The University of Michigan Central Student Government convened in the Michigan Union Tuesday night to discuss allocations of Legislative Discretionary funding, to confirm new roles and to amend the election code.
The Assembly began with deliberations on allocating a fund of $5,645 for performing Macbeth in the Union courtyard. Music, Theatre & Dance representative Zion Jackson advocated for the resolution.
“The reason we are doing this is because we feel that theatre is an integral part of the American lifestyle, and I feel that theatre has power in connecting people,” Jackson said. “This Shakespeare play does a lot of that. It has a lot of themes (that) are very political, not in a bad sense, but it shines a light on different topics of today.”
LSA representative Maddi Walsh, on the other hand, was concerned about the cost required for this production.
“We don’t have any way of really knowing concretely what the value that we are getting out of (the production) is,” Walsh said. “We don’t really know aside from just projections from past productions what our return on investments is going to be and whether it is going to be similar or not.”
In response to Walsh’s concerns, Jackson recognized the production is a risk financially, but also creates an opportunity for CSG to build a stronger relationship with the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
“I know it’s a risk. It’s very risky and that we don’t know the actual return on investment and such, but I also feel like with something like this we won’t know unless we try,” Jackson said. “There haven’t been any efforts, at least to my knowledge, any concrete or solid efforts for us to try to establish a better relationship with the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and so I feel like this is a method to do that.”
After a vote, the resolution was referred to the Resolutions and Finances Committee due to concerns regarding the large fund needed.
The Assembly then confirmed LSA sophomore Brendan Neary as vice-chair of the Student Organization Funding Committee. Last semester, LSA junior and SOFC vice-chair Max Jones was recalled for application misconduct.
LSA freshman Kyla McCallum was also confirmed as chief of staff. McCallum will succeed Public Policy junior Amanda Kaplan, who announced her candidacy for CSG President with the Mobilize party Monday night.
The Assembly approved a resolution to create a Student Organization Committee to improve CSG’s relationship with student organizations and relieve the workload on SOFC, which is currently responsible for enforcing CSG regulations and managing student organization funding.
The committee will be led by a director who will manage communication with student organizations, funding and enforcement of rules. SOC will also manage other student organization operations that are not related to funding but impact student life.
The Assembly also reached a decision to remove the BIT Liaison, who oversees SOFC’s Bystander Intervention Training Liaison, and redirect the responsibilities of the liaison to the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Survivor Empowerment Commission. It was also decided that the Bystander Intervention Training will be converted to an online course.
The Assembly discussed proposed amendments to the election code. Engineering representatives Zeke Majeske and Carla Voigt and LSA representative Sam Braden advocated for banning political parties. The group said that currently, parties seek out popular candidates who have the ability to get numbers.
Additionally, the group said there is a lack of information on ways to participate in CSG due to the fact that students usually learn about CSG only during election season. They said the party system further discourages individual candidates from contesting party picks for seats and prevents candidates from winning because of their party affiliation.
They also pointed out the financial burden on candidates who run without a party, saying they are delegated significantly lower funds when campaigning.
CSG Speaker Whit Froehlich ruled this amendment out of order on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. However, the group said even if their proposal does not argue the unconstitutionality of the current system, it is still unfair.
The Assembly then engaged in a debate regarding the revocation of Froehlich’s ruling. Majeske withdrew the resolution.
The same group proposed another set of amendments that would allow students to campaign with other candidates, but would prevent them from campaigning under a single party name and putting a party name on the ballot. Froehlich ruled this set of proposed amendments out of order.
The Assembly then debated the group’s third set of amendments. The Assembly voted to pass the sets of amendments, which bans party names on the ballot and prevents candidates from spending money on other candidates.
CSG Vice Speaker Selena Bazzi advocated for the amendments, saying she felt that candidates running with parties have an unfair advantage over individual candidates.
“When I first ran for CSG with MomentUM against MVision, I felt like I was chasing after everyone to vote for me, and even then I barely made it,” Bazzi said. “When I ran with Engage, I barely had to campaign, and I was on top. I feel like parties matter a lot.”
Reporter Navya Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.