Introduced shortly before the meeting, bill 60-47 calls for the removal of Vice President of Student Allocations, or VPSA, Bhawna Vaswani.
ASMSU’s Student Allocations Board supplies funds to the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students, or CORES, and the Council of Progressive Students, or COPS, so they can hold student and community events. However, eight CORES and COPS groups that contributed to bill 60-47 expressed their disapproval of Vaswani, who manages the board.
During public comment, Asian Pacific American Student Organization President Hanaa Yoo said that not only did Vaswani improperly give finances to CORES and COPS, but she failed to effectively communicate with these groups.
Yoo said that historically, the VPSA has reached out to CORES groups in the summer to begin meeting in July. This year, the first communications that CORES groups received from the VPSA was almost a month after school started.
"(It) started off with the VPSA sending a blast email, saying that we were required to attend a training less than 24 hours in advance," Yoo said. "The feedback from this was claiming that (Vaswani) didn’t know how to contact any CORES group.”
Vaswani, who was new to her position this semester, said she never received proper training from the former VPSA, causing the delay in contacting CORES and COPS.
Muslim Student Association President Abdullah Al-Ejel said that Vaswani didn’t respond to emails in a timely or professional manner.
“For MSA, we were intending to run a big speakers night that we try to do every year in the Union, and we submitted a funding request for it,” Al-Ejel said. “However, there was zero follow-up for it. For almost two weeks, no email, no Zoom link to get the money approved. We ended up canceling that event, causing my board members to have back-and-forth communication with vendors, giving us a really bad look.”
Residence Housing Association Rep. Evan Hu said that multiple CORES and COPS groups have turned to the association for funding this semester. However, he said impeaching the VSPA wasn’t the answer.
“We have to think about the logistical issue of how long it’s going to take to get a new VPSA in,” Hu said. “At this point, impeaching someone who has finally kind of gotten the ropes of it would just be hereby dismissal.”
Vaswani and others pointed out that bill 60-47 was not included during last week’s planning committee meeting, where the Office of the President and representatives draft and workshop bills.
“Impeachment, I have not heard anything (about),” Vaswani said. “I’ve heard concerns about communication, which I tried to improve. I did not hear any concerns about CORES and COPS not getting any funding.”
College of Social Science Rep. Evan Anderson said that while SAB likely isn’t run effectively, the problem may be bigger than an individual. He pointed out that SAB meetings have problems with keeping attendance.
“I don’t think (a sudden vote on bill 60-47) is very respectful of the assembly’s time or of (Vaswani) herself, because I don’t think it gives her very much of an opportunity to defend herself,” Anderson said. “I think we could’ve done this at committees.”
James Madison College Rep. Shaurya Pandya defended the students who contributed to the bill.
“I don’t think it’s okay to belittle or yell at people who contributed to this bill — they clearly had a reason for writing it,” Pandya said. “We are all students, we all have different lives and a lot of us have had trouble maybe acclimating to a job in the past, and I can be forgiving of it. But I think it might also be good to give the VPSA a talk about all of these things that have been said.”
Pandya said the accusations against Vaswani were sudden to representatives who are not in CORES and COPS, so many may not understand the full situation.
The general assembly instead chose to put Vaswani on a probationary period until Dec. 10. ASMSU decided to hold a special session for on Dec. 8 to determine whether critical action items are met and where the probationary period should lead.
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Bill 60-43 approves ASMSU signing the Association of Big Ten Students Stop Campus Hazing letter. ASMSU and MSU will call for other schools to sign bills taking a stance against campus hazing.
“Campus hazing is a problem and these bills getting passed protects all students, not just Big Ten Schools, but all campus communities across the United States,” Lyman Briggs Rep. Manvir Bamrah said.
Bill 60-43 passed with a majority.
Bill 60-44 advocates for the U.S. Congress to pass and adopt the Equality Act (H.R. 5) to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to add protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“This bill is crucial for the LGBTQIA+ community, as many people within the community frequently face discrimination and are in need of these protections,” Alliance Rep. Angela Demas said.
Bill 60-44 passed unanimously.
Bill 60-45 calls on ASMSU to advocate for bill 60-44’s Equality Act at the Big Ten Students Winter Conference, where student governments from all Big Ten Schools’ student governments will meet.
Alliance Rep. Angela Demas said that while bill 60-44 will help the LGBTQIA+ community, bill 60-45 could make an even bigger impact.
“As MSU is a Big Ten School, sponsoring a resolution at the Association for Big Ten Students Winter Conference in support of the Equality Act could lead other student governments … to advocate for the passing of the Equality Act,” Demas said.
Bill 60-45 passed unanimously.
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