At their Tuesday meeting, Central Student Government discussed resolutions that would aim to enhance and strengthen the University’s race and ethnicity requirements.
CSG looked at two resolutions pertaining to the requirement. The first resolution supported the expansion of the R&E requirement to all University undergraduate schools and colleges. Currently, it only applies to Literature, Science and Arts students. Some other colleges have similarly themed curriculum aspects, such as the Identity, Diversity and Organizations requirement in the Ross School of Business.
“We think it’s important that all students are being taught this,” said LSA representative Micah Griggs, an LSA junior. “It provides students with the skills to work in a multi-ethnic environment.”
Rackham student Trevis Harrold asked about expanding the requirement to graduate schools as well. However, LSA junior Lucky Lakshman Mulperi, a CSG representative, said this currently is not a feasible goal because CSG doesn’t have resources to expand it to all graduate colleges as well.
Before referring the resolution to the review committee, representatives suggested a clarification be added to determine whether or not other schools would develop their own requirement or adopt LSA’s current standard.
LSA’s R&E requirement was established in 1990 in response to the 1987 Black Action Movement after a series of racist and discriminatory incidents against students of color that took place on campus. The resolution highlighted that such instances of discrimination and intolerance continue to ail students today. Expanding the requirement to all colleges was also one of the seven demands issued by the Black Student Union as part of the #BBUM movement in 2014.
The second resolution considered by CSG called for the establishment of a support center for R&E courses, similar to other centers such as the Sweetland Writing Center, the Michigan Language Center and the Science Learning Center. Course support was discussed in two student forums in the fall aimed at gathering feedback on the R&E requirement.
According to the resolution, the center would provide training and resources for graduate student instructors and professors to better facilitate sensitive discussions regarding race and ethnicity. It would also create a space for students to engage in further dialogue.
Several members expressed confusion about the functionality of such a facility. LSA junior David Schafer, a CSG representative, said he appreciated the spirit of the resolution, but wanted to know more about the logistics of the center, such as who would work there and how it would operate.
In response, LSA junior Sean Pitt, CSG chief of staff, stressed the intent of the resolution. He explained that it aims to serve as a sign of student support for the proposal to the University’s administration so that the LSA committee currently reviewing the R&E requirement will further entertain the creation of a support center for R&E courses. The committee could then work to strategize and develop specifics.
The resolution was referred to the resolutions committee for further review. Schafer also suggested hosting a forum to gain feedback for such a center.
LSA senior Adam Waggoner, chair of the Student Organization Funding Commission, updated CSG on the commission’s activities at Tuesday’s meeting. SOFC is the branch of CSG that makes funding decisions to support student organizations on campus.
Waggoner said SOFC’s budget was about $200,000 last semester, which represents about half of CSG’s. $198, 927 was reimbursed to student organizations by the end of the semester. Student groups requested nearly half a million dollars in funding total, and slightly over a quarter million dollars were awarded. He explained that demand for funding has been increasing both because of a rise in requests and easier accessibility due to the online application.
This semester’s budget has been raised to $225,000; however, Waggoner said it’s not proportional to the increase in demand.
Out of the nine periods of funding CSG divides the semester into, seven waves remain for this semester.
Correction appended: This article has been updated to reflect that CSG discussed resolutions pertaining to R&E, but did not vote on them.