An insulting Facebook.com group created by Michigan Student Assembly President Zack Yost that makes fun of MSA Rep. Tim Hull was made public at last night’s MSA meeting by MSA Rep. Kenneth Baker.
The secret group, titled “I waste more time reading Tim Hull’s code amendments than I do on Facebook,” was created by Yost a little more than a year ago – when he was the assembly’s student general counsel. In the group’s description Yost wrote, “I’ll give that kid a fucking disability he can write home about if he keeps sending these code amendments to everyone.”
Hull has a mild form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. Until this semester, when it was disbanded, Hull was the co-chair of MSA’s students with disabilities committee.
An image attached to the Facebook group consists of the scribbled words, “SHUT UP TIM!”
Hull has proposed dozens of changes to the assembly’s Compiled Code since he was elected. These proposals are often met with strong opposition from other MSA members.
Currently, the private Facebook group has only two members, Baker and Yost, Baker said. At one time, the group had more members, including current MSA representatives, both Yost and Baker said. Neither student would name any other members of the group or say how many there were.
Hull, who found out about the group from Baker just before last night’s meeting, said he was disappointed in the assembly, saying it “put on a happy public face, and stabbed me in the back behind closed doors.”
“I used to think that this assembly was accepting of me,” he said.
After the meeting, Hull said Yost should resign his post as president of MSA.
“Zack and any other executive involved in that group needs to resign, period,” he said.
In March 2006, then-MSA Rep. Ari Liner had to resign after he sent an offensive e-mail to a student and the student’s mother.
Baker, who has been a member of the Facebook group since it was created, said he waited to speak up until now because he forgot he was in the group. Many representatives last night questioned his choice to wait on making the information public until the meeting before student government elections.
Baker is planning on starting a new student government party next semester.
Although several MSA representatives said they were upset by Yost’s involvement in the Facebook group, a few attacked Baker for the decision to bring it up at the meeting and for being a member of it.
“I think it’s hypocritical,” MSA Rep. Stella Binkevich said during the meeting.
She said that the Tuesday night MSA meetings aren’t the place to air these concerns, and that they should be discussed in private.
“That’s not what we gather here to do,” she said.
MSA Rep. Randal Seriguchi echoed Binkevich’s sentiments.
“A public forum is never the place to bring a secret group or a personal problem,” he said.
Later in the meeting, Yost admitted he had created the group and apologized for it. He called the group a “crass, inappropriate joke.”
“Tim, I’m sorry,” Yost said during the meeting. “I don’t know what to say. I’m an asshole.”
Yost said after the meeting that he was concerned that Baker’s disclosure of the group may have been motivated by political reasons, specifically by the looming new party.
Early this morning, Hull criticized Baker for only telling him of his plans to reveal the group half an hour before the meeting and for exploiting the situation for his own political gain.
“I think Zack should resign, but I think (Baker) should resign even moreso,” Hull said.
After the meeting, Yost forwarded a December 2006 Gmail chat to The Michigan Daily in which Baker wrote to Yost “YOU ARE MY HERO” about the new Facebook group.
Yost also forwarded an e-mail to the Daily that had been sent to him by Baker last year, in which Baker asked to run as vice president alongside Yost with the Michigan Action Party.