The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government convened Tuesday evening to host the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs for anti-racism training and to address concerns regarding fraternity hazing.
The Assembly started off by reconfirming Lucy Brock and Conner Reagan as chief justice and associate chief justice, respectively, of the Central Student Judiciary. The two were confirmed to their positions with unanimous consent. Assembly members also voted on the recall of Rackham graduate student Ignacio Jesus Blanco Varela, who was recalled by the assembly.
Shereen Thomas, MESA peer inclusive education facilitator, led the anti-racism training for Assembly members. Thomas said it is important for everyone to recognize how messages about race are internalized. As part of the training, Assembly members broke out into discussion groups to talk about their own personal identities and experiences.
“So (for) our outcomes for today, I want everybody to know the difference between non-racist and anti-racist,” Thomas said. “We want to understand that racism is systematic and systemic. And we want to develop strategies: interrupting and combating racism in your personal life and within this organization.”
After the training, Ethics Committee Chair Dhanya Sethuraman moved on to discuss a traumatic experience in one of her classes that she believed was a result of fraternity hazing on campus.
“On Friday of last week, during the lecture in one of my classes … two individuals jumped out of nowhere, one wearing a black ski mask and a bag and the other a white male in a red hoodie, recording on his phone,” Sethuraman said. “The person in the black ski mask grabbed the microphone from the professor’s hands and screamed, ‘Oh no!’ … We all believed that we were in a (real) life shooter situation and many of my classmates were moving under the chairs.”
Sethuraman said even if the incident was a prank, herself and many of her peers were shaken up for the rest of the class.
“My professor and many students, including me, were in shock for a few minutes,” Sethuraman said. “But we just have to continue class, while the professor tried to teach through a traumatic stress episode. … There’s been a pattern, dozens of incidents like this, that happened specifically in ethnic studies or Third World studies classes with instructors and students of Color.”
The floor was opened for Assembly members to respond to Sethuraman’s report. Riley Kina, Rules Committee vice chair, explained that because of technicalities in University policy, it would be difficult for CSG to pass an effective resolution against hazing.
“Technically, (the University) is a non-hazing campus,” Kina said. “Technically no frats haze. I don’t know if there’s any way you can really prevent anything. You could write a resolution about anti-hazing, but technically they don’t haze and no frat will get caught for hazing.”
The Assembly also passed resolution AR 13-012, which makes several changes to CSG’s Elections Code, potentially impacting campaign finances, the timeline for CSG elections and management of their election website.
Daily Staff Reporter Grace Lim can be reached at email@example.com.