The University of Michigan Central Student Government’s Ninth Assembly held its last meeting virtually through a BlueJeans video conference Tuesday night. The Assembly discussed amendments to the CSG budget and allocations to the Dean of Students Emergency Fund, a financial assistance program run by the University that provides students in need with up to $500.
The Assembly discussed a motion to amend budget allocations for the LSAT prep course sponsored by CSG. Currently, course instructors are paid $200 for two and a half teaching hours a week. The motion proposed to pay $80 to instructors teaching their own class and $120 to instructors covering another instructor’s class as opposed to the previously set weekly rate for their role in the program.
The amendment further stipulated that instructors would be paid $40 for attending a weekly meeting, but it was ruled out of order by Speaker Whit Froehlich, a Medical student, on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
Rackham student Austin Glass said he supported Froehlich’s ruling due to the precedent it set for future amendments that could have a negative impact on workers.
“Overturning this ruling would, in my view, be a dangerous constitutional challenge to the power of CSG and the power of the Assembly,” Glass said. “If an amendment like this were allowed, an amendment to change the amount that individuals were paid to zero dollars would also be allowed. That is completely unacceptable and unattainable to me.”
The Assembly voted to overturn Froehlich’s ruling and after engaging in a debate, LSA sophomore Sam Braden proposed to strike the $120 being paid to instructors covering another instructor’s class from the proposed budget amendment. The change was made with unanimous consent and the Assembly voted to pass the budget amendment.
Rackham student Hayden Jackson supported the amendment to the budget so that course instructors get paid adequately, citing that not passing the amendment due to procedural concerns would be unjust to the workers.
“What (this amendment) comes down to is whether you believe that people should be paid fairly for their work,” Jackson said.
The Assembly approved the amendment to the Winter 2020 budget to reallocate $2,000 from the Programming Board Project Account to the Legislative Discretionary Fund. The amendment was made in order to create sufficient funds to make an allocation of $20,000 from the fund towards the Dean of Students Emergency Fund.
After amending the amount to be allocated to $10,000 in order to leave sufficient funds in the budget for the next Assembly, the Assembly voted for the motion by unanimous consent.
The Assembly also discussed the screening process for the Dean of Students Emergency Fund and the idea of waiving the $500 limit of fund allocation to students displaying need from the fund to Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones.
Because Tuesday’s meeting was the last of the ninth CSG Assembly, President Ben Gerstein, Public Policy junior, thanked Assembly members for their contributions. Elections for the 10th Assembly take place Wednesday and Thursday online at vote.umich.edu.
“I want to thank each and every one of you. It’s been a really challenging, but rewarding and unbelievable, year. Each and every one of you have had an impact on my personal experience at CSG,” Gerstein said. “It’s been an unbelievable two and a half years. I really hope that you all took as much as I took from this Assembly this past year and utilize that passion you all have to move forward.”