week. 

Based on analyses of each party’s platforms and interviews with the executive tickets, The Daily has created this guide to help you navigate this election. You can read The Daily’s profiles of each party here: Mobilize, Change at Michigan and Represent Michigan. You can view your sample ballot — and vote when the time comes — online at vote.umich.edu.

 

THE PARTIES

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THE ISSUES

Based on the issues impacting campus and analyses of the party platforms, The Daily has summarized each party’s policies for six categories that impact students. The entire platforms for Mobilize, Change at Michigan, and Represent Michigan can be found by clicking on their party names.

Affordability and Accessibility

CSG has previously been criticized for its work around campus affordability, most notably when a campus affordability guide created by the organization in 2018 was called “out of touch” and prompted the creation of the student-sourced Being Not-Rich At U-M guide. While the University community has frequently had conversations relating to affordability and accessibility issues, data shows the socioeconomic makeup of the University has more students from the top 1 percent financially than the bottom 40 percent.

All parties have expressed support for the One University campaign, and Mobilize and Represent Michigan advocate for extending the Go Blue Guarantee to all three campuses. Mobilize and Change at Michigan have also both expressed support for the University to subsidize food costs via meal plans for food-insecure students.  

Mobilize:

  • Pilot a winter coat drive and winter wear closet for students. 

  • Work with the Office of Financial Aid to produce a resource guide that specifies campus-wide grants and scholarships available to need-based students throughout their tenure at the University.

  • Create a plan to have MDining meal swipes roll over between semesters.

Change:

  • Research implementation of a Free Course Guarantee program at U-M that creates degree maps that show students what courses they need to take to allow them to complete a bachelor’s degree within four academic years, and if students follow their mapped-out plan but are unable to enroll in a required course in a given semester, the University would be required to provide the course for free in a future semester unless they can provide the student with a revised degree map that still enables the student to graduate within four years.

  • Reduce textbook costs for students by creating a CSG program that provides course pack replacement and direct textbook subsidies to students in need.

  • Advocate for the University to subsidize meal plans for students who are not on financial aid but who are food insecure.

Represent:

  • Expand transportation including Blue Buses on weekend nights between North and South campuses, fund transportation for Nursing students who have clinicals in Detroit/Pickney, and compensate Nursing students for hospital parking.

  • Expand food accessibility by requiring on-campus vendors to accept Blue Bucks, subsidize an on-campus grocery store and end charges for allergy substitutes like almond milk and gluten-free products for on-campus vendors. 

  • Decrease school supply costs by Laptop Loan program to all University students, increase individual printing budgets and set individual department caps on textbook costs.

Housing

In previous years, CSG has run a survey on landlords and released the data to help students make informed decisions about renting. The organization has also sponsored events for students to learn about housing options. But students have raised red flags as luxury apartment buildings replace more affordable housing options and room and board rates continue to rise. All parties support funding a student tenant’s union to assist students searching for and living off-campus.

Mobilize:

  • Work with Beyond the Diag to better inform students about on-campus and off-campus affordable housing and make results available on the CSG and Beyond the Diag websites.

  • Create a “Know Your Rights” platform in coordination with the student tenant’s union to assist students during the housing search process.

Change:

  • Fund and support a tenants’ union that advocates for student tenants to landlords and provides information and guidance to students looking to sign leases. 

  • Call for the University to provide adequate housing for students who are not on financial aid but are housing insecure.

  • Ensure affordable housing options for international students required to be on campus for the week before other students arrive, and open University housing for these students if necessary.

Represent:

  • Reinstate the funding of the Student Tenants Union to protect students from predatory landlords.

  • Create a University system for student lease submission to publish rent comparisons, lease ratings for provisions and information on landlords. 

  • Form relationship between University and Inter-Cooperative Council.

Student Mental Health

The University’s mental health services, specifically Counseling and Psychological Services, have been criticized for their wait times and staffing. Mobilize and Represent Michigan both support embedded counselor programs, which would place CAPS counselors in non-academic units. Change at Michigan and Represent Michigan both support extending the number of free visits students are allowed at CAPS and all three parties support expanding CAPS. 

Mobilize:

  • Provide cultural competence training to CAPS.

  • Advocate for how to report mental health emergencies to professors to be put on all syllabi and for mental health absences to be classified as excused absences.

  • Advocate for a CAPS center on North Campus and extend North Campus wellness zone hours until CAPS center is created.  

Change:

  • Provide long-term mental health treatment plans/resources for students that go beyond CAPS’ 15-visit limit.

  • Research and advocate for the elimination of barriers for students without insurance such as advocating for expansion of resources to provide for long-term treatment through CAPS itself and advocating that CAPS formally transition and refer students who must go outside CAPS for care.

  • Mitigate the month-long waiting period by advocating that the University partner with and pay for outside, private referrals when students are in need of urgent and unique help that the University can’t provide.

Represent:

  • Fund two psychiatrists within CAPS.

  • Work with CAPS to allow initial screening to take place remotely and online.

  • Create a system where CSG subsidizes or refunds students’ psychiatric medicine prescription costs from UHS.

  • Expand the embedded CAPS counselor program to every University school and college as well as large organization and extracurricular departments.

Sexual Misconduct and Survivor Empowerment

In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the University must allow people accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers. Since then, the University has adopted adaptable-resolution policies to provide alternative avenues for reporting sexual misconduct. Activists on campus have rejected these policies, arguing they keep victims from coming forward. A 2015 study from the Association of American Universities found 34.3 percent of undergraduate women surveyed reported sexual assault by force or incapacitation, above the national average of 27.7 percent.

