Central Student Government at the University of Michigan convened on the eve of Election Day to hear from the Division of Public Safety and Security and pass three resolutions.
Bryan Baker, DPSS liaison to Student Life, outlined the avenues students can use to engage with DPSS. Students are encouraged to utilize the DPSS app, Twitter and Facebook pages, and the DPSS student advisory board, which is currently accepting applications.
Special Victims Unit Coordinator Maureen Burke, who has been with the University of Michigan Police Department for 27 years, spoke about the department’s goal of decreasing obstacles to reporting sexual violence. The unit helps victims explore their options for reporting, which include obtaining personal protection orders and navigating the court process. DPSS also publicized self-defense classes available to students free of charge.
“With the climate in the nation and here locally in Ann Arbor, we have seen an increased reporting of these interpersonal violence crimes, and we encourage increased reporting,” Burke said.
CSG also voted to fund bringing motivational speaker Brandon Farbstein to campus for an event titled “Ten Feet Tall.” Farbstein was diagnosed with metatropic dysplasia, a rare form of dwarfism, at age two. Business sophomore Paul Schmitz worked to bring Farbstein to the University, saying his story needed to be heard.
“He really has a story that resonates with every single person, and my goal is to get it to as many people as possible,” Schmitz said.
Farbstein speaks about his experience with depression, cyberbullying and life with his diagnosis to empower his audience. This semester, the University has placed more of an emphasis on equity and inclusion of disabled individuals on campus, creating a new slate of programming titled Investing in Ability.
CSG also passed a resolution to subsidize MDining gift cards during final exams. The resolution will provide a total of 150 cards, each good for one swipe, distributed over three days during exams. Public Policy senior Drea Somers, co-author of the resolution, said the gift cards are “strongly recommended for Pell Grant students, but any student can pick it up.” The cards will not have an effect on financial aid.
At the end of the meeting, CSG passed a resolution that will require its representatives to attend one event hosted by organizations representing students of color each month. LSA senior Cece Huddleston wrote the resolution to serve underrepresented voices on campus.
“We are all at this school, and we are all Wolverines,” Huddleston said. “I just want us to get to know people outside of ourselves so we can truly represent the school and act the way we were elected to act.”
Finally, CSG President Daniel Greene, a Public Policy senior, read a statement denouncing the University’s response to sexual assault allegations against SMTD professor David Daniels. The council had no objection to the statement.
“When the normal institutional processes fail, we, as leaders of CSG, have a responsibility to hold the University’s administration accountable,” the statement read. “We expect the University to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual misconduct. We will work to ensure that they do so.”