Treasurer Josh Samek was one of many Michigan Student Assembly members who, at last night”s special meeting, posed the question “Where do we draw the line?”
This question was in reference to the three controversial resolutions the assembly passed last night regarding divestment in Burma, the New Era hat company”s alleged use of sweatshop labor and intelligent design creation theory in schools. Although these resolutions were pertinent to the University in some way, assembly members questioned how involved MSA should be in matters of state, national and international governments.
The first resolution opposed Michigan House Bill 4328, which would require students be taught not only that evolution is an unproven theory, but that life is the result of the “purposeful, intelligent design of a creator.”
“The sponsors of the bill do not understand what is meant by a scientific theory,” Rackham student John Solum said. Solum was one of several graduate students in science who came to the meeting to speak for the resolution.
“There should be an avenue in the classroom to maybe be able to talk about creation,” LSA Rep. Omari Williams said.
Another resolution asked the University to withdraw any money it has invested in companies that do business with the government of Myanmar, which is accused of perpetuating human rights violations against its people.
“I pay tuition to the University of Michigan and I do not want that money to support human rights abuses and military dictatorship,” LSA freshman Mara Neering said.
Aside from passing these resolutions, the assembly created the Campus Improvement Taskforce Initiative but tabled the creation of a Greek Relations Taskforce until next fall. They also distributed money garnered from student fees to student groups for the second time this semester.
“MSA has never done a second funding cycle before, and that”s absolutely amazing,” said President Matt Nolan.
LSA Rep. Rob Goodspeed moved to adjourn the meeting after old business, forcing the voting on MSA code amendments to be postponed until next fall.
“We were going to discuss code amendments that could be controversial,” Goodspeed said. “I wanted more assembly members present and interested.” When the meeting began there were slightly more than enough members to legally vote on resolutions, and by the time the meeting was adjourned, only the minimum voting block remained.
“I was disappointed that we adjourned,” Nolan said. ” But what we did do tonight was great.”
Although the year ended on a tense note, several assembly members said they were happy with the new assembly and anticipated a successful semester in the fall.
“When we come back in the fall, campus will notice a change in MSA,” Vice President Jessica Cash said.