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ASMSU to hold fall election, allocate funds to coronavirus causes

April 7, 2020

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU will hold a pilot fall election and allocate funds to MSU Food Bank, Student Health Services and the Student Affairs and Services Emergency Fund as the group held their last General Assembly meeting of the 56th session via Zoom on Thursday night.

Fall election

The pilot fall GA election bill was proposed following the concern that COVID-19 would have a negative effect on turnout in the spring 2020 election.

“I have been crafting out this bill and this piece of legislation for a couple weeks now as coronavirus has kind of had an impact on our election systems and just being able to get out the vote in general,” ASMSU’s Vice President for Internal Administration Nora Teagan said. “There are quite a few empty (GA) seats and seats where students aren’t even running for any college whatsoever.” 

Ten colleges are without a seat. Teagan's bill says this presents a lack of representation.

“Hosting a fall elections could allow for said empty seats to be filled at a time in which the student population would have more time to pay attention to a student election, instead of stressorors posed by COVID-19,” according to the bill

The spring election will be continuing as normal, and any seats that are not taken by the end of the summer semester will be up for grabs in the fall election. 

The idea for this pilot program would be to have a condensed election period. Rather than the full 11 to 12 week election period, the fall election will be done in half the time, with the exception of the voting period itself, totaling to about six weeks.

After this trial election, the 57th GA will look back on the results and decide if this election posed a benefit to representation in the GA and is worth continuing. 

Allocated funds

The GA passed four bills to allocate funds to places of need including the MSU food bank. 

The MSU food bank’s model has been changing to lessen interaction. There are less workers and they are going to be prepackaging food. 

The original bill was allocating $20,000, and Asian Pacific America Student Organization, or APASO, representative Chloe Majzel suggested amending the bill to increase the fund, due to the amount that will remain in the general fund. 

College of Engineering representative Ryan Aridi suggested allocating the entire remaining fund to the food bank, but College of Natural Science representative Aubrey Hanes —  who introduced the bill — said the money should roll into the next GA session. 

The GA eventually settled to increase funding to $25,000. 

Hanes also introduced a bill allocating $1,500 to MSU Safe Place.

According to the bill, "Students may be at a higher risk of being self-isolated within households that are not emotionally or physically safe,” due to the current circumstances.  

Additionally, they allocated $7,500 to Student Health Services for their support in the COVID-19 Public Health Response.

The GA also passed a bill to allocate $135,000 from the Student Allocations Board Activity Department fund. The Activity Department is now in an excess of funding due to cancellation of many events. 

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