After a two-week hiatus, the Central Student Government assembly met and proposed its lengthiest resolution of the semester. The proposed policy would replace the election code section of CSG’s compiled code in response to the highly contested presidential election last March.
One of the last pieces of legislation passed by the previous assembly called for a new election code following a hearing on the final night of voting by the CSG University Election Commission concerning the abuse of e-mail listservs by Business senior Manish Parikh and vice president Omar Hashwi, an LSA junior. Controversy over the listservs played a role in the delay of the results of the election by nearly 12 hours and created weeks of uncertainty and further delays following appeals of the decision.
The 15-page resolution vastly bypassed the typical word count of resolutions, which often are only two to three pages long. The legislation addresses topics such as demerits, campaign finance and the defining coordination between a candidate and his or her supporters.
Sitting only a few feet away from Parikh — who barely escaped disqualification on the final night of the March election — Law representative Jeremy Keeney, the chair of the rules committee, said the new election code was the result of a month’s work by several individuals. Keeney has intimate experience with problems of the election code after serving as student legal aid during last March’s election hearing.
Parikh, whose highly contested victory was the catalyst for part of the legislation, helped co-author the resolution and said the authors did “great work” on the legislation.
“When Keeney e-mailed me over the summer asking me what are some of the things that I want to see in this or some points that I got to get across, I’m very happy that they’re reflected here,” Parikh said.
Parikh said he was pleased to see legislation regarding campaign finance, an area where there was no previous mention in the election code.
“Not only did it need to be regulated but it also needed to be reported and that’s been taken care of,” he said.
Parikh added he was grateful that the resolution clearly stated that only the owners of listervs listed by the MCommunity website would be recognized as the true owner of that website — a point that nearly cost him the election when e-mails were sent out by a supporter to listservs that the supporter did not own.
“I think that this will not only set great precedent at Michigan but I think this election code could be replicated around student governments across the nation as well,” Parikh said.
In addition to reforms to the election code, the assembly also discussed two more resolutions. The first called for supporting a campus-wide calendar that would provide a comprehensive listing of all events put on by University organizations.
The proposed legislation would also add a segment to e-mail notifications of funds awarded by the Student Organization Funding Commission sent to student organizations. Every time a student organization receives funding, they would also be informed of the all-campus calendar and would be provided a tutorial on how to use the calendar.
A campus-wide calendar was part of youMICH’s platform during the March elections and LSA representative Michael Dalton, an LSA junior who ran on the youMICH ticket, proposed the resolution.
The other proposed resolution supported identifying “cyberbulling” as a form of bullying in the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Hashwi spoke in favor of the resolution, saying cyberbullying can easily go undetected.
“Even normal bullying hasn’t really drawn attention from many people,” Hashwi said. “It’s very easy to cyberbully somebody”
LSA-SG vice president Melissa Burns was the author of the cyberbullying resolution and attended the meeting to address questions from the assembly regarding the issue. She said she will present a similar resolution on Wednesday at the LSA-SG meeting.