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ASMSU holds second discussion on whether or not to call for Perles' resignation

September 21, 2018
From left to right, ASMSU President Katherine “Cookie” Rifiotis, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dylan Westrin and Vice President for Finance and Operations Dan Iancio listen during the General Assembly Meeting at the International Center on Sept. 20, 2018. Rifiotis is the spokesperson for MSU’s undergraduate students.
From left to right, ASMSU President Katherine “Cookie” Rifiotis, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dylan Westrin and Vice President for Finance and Operations Dan Iancio listen during the General Assembly Meeting at the International Center on Sept. 20, 2018. Rifiotis is the spokesperson for MSU’s undergraduate students. —
Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

After the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, held their general assembly meeting Thursday night, members had a discussion regarding whether or not the organization should call for Trustee George Perles' resignation.

Representative Colin Wiebrecht of the general assembly called for the discussion to be added to the agenda for the GA meeting. This change led to a nearly two-hour session with different opinions from members of the general assembly about whether or not the organization should draft a bill calling for Trustee Perles' resignation.

A number of representatives supported calling for Perles' resignation in light of the recent lawsuit filed against MSU, alleging that ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar drugged and raped a student-athlete in 1992 and that Perles knew about the abuse.

"George Perles is an accomplice to child rape. He's an accomplice to rape. He's an accomplice to the production of child pornography and to holding child pornography," Max Donovan, a former general assembly member, said. "If George Perles is not healthy enough to answer for his crimes — because that's what they are — he is not healthy enough to do the job that he has been failing to do since 1992. It's a moral obligation of this body to call for the resignation of at least George Perles, if not the rest of the board of trustees yesterday. Last week. 1992."

The argument against calling for Perles' resignation was that it is too early to make a decision since Perles himself has yet to make a statement regarding the allegations in the lawsuit and he has not been able to attend any recent Board of Trustees meetings due to health issues.

“I think he should resign due to health,” Ben Horne, representative of Lyman Briggs College, said. “I have been at more Board of Trustees meetings this year than he has and I think that’s an issue.”

The majority of the general assembly believed in waiting to see if Perles issues a statement before any final decisions are made.

ASMSU also held an informal meeting to talk about potential action against Perles after their committee meetings on Sept. 14.

“I don't know if they (calls for Perles' resignation) are inappropriate so much as they're hasty," Rifiotis said at the first informal meeting. “They're hasty because, if you don't have the full scope of the problem, how can you have the best attack?”

If ASMSU were to draft a bill calling for Perles' resignation, it would have to go through several phases.

Policy Chair Isaiah Hawkins explained that the bill would first have to be drafted by either the general assembly or the Office of the President. 

The bill would then have to go through committee, which, according to Hawkins, would most likely be policy. Then, it would go to one of the GA meetings to be voted on. 

“If it passes, then that would be ASMSU’s stance. If it’s rejected, then it would not,” Hawking said. 

It was mentioned during the meeting multiple times that many members would be willing to meet as a small committee to draft a statement or bill. Some discussed doing so after more information came out, and some suggested starting soon.

Lauren Pepper, representative of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said she agrees with the idea of forming a committee. 

Pepper is a brand new member of GA and was appointed via Bill 54-05 at the beginning of this GA meeting.

“I agree that we need to talk about this,” Pepper said. “I think that by now, we're basically talking in circles and we're not going to pass anything tonight.”

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