After debate stirred at last night’s Michigan Student Assembly meeting as constituents spoke for and against MSA funding the Palestine Solidarity Conference held in mid-October, MSA passed a resolution to fund the conference.
MSA’s Community Service Commission should not fund the conference because the conference was not community service, some constituents said.
MSA passed the recommendations of $5,300 budgeted for the Palestine Solidarity Conference held on Oct. 12 through 14.
Rick Dorfman, founder and President of Michigan Student Zionists said the conference was negative toward Israeli’s and Jews.
CSC co-chair Erin Hartle said the commission holds a neutral viewpoint and supports activism when funding projects.
“We have a broad definition of community service. (Students Allied for Freedom and Equality’s) application for funding the conference fell under community development and organization. Eleven members of the commission all agreed,” Hartle said.
“The purpose of the conference was to promote hatred of Jews and Israel. Our student government has no obligation to fund their racism and bigotry,” Law student David Wolkinson said.
Law student Amer Zahr, an organizer of the event, said administrators and Department of Pubic Safety officers monitored the conference.
“We met with administrators afterwards and they did not bring up any problems. MSA reps should feel comfortable funding the conference,” Zahr said.
“The community service commission funds projects not groups. We judge how much we fund by the application and interview. That’s how we stay neutral. I can understand why some would feel that way about the conference but we stay viewpoint neutral,” Hartle said.
To educate students about Proposal 4, which would eliminate the Michigan Merit Awards program, MSA passed a resolution to fund a tailgate party before the football game against Michigan State University on Saturday.
“The tailgate will raise awareness among young voters. This proposal is very relevant. Because of the game, we hope to reach many students,” said Christine Hammer, External Relations co-chair.
To advise students on how to manage income after college, MSA passed a resolution to fund a “Life After College” seminar organized by “Cap and Compass” a corporation specializing in financial advice. The seminar will mostly like be held Nov. 21.
Vice-President Dana Glassel announced a successful first day of the Newspaper Readership pilot program and encouraged feedback.