Wednesday, August 10, 2022

ASMSU asks for student-city liaison

August 15, 2001

One week after two recent MSU graduates failed to pass through the primary election for the East Lansing City Council, ASMSU’s Academic Assembly has introduced a joint resolution it says will improve relations between students and the city council.

The resolution, which must be approved by both assemblies of the undergraduate student government, calls for the creation of a joint committee to act as a liaison between the city and students.

“It’s very vague right now,” Academic Assembly Chairperson Matt Clayson said. “I think it would be great to have a student liaison sitting on the council, but the real goal is just getting students involved at the city level.”

Clayson said ASMSU’s director of community affairs already acts as a representative of the students, but could use more help.

“The mechanism is there,” Clayson said. “It’s just that people really want to build a better foundation so the mechanism can work better.”

While Clayson said he couldn’t see a downside to student advocates working with the council, Mark Grebner of Practical Political Consulting, 220 Albert Ave., said a nonvoting representative or group would be a waste of time.

“Nothing but blather happens at city council meetings,” Grebner said. “The votes and motions are already made, so the meeting is just an empty ritual.”

Grebner said students should focus their efforts on moving the August primary date to September.

Matt Mitroka, a geography graduate student who didn’t survive the primary election, said he is gathering information to begin a petition to switch the dates.

He hopes to involve ASMSU and the Council of Graduate Students in the process.

COGS is the university’s graduate student government.

“I would definitely consider taking it to them and trying to get their help,” Mitroka said. “I would like to see a student voting position, but even if you had a nonvoting student position, that would at least give students a foot in the door.”

But East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows said a nonvoting position on the council would be an insult to students.

“It says students are less than other citizens and have to have nonvoting seats,” he said. “There are a lot more issues students should be advocates for.”

Meadows has said he would like to see the primary date change to involve more students and vacationing citizens.

Only 9.3 percent of East Lansing’s registered voters participated in the primary election this year.

As a past community affairs director, Joe Mignano, ASMSU’s vice chairperson of external affairs, said the Student Assembly will have to research the bill further.

“Most of the issues in East Lansing are not of academic concern,” Mignano said. “If the community affairs director didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be much of a student voice.”

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