LSA Student Government passed several resolutions at a meeting Wednesday night focusing on community outreach and inclusivity.
“We’re really beginning to make a difference and beginning to make a lot of change on campus, ” LSA-SG President Jason Colella, an LSA senior, said. “And that’s really heartening and makes me proud to be in SG tonight.”
In response to the Flint water crisis, LSA-SG passed a resolution which authorized a $1,000 donation to deliver clean water to the community. The money will be transferred from the Executive Discretionary section of the budget to the Black Student Union. The BSU created a GoFundMe account to buy and distribute clean water to the people of Flint.
LSA-SG treasurer Patrick Mullan-Koufopoulos, LSA sophomore and co-sponsor of the resolution, stressed the importance of solidarity and support.
“We do have a sister campus in Flint,” Mullan-Koufopoulos said. “They’re Wolverines. They bleed blue just as much as you and I do. They’re the leaders and best just as much as we are, and they’re in crisis.”
Public Policy senior Hattie McKinney, vice speaker of BSU, spoke to LSA-SG prior to voting. She said BSU plans raise at least $10,000 to buy water bottles and distribute them in Flint.
McKinney explained that many of the minority populations in Flint don’t feel comfortable with officers coming to their doors, stressing the importance of student efforts in the city.
“We’re figuring out a way to coordinate water donations with our connections with the schools,” McKinney said.
LSA-SG plans to visit Flint next Friday as well to contribute to the cause.
“You’re supporting our sister campus, you’re supporting the students who are there, you’re supporting the people of the town and really you’re just making the stance that says, ‘as Southeastern Michigan, we stand together,’ ” LSA-SG external relations officer Joey Hansel, an LSA junior, said.
Supporting the immediate campus as well, LSA-SG passed a resolution to donate $6,000 from the budget to SAPAC. Of the total budget, $2,000 will be allocated toward three volunteer- and peer-led support groups to further raise awareness, enhance workshops and expand events. Another $2,000 will fund a new event SAPAC plans to host this semester that will involve other universities in the state.
An allocation of $1,000 will be made to a survivor care fund aiming to provide survivors with a greater sense of safety and security — the money can be used for hotel rooms, a new phone and lock changes. This money goes directly to survivors, and Mullan-Koufopoulos stressed the importance of this program.
“I wanted to make sure we were making an impact on campus,” Mullan-Koufopoulos said. “And something Holly Rider-Milkovich said stuck with me — she is the director of SAPAC. She was talking about how one in three females on this campus will experience an attempted sexual assault.”
LSA junior Laura Meyer, SAPAC Networking, Publicity and Activism program coordinator, appreciated the contribution and addressed LSA-SG Wednesday. She stressed that the donation would contribute to groundbreaking work.
“It’s difficult to quantify the difference that an amount of money this size is going to make to what SAPAC does,” Meyer said. “It really is going to make a great amount of change.”
Meyer also mentioned that more survivors are seeking services, and to accommodate the increasing demand, SAPAC plans to hire a new professional staff member. She said the increasing demand for services is a result of the greater accessibility and awareness on campus.
Mullan-Koufopoulos asked how LSA-SG can participate in non-monetary ways. Speakers mentioned ally training, funding and participation in SAPAC’s activism week in April.
LSA-SG also passed a resolution in favor of naming the new Biological Sciences building after President Emeritus Mary Sue Coleman. LSA expects the construction of the building to be completed by Jan. 1, 2018.
LSA-SG noted that Coleman and President Emeritus Lee Bollinger are the only two former University presidents without buildings named after them. It also highlights that there are no campus academic buildings solely named after a woman. Acknowledging the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields, the resolution supports naming the building after Coleman.
Graduating with an undergraduate degree in chemistry and receiving a doctorate in biochemistry, Coleman was a woman in the biomedical field. It further outlines her qualifications and contributions to the University.
The resolution recognizes her contributions to the University, such as developing greater international and corporate partnerships. Numerous initiatives have benefited the University, such as her commitment to expanding sustainability research.
Most of the members voted in support of the resolution, emphasizing the importance of such a resolution in furthering inclusivity on campus.
However, LSA junior Yong-Joon Kim pointed out that some students on campus expressed reservations about naming a building after Coleman. While he was in support of the resolution and noted the importance of such a vote in the representation of women and inclusivity, he said certain constituents disapproved of Coleman’s practices, which they described as the “privatization of the University.”
“I urge you to vote yes for this resolution simply because we are making history,” Kim said. “This is very important for diversity and inclusivity on campus … I ask you to honor people for the right things.”