ASMSU sends suggestions to trustees, plans to work with Engler
The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, created a list of suggestions for what communication and engagement should look like on Wednesday, which was sent out to the Board of Trustees.
During the meeting, representatives discussed having trustees speak to student organizations, pass information down to professors, email students or send out video messages.
A more inclusive town hall and a system that would permit students to be more involved with Board of Trustees meetings were also mentioned.
“The Board of Trustees and the president, they don’t really ever interact directly with students and I think that’s an issue," Horne said. "Every single person’s view of this campus climate or their view on sexual assault is going to differ based on their lived experiences.”
A focus on policy, not activism
ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca said he has worked closely with the Board of Trustees and Interim President John Engler with how to move forward and hopes the undergraduate student body organization focuses on process rather than activism.
“In my mind, ASMSU is not an activist organization," Santavicca said. "That is why there are activist RSO’s (registered student organizations) on campus to push the process of ASMSU and other organizations on campus.”
Santavicca said ASMSU is in the "listening phase" of its role as the representatives of the undergraduate student body.
“There are a lot of groups on campus that are activists, that do a really good job of harnessing that energy that’s out there and letting their sentiments be known," Vice President for Student Allocations Stephen Brown said. "And I think it’s our job as representatives to figure out how to turn that into the most effective policy to reach their goals.”
Since the appointment of Engler, many different marches and other events erupted around campus, including a few calls for the resignation of trustees. But Lyman Briggs College Representative Benjamin Horne does not want ASMSU to focus on that.
“Instead of focusing on tearing down what we have, I think working with Engler and the Board of Trustees at this point is going to be difficult, but it’s kind of the necessary evil," Horne said. "It’s about time that we come up with the policies that we want to see, we come up with the institutional changes that we want to see.”
Directing energy toward change
“I’ve got two bills written up, one for the resignations of the Board of Trustees and another one for the resignation of President Engler," Horne said. "Both of those would fracture the assembly and send us splintering out into a million different directions at this point. There’s not a hell of a reason to introduce them right now because we as students and representatives of students hold considerable power in this situation. We got a Board of Trustees that is looking to us for what to do.”
Natural Science Representative Caroline Colpoys said she hopes to direct the energy from protests and other campus events towards negotiations and change.
"It's time that we harness the anger that everyone has on campus right now and rather than directing that to certain individuals, direct that towards change," Colpoys said.
Working with Engler
In Santavicca's position as a liaison between the students and the administration, he said the Board is "more ears up than ever" and is working on a plan to be more engaged.
MSU Trustee Brian Mosallam hosted a town hall meeting on Feb. 1, which received criticism for the absence of other trustees. Santavicca said other trustees are planning another event similar to the town hall that will not just have one trustee in attendance.
Engler will speak at an ASMSU meeting soon. And though opinions on Engler vary throughout the organization, Santavicca said ASMSU will work with him.
“To me, I felt very assured that he’s committed to this and the immediate issues that need to be fixed in addition to handling the litigation at hand," Santavicca said. "I think he does want to listen to the faculty and the students to know what we need to do going forward.”