The University of Michigan Central Student Government convened Tuesday evening in the Michigan Union to hear from CSG president Meera Herle on her administration’s goals for the semester, consider making the Union’s administration more student-led and discuss changing CSG elections to a single transferable vote method.
During her State of the Students report to the Student Assembly, Herle delivered an overview of CSG’s Executive Committee structure, talked about the Herle-Ray administration’s objectives and gave updates on student organization funding. According to Herle, the Assembly currently funds roughly 36% of the funds requested by student organizations. Herle said CSG is talking with leaders of club sports and recreational sports, who constitute a significant portion of CSG’s funding requests, to find other ways to obtain funding.
“Those organizations make up a large portion of the amount of requests we receive, and they also tend to drown out the requests of other student organizations, such as arts and culture organizations,” Herle said. “We want to make sure we can fund all the clubs equitably. And we also want to make sure that we can fund the majority of orgs who apply, not just 36%.”
The Rules Committee then presented the possibility of getting students and CSG more involved in the running of the Union. Rules Committee member Jacob Amspaugh said the idea was largely inspired by complaints he’d heard about the dining options in the Union’s lower level.
“I received a lot of constituent feedback that they want more involvement when it comes to the Michigan Union and decisions for implementing new dining options down below,” Amspaugh said.
Rules Committee chair Liam Reaser said he feels CSG, as representatives of the student body, should be involved with the decision-making behind the Union.
“At the end of the day the Michigan Union is a student union, and we are the student government,” Reaser said. “It would seem to make some sense that the decision-making process would involve (CSG) in at least some capacity.”
The Assembly also discussed a proposed amendment to their constitution that would mean members would be elected by single transferable voting. Single transferable voting is a method in which voters rank their candidate choices, and candidates are chosen after meeting a certain quota of votes. Any surplus votes above the quota, or any votes for candidates who were eliminated for not meeting quota, are transferred to the voter’s next best choice.
Reaser said this method would mean voters would not have to strategize as much about who to vote for, and instead would only need to worry about voting for whichever candidates they truly want.
“The benefits of the single transferable vote are many,” Reaser said. “To summarize, basically, it makes voting less strategic. So there’s no way to game the system. You’re not any better off voting for one person versus many people. You just vote how you feel and there’s no real advantage or disadvantage to doing that.”
Candidacy applications will open Oct. 18 and CSG elections will be occurring in late November.
Correction 10/4: CSG funds about 36% of the funds requested by student organizations on campus.
Daily Staff Reporter Abigail VanderMolen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.