Correction appended: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the status of the Israel study abroad resolution.
At last night’s Michigan Student Assembly meeting, MSA representatives introduced three new resolutions and addressed six resolutions that were proposed at previous meetings.
One of the proposals was an ongoing resolution to change the MSA’s Compiled Code to require the MSA treasurer to prepare and submit a semester-end financial status report to the assembly. The new resolutions included supporting the creation of a student organization panel during New Student Orientation and amending current rules regarding criteria for MSA’s budget.
During the discussion of the resolution to amend MSA’s Compiled Code, Engineering senior Ambreen Sayed, the treasurer of MSA, addressed the confusion about MSA’s budget issues and aimed to clarify questions representatives had about assembly funds.
At last week’s MSA meeting, there was confusion regarding two proposals of MSA’s winter 2011 budget that showed a $40,000 difference between two proposed winter budgets. But Sayed wrote in an e-mail interview after the meeting that such a discrepancy isn’t out of the ordinary, as funds tend to fluctuate.
“MSA finances are a fluid process,” Sayed wrote. “On a weekly and sometimes daily basis, transactions are continuing to occur as a result of previously approved allocations. Thus, changes in the budget from previous versions that you have seen are inevitable and not a result of mistakes or inaccuracies. Such changes are fully explicable and not surprising.”
Sayed added that MSA transactions are “fully transparent” and available to the public.
After Sayed addressed the assembly, MSA passed its winter 2011 budget, totaling $341,406.
The resolution to amend MSA’s Compiled Code was tabled during last night’s meeting and will be open to further consideration during next week’s meeting.
MSA also discussed the resolution to support the creation of a University-sponsored study abroad program in Israel. The resolution was originally introduced to MSA at its meeting last week by Public Policy junior Steven Zuckerman, a Public Policy representative for MSA, who co-wrote the resolution.
LSA sophomore Caroline Canning, who was involved in starting the original campus-wide petition for an Israel study abroad program, addressed the assembly during community concerns to speak about the resolution. The petition was created by WolvPAC — a student organization that works to foster greater ties between the United States and Israel.
LSA senior Mohamad Issa, an LSA representative for MSA, proposed to make an amendment to the resolution to include the West Bank as a potential location for students to enroll in a University-sponsored study abroad program.
This proposed amendment spurred considerable dialogue among members of the assembly, who discussed whether support of Issa’s amendment was politically motivated and whether it would detract from the work already done by students who drafted the original resolution.
Members of MSA voted against Issa’s amendment in a roll-call vote, with nine members voting in favor of the amendment and 16 members voting against it. The assembly then voted on the proposal to support a study abroad program in Israel, passing the resolution unanimously.
Issa said he is hopeful for future MSA resolutions on the establishment of University-sponsored study abroad programs in the West Bank and other worldwide locations currently not offered. He said in an interview after the meeting that he participated in a Michigan State University-sponsored study abroad program in Damascus, Syria — a place the University doesn’t have a program in.