The Central Student Government passed a resolution Monday night to support the Black Student Union’s “More Than Four” platform. The assembly also heard from University Staff United — a union composed of U-M staff members — and approved first reads of proposals to add a Student Labor Coordinator position and add filtered water stations in University buildings.
CSG unanimously passed the resolution to endorse the BSU’s platform on all of its official social media accounts. Public Health junior Aarushi Ganguly, CSG vice speaker, co-sponsored the resolution and encouraged CSG to use their platform to support the BSU.
“My intention with this (resolution) is that we should make ourselves available for any of the organizations on campus to partner with,” Ganguly said. “The Central Student Government is opening a line of communication going forward if BSU wants to.”
Last week, the BSU released their platform on social media, which demands the University increase resources and accessibility for Black students at the University. The initiative calls upon the University to publicly commit to increasing the number of Black students enrolled, take specific steps to eliminate anti-Blackness, re-structure DEI efforts to include input by Black students and work alongside government officials to address racism in K-12 public education.
“There are several different points that they bring up including improving student enrollment, improving relations with the students outside the University (and) combating anti-Blackness,” Ganguly said.
After the release of their platform, anonymous actors tore down the BSU posters across the Diag on Tuesday night, leaving members of the BSU frustrated about the lack of support from the University and other groups on campus.
The resolution was passed in one meeting, rather than the typical two meetings required. Ganguly said she’s advocating for this expedited decision so CSG can voice their support as close to the release of the platform as possible.
“I just quickly wanted to say why we are trying to do it in one meeting,” Ganguly said. “This platform came out last week and … we (are) wanting to put it on social media as close to the original post (as possible).”
The assembly then moved on to hearing Anne Elias, staff organizer for University Staff United and University Library faculty member, who spoke about the union’s advocacy goals. The 15,000-member union spans across all three campuses and focuses their advocacy on the areas of stagnant wages, lack of advancement, job creeps — which are increases in demands for output — and reclassification.
Elias spoke about her experience as an instructional designer working for the University.
“University Library has some of the lowest-paid staff in the entire University system,” Elias said. “We are experiencing housing insecurity in a very, very deliberate way. You have staff who cannot afford their rent. You have staff who are living in Airbnbs because they cannot secure a mortgage.”
Elias encouraged the University to take action on making wages livable for all University staff and faculty and spoke to the power that unions have in this advocacy.
“The cost of living and basic needs have increased, but our pay has not,” Elias said. “The union hopes to use power in numbers to yield their desired changes. The University has no legal obligation to acknowledge an individual complaint. When you unionize, the University is legally obligated to sit down and listen to you.”
The assembly then voted to approve the first read of a proposal to add a Student Labor Coordinator position. The new position would oversee interaction between the student government and student labor unions at the University, with the aim to improve the lives of all members of the workforce, not just students.
CSG then unanimously voted to pass a resolution calling on the University to provide funding for “academic units” to install filtered water bottle stations in University buildings. The Filtered Water Advocacy Act will be delivered to University President Santa Ono, the Board of Regents and other important University administrators.
Daily News Contributor Joanna Chait can be reached at jchait @umich.edu.