Thursday, December 2, 2021

ASMSU advocates to divest from fossil fuels, pass CROWN act

March 30, 2021
<p>The Student Services Building at MSU on Oct. 26, 2020.</p>

The Student Services Building at MSU on Oct. 26, 2020.

Photo by Lauren Snyder | The State News

During a long Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) general assembly meeting on Thursday, March 18, legislation dominated the meeting time.

A total of 25 bills were passed and zero failed during the 5-hour-long meeting.

Old business included the single Bill 57-81 to establish a scholarship for engineering and science success academy participants, which ultimately passed.

New business consisted of debated bills that advocated for a tuition freeze, to pass the CROWN Act and more.

At the most recent committee meeting, ASMSU’s Policy Committee passed Bill 57-89 Divest from Fossil Fuels, introduced by College of Agricultural and Natural Resources Rep. Blake Lajiness and seconded by College of Natural Sciences Rep. Olivia Triltsch.

In summary, Bill 57-89 advocates for MSU to divest from fossil fuels. ASMSU previously approved Bill 57-45, which stated that ASMSU is committed to declaring a climate emergency and advocated that the University do the same.

College of Social Science Rep. Devin Woodruff introduced Bill 57-102, and College of Education Rep. Aaron Iturralde seconded the bill. Bill 57-102 said that ASMSU will advocate for MSU to continue to adopt a tuition freeze for the upcoming 2021-2022 Fall and Spring semester and a long-term tuition freeze plan until the 2024-25 school year.

There are two reasons why ASMSU chose the 2024-25 academic year for a tuition freeze.

The first point is to encourage MSU to adopt a long-term policy of making college tuition affordable. The second point is based on expert opinion that during the 2024-25 academic period, the coronavirus’s aftereffects will not be at full effect, Woodruff said.

Woodruff also made a point of how the cost of college has been on the sharp increase for years and that many current students have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

The current estimated cost to attend MSU full-time is $29,130.

Additionally, Bill 57-102 stated that Purdue University has had nine consecutive years of no tuition increase allowing in-state students to save over $12,000 and out-of-state students to save over $31,000.

“I think this is a right time right now to put pressure on the Board of Trustees,” Woodruff said. “A long-term plan can be done. For people that say that it can't be, it really can."

Bill 57-102 passed by majority vote.

Recently passed Bill 57-94 is a bill that advocates for passing the CROWN Act at the state level to protect individuals from being discriminated against based on hair. The bill was also introduced by Woodruff and seconded by College of Social Science Rep. Julian Trevino. 

The CROWN Act law stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair and prohibits race-based hair discrimination, denial of employment or educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles, such as braids, locks, twists or Bantu knots.

Trevino said that discrimination against hair type very well impacts the MSU Black community. Bill 57-94 is an amazing opportunity to bring change to the state level.

“As representatives, we should be making sure we fight every instance for all our communities on campus to ensure equity and the opportunity to not be discriminated,” Trevino said. “It really is repulsive, to be quite frank, that this is still a thing we are debating in today’s day ... We really want to ensure our students on campus feel included, safe, and equal because none of us are above anyone else.”

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