Central Student Government President Anushka Sarkar, an LSA senior, vetoed resolution A.R. 7-026, which called for the use of University of Michigan funding to compensate CSG members for their work. In a statement released Friday afternoon, Sarkar expressed concerns of potential power dynamics created by intergovernmental payment systems as well as the public release of student financial records.
“While I support the spirit of the resolution — compensation and financial support for Central Student Government (CSG) leadership — I veto this resolution because the opt-in payment system for which the resolution calls would essentially be a publicly available list of CSG members’ financial and/or implied socioeconomic statuses. I also veto this resolution because I reserve concerns about the power dynamic created by housing a payment system internally within CSG, as opposed to having tuition waivers offered externally via the Office of Financial Aid or payroll administered via another University unit,” she wrote.
Several students expressed concern after the CSG Student Assembly passed the resolution Tuesday. The LSA Student Government Executive Board issued an online statement rejecting the Assembly’s decision.
“Central Student Government believes that if the University of Michigan has money to spare in its budget, it should be utilized to pay members of the Central Student Government,” the statement read. “The opinion of the body is that…involvement in CSG is more important than any of the other 1400 plus student organizations on campus.”
LSA junior Liam Stewart also expressed his disapproval of the Assembly’s decision and called for Sarkar to veto the bill due to alleged transparency issues within CSG on the University of Michigan Class of 2019 Facebook page.
“Please veto this bill. It's absurd and I'm sure the vast majority of your constituency does not support it. CSG already suffers from huge transparency issues when it comes to spending, and this just adds onto an image of it being a self-serving organization,” he wrote. “There are better ways to ensure underprivileged people are given the opportunity to participate in student government.”
In an earlier interview with The Daily, LSA junior Sujay Shetty, chief of staff to the CSG president, said he would support whatever decision Sarkar chose to make regarding the resolution.
“The representatives speaking (care) deeply for their constituents and the future of the University,” he said. “(I am) proud and inspired by the hard work of this Assembly in many of the tough issues they faced this semester.”
Last year, CSG executive members championed the Leadership Engagement Scholarship, a fund subsidizing student involvement in extracurricular activities. Awards range from $500 to $2500 and are distributed through the Office of Financial Aid.