At Tuesday’s meeting, representatives of the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government discussed funding and the University Counseling and Psychological Services’ website, as well as passing a resolution on undocumented and non-traditional graduate students.
The meeting opened with LSA senior Jacob Ruby, chair of the Student Organization Funding Commission at the University, updating the council on SOFC’s progress in regard to the distribution of money among student clubs and organizations.
“Thanks to the online application the quality of requests for funding has gone up,” he said. “We had $500,000 in requests last semester, and so far this semester we already have $750,000 in requests. If we stick within our range we won’t be giving out very much money to student orgs, but we will not go over our budget.”
The topic of funding did not stop with Ruby’s executive report. Business junior Ben Meisel, chair of CSG’s Finance Committee, introduced a new resolution to alter the distribution of the CSG budget. If the suggested budget is passed, just under $7,000 will be moved from CSG’s General Account to the Legislative Discretionary Account. The money in the latter account would be used toward student resources like St. Patrick's Day dining hours and hand dryers in the C.C. Little Science Building.
Meisel said he thought the shift would impact how accessible CSG funds were to the student body.
“I believe we’ve done amazing work so far this semester as a funding body,” he said. “We have more things coming up and representatives excited about improving the student body. Finances shouldn’t stop them if it is within the means of our organization. It’s a no brainer to me that we should create accessibility to use money that was given by students for students.”
Additionally, a resolution to allocate funds for the MUSIC Matters 2016 concert went through first review by the assembly. Business senior Jibran Ahmed, MUSIC Matters president, said increasing funding to his organization could help improve the quality of events and activities held for SpringFest on April 13.
“The costs for this year’s festival will be higher than they were in the past,” he said. “We give money to student organizations that want to do more, but we are running into issues. So the money would be allocated to those specific organizations as a way to create more engaging and entertaining events.”
Among new business discussed was a resolution to have CSG encourage CAPS to improve its website. The resolution states that the current website does not present a clear way for students to go about making an appointment or accessing additional resources. The resolution will be reviewed further at CSG’s next meeting.
Ford senior Sloane Forbush, who authored the resolution, said the current website is not user-friendly. The resolution proposes that CAPS to adopt a format similar to that of the Ohio State University’s Psychological Services website, which Forbush said has better organization and structure.
LSA junior Cam Dotson, co-author of the resolution, echoed her remarks.
“Students who are going through these traumatic experiences don’t want click through all these links,” he said “We want to ease the service, make it easier to use and make finding help through CAPS more accessible.”
During the community concerns section of the meeting, six individuals came to address the chamber on a resolution to encourage the University to extend in-state tuition to undocumented graduate and non-traditional students in Michigan. The assembly passed the resolution.
One of the speakers, Ph.D. candidate Persephone Hernandez-Vogt, said it’s important for non-traditional students in Michigan to have affordable tuition.
“It’s wonderful that this is available to undergraduates, but it’s so important that everyone has access to it,” she said. “It would offer more affordable opportunities to undocumented and non-traditional graduate students who would qualify for the in-state tuition if in undergrad.”