At the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government meeting Tuesday night, Assembly members approved a new vice president, announced the creation of a Campus Climate Advisory Council and discussed new initiatives by the Transfer Student Resources Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission. The meeting was the first of the Winter 2019 semester.
LSA junior Evie Winter was unanimously approved as the new Central Student Government vice president. Winter previously served as Chief of Staff under Daniel Greene’s administration and most recently as CSG’s director of outreach.
In his nominating speech, CSG President Ben Gerstein, Public Policy junior, detailed Winter’s accomplishments in her director of outreach role, including the bolstering of CSG’s internship program and improvement of CSG’s outreach to student organization through her “coffee chat initiative.”
“She is well-versed in the functions of our organization and possesses a deep understanding of campus partnerships,” Gerstein said. “Stepping into the role as CSG vice president in the closing months of any administration’s term is no easy task. But given Evie’s experience, my personal friendship with her, my understanding and knowledge that she has the passion, drive and will to do this work, I am fully confident she is going to be able to execute this position to the best of her ability.”
Rackham student Hayden Jackson, chair of the Executives Nomination Committee, read excerpts from the Executives Nomination Committee’s report on Winter’s eligibility for the position as vice president. Jackson said the committee felt she would be a good fit for the role. However, they had concerns about Winter’s comments in the report about the administration’s lack of accomplishments during the first semester and her lack of attendance at the University Council, a core function of the vice presidency.
“It remains a concern for us that there was more room for events and initiatives for completion in the first semester, but that Ms. Winter was largely unable to articulate a long list of accomplishments,” Jackson said. “That said, overall, we believe Ms. Winter would do a good job serving in the role for the remainder of the year, as she would carry out former Vice President Blanchard’s projects to completion, and she already understands the Gerstein administration and how it works.”
According to the report, Winter had previously attended one Assembly meeting in the Fall 2019 semester and no UC meetings.
Responding to concerns about attendance at University Council and Assembly, Winter acknowledged she has never been to a UC meeting, but also argued the UC has had issues determining what “that space and time should be used for.” She said she will be attending the first meeting to understand the body’s priorities and work from there to support UC in passing legislation or planning events.
“To clarify, this part of the report is mostly referring to my specific accomplishments.” Winter responded. “I spent most of the first semester working and developing a coffee chat program. I didn’t do a lot of the large-scale events, but that’s not to say that our administration hasn’t been productive and that we haven’t been working on things and planning events throughout the year.”
Gerstein also announced plans to launch a Campus Climate Advisory Council ahead of the 2020 presidential debate that will be hosted on campus. The council aims to build a united campus community and foster a welcoming space for all students in a divisive environment. To ensure this work continues beyond the presidential election year, it is slated to be a standing body composed of students, staff and faculty from a variety of student organizations.
Additionally, Gerstein reported that the Student Fee Advisory Committee, a body which contributes to the Office of Student Life’s budget request to the provost, advocated primarily to increase the allocation of funds for resources to support student mental health. The Student Fee Advisory Committee proposal integrated insights from CSG’s mental health survey and requested that additional funds go to limit wait times at CAPS.
LSA sophomore and representative Sam Braden addressed the progress of the plans for an LSAT prep course and highlighted its popularity amongst students.
“We have over 130 students who want to take it and 140 who want to teach it,” Braden said. “I will be interviewing all the students next week and choosing six of them to teach the students.”
LSA junior Hershy Jalluri, chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission, spoke about the force’s plans to create a platform to increase accessibility to DEI-focused resources. Jalluri also shared plans to create DEI focus groups at student organization mass meetings.
LSA senior Eva Kluting, chair of Transfer Student Resource Commission, spoke on future plans to strengthen ties among transfer students and increase their access to resources.
“The transfer community is a little bit smaller, but we are trying to get people in, and our biggest project right now is the transfer students’ symposium,” Kluting said. “We are going to be a space for students to speak with administrators, talk about transfer issues like housing transportation and orientation. It’ll be a better place to facilitate discussion between students and the administration.”
Engineering senior Zeke Majeske was approved as the Bystander Intervention Training Liaison. Majeske, who nominated himself, shared plans to increase transparency and efficiency in the role by eliminating it.
Members also participated in a hand-ballot election to settle the tiebreaker between the two Rackham Graduate Student Representative candidates, Gerson Ramirez, Public Policy graduate student, and Rackham student Siddharth Singh. Singh was elected.
The Assembly also elected the vice-chair of Executive Nominations, choosing between two nominees, Rackham student Matthew Lesko and LSA senior Annabel Weinbach. Lesko was selected through a secret ballot.