The Michigan Student Assembly addressed internal and campus problems at its meeting last night.
The MSA approved six resolutions at the meeting, which took place in MSA chambers. Three of the resolutions amended MSA’s governing documents, and the other three proposed potential improvements to campus life.
The assembly passed a resolution amending MSA’s Compiled Code that is intended “to address the lack of clarity” regarding MSA’s process of addressing student organizations’ potential violations of student rights, according to the resolution. Twenty representatives voted for it, two voted against it and nine abstained.
The resolution was written by MSA Student General Counsel Timothy Bekkers, Engineering Rep. Kyle Summers, chair of the Rules Committee, and Interim Vice Speaker Sean Walser. The amendment calls for a process of directing complaints about student organizations through the Student General Counsel and MSA’s Central Student Judiciary, the judicial branch of the MSA.
“I doubt it will be much of an issue, but it’s just a way to make sure we stay socially just and true to our constitution,” Bekkers said in an interview after the meeting. “It’s an obligation anyway, but this sets up a process to work through the SGC and CSJ.”
LSA Rep. Brendan Friedman, chair of MSA’s Resolutions Committee, voted against the resolution and said he was concerned the amendment to MSA’s Compiled Code gave too much power to the SGC, who is appointed by the MSA president.
Under the new Compiled Code, the SGC can suspend student organizations pending a judgment from CSJ.
“I see no reason to give such a vast power to the SGC,” Friedman said at the meeting.
Another resolution amended MSA’s Compiled Code to require the MSA treasurer to present a report on MSA’s financial budget status at the beginning of each semester before the new semester’s budget is compiled.
The resolution — written by Finance Committee Chair Matthew Eral and Finance Committee Vice Chair Anne Murkowski — states that the status report must include the amounts delegated for and spent by each committee and the balance that will roll over to the next semester’s budget.
A second resolution, related to finance oversight, passed by the assembly amends the standing rules to codify the guidelines that MSA’s treasurer must follow when presenting a new budget to the assembly.
The resolution, also drafted by Eral and Murkowski, will require MSA budget resolutions to note the total amount of funds available, include a summary of where funds are currently allocated and reference the financial status report. Additionally, the treasurer must have a detailed breakdown of the budget available for MSA members with questions about funding allotments.
MSA Treasurer Ambreen Sayed wasn’t in attendance at last night’s meeting and didn’t return several inquiries from The Michigan Daily as of last night.
MSA also passed a resolution supporting the creation of a student organization panel during the University’s new student orientation to help students learn about opportunities available to them before they arrive in Ann Arbor in the fall.
“Many students adjusting to campus life either fail to gain awareness of student organizations or become overwhelmed by the number of student organizations on campus,” the resolution states.
The resolution, written by Friedman and LSA Rep. Peri Silverman, will be sent to Ann Hower, director of the University’s Office of New Student Programs, and James Brown, assistant director of the University’s Office for Student Activities and Leadership.
Another resolution passed last night will create a task force to “investigate the feasibility of getting North Campus resources on Central Campus.” Written by Engineering Rep. Crissie Zuchora and Kunal Mehta, president of the University of Michigan Engineering Council, the resolution calls for the creation of a task force chaired by Zuchora. The group will look into the possibility of improving Central Campus’s access to resources used by College of Engineering, School of Music, Theater & Dance, College of Architecture and Urban Planning and School of Art & Design students.
The resolution cites inadequate Computer Aided Engineering Network computers, printing, practice rooms and studio space on Central Campus as examples of things to be improved. The task force will present its analysis of the cost and potential effects of providing these resources and an implementation plan on or before MSA’s March 8 meeting.
MSA’s final resolution — drafted by Murkowski — that passed at last night’s meeting will lead to the creation of a task force to investigate problems with and possible improvements to Festifall, Northfest and Winterfest. The task force will complete a written report on potential changes to the events’ formats by the assembly’s March 8 meeting.