Michigan State Acting President Satish Udpa spoke to the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, about the work the university has done since he was appointed following the resignation of former Interim President John Engler.
At Thursday's General Assembly meeting, ASMSU also discussed 11 bills, some of which would allocate money toward upcoming student events.
The meeting marked the second to last one for the General Assembly of this year's session.
Udpa speaks to the General Assembly
Udpa spoke about the initiatives he has put forward as acting president, goals for the remainder of his term, as well as praise for the university and its “resilience” over the past years.
Udpa began the meeting by discussing the changes implemented since his term began in January to ensure that “the campus health is restored back."
He explained that the three steps he has taken in order to achieve this goal have been to apologize to Larry Nassar survivors, meet with the survivors and their parents and lastly, help with the reinstating of the healing fund that aids survivors during their recovery.
Udpa also highlighted that he has “made it a point to meet as many people as I can, which is one reasons why I’m here.”
Udpa then transitioned from talking about himself, to voicing a sense of pride in the university, saying that MSU “has shown a remarkable sense of resilience and we see that in so many ways.”
He also highlighted several university accomplishments including an improvement to the graduation rate, academic probation rates hitting their lowest levels and MSU being the fastest growing research institution in the Big Ten.
“Michigan State has a faced a lot of tough challenges in its 160-plus years and we are certainly at a point right now where we can say we are probably at one of the lower points but it's gratifying to see the kind of leadership that we see at every level,” Udpa said.
Allocating money to the Spring Student Organization Fair
The General Assembly allocated $6,000 to put on a Spring Student Organization Fair that will be similar, but smaller than Sparticipation.
The bill, introduced by Vice President for Student Allocations Makenzie Bosworth, was passed by the General Assembly with a vote of 37 in favor, 1 against and 0 abstentions.
“This would be a pilot for it, so it could be better, and a little bit more robust in coming years but this would give us a really great place to launch and learn from,” Bosworth said.
Bosworth explained that the value in hosting this event is that it would give students another chance to be introduced to clubs around campus. She noted that Sparticipation happens so quickly after students move back to MSU for the fall semester.
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources representative Josh Grindling, who seconded the bill, supported Bosworth’s argument while adding that a student organization fair gives students who come to MSU in the spring semester the same opportunity that students who come in the fall semester get.
Grindling explained that several of his friends came to MSU in the spring, and said “there was pretty much nothing” for them, making it “really difficult to get involved in clubs.”
“Events like this are really important to keep everyone engaged and give people a fair shake at getting involved in social situations," he said.
ASMSU President Cookie Rifiotis said the allocation of money would go toward booking space for the event in the MSU Union, food, a photo booth, prizes and decorations. She also expressed that ASMSU is the only organization funding this event.
With the event set to take place March 27, some members, such as College of Engineering representative Ryan Aridi, voiced concern about the short notice and the fact it would take place so late in the semester.
In response, Rifiotis said the event was supposed to be earlier in the semester but scheduling didn't work out, however they still want to put on the event “to try to get something off the ground.”
The bill passed and the Spring Student Organization Fair will take place March 27.
Allocating money for end of the year CORES and COPS events
With a vote of 34-0-0, a bill that would allocate $19,400 from ASMSU's budget for the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students, or CORES, and Council of Progressive Students, or COPS, fund passed through the General Assembly.
Of this total, $5,250 will come from ASMSU’s general fund. The remainder of the allocation will be: $10,000 from Bike Share, $2,650 from the Start Up Registered Student Organizations Fund, and $1,500 from Budget Stabilization, all money that would have otherwise not been used this year and which Vice President for Student Allocations Makenzie Bosworth helped to compile.
“We are really hoping that you all will help CORES and COPS finish the rest of the year strong by passing this bill and giving the rest of these groups the means to host their events," College of Social Science representative Mary Shammout, the introducer of the bill, said. "I want to note that not all of the groups were able to receive the funding this year that they rely on and this will be an opportunity to include those groups."
According to the bill, CORES and COPS groups still requesting funds are “Muslim Student Association at $2,790, Jewish Student Union at $13,110 and Arabic Cultural Society at $3,500."
The bill passed unanimously, and the money will be allocated to the CORES and COPS fund to go toward a variety of different organizations events.
The last committee meetings of ASMSU's 55th session will be held Thursday, March 28 in the Student Services Building.