CSG debates budget allocation and discusses purpose of SHUT IT DOWN initiative
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CSG debates budget allocation and discusses purpose of SHUT IT DOWN initiative

The University of Michigan Central Student Government met over Zoom Tuesday evening to discuss recalls, food assistance at Blue Markets, and new DEI initiatives. Tensions between representatives grew when discussing the objectives of the SHUT IT DOWN party regarding the Spring-Summer 2024 budget.

LSA representative Amatullah Hakim, Rackham representative Jared Eno and Nico Juarez, Social Work representative and ethics chair, were recalled due to excessive absences.

LSA representative Maya Akiva was also up for recall but was not recalled with 11 against, 6 in favor and 12 abstentions.

Teddy Masterson, UM alum and research technician, discussed the importance of passing AR 14-010, a resolution that proposed electronic benefit transaction cash and SNAP benefits be accepted at all Blue Markets on campus.

“I have seen how insane just the costs of food in Ann Arbor, especially from Michigan dining locations is and recently Michigan dining upgraded their kiosks to accept credit cards,” Masterson said. “So this seems like the perfect shoo-in for us to encourage the universities to accept SNAP EBT. Honestly, I’m kind of surprised they’re not doing this already seeing as we’re a public university … we’re literally part of the government and several other universities, as the resolution points out, have done this already.”

Resolution AR 14-007, which includes mandatory monthly DEI training for all CSG representatives, passed with 14 in favor, one against and four abstentions. In conjunction with this proposal, UM alum Tyler Fioritto, former ethics chair of the 12th Assembly, suggested a permanent ex-officio member to guarantee accessibility issues be considered by the assembly.

“You would have somebody there who’s there 24/7 every committee meeting to be able to ensure that accessibility concerns are never out of the conversation,” Fioritto said. “And I think this would go a long way not just in terms of what they can actually advocate for and introduce, but in terms of restoring goodwill in the community.”

Engineering alum Shubh Agrawal, party chair for SHUT IT DOWN, spoke on the purpose of the SHUT IT DOWN movement in CSG.

“The University of Michigan is one of those institutions (whose) $6 billion of the endowment are implicated in the genocide or occupation of people of Palestine,” Agrawal said. “And the University of Michigan does not deserve to function as normal while it continues to do those things.”

Resolution AR 14-008 was introduced, allowing interested first-year students to shadow CSG officials in the executive, legislative and judiciary sections to understand the work of student representatives.

During the last meeting on Thursday, June 18, resolution AR 14-005, outlining the Spring Summer 2024 budget, was passed unanimously. On Thursday, June 27, President Alifa Chowdhury vetoed this resolution in an email obtained by The Michigan Daily.

The assembly needed a two-thirds majority to overturn the veto to fund initiatives with the Spring Summer budget. With 31 votes total, 20 in favor and 11 against, the veto stands.

Nate Cohen, Finance Committee chair, proposed an appropriation to move $118,832.90 from the general account to the Legislative Discretionary Fund in order to continue payroll and the Student Organization Funding Committee without a specified budget.

During the meeting, Danah Owaida expressed frustration with the lack of progress the assembly has made on resolutions given the high number of recalls and budget disagreements.

“We could work together collectively and get all of the things that we want achieved right now,” Owaida said. “We literally look like a joke, not just in front of the Regents and the president, but in front of the entire student body, because we literally cannot do anything.”

DEI coordinator Julia Odhiambo said she is hesitant to fund student organizations because the organizations historically funded by CSG have not represented her or others in marginalized communities.

“I honestly think that we should reconsider funding organizations because I feel like the main organizations that we fund are athlete organizations and predominantly white,” Odhiambo said. “It’s not really effective for marginalized communities.”

Vice President Elias Atkinson said issues like food insecurity are created by the University driving up prices and raised the concern that CSG cannot truly fix issues caused by the University.

“My criticism is that a lot of the things that the student government does is to put a band-aid on problems that are created by the University in the first place,” Atkinson said. “I’d encourage people to not try to keep things going as normal because we need to push back on the idea that the student government is here to help the students, when really the student government is here so that we can protect the students from the University.”

The assembly ruled to adjourn the meeting early.

Summer News Editor Edra Timmerman can be reached at [email protected].