ASMSU voices concerns in Big Ten Students Conference, sets sights on D.C.
Delegates from ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, returned Sunday from the Association of Big Ten Students Conference held during the weekend at Northwestern University near Chicago.
Student governments from each Big Ten school met in the Windy City and built on the association’s growing relationship, working to define a legislative platform for the Big Ten’s lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. in April.
The Big Ten’s legislative platform includes giving schools the power to decide if they want students involved in judiciary processes, repealing the student unit record ban allowing students to get a more accurate understanding of the value a school has, and supporting fully funding the Federal Pell Grant Program to make college more affordable for low-income families. The platform focuses on giving schools the liberty to decide on issues for themselves instead of the federal government mandating them.
“We obviously want there to be transparency in higher education, but when government gets involved we want to make sure that it’s very carefully done,” ASMSU Vice President of Governmental Affairs KC Perlberg said.
ASMSU’s bill to create a Big Ten committee to provide feedback for President Obama’s proposed federal college rating system passed at the conference. Student government members from Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland, MSU and Ohio State will make up the committee and will work to provide a framework for rating colleges based on student needs in the conference.
“The reaction to it seemed very good,” said Perlberg, who introduced the bill. “It was one of the most substantive bills that the Big Ten passed this weekend, so I’m very pleased with that.”
Aside from voting on legislation for the upcoming lobbying trip, the conference allowed schools to improve relationships and strengthen their own student governments by learning from each other and sharing ideas.
“It’s very clear that now at the conference each Big Ten school is a stakeholder in ABTS and they really do care about the association moving forward and seeing where it can grow and lead to,” ASMSU Vice President of Academic Affairs and ABTS Executive Director Teresa Bitner said.
This was the first year all 14 student government presidents participated in the conference, a symbol of growing engagement in Big Ten student government affairs, Bitner said.
“The dedication that other schools have put into coming and being present and also participating ... has certainly evolved,” Bitner said.