The Associated Students of MSU, or ASMSU, passed bills to reform campus parking, provide emergency contraception and harm reduction vending machines and expand community engaged learning at the general assembly meeting on Thursday.
Parking and ticketing
Bill 60-60, calls for reforms to on-campus parking and campus parking citations to lessen the burden for students parking on campus. This follows the Board of Trustees' approval of raising parking violation fines on campus and the subsequent 97,585 parking tickets issued in 2023.
James Madison College Representative Shaurya Pandya expressed fervent support for the bill, saying that the cost of a parking ticket is simply too much money and there is a lack of transparency between students and Parking and Code Enforcement, or PACE.
Pandya said these factors demonstrate that PACE’s interests are primarily monetary.
The rising number of freshmen every year has forced many students to move further and further away from campus, increasing the need for students to commute, and thus, park on campus, Spartan Housing Cooperative Representative Alex Ramirez said.
Ramirez suggested that, at the very least, more money should be put toward expanding the bus system and on-campus parking availability.
Bill 60-60 passed unanimously.
Harm reduction vending machines
Bill 60-57 advocates for the implementation of an emergency contraception and harm reduction vending machine pilot program on MSU’s campus. This would include implementing vending machines that have free Naloxone in addition to emergency contraception products and Plan B.
ASMSU Health, Safety, and Wellness Director Kathryn Harding said ASMSU has obtained the approval of Spartans Against Substance Abuse as well as the Olin Director of Health Services. Harding could not speak to when the machine will be implemented, as the first step is “getting the free machine done.”
Harding added that the University of Michigan already has similar programs in place, making MSU behind when it comes to this issue.
Bill 60-57 passed unanimously.
Community engaged learning
Additionally, ASMSU passed bill 60-56, advocating for the support and expansion of community engaged learning at MSU. Community engaged learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates community partnership with classroom learning in order to help students understand social responsibilities and strengthen communities, according to the MSU Center for Community Engaged Learning.
Before the bill was passed, questions were raised about Alternative Spartan Breaks by Vice President of Academic Affairs Alissa Hakim and Residential College of Arts and Humanities Representative Abigail Rodriguez, who both expressed concerns about their personal experiences with the program.
Hakim recalled an interaction with Alternative Spartan Breaks, a program that allows students to participate in service experiences around the world, in which members of the group seemed to have a lot of “internalized racism with the way that they were treating many of the Black and Brown students that were on the trip that (she) was personally on.”
Both Hakim and Rodriguez asked Center for Community Engaged Learning Administrative Assistant Hari Ramakrishna what measures are in place to ensure there isn’t a “white savior” aspect of the trip.
“As an organization, we are strongly committed to preserving inclusivity," Ramakrishna said.
One thing the Alternative Spartan Break program does to ensure inclusivity, Ramakrishna said, is a commitment to not encourage volunteerism and referring to the projects as ‘service experiences’ rather than trips.
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Ramakrishna also said Alternative Spartan Breaks offers anonymous data collection after the experiences as well as training for student leaders before the experiences.
Bill 60-56 passed unanimously.
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