Mobilize and Change at Michigan stand against the University’s cross-examination policy during sexual harassment trials. Represent Michigan wants to alter the policy. Mobilize and Change at Michigan demand background checks on staff and faculty seeking promotion or hire to ensure they do not have a past of creating or allowing a work environment tolerating sexual harassment. All parties address making attorneys for sexual harassment trials affordable and accessible. 

Mobilize:

  • Stand against University policy mandating direct cross-examination of witnesses by the accused. 

  • Support the expansion of SAPAC resources to include in-person crisis counselors and therapists who specialize in working with survivors and trauma, all of whom must complete cultural competence training. 

  • Demand all candidates for University administration positions undergo background checks related to previous instances of sexual misconduct, and if credibly accused of sexual misconduct, should not be able to oversee boards or offices that deal with sexual misconduct rules, policies or cases involving students, faculty or staff. 

Change:

  • Advocate for SAPAC to expand individual advising for survivors of sexual misconduct and harassment and support students in making decisions on if and how to report.

  • Demand that the University rejects the hire or promotion of any candidate, faculty or staff member who has been determined to have created or allowed a culture of sexual misconduct in their current or any previous role. 

  • Ensure equitable representation in sexual misconduct trials by creating a legal fund and restricting attorney’s fees. 

Represent:

  • Fund the expansion of Student Legal Services to ensure all students have access to a free attorney in Office of Institutional Equity sexual assault hearings. 

  • Demand a 30-minute limit to cross-examinations in OIE hearings, allowing for short extensions upon request if the hearing officer deems it necessary.  

  • Work with FSL to make training on sexual assault prevention universally attended by fraternity members.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In 2016, the University launched its five-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategic plan, including 49 individual unit plans, which are individualized for the schools, colleges and administrative, athletic or other departments within the University. Still, the University faces issues with diversity, as it had the second-highest number of reported hate crimes of all college campuses surveyed in 2017 and the racial composition of the student body is under-representative for multiple minority groups.

Mobilize:

  • Work with minorities disproportionately affected by a lack of environmental justice, especially the University of Michigan Detroit Center to ensure future projects are sustainable and community-conscious.

  • Advocate for expansion of embedded counselor program to include non-academic units, including the Trotter Multicultural Center. 

Change:

  • Demand the University increase diversity among faculty and students by changing interview questions, de-emphasizing standardized testing and adopting other solutions in current DEI structures.

  • Expand and better advertise mentorship programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Work with advocacy organizations, particularly in arts schools, to improve admissions pipeline and process for students of color.

Represent:

  • Work with the University to implement socioeconomic-based affirmative action for admissions.

  • Sponsor and fund more social and entertainment events tailored toward specific identities, such as gay prom and multi-ethnic talent shows, and analyze data on organizations receiving funding from CSG’s Student Organization Funding Committee to ensure money is being equitably spent.

  • Support training for FYW and ULW professors to understand challenges English as a Second Language students face and advocate for the expansion of the University’s American Sign Language program by hiring two more professors.

Sustainability

Climate activists have called on the University to cut its investments in fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The Board of Regents announced it would freeze its fossil fuel investments after the Big Ten student body presidents asked their schools to divest. Change at Michigan and Represent Michigan both seek to specifically increase the number of compost bins on campus, while all three parties have called on the University to take action with regard to carbon neutrality.  

Mobilize:

  • Call on University to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030. 

  • Publish a sustainability guide for students and student organizations.

  • Link environmental justice with causes including diversity, equity and inclusion and housing affordability. 

Change:

  • Support the findings of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality.

  • Push for University divestment and sell-off of fossil fuel investments. 

  • Compel all third-party food vendors (e.g. Panda, Taco Bell) to use compostable food packaging and utensils.

Represent:

  • Reduce single-use plastic water bottle use and selling on campus, create a forum to buy and sell used furniture.

  • Turn off the Big House lights at night. 

  • Increase number of compost bins on campus. 

 

SEATS AND REPRESENTATIVES

Each school has an allotted number of seats on CSG’s Assembly based on size. Candidates with asterisks next to their names have been endorsed by multiple parties. 

 

COLLEGE OF LSA: 32 CANDIDATES FOR 14 SEATS

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COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING: 7 CANDIDATES FOR 6 SEATS

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ROSS: 3 CANDIDATES FOR 4 SEATS

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TAUBMAN: 1 CANDIDATE FOR 1 SEAT

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SCHOOL OF KINESIOLOGY: 1 CANDIDATE FOR 1 SEAT 

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SCHOOL OF NURSING: 2 CANDIDATES FOR 1 SEAT 

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SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: 2 CANDIDATES FOR 1 SEAT

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COLLEGE OF PHARMACY: 1 CANDIDATE FOR 1 SEAT 

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FORD: 1 CANDIDATE FOR 1 SEAT 

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SCHOOL OF MUSIC, THEATER & DANCE: 2 CANDIDATES FOR 1 SEAT 

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SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY: 1 CANDIDATE FOR 1 SEAT

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SCHOOL OF INFORMATION : 2 CANDIDATES FOR 1 SEAT

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RACKHAM GRADUATE SCHOOL: 4 CANDIDATES FOR 7 SEATS

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SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK : 1 CANDIDATE FOR 1 SEAT

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There are no candidates running for the following schools and positions:

  • Education
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Law
  • School of Art and Design
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Education
  • International Student Ex-Officio
  • First Year Undergraduate Ex-Officio
  • Transfer Student Ex-Officio

 

Daily Staff Reporter Julia Rubin can be reached at julrubin@umich.edu.