Over the past year, students have been making their voices heard on campus, and the University community has started to evaluate the role Central Student Government plays in working on causes of varying sizes.

So far this year, students have been vocal about the football student ticket policy and pricing, the controversy surrounding former Athletic Director Dave Brandon and the University’s sexual assault prevention measures and policies. Students have also brought national issues to campus, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Ferguson, Mo.

Last week, the assembly passed a resolution to stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Mo. against police brutality. This resolution passed after a similar resolution was voted down, with assembly members concerned the strong language of the original resolution did not reflect CSG’s views.

CSG has dealt with decisions on how to represent student opinions several times over the past year. The assembly postponed a divestment resolution from Students Allied for Freedom and Equality last year that prompted a sit-in at the CSG chambers, being the only postponed resolution in recent memory. The resolution was ultimately brought to a full vote and did not pass.

The issues that CSG has addressed have been diverse in nature, especially regarding their relevance to the University, with members debating what the student government’s role should be in these matters. CSG has demonstrated their willingness to address all issues, even issues that are more isolated from the University.

CSG president Bobby Dishell, a Public Policy senior, said no matter the concerns brought to CSG, the focus has always been on bringing about concrete results.

“I am firm believer that CSG operates effectively when we act on issues that are in consensus with the University,” Dishell said in an interview with the Daily. “CSG is always working to bring about tangible results on campus.”

By comparison, some student governments at other schools in the region take a different approach when addressing campus concerns.

Bobby Haddix, Purdue student government president, said the PSG always aims to recognize the needs of the students on campus, no matter the concern.

“Purdue Student Government aims to represent all students on campus,” Haddix said in an e-mail. “If there are students passionate about some issue, it is our responsibility to at least look into it.”

Haddix said most issues brought to the Student Senate at Purdue are directly relevant to the University. However, on some occasions, there are more isolated issues that are brought up.

He added that some of the initiatives that are implemented are issues external to the campus but tend to directly impact the university. Two years ago, the Purdue Student Senate voted to support a national foundation lobbying the government for green card expansions.

“While this didn’t necessarily have an impact on our campus, it did affect many of our students,” Haddix said. “Purdue has the one of the largest populations of international students in the United States, so it was important to that senate to stand up for their constituents.”

Jeffery Ding, vice president of the University of Iowa student government, offered another perspective, saying they are not just focused on providing action for students on campus, but student life in the state of Iowa altogether.

“While most of the issues brought to our attention are ones that directly affect our constituents, UI students, we have addressed issues that fall outside the scope of university life,” Ding said in an e-mail.

Ding said the UISG has addressed issues including installing red light cameras, used for traffic enforcement, in Iowa City and proposed high-speed rail system.

Regarding issues that extend beyond Iowa student life, Ding said there were more suitable areas for them to be addressed.

“I personally find that resolutions on outside issues are symbolic at best and there are other more appropriate avenues for those proclamations,” he said.

Ava Jacobs, director of public relations for the Associated Students of Michigan State University, said the ASMSU’s members are diverse in their areas of campus involvement and thus bring a variety of issues for consideration.

“These groups actively represent the interests of students to university committees, Board of Trustees, university administrators, city of East Lansing, State of Michigan and other pertinent entities on all student and academic related issues,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said in recent years the ASMSU has not addressed any issues not somehow related to campus life.

“We have, however, lobbied congressmen in Washington, D.C., along with the rest of the Big 10, to advocate for issues and initiatives relevant to college students,” she said.

Emily Kurtz, press office director for the Associated Students of Wisconsin-Madison, said their assembly does not have a clear-cut way of differentiating between which issues are relevant to the university and which are not.

“Topics we chose to discuss depend entirely on the content and current events occurring within the topic,” Kurtz said. “Members sitting on Student Council decide if an issue is something ASM should or should not be involved with based on a variety of criteria.”

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