Central Student Government met Tuesday for the second meeting of the Ninth Assembly. The group discussed proposed resolutions on student feedback for CSG actions, Student Assembly member conduct during the presentation and voting of resolutions and an adjustment to the election complaint filing period.
During the new business portion, Engineering junior Zeke Majeske, vice chair of the Ethics Committee, proposed Assembly Resolutions 9-002 and 9-003, which were both discussed by the Assembly in a 15-minute block.
The initial draft of AR 9-002 proposes student feedback on resolutions that meet one or more of the following criteria: the president vetoed the resolution, the vote total of the resolution included at least one “yes” vote and at least one “no” vote and the resolution is deemed a declarative resolution.
For the resolutions that follow this criteria, the Communications Committee would then be required to send a survey to at least 1,800 random students, asking them “yes” and “no” questions on their views of specific resolutions. The committee chair would have 48 hours to accumulate the feedback. The chair would further have to present the results of the survey each week in his committee report, “No more than two Assembly meetings after having sent out the survey,” according to the draft of the AR 9-002.
Though they recognize the importance of student representation when it comes to legislation, several members of the Assembly, such as LSA freshman Joey Schrayer, chair of the Communications Committee, had questions regarding the effectiveness and plausibility of Majeske’s proposed resolution.
“I like the reaching out to students and looking for feedback, but to assign … to me personally, the job of, in 48 hours, to correspond with 1,800 University of Michigan busy students, I just don’t think that’s realistic,” Schrayer said. “Additionally, the beauty of the democratic government is that you elect someone to make decisions for you … and so to be voted as a representative and to go back and say, ‘Well just in case, what would at least this many kids have said?’ I think is sort of antithetical to the idea of student government.”
AR 9-003 is a procedural resolution intended to establish a standard of composure for attendees of the Assembly. According to a first draft of the resolution, attendees of the Assembly meeting who are “displaying an unprofessional level of emotion, especially behaviors like crying, can strongly influence members of the Assembly on how to vote.” Therefore, the draft states that these emotional reactions can influence the “logical arguments” members could develop regarding the resolutions at hand.
Majeske proposed in his draft to establish “violations” to the committee meetings, including speaking out of turn, vulgar or offensive language and “preventing productive discussion through displays of excessive emotion.” According to Majeske, for those committing the violations, there would be “penalties” for each offense, the first of which would be a warning about the rules of conduct, and the last of which would be a loss of attendance privileges.
The draft garnered a negative response among Assembly members, who brought up various personal and logistical concerns. CSG representative Marissa Levey, Public Health junior, questioned Majeske’s proposal and said the purpose of the resolution troubled her.
“So some of the issues we talk about in CSG are really sensitive and personal, so to say that somebody who is bringing up mental illness or sexual assault can’t cry or have a normal emotion is kind of striking me in a really wrong way,” Levey said. “I was just wondering what was your thought about this resolution in terms of when we do talk about really serious topics that are triggering people … what do you think will benefit the Assembly from this resolution where there are a lot of topics we talk about that are incredibly serious?”
After the Assembly meeting, Majeske told The Daily he recognized the suggestions made by the legislative members, and said their recommendations altered his perspective on the resolution.
“How I felt at the beginning of the meeting, which is most likely reflected in the resolution, is different than how I feel now,” Majeske said. “I think the way we talked about the resolution and the issues brought up by the Assembly were very helpful in me generating ways on how to improve those resolutions, and I realize the way the resolution that was written in the first draft would almost certainly fail to pass.”
Rackham student Austin Glass, chair of the Rules Committee, proposed AR 9-004, which focuses on allowing people to file a complaint regarding the CSG election only before the polls close and before the election results are released to the public. The proposed resolution would exclude the special prosecutor, who would be able to file complaints regarding the election before it is certified.
Glass explains that the reason for his proposal is because he takes issue with those losing the election submitting several complaints that they may not have filed prior to the election results being released.
“I personally have concerns with having a filing period that opens after the reporting of results, because I have seen in the past and worry that it could happen again that individuals would file complaints for the express purpose of trying to basically throw everything against the wall to see what sticks if they lose in the election,” Glass said.
LSA freshman Sujin Kim, chair of the Resolutions Committee, as well as Rackham student Hayden Jackson, chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, proposed the final resolution of the new business portion regarding the funding and distribution of healthy snacks, beverages and green books during the period of final exams. The resolution intends for CSG to partner with the Shapiro Undergraduate Library to provide those resources to students. The suggested program currently plans on setting up in the UGLi, the Fishbowl and the Duderstadt Center.
Several members of the Assembly suggested expanding the program to other locations on campus, such as individual schools like the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and the School of Art & Design, as well as the dorms on campus. Other members, such as CSG representative Natalie Cieslak, Information junior, disagreed, saying that having the distribution sites in many separate locations will be ineffective for the intention of the resolution.
“It’s hard to go on a school-by-school basis, and I don’t think this is a policy that is intended to,” Cieslak said. “I think by (the resolution) having certain set locations, I don’t think it’s necessarily discriminatory toward certain schools, it’s more like come if you want, this is available to you … but I think if we try to turn it into something where we need to go to every school, we need to accommodate every schedule, I think that kind of goes past the point of what the resolution is even for.”
The Assembly then approved representatives Sam Braden, LSA freshman, Sehrish Hussain, Art & Design freshman, as well as Public Policy junior Brianna Wells to the new Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Survivor Empowerment Commission. SMPSEC is a combination of last year’s Survivor Empowerment Fund and Sexual Misconduct Taskforce.
Business junior Crede Strauser was also approved as the chair of the Student Organization Funding Committee.