The Student Assembly of the Central Student Government unanimously passed two resolutions in support of medical amnesty and tuition equality at last night’s meeting.
The tuition equality plan would allow undocumented residents who have lived in Michigan to pay in-state tuition, while the medical amnesty policy would protect students who call for medical attention for others who are over-intoxicated from receiving Minors in Possession of alcohol citations. Both resolutions were and members of several campus organizations have demonstrated for support of the policies.
At the meeting, members of various student groups attended to support the tuition equality plan, including Migrant and Immigrant Rights Advocacy, the undergraduate chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the University’s chapter of College Democrats, Social Workers for Immigrant Rights and Human Rights Through Education.
LSA junior Luz Meza, co-chair of MIRA, said undocumented Michigan residents who have attended school in the state are discouraged from pursuing higher education because they can’t afford it. Meza said out-of-state tuition and the inability to obtain student loans makes paying for a college education unrealistic for undocumented students.
While growing up in southwest Detroit, Meza said she had several friends who were undocumented, and this discouraged them from doing well in school, adding that even friends who were strong students were still unable to afford the high cost of college tuition.
Maria Ibarra, a senior at the University of Detroit Mercy and an undocumented Michigan resident, spoke on behalf of tuition equality. Ibarra, who came to Michigan when she was 9 years old, said the University of Michigan was her “dream school,” but her inability to afford out of state tuition and receive financial aid kept her from attending school in Ann Arbor.
LSA freshman Daniel Morales was an undocumented resident until last July, and said the University’s heritage as a promoter of diversity conflicts with its current policy towards undocumented students.
Morales said adopting a policy of tuition equality would correct the University’s conflicting ideals.
“(It would be) fixing a flaw in (the University’s) residency policy that was discouraging diversity on campus while simultaneously the University was promoting, and asking for, diversity on campus,” Morales said.
The meeting also featured a presentation on possible renovations to University Unions and recreation buildings by Bill Canning, director of the Department of Recreational Sports, and Loren Rullman, associate vice president for student affairs.
Rullman and Canning have been working with LSA sophomore Louis Mirante, a CSG representative, as well as other students on a task force to identify problems at University Unions and recreation buildings.
Mirante said a survey was e-mailed to students earlier this month asking what improvements they hoped to see in these facilities. He added that another survey will be sent out on Monday.
Business senior Matt Eral, the Assembly’s speaker of the house, said the next step for the resolutions is implementation, which begins by talking to University administrators.
The meeting was lightly attended, with only 22 representatives at opening role call and 24 at closing. After two representatives resigned from CSG, the number of representatives needed for quorum decreased to 21. Currently there are 42 standing members in the Student Assembly, which is less than the set capacity of 54 if every school sent the maximum number of representatives possible.
Eral said he was happy with the results of the meeting, but not with the meeting’s attendance.
“It can be a little disconcerting,” Eral said. “The more reps that come, the bigger sphere of influence (CSG has).”