The Michigan Student Assembly passed a resolution last night supporting a boycott of the Studio 4 dance club on Fourth Avenue by the United Asian American Organizations.

While an MSA commission investigates the incident, in the interim, the body has voted to cut off funding for student organization events held at Studio 4 and to notify the club of the resolution.

The boycott, which was first adopted by UAAO, is a response to a dispute between the nightclub’s management and members of the Chinese Students Association and Filipino American Students Association at a fundraising event held by the two groups on Nov. 8. The groups allege that Studio 4 management used racial profiling to justify breaching a predetermined revenue-sharing agreement for the fundraiser. CSA President Steve Lai said the heated argument eventually led to pushing, spitting and disparaging statements of a sexist and racist nature by the manager’s son.

In addition to expressing support for the boycott, the resolution provides that the Peace and Justice Commission will investigate the incident and report its findings to the entire body at its meeting on Jan. 20.

Despite the fact that MSA has not spoken directly to Studio 4 about the alleged incident, Rep. Tim Bekkers, an LSA senior and one of the authors of the resolution, said that expressing support before the investigation takes place didn’t mean the assembly was jumping to conclusions.

“For the time being we are representatives of the students, so we’re standing with the student groups,” he said. “We’re not, ourselves, boycotting. We’re standing with them.”

Calls to Studio 4 management Wednesday were not returned.

FASA President Ashley Manzano said that the two student groups had signed a written contract guaranteeing that they would receive half of the cover charge revenues from everyone who came through the door in exchange for promoting the night among the organizations’ members and friends.

On the day of the event, Manzano and Lai got wind of the fact that another group had been promoting for the same night. Manzano said they were worried they would miss out on a portion of the revenue because of the competing promoter, but upon contacting Jeff Mangray, the club’s manager, they were reassured that the terms of their original contract still applied.

Lai told the assembly that the other group, called “Social Studies,” is part of Studio 4’s promotion team and that the management had used it to improve slumping attendance due to suspensions of the club’s liquor license earlier this year.

The two groups’ presidents claim that when they tried to collect their share of the revenue at the end of the night, Mangray told them that they would only be paid for 50 guests.

At a Nov. 19 meeting of the UAAO and various other student groups, Lai said that Mangray told him that CSA and FASA “only brought in 50 Asians” and showed him a clipboard with tallies on it.

The club’s count showed that a total of 111 people came to the event.

According to Lai, the argument continued outside of the club, where Reese Mangray, Jeff’s son, confrontationally backed him up against a wall, threatened him, spat on Manzano twice and made some offensive remarks to female FASA board members.

Lai said Jeff Mangray did not offer to honor the original agreement until Lai described Reese Mangray’s conduct to him over the phone. According to Manzano, this offer contained fees and other “subtleties” that had not been in the original contract. The groups decided not to accept the money. Mangray has since denied that he ever tried to stray from the contract.

Lai told the assembly that a police report has been filed regarding the spitting.

In a blog post on the UAAO website, Manzano wrote the following: “It should be said that at the very least, there was a breach of contract and ethnic and gender discrimination in effect. It is unjust to assume that organizations centered on ethnicities can only have friends of the same ethnicity, and it is even more reprehensible to count people according to ethnicity at the door of any establishment.”

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