Correction appended: An earlier version of this story misidentified the representative, who requested a recess. His name is Hamdan Yousuf.

Rackham representative Tim Hull quit in a bout of passion at last night’s Michigan Student Assembly meeting. Hull claimed that he was being verbally attacked multiple times by representatives at the end of the meeting.

After being the last speaker during Matters Arising — a time for any member to address MSA concerns — Hull threw down his agenda and walked out of the conference room.

A three-minute recess requested by School of Public Health representative Hamdam Yousuf followed Hull’s verbal resignation. During this time, MSA Vice President Michael Rorro talked to Hull in a private conversation.

In an interview after the meeting, Rorro said he wished to keep the conversation he had with Hull confidential to respect Hull’s privacy.

After the meeting, MSA President Abhishek Mahanti said he had no comment regarding Hull’s desire to resign from MSA.

According to MSA procedure, an MSA representative must have a written resignation to make the withdrawal official.

Mahanti said he has not yet talked to Hull regarding his resignation.

DEBATE ERUPTS OVER ALLOCATIONS FOR RETREAT

At last night’s meeting debate erupted over money allocated for an MSA retreat to Mahanti’s house in Okemos, Mich. that took place last weekend.

In a viewpoint published Feb. 1 in The Michigan Daily, LSA freshman Sean Walser, an MSA representative, expressed concern about MSA’s internal funding allocations for the assembly’s winter 2010 retreat.

At last week’s MSA meeting, the assembly passed a resolution that allocated $300 for the retreat in Okemos.

Walser said during the meeting and in the viewpoint that the sum was more than what was needed for the retreat.

During last night’s meeting, MSA representatives disagreed with Walser’s opinion and expressed disappointment that he contacted the Daily before voicing his concerns to the assembly. They also said that Walser didn’t have his “facts straight” in the viewpoint, but never addressed specific factual errors.

“I do respect the right of anyone in this room to discuss their opinions. However, the facts in your editorials need to be correct,” LSA representative John Lin said during the meeting last night. “It is extremely damaging to our credibility. We are entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts.”

After last night’s meeting, Walser said MSA representatives misunderstood his intentions in writing the viewpoint, adding that he chose to write the viewpoint to inform his constituents “of what (MSA) was doing with funding.”

“People jumped to conclusions on what I was trying to say,” Walser said.

MSA members spent around $150 on the retreat — half the amount allocated by the resolution.

At last night’s meeting, Walser said the fact that only 14 members of the assembly attended the retreat was a “problem” and did not promote a “true collaboration” among all assembly members. He added that it was an improper way to spend $300, which comes from students’ tuition.

Mahanti addressed the issue at last night’s meeting. He said he would like representatives to come to the executive board and talk directly about issues they may have with MSA.

“To be frank, I found that the viewpoint had some inaccuracies in it as to what is going on at our end,” Mahanti said. “If you have a problem with something on the assembly, talk to us.”

WOLV-TV TO BROADCAST MSA MEETINGS LIVE

After much deliberation, WOLV-TV gathered enough cameramen to film last night’s MSA meeting.

WOLV-TV staff attempted to film the assembly’s first meeting of the semester, but was unsuccessful due to a lack of manpower to shoot and edit the film.

Last night WOLV-TV staff brought three cameras to MSA Chambers along with a microphone to catch the representatives’ voices. They also set up a control room in a separate room next to the meeting.

MSA and WOLV-TV recently agreed to broadcast the meetings live — skipping the editing process, Mahanti said. The meetings will be broadcast to all residence halls on Channel 55 throughout the week.

“We talked about a couple of the logistical challenges we were facing, mainly in terms of personnel and in terms of the capital goods involved in taping three hour long meetings,” Mahanti said. “Until the end of the semester, we are going to continue to record these and make it sustainable.”

Mahanti said the live broadcasts will run until the end of his term as president, and the next executive board will decide whether or not to continue the project.
— Neethi Srinivasan contributed to this report.

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