The United Asian American Organizations have gone to the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution to open a mediation process with management from the Studio 4 nightclub. The club is located on 4th Avenue in Ann Arbor.
Leaders of the Chinese Student Association and the Filipino American Student Association — two groups included in UAAO — claim that the club’s managers broke a revenue-sharing contract and used racial profiling to determine the amount of money they would receive from a fundraiser the groups were holding at the club on Nov. 8 of last year.
Ravi Bodepudi, co-chair of the UAAO, said nobody from the organization has been in contact with anyone from Studio 4 since just after the incident. He said there are plans to meet with the OSCR this week to discuss a course of action.
OSCR, part of the Division of Student Affairs, offers conflict resolution services to anyone with a University affiliation. All parties must consent to the process.
Laura Misumi, UAAO’s other co-chair, said that for her, their activism after this incident was about “creating awareness of student empowerment.”
Bodepudi had doubts about the effectiveness of mediation.
“We’re not really sure if an apology would be enough,” he said.
OSCR representatives said that they could not disclose information about any specific mediation process. According to CSA President Steve Lai, OSCR has been in touch with Studio 4 management, although it is not known whether they have agreed to take part in the mediation process.
Misumi said UAAO was also working with the University’s Office of Student Activities and Leadership to develop a set of guidelines for student organizations dealing with Ann Arbor businesses to create accountability for both parties.
Ashley Manzano, FASA President, said that before the event in November, there had been a written agreement that the two student groups would publicize the event. In exchange the groups would receive half of the cover charge from everyone who came through the door that night.
At the end of the night, according to Manzano and Lai, the club’s manager, Jeff Mangray, told them that they would only be paid for 50 out of the 111 people who came to the club that night.
Mangray told them this was because they “only brought in 50 Asians,” according to Lai.
Lai said he was threatened by Mangray’s son, who also spat on Manzano and used racial and sexist slurs in an ensuing confrontation outside of the club.
UAAO passed a resolution boycotting the club and condemning the alleged actions of the managers at their last meeting before winter break. Shortly after, the Michigan Student Assembly passed a similar resolution. MSA’s version cut off funding to student organizations for events at Studio 4 temporarily while the Peace and Justice Commission conducted an investigation. The commission was supposed to report its findings at last Tuesday’s meeting, but the presentation was postponed.