The University of Michigan Central Student Government discussed the assembly’s budget for the fall operations of CSG such as increasing allocations for student organizations’ anti-racism initiatives as well as funding to purchase the Cooking add-on to the existing free New York Times subscription for students.
At their hybrid meeting Tuesday evening, the assembly talked about an appropriations resolution to enact a budget for the fall operations of CSG. CSG allocates a budget each semester to serve student organizations and cover their operational costs.
The main debate for this resolution centered on giving grants to student organizations for anti-racism projects and whether to increase the already allocated $3,000 to $10,000.
CSG President Nithya Arun, a Public Health senior, said she felt the raise in money was necessary to support student organizations’ anti-racism projects. With this raise, organizations who have not had the opportunity to pursue anti-racism initiatives would be able to obtain funding for them, Arun said.
“Racial justice student organizations have come to us, requesting that we set up some sort of grant program analogous to the DEI Fund,” Arun said. “So the reason we want to create a separate fund is so that student organizations who haven’t been privy to all the funds they need to carry out their initiatives, do get that opportunity now.”
Engineering sophomore Allan Vanzandt asked why the allocation of funds would fall to CSG rather than the individual student organizations.
“I was just wondering why that responsibility (of allocating financial resources to student organizations for anti-racism projects) would fall on CSG and not the individual organizations themselves,” Vanzandt said. “Why should we have the financial burden if they don’t know the allocations they need in advance?”
Arun replied by emphasizing the importance of prioritizing such organizations.
“Racial justice organizations have been overlooked for funding for several years, and funding distribution to racial justice organizations has been inequitable,” Arun said. “The burden is on CSG because we have, in the past, contributed to these inequities, and now is the time to ameliorate them.”
LSA sophomore Karthik Pasupula, chair of the Finance Committee, argued against the resolution, saying that there are already allocations towards organizations hoping to pursue anti-racism initiatives. Rather than allocating them a larger sum of money, Pasupula recommended splitting among organizations the already allocated $3,000 then, if needed, raising the amount later.
“I feel like if we come to the middle of the semester and there’s a demand for it, and we’ve already seen that the money’s been spent, that’s fine,” Pasupula said. “But, for right now, $3,000 is still a lot of money.”
Engineering junior Zaynab Elkolaly supported the resolution, stating that the best way to uplift these student organizations is through actions like financial allocations.
“That’s pretty much the only tangible way that we as CSG can right the wrongs that we’ve instituted in the past,” Elkolaly said. “And if that’s in the form of an additional $7,000, then I say that’s perfectly fair and necessary.”
After more Assembly members shared their opinions on the matter, the resolution was passed with unanimous consent.
The assembly also discussed and postponed a resolution to fund the Cooking add-on to the existing New York Times subscription, which would give students access to all the NYT recipes. All University students are currently eligible for free subscriptions to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal through CSG funding.
The Assembly initially moved to withdraw the resolution altogether, to which Law student Deborah Rookey, chair of the Ethics Committee, immediately objected. She said she’s received many responses in favor of the Cooking add-on in her weekly email to the law student body.
“I have gotten dozens of law students going out of their way to tell me how badly they want this Cooking add-on,” Rookey said. “I’m concerned about withdrawing (the resolution) and the legislation just disappearing without a vote because from my perspective, this is something that my constituents really want.”
Rackham student Sulayman Qazi also voiced support for the resolution, mentioning increasing students’ access to information, but voiced concerns over if students would actually use the subscription add-on.
“I really like the point of this resolution (increasing) access to information and providing information to students,” Qazi said. “But we need to see if there are students that will really use this. I personally don’t even use the New York Times even though I can get a free subscription, I’m just not interested in that.”
The differing opinions of potential student usage of the Cooking add-on and desire to gather more information on the matter ended with the decision to postpone resolution until next week.
CSG also approved a rule changing the wording of the Student Organization Funding Committee and Wolverine Consulting Group funding criteria by writing in plainer language to advance the accessibility of their documents.
Daily Staff Reporter Madeleine Bauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: Inaccurate portrayal of comments from a CSG Assemblymember have been removed.