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ASMSU allocates $5,000 to MSU Safe Place, encourages vaccination, COGS liaison elected

February 10, 2021
<p>Student Services building featuring the Associated Students of Michigan State University logo.</p>

Student Services building featuring the Associated Students of Michigan State University logo.

Photo by Lauren Snyder | The State News

Per the latest recap on ASMSU’s General Assembly Meeting, six bills were passed on Thursday evening and one bill was referred to the academic committee.

The following bills were passed:

Bill 57-57 to allocate $5,000 to MSU Safe Place was introduced by Lyman Briggs College Representative Ishaan Modi and seconded by James Madison College Representative Jordan Kovach. MSU Safe Place is for MSU students, staff, faculty, retirees or their partners, and children who are experiencing emotionally, physically or sexually abusive relationships. The funds are to be used for food, shelter, supplies and advocacy assistance to support the MSU community.

Safe Place normally gets $25,000 to $30,000 – about 10% of their overall funding – from their annual 5k, but due to COVID that will not happen this year, said Representative Modi.

Representative Kovach said experts are predicting that due to isolation and stay at home orders, there will be an increase in intimate partner violence.

“Just giving $5,000 that we have is not a ton, but it will do a ton,” said Representative Kovach

Bill 57-58 to align policies with current practices was introduced by James Madison College Representative Gavyn Webb and seconded by Modi. The bill serves to amend the General Assembly Code of Operations to align policies with current organizational practices.

Bill 57-59 to remove the presidential interim appointment clause was introduced by Webb and seconded by Social Science Representative Julian Trevino. The bill serves to amend the General Assembly Code of Operations to remove the presidential interim appointments clause.

Bill 57-60 encourages COVID-19 vaccination. The bill was introduced by Modi and seconded by Lyman Briggs College Representative Chahal. It serves to encourage students, who are physically able and do not have reasonable philosophical and/or religious objections, to receive the full regimen of COVID-19 vaccination when available.

After consulting Director of Health, Safety, and Wellness Mary Stout, ASMSU’s first step was to write up a resolution saying that ASMSU’s formal stance is that the vaccination is good for people who are physically able and who do not have major exemptions to the vaccine, Modi said.

“The vaccination is something that is necessary for public health and to get us out of this COVID-crisis,” Modi said. “If we want a fall semester that is a lot closer to normal than it has been for a year, then it is in the best interest of students to get the vaccine ... a few months down the road when it might be available to us.”

Bill 57-61 advocates instructors to add “Lauren’s Promise” to their course syllabuses and was introduced by Kovach and seconded by Womxn’s Council Representative Madison Sewick. “Lauren’s Promise:” "I will listen and believe you if someone is threatening you."

“Lauren’s Promise” is a pledge, currently at Ohio State University, to effectively point students to resources available on campus for sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking. Bill 57-61 serves to advocate instructors to add a statement, inspired by “Lauren’s Promise,” to their course syllabuses.

Bill 57-62 to advocate for student rental housing to move back lease signing periods was introduced by Kovach and seconded by Agricultural and Natural Resources Representative Blake Lajiness. The bill serves to advocate for municipalities that contain MSU students rental housing to move back their formal leasing periods. The bill includes language to be added to different municipalities Code of Ordinances.

Bill 57-63 advocates for more transparency and accountability from the Office of Institutional Equity. This bill was introduced by Sewick and seconded by Black Students’ Alliance Representative Sharron Reed-Davis and serves to advocate for more transparency and accountability from the Office of Institutional Equity and other administrators. Additionally, calls on the Office of Institutional Equity to release information of all closed cases and a public annual report with statistics. 

Bill 57-63 was referred to the academic committee in response to last week’s discussion about The Lansing State Journal’s article stating that there were five professors at MSU that have two or more conduct allegations against them.

“We have been advocating for accountability for as long as I have been at the university, and not a lot has been done to hold these professors in this university accountable,” said Reed-Davis. “We are asking for them to be held accountable, so even when there is an allegation, it needs to be treated as seriously as the decision making at the end of the term.”

Additionally, College of Education Representative Aaron Iturralde was elected during the Council of Graduate Student’s (COGS) Liaison Election.

Last semester, a bill was introduced to foster more vocal unified and coalition building advocacy for the students on campus. That bill, bill 57-43, is to create a non-paid officer position within ASMSU as a liaison to COGS where they will present ASMSU legislation and report back to the GA, acting as a direct line of communication between the two organizations.

“In this position, I really hope I can be re-informative, constructive and deliberative with the advocacy that both our organization's actions can bring to unify the student voice in an even more stronger and powerful way," Iturralde said.  

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