During Tuesday night’s meeting, Central Student Government set the dates for the election of the 2017-2018 academic year’s leaders to be held on March 22 and 23, with 31 voting in favor and one abstaining.
As the current administration nears the end of its term, CSG President David Schafer, an LSA senior, praised the assembly for its hard work this past semester, encouraging the body to pursue its goals until the elections in March.
“Day in and day out we have fought for progressive policies and we will continue to fight for progressive policies until our last day,” Schafer said during last week’s meeting. “This is our promise to you … Change is best realized from the bottom up.”
Additionally, a resolution encouraging the University of Michigan to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day was unanimously passed. The resolution was introduced last week and aims to celebrate the holiday on the second Monday of October, formerly Columbus Day which is no longer recognized by the University. The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously in November 2015 to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day as well.
The Ann Arbor City Council resolution was proposed by Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5), who made the movement on the notion that Columbus did not actually “discover” America.
“I think we all share a hope that this is more than just a changing on the name on the calendar, but it becomes an opportunity for a deeper community conversation about what’s happening with indigenous communities,” Warpehoski said in November. “It is a stereotype that Indians are only in history books for many people and one of my goals is that through the education effort that groups like the Native American Student Associations are doing they will get a chance to say yes, they’re still here.”
LSA junior Stephen Smith, Native American Student Association co-chair, said the University should follow holiday recognition trends throughout the country. Both Washtenaw County and the city of Ann Arbor already recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and Smith noted that well-established organizations do as well.
“There seems to be a growing trend across the nation of large government organizations recognizing the holiday, and I’m all for that,” Smith said.
The resolution was passed on the premise that the University is located on land that belongs historically to Native Americans, and that tribes are still active inthe state. The resolution notes that it complies with the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan, introduced on Oct. 6. Under the DEI, the University strives to recognize the value of diversity within the college community by bringing in guest speakers, holding campus-wide inclusion events and promoting progressive rhetoric.
The University, on its website dedicated to the comprehensive strategic plan, states the DEI “is based on the conviction that excellence is not possible without diversity in the broadest sense of the word.”
In keeping with the DEI, the writers of the resolution to encourage recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day hope that a formal holiday on the official Michigan calendar will make strides in acknowledging a demographic of students who are often, according to the writers, made invisible.
LSA sophomore Ayah Issa, one of the writers of the resolution, presented the resolution to CSG for the second time this week. At the last meeting, she stressed the need for a day that recognizes the University’s small Native American population, which is often overlooked due to its scale.
“This holiday will not only represent the legacy of indigenous people, but also recognize that there is a Native American population at the University of Michigan, and to be sensitive of that,” Issa said.