The University of Michigan Central Student Government held its first meeting since the end of in-person classes, using the video conference platform BlueJeans Tuesday night. The Assembly discussed whether it should allocate its discretionary funds to the Dean of Students’ Emergency Fund and how to best advocate for students since the University advised all those who are able to leave campus.
CSG President Ben Gerstein, Public Policy junior, said he is working with students and the University to address concerns related to campus housing, jobs and classes.
“I’m going to focus my effort at least on ensuring that if you were forced to move out you’re reimbursed, if you had a job and you lost that job because restaurants closed, the University library shut down and so on, there’s some form of compensation there as well,” Gerstein said. “I know the University announced that they’ll be doing paid leave, but for some student employees who were working jobs on campus to help pay for things, ensuring that those gaps and needs are met.”
LSA sophomore Sam Burnstein, a representative, sponsored a motion to allocate the remainder of the legislative discretionary fund to the Dean of Students’ Emergency Fund, which provides one-time grants of up to $500 to students unable to cover immediate expenses.
“It’s kind of perfect timing too because we’re pretty much right at the end of our session, I just want to use the rest of what we have, which is a considerable amount, about $26,000 and allocate it to — per Ben (Gerstein’s) recommendation — to the Dean of Students’ Emergency Fund,” Burnstein said.
Rackham student Hayden Jackson said he believes CSG should be doing everything it can to assist students, but questioned the efficacy of pushing the money to the fund immediately.
“This week there is not a high level of urgency based on the fact that the President allocated $10,000 to the Dean of Students’ Fund just a few days ago,” Jackson said. “Every indication that I have indicates that this is able to meet the students’ current needs at this point.”
CSG Treasurer Taylor Lansey, LSA junior, agreed with Jackson, suggesting CSG be careful to allocate funds to best address the needs of students during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We don’t need to scared-spend all our money,” Lansey said. “There’s totally the opportunity to even spend $5,000 this week, see how it goes, and spend a little bit more next week. … We also have the ability to also donate to other things on-campus, some of those being the Maize and Blue Cupboard or other funds that do exist to help students.”
Lansey said it may be beneficial to keep some of the money, as students will continue to be affected by the virus in the coming months.
“No one’s against giving money to help people … but I do think this large sum of money at this time is a little bit knee-jerk,” Lansey said.
The Assembly voted to push the motion to be voted on next week.
An amendment to a resolution to improve the functioning of CSG by LSA sophomore Sam Braden was sent back to the Rules Committee for review. The Assembly also passed a resolution to implement the Student Organization Funding Committee during the summer.
Daily Staff Reporter Julia Rubin can be reached at email@example.com.