Central Student Government held its final meeting of the 8th assembly Tuesday night. The assembly voted to pass several resolutions, including a resolution to designate University of Michigan Blue Bus routes from campus locations to grocery stores, as well as a resolution to improve pedestrian safety at the University. At the meeting, several non-CSG students presented a new idea for an app to better integrate first-year students when they first come to campus.
During community concerns, Engineering freshmen Sanil Gosain, Cooper Kennelly and Marcus Toure gave a presentation on their idea for a new app which would help first-year students adjust to the University. The app would provide freshmen with questions in academic, social and lifestyle categories and then use those results to match them with other students, clubs and organizations on campus.
One of the group’s constraints is they need Apple laptops in order for it to become an iOS app, which none of the group members currently have. In addition, they expressed they do not have the resources to spread awareness for the app if it does end up being developed, which is why they came to CSG.
“We know that one of our limitations is just our platform, and this is why we’re here to come present in front of CSG,” Toure said. “We know that CSG has the access to possibly send out emails to future freshmen that could be coming in, and we feel that this is the most effective way of getting this app across.”
CSG Treasurer Niccolo Beltramo, an LSA senior, questioned how the group plans on ensuring first-year students do not take advantage of the app and engage in inappropriate dialogue and activity.
“My number one concern when thinking about a large-scale social networking app is what messaging is going to look like,” Beltramo said. “I was wondering if you had thought about what form content moderation might take on the platform if there is harassment or what have you?”
In order to prevent this type of behavior from occurring, the group explained they could filter out certain vulgar words. In addition, they said they could develop a strike system, in which users’ accounts would be disabled after a certain number of reports by other users.
Later in the meeting, the assembly voted to adopt the Ethics Committee’s report on an ethics investigation involving Public Policy senior and CSG President Greene. The report found no evidence of unethical behavior on Greene’s part. At the CSG meeting on Feb.12, Engineering junior Zeke Majeske, chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, brought up his concerns on the ethics behind Greene’s process for approving the position of chief of staff. Majeske pursued an ethics investigation against Greene.
Concerns surrounded the executive branch’s varying interpretations of the word “may,” specifically in regard to the nominations process.
After deliberation, the Ethics Committee ruled that at the time of the event, Greene proposed an interpretation of the word “may,” and, CSG Speaker Austin Glass, a Rackham student, did not object because he believed that doing so would, “irreparably damage the relationship between the Executives and the Assembly, given the partisan tensions and volatility present in CSG right after the election.” The committee also ruled that at the moment, the executive interpretation of the word “shall” meaning “may” was in the best interest of the situation at hand.
Furthermore, Majeske brought up that Greene’s initial interpretation of the word should have set precedent for later the interpretations in the case of the approval of chief of staff. However, the Ethics Committee ruled that the president does not have the power to interpret the word. Therefore, though Greene’s interpretation potentially pushed the limit of his capabilities, it was not in violation of any guidelines.
“The Central Student Government Ethics Committee of the 8th Assembly finds that the defendant, Daniel Greene, did not engage in unethical conduct in regards to the question brought to the Committee,” the Ethics Committee investigation report read. “The Committee found no evidence of malicious intent, and found that all actions taken by the defendant in this question were within the powers vested in the President by the version of the Central Student Government Compiled Code that was in use at the time.”
The assembly also proposed and passed several resolutions, including one to create University Blue Bus routes to take students from campus to grocery stores. The resolution was initially proposed by Affordable Michigan, a student organization that tries to better affordability at the University.
Currently, city buses are a transportation option for students to take them from campus to other areas of Ann Arbor. Medical School student Whit Froehlich asked a question for Public Policy senior Alexandrea Somers, an author of the resolution, regarding the comparison between this new route for the University Blue Buses and the routes of city buses.
“Right now, the thing about city bus service is that it doesn’t really serve the student body, so the routes do go around and along the way, but the idea of having a Blue Bus will make it more direct and for the students,” Somers said. “Students would not have to remember their Mcard to go to the grocery store, and the Blue Buses are a little more spacious as well.”
The assembly also proposed and passed a resolution which works to better pedestrian safety on campus, specifically in regards to crossing streets. According to CSG Representative Cindy Lin, an LSA junior, the number of car-pedestrian crashes has increased from 50 in 2015 to 64 in 2018, resulting in injuries or fatalities.
“The city itself is joining a global movement called Vision Zero, which says that we want zero traffic-related fatalities,” Lin said. “Ann Arbor is joining that movement. However, the University is not taking a proactive stance.”
CSG Vice President Izzy Baer, an LSA junior, recognized the importance of improving crosswalk security, but stated that crosswalk upgrades, including better lighting, would cost about $40,000. She expressed concern on how this project will be funded.
CSG also passed a resolution regarding the implementation of a new well-being fee. The resolution suggests the addition of a $19.33 fee to student tuition that would be allocated toward increasing mental health services and bettering well-being at the University as a whole. Monday night, the University Council, comprised of a student from each degree-granting institution, approved of the resolution.
Greene, who helped with the resolution, stood with LSA senior Rafik Issa and LSA senior Edward Samir Haraka as he described their positive feelings regarding the resolution.
“We feel optimistic but pragmatic,” Greene said. “It’s monumental but the likelihood is low. I think that at the very least it will be a heard cry by the funding building and I think … at the bare minimum, we hope this will increase the amount of counselors in CAPS … and so for that to be our worst case scenario I think is incredible.”
The assembly also passed a resolution that advocates for University lecturers by encouraging their inclusion in relevant departmental meetings, a resolution that advocated for the advancement of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus, as well as a resolution to formalize and codify the survivor empowerment fund as a standing CSG account.
CSG also passed a resolution which urges the University to mandate denoting sensitive content on class syllabi and a resolution which works to incorporate an allyhood training into the compiled code, as well as a resolution to fund umbrellas for students on campus, to be passed out during CSG events and to be available at the CSG office.
During the Executive Communications, several members of the executive branch expressed their admiration toward CSG and gave words of gratitude during their final meeting.
Greene began his report by thanking CSG members for attending mental health awareness events and encouraging them to continue to advocate for mental health awareness across campus. He then thanked the assembly for all of the resolutions passed and urged members to stay involved and stand up to injustice throughout the community.
“Thank you all for your incredible work and for the number of resolutions that you’ve worked on,” Greene said. “I just want to end in saying that please make sure you stay committed to Central Student Government, our campus community or whatever community you may end up in in the next year or the next few years. It’s important to stand up and be proud and to fight for inclusivity, and make sure that you don’t let hate or negativity decide the actions you take.”
Correction: a previous version of this article incorrectly listed Cindy Lin as a freshman.