Improving recreational facilities, more discussed in ASMSU committees
Bills addressing needed improvements to both student recreational facilities and instructional student rating systems were addressed at the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU's Thursday committee meetings.
A bill to add a new seat to the undergraduate student government's general assembly for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee was also discussed.
Improving recreational center facilities
ASMSU’s policy committee passed a bill denouncing "the lack of funding of the Intramural and Recreation Sports Facilities at Michigan State University."
Originally, the bill called for the establishment of a university-wide committee to plan and advocate for improvements to MSU recreational center facilities. However, it was quickly amended to instead denounce the “negligent treatment of the current recreational sports facilities at MSU,” as well as call for sustained funding of new wellness centers that strive to increase student engagement, the bill said.
“We really want change at this point, so this is more of an assertive bill that says that we denounce how the IM sports facilities have been treated (and) how they've been funded,” College of Natural Science representative Kumaran Arivoli, who introduced the bill, told The State News.
Arivoli mentioned he has been meeting with the Student Rec. Coalition for the last few months and they agreed that sports facilities on campus are “pretty awful.”
Additionally, he drew attention toward how ASMSU representatives who have gone to conferences at other universities notice these school's facilities “focus on health and wellness in general, so it's not just for people who want to go to the gym, but it's also for student engagement."
Arivoli said his goal is to bring this kind of engagement to recreational centers at MSU because he does not believe that the ”current state of these facilities really encourages that sort of behavior.”
New student instructional rating system
In academic committee, a bill passed advocating for an update in the Student Instructional Rating System, or SIRS, that would allow students to access feedback of professors, grade output and previous class syllabi more easily.
Introducer of the bill, College of Business representative Olivia Long, said this new system would publish SIRS feedback — which is required for every student to turn in at the end of the semester — on a platform that could be accessed on D2L, StuInfo or Schedule Builder.
Long explained that this would ultimately hold professors to a “higher standard,” however Student Housing Cooperative representative Rory Womack voiced concerns about this statement.
“I think that we would be holding our professors at gunpoint, not holding them to a higher level of transparency,” Womack said. He added this might force professors to grade students easier in hopes of higher ratings.
Long explained that the new system would draw attention to more than just grades.
“It would publish the professors' ratings as well as possibly some modified syllabi so that people are able to see in a more standardized and reliable fashion, more reliable than, say, Koofers or Rate my Professor,” Long said.
She also elaborated on how this would allow students to see “how other students feel about MSU professors, about MSU classes and help students plan their schedule to better to fit their needs.”
Giving a seat to the Student Athlete Advisory Committee
The policy committee passed a bill to amend the ASMSU Constitution to add a Student Athlete Advisory Committee, or SAAC, representative to the general assembly, or GA.
SAAC is an organization that strives to improve the student-athlete experience by promoting leadership, and protecting and fostering a positive student-athlete image, the bill said.
President Cookie Rifiotis explained that partnership between MSU Athletics and ASMSU through elections, It’s On Us and Mental Health Awareness week “yielded a really good relationship.”
Following these partnerships, Rifiotis said ASMSU discussed the benefits of having representatives from SAAC on the GA. Student Athletic Advisory Committee President Bailey Higgins attended policy committee to advocate for the bill.
“I think it’s just another organizational group on campus that has been — I don’t want to say left out by any means — but there’s just isn’t a connection between the two (ASMSU and SAAC) right now,” Higgins, a member of the field hockey team, said. “I think it’s important to build that connection especially with everything that has been going on within the university and athletics the past year or two.”
Rifiotis said if the bill passed through the general assembly, the process to officially add this seat could be done through a petition or a two-thirds vote from the GA to put it on the student body elections ballot. The bill ended up passing through policy committee.
ASMSU is hosting four events this Saturday including ElectHer, NAISO Pow Wow, APASO Cultural Vogue and ISA's Valentine's Day Ball.
The general assembly will meet next Thursday, Feb. 28 in the International Center.