Correction Appended: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that MSA would be collaborating with New Beat Happenings in planning the spring concert. They are collaborating with Big Ticket Productions.
At last night’s Michigan Student Assembly meeting, the assembly began the process of choosing a student health insurance vendor to endorse.
This year is a bid year, which means different insurance providers will be bidding for the opportunity to provide student health insurance. MSA will have the opportunity to endorse one of the companies.
Four members of University Health Service’s Student Insurance Committee lobbied for their proposed insurance provider option to MSA at last night’s meeting. The Student Insurance Committee includes Chief Health Officer Robert Winfield, students and other parties. At the meeting, the committee introduced Aetna Student Health — the same health plan that has been available to University students for the last 10 years — as the most compatible option for students.
Karen Klever, student insurance manager at UHS, said Aetna Student Health was the best option out of 14 potential companies.
“Our choice (was) determined by what other schools in the Big Ten are doing in terms of insurance plans,” Klever said.
Mahanti said the assembly is leaning towards the Aetna plan because the other companies making pitches were unfamiliar with how to deal with a Uuniversity as large as the University of Michigan.
“There are other options on the plate, but when they contacted all of the other vendors they were very compatible with Michigan,” he said. “I think the one that’s left is the one that we’re seeing. Unless something drastic happens, that will probably be the final one to stand.”
If the option is endorsed, Klever said Aetna Student Health would provide insurance to any students who are working toward a degree at the University.
“A lot of these insurance companies do exclude students who are working part time and require them to be full time,” Klever said.
Winfield spoke at last night’s meeting and said it is important for Aetna to believe it is competing with other companies because competition yields more health care options for MSA to choose from.
MSA has yet to draft a resolution endorsing Aetna Student Health, but according to Mahanti, the endorsement will be made in the upcoming week.
MSA ALLOCATES FUNDING FOR SPRING CONCERT
The Michigan Student Assembly allocated $25,000 to host a subsidized concert for University students this March. The assembly passed the resolution 28-1 at last night’s meeting.
While representatives haven’t chosen the artist for the concert, they say they want to get “big name artists” to perform at Hill Auditorium.
MSA will collaborate with Big Ticket Productions — a group based in the Michigan Union that brings performers to campus — to host the concert. The assembly is also looking into working with the student government at the University’s Flint campus as part of the project.
Though MSA couldn’t sell enough tickets to fill the venue at its last sponsored concert — featuring rapper Ludacris at Hill Auditorium — Mahanti said in an interview last month he has a plan to make sure they sell enough tickets this time around.
Mahanti speculated that the $30 ticket price deterred students from attending the concert five years ago. He said he is trying to keep ticket prices low this year by spending less money on the artist, who they have yet to determine.
“It was bad judgment on MSA’s part back then,” Mahanti said last month. “Now what we are doing differently is that we are aiming for smaller artists — artists that won’t cost as much money.”
Mahanti said last month that the hosts of the event, including MSA, would subsidize the price of tickets. He said the assembly wants every student at the University to be able to afford a ticket.
“Basically, MSA will be making the concert as cheap as possible for students,” Mahanti said. “We don’t plan on making a profit.”
MSA Treasurer Vishal Bajaj said last night that potential performers for the spring concert are concerned that a low-ticket price could send a negative message to fans, by implying that their performance is not worth a normal ticket price.
Students suggested MSA sponsor a concert during last semester’s What To Fix Day, where MSA invited students to make recommendations to the assembly. Students voiced their frustrations with high-ticket prices at local music venues.
“The University, for a while, hasn’t had a priority of bringing artists to campus,” Mahanti said last month. “We thought that this year would be a good year to try it so we could meet the student demand for it.”
LSA representative Sahib Singh, chair of the Budget Priorities Committee, said last night that the concert is crucial to getting students involved in student government.
“This is something we have to do,” Singh said. “We have to get a large program and get everything involved, and this is the best way to do that.”
MSA VOTES TO PUT CONSTITUTION PROPOSAL ON THE BALLOT
The Michigan Student Assembly passed a resolution in a 28-1 vote, with six abstentions, to adopt a new student constitution that was revised by Students 4 Progressive Governance — a student organization formed to rewrite the student constitution.
S4PG accumulated 1,480 student signatures in support of the new constitution. The student body will vote on whether or not to adopt the proposed constitution during MSA’s spring elections.
MSA Rackham representative Kate Stenvig said the new constitution’s language fails to include all the constituents MSA is supposed to represent. In addition she said the student body doesn’t have enough information to make an educated decision on the document.
“In order for MSA to responsibly recommend this to the student body it’s important for the student body to understand (this document),” she said.