Government Relations

Voting

 

Student voices matter on this campus, and they have the greatest power at the ballot box. The student population is split across multiple wards, so the Ann Arbor City Council habitually discounts the views of students because they know that we do not represent a constituency that can swing an election. It is therefore crucial that students vote in local elections. We have to get more students involved in the election process, registered to vote, and going to the polls on election day.

  • Continue work with Big Ten Voter Challenge (advertising, inter-school collaboration)

  • Push for the use of dormitories as polling locations

  • Encourage students to serve as poll workers

  • Work with the Registrar’s Office to secure Election Day as an academic holiday

  • Provide buses on election day to off-campus polling locations (Tappan Middle School, U of M Coliseum, Ward 3 and 4 precincts, in particular)

  • Bring back voter registration cards in dorms, offer freshmen the chance to register to vote at orientation, and train RAs to register students to vote.

Housing Affordability

The average rent in Ann Arbor is $1,463 and the average square footage of a rental unit in Ann Arbor is 872 square feet. That represents a rental price of $1.68 per square foot. This is well above the benchmark of college towns like Madison, WI, West Lafayette, IN, or College Station, TX, and even that of large cities that house universities, like Atlanta, GA or Columbus, OH. We can do better. We must do better. Housing costs price poor students out of Ann Arbor, leading to a socioeconomically and racially segregated city and limiting students' ability to participate in all that the University of Michigan and the City of Ann Arbor have to offer.

  • Bring Back the Ann Arbor Tenants Union. Institutionalize it. Invest in it.

  • Ensure that Beyond the Diag only lists leases approved by the University, and enforce compliance with these standards

  • Work with City Council to raise or repeal the downtown height limits

  • Work with the City Planner to upzone areas to meet the growing housing demand from students

  • Establish a landlord rating system by surveying tenants

  • Publicize tenant resources for landlord disputes

  • Expand the Campus Affordability Guide and work with Beyond the Diag to track tenant satisfaction with landlords

  • Expand Ann Arbor Homeshare

  • Push for HUD partnerships to address housing affordability (similar to Duke University’s Southside Incentive Program Application)

  • Promote and connect students with the financial literacy services offered by the Office of Student Financial Aid

  • Increase the wait time for landlords to show housing units or ask current tenants to re-sign their lease from 70 days back to 90 days or more following move-in

  • Work with Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor City Council to create a new inclusionary zoning ordinances that tackle rising housing prices and housing segregation within the current confines of state law

Infrastructure

This University is vast, sitting on several thousand acres. It is the home of 46,002 students and the workplace of over 49,000 employees. It is critical that we provide the services needed for students to do well during their time here at the University. These include ample study spaces open long into the night and effective public transportation to get students to the places they need to be.

  • Open up academic buildings as study spaces. Open classrooms until 10PM or midnight within buildings like Mason Hall

  • Open the Fish Bowl 24/7

  • Extend hours for Hatcher Graduate Library

  • Enable open MCard access to non-residential portions of South Quad, Munger, North Quad, MoJo, Couzens, and Markley as study spaces until midnight

  • Open up classrooms on weekends for study spaces

  • Bring back a late night bus for South U and off-campus housing

  • Run a modified Commuter North/South route on non-gameday weekends

  • Better match busing supply with demand during peak times by shortening the Diag-to-Diag route and running the Oxford Shuttle simultaneously

  • Develop a comprehensive, data-driven off-campus lighting plan in tandem with the University and City Council as opposed to the current impromptu method for deploying lighting

  • Work with RHA to put Blue Bus arrival/departure displays in every dormitory

  • Update and reform the North Campus Development Plan

  • Institute a rideshare program in the UCLA mode

Internals

Structural changes to the way Central Student Government operates can allow for greater representation of students, accountability for officials, and advocacy on issues. Central Student Government must be structured so as to be responsive to the student body, attract students to join from all walks of life, give its members the opportunity and support to advocate for their peers, and preserve institutional knowledge. At the end of the day, CSG must deliver for all students, and institutional changes will need to be part of that equation.

  • Implement two new executive team positions: Director of Government Relations and a City Council Liaison. Centralize all CSG government advocacy: to the City, within the Big Ten, to the State government, and to the Federal Government.
  • Recruit student organizations to the University Council. Strongly advocate for minority-representing student large affinity groups, and general student organizations.

  • Host monthly town halls with the CSG President and Vice President and University administrators.

  • Better management and use of the City Council Advisory Committee (getting UM as its own ward, Big Ten Voter Challenge, better communication about City and University issues)

  • Continue CSG Podcasts and Rediscovering Resources video series

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