Sunday May 19, 2013
University of Michigan's CSG Proposes Limitations on Community ConcernsGiacomo Bologna Special to Salem-News.com
“By trying to silence the only voices who bring these atrocities to you … you are doing nobody any favors” - Mozhgan Savabieasfahani
(ANN ARBOR Michigan Daily) - The Central Student Government proposed a resolution Tuesday night that would effectively end several years of attendance and speeches by an anti-Israel group at assembly meetings.
For a number of years, Ann Arbor resident Blaine Coleman, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a sponsored affiliate in the School of
Per the proposed resolution, members of the community can still address the assembly if the topic of their address is relevant to CSG business and is approved by the speaker. However, because divestment from Israel is unlikely to be an agenda item at meetings, Coleman and Savabieasfahani would not be allowed to address the assembly again this semester.
Both Savabieasfahani and Coleman spoke at the Tuesday night assembly meeting and denounced the resolution. Savabieasfahani received two warnings during her speech from Michael Proppe, a Business junior and assembly speaker, and had to be gaveled down when her time expired.
“By trying to silence the only voices who bring these atrocities to you … you are doing nobody any
Coleman didn't receive any warnings, but he was harsher in his judgment of the assembly.
“Everyone who raises their hand to silence the talk of Palestine in this chamber is a racist who hates Palestinians, hates Arabs, hates Muslims and will be announcing themselves as such,” Coleman said.
In his explanation of the resolution to the assembly, Andrew Modell, an Engineering sophomore and the rules committee vice chair, said the current open door policy on speakers is a hindrance to meeting operations and its representation of the student body.
“A majority of community concerns that we hear are not necessarily from the students … and often times we have heard the same message over and over and over,” Modell said. “While we do want to be able hear from those who aren't students we really don't want that to be our priority.”
Law School representative Jeremy Keeney said non-students can still apply to speak during the guest speakers portion of assembly meetings.
“What we tried to do is we tried to balance the concerns of people in the community as well as recognizing that our time is precious,” he said.
During the assembly’s matters arising section — a part of the agenda where CSG members can speak on issues they’re working on — members heard significant discussion from both supporters and opponents of the resolution.
LSA sophomore and representative Daniel Morales said he did not approve of or agree with the Coleman and Savabieasfahani's speeches, but added that the resolution could become a “gag rule.”
Discussion continued until Rackham representative Patrick O'Mahen redirected the assembly to focus more on personal reports from representatives rather than instigating debate.
He added that while he has not decided how he will vote on the resolution, the debate was not as inflammatory as he anticipated.
Zupmore added, however, that she would not be against any student who would like to discuss the issue of divestment from
Modell said in an interview after the meeting that while community members would be able to speak on issues relevant to the meeting under the proposed resolution, there are no plans to
Submitted to Salem-News by Blaine Coleman
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