At Tuesday’s Central Student Government meeting, University President Mark Schlissel spoke about several ways he hoped to open an inclusive campus dialogue on topics such as race and diversity at the University during his tenure.
During his remarks to the assembly, Schlissel stressed the importance of not only diversity of students on campus, but also diversity of student opinions, saying students should be exposed to opinions they don’t necessarily agree with.
“A significant fraction of students make it through their four or five years of undergrad without really taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from each other,” Schlissel said. “I’m going to make an effort in the coming years to very purposefully provoke difficult discussions and invite speakers that you’ll protest.”
During a hearing later in the meeting confirming his appointment as chair of the Campus Inclusion Commission, LSA junior Kendall Poindexter drew on Schlissel’s statements in his support for differing perspectives and backgrounds on campus.
“While nobody likes conflict, by hearing different viewpoints everybody is able to learn from one another, especially if they’re willing to hear it,” Poindexter said.
In December, the Campus Inclusion Commission was disbanded following the sudden resignation of all 11 commission members after the previous chair was terminated. The current membership status of the commission is not known.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the body brought four resolutions to the floor discussing the creation of a centralized web resource for undocumented students, refurbishment of the mental health services department as part of the upcoming Union renovations and a resolution to rename the Biomedical Science Research Building after University President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman.
A resolution authored by LSA juniors David Schafer and Anushka Sarkar noted that though the University financial aid website has resources for undocumented students, there is no centralized online page for all other available resources for undocumented students, and that other universities — including the University of Southern California — have similar webpages.
If enacted, this resolution would create an “Undocumented Student Resource Guide” tab on the CSG website with links to relevant legal services and student support networks.
CSG also heard a resolution calling for their endorsement of the renaming of the biological sciences building after former University President Mary Sue Coleman.
The resolution — authored by LSA sophomore Nicholas Fadanelli, LSA senior Michael Chrzan, LSA junior Stephen Halperin, CSG vice president, LSA junior Yong-Joon Kim and LSA senior Reid Klootwyk, LSA Student Government vice president — notes Coleman’s significant contributions as an academic and administrator, and that there is a precedent for former University presidents to have a building named after them.
The resolution further says no buildings on campus are named after women, and that women are greatly underrepresented in scientific fields. Coleman is a biochemist.
Though CSG lacks the authority to actually rename the building, if the resolution is passed, the body will officially endorse doing so and will actively lobby members of the University administration and the University’s Board of Regents on the issue.
LSA-SG passed a similar resolution on Jan. 28.
An additional resolution was heard by CSG about using the body’s resources to send aid to the city of Flint, though it was found unfeasible due to a University policy policing the use of funds generated by student organizations.
“University guidelines prohibit University money to go into charity use,” Public Policy sophomore Jacob Pearlman, CSG legal counsel, said.
In the bylines stipulating money management by student organizations through the Office of Campus Involvement, the assembly is unable to donate funds for resources for Flint.