The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government (CSG) gathered on Tuesday to vote on various resolutions pertaining to tri-campus equality, scholarship distribution to U-M personal care assistants and a student health and wellness task force, as well as to confirm CSG cabinet positions.
The Assembly discussed and passed a proposal, LDF 11-002, requesting $10,000 from the CSG budget to fund a rally for tri-campus equity. Funding for the rally includes up to 10 ADA-complaint and disability-conscious buses to provide transportation from U-M Flint and Dearborn campuses to Ann Arbor for the protest, supplies for staging and victuals. The proposal was passed unanimously.
LSA senior Joseph Lobodzinski debated in favor of the motion, referencing an article by The Michigan Daily regarding University President Mark Schlissel asking U-M faculty if they believe the University should use funds to expand the Go Blue Guarantee to the Dearborn and Flint campuses, even if it meant sacrificing ‘academic excellence and salary growth’ at the Ann Arbor campus.
“(The question) pits us against our fellow students at the University of Michigan-Flint and Dearborn. They are using the classic divide and conquer tactic,” Lobodzinski said. “This motion will organize about 400 students from both the Dearborn and Flint campuses to come to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) campus and advocate on their behalf for more funding to their campuses.”
CSG also discussed two resolutions pertaining to the creation of a Student Health and Wellness task force and the authorization of the creation of an initial funding for a task force charged with producing, vetting, and gifting scholarships to employed as personal care assistants at the University. Both resolutions passed unanimously.
Tensions initially arose between the executive nomination committee and CSG President Nithya Arun after the committee released a report of disapproval for LSA junior Grace Roberts’ confirmation as Chief of Staff following their interview with Roberts. CSG member Noah Zimmerman was present at the executive nomination hearing with Roberts and reiterated the committee’s disapproval for Roberts for the position of Chief of Staff. Zimmerman said Roberts’ relationship with Arun, as well as her contradictory approach, pushed the committee to express their disapproval.
“Grace made it very aware that she wanted to take a unique perspective on (the role of Chief of Staff) and that (Arun and Robert’s) had a working relationship, but only a working relationship of the recent past,” Zimmerman said. “She thought that was a beneficial quality to have, and we disagreed on that. We do think it is a good idea to have someone who disagrees and someone that is not just a yes man … but, however, she (said she) would go with what she wanted. Those two concerns … gave us no confidence to give her a positive recommendation.”
When asked about her contradictory approach, Roberts said that she would not simply follow along with the President and Vice President’s agendas as a rubber stamper.
“What was communicated in the executive nominations report is not an accurate representation of what I said or what I believe,” Roberts said. “I am a voice that (President) Nithya and (Vice President) Carla trust, and I want to be able to say to them my honest opinion about things, but that doesn’t mean I am bull-headed and that I will not do the things expected of me as Chief of Staff.”
Many members of CSG raised their hands to defend Roberts against the claims made by the committee. CSG member Zaynab Elkolaly jumped in on the discussion to defend the integrity of the nomination itself, stating that in the past, a person’s character was never as important as their experience and judgment.
“I am also confused by the fact that her character was particularly highlighted to begin with,” Elkolaly said. “I know that historically in nominations we focus on experience and things that relate directly to the position.”
Members unanimously voted to confirm Roberts as the Chief of Staff for the CSG executive branch.
Arun shared her disapproval of the executive nomination committee’s report in an address to the government towards the end of the meeting.
“(The executive nominations report) gave a very one-sided view of our nominee and what happened with Grace is not an isolated incident,” Arun said. “Words really can not explain how disappointed I am with the (executive nomination) committee right now”.
Daily Staff Reporter Nadir Al-Saidi can be reached at email@example.com.