The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, passed five bills through General Assembly Thursday night at the second General Assembly meeting of the month. The topics of the bills ranged from pro-LGBT advocacy to the organization’s consistent effort to increase student participation in the midterm elections next month.
Bill supporting "It's on Us Fall Week of Action"
Bill No. 55-07 allocated $3,000 from the General Fund to the marketing department in support of MSU’s “It’s on Us Fall Week of Action," which runs from Oct. 22 to Oct. 29, to raise awareness of sexual harassment and violence and support survivors of sexual abuse.
This money will go toward giving away T-shirts at all of the events “It’s on Us” is putting on that week.
“They [It’s on Us has] have reached out to ASMSU to help sponsor them [the tee shirts],” Vice President of Governmental Affairs Mario Kakos said. “ASMSU has been partners for quite some time with It’s On Us, and especially with the current climate on Michigan State’s campus, we should make it even more known now more than ever that ASMSU specifically wants to increase these collaborations.”
Bill No. 55-08, which passed through policy committee last week, allows members of the Office of Governmental Affairs to advocate for an amendment to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Currently, the state of Michigan does not have any protections on either of these bases.
There has been considerable debate about including protections based on gender identity in recent years, but ASMSU’s constitution has included this specific protection since the early 2000s.
“ASMSU has a history of advocating for similar protections,” Ben Horne, policy committee vice-chairman, said. “Back in the early 2000s, an ASMSU president by the name of Matt Clayson ended up advocating and eventually succeeding in getting the university’s anti-discrimination policy to include gender identity. This keeps going with past actions of ASMSU.”
Bill No. 55-09 has a similar goal: to advocate against discrimination that the LGBT community has faced.
Members of the Office of Governmental Affairs will advocate for an abolition of the Food and Drug Administration’s current policy on blood donations for men who have had sexual contact with other men. Currently, a man who has had sex with another man in the last twelve months cannot legally donate blood for a year. This policy dates back to the AIDS crisis of the early- to mid-1980s.
Bill aiming to increase turnout in midterm election
Bill No. 55-10 calls for faculty to not penalize students who miss classes on Election Day, because of the importance of the civic duty of voting. In addition, it calls for the establishment of a university holiday for Election Day in all future academic calendars.
“That’s not something that we can do,” Policy Committee Chairman Isaiah Hawkins, who introduced the bill, said, referring to the fact that these changes have to come from the administration. “All of this is under the same guidelines of getting students to vote, and getting students as many opportunities to get out to the election as possible.”
In addition, as part of Rivalry Week, ASMSU and the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government launched the “MSU vs. UMich Voting Challenge,” based around student participation in the coming election.
President Katherine “Cookie” Rifiotis and U-M’s CSG President Daniel Greene have a bet that the president whose school has the least student participation in the election will sing the other team’s fight song and post the video on all official social media.
Bill advocating for free printing on campus
Bill No. 55-11 calls for advocating to bring Freenters Free Printing Solution to the university. Freenters is a company which prints documents for students at no cost but includes local advertisements every four pages. Current printing on campus costs between 7 and 10 cents per page.
“This company approached us and said, hey, we can provide a free solution that can kind of affect your entire campus,” Dan Iancio, vice president of finance and operations and introducer of the bill, said. “We’re looking to advocate for that and reduce costs for students.”
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