CSG Discusses Early Leasing Rules, Sexual Misconduct Guidelines

The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government met Tuesday evening to discuss the status of the Ann Arbor City Council litigation over early lease ordinances. The assembly also passed a resolution approving a faculty motion on the university’s sexual misconduct policy for the October 4th Senate Assembly session.

The meeting began with a resolution, entitled “Continued Support for the Early Leasing Ordinance,” convicting landlords who recently joined a lawsuit against the City of Ann Arbor and asking them to be removed from the Beyond the Diag apartment website outside of the Remove campus.

The City Council decided earlier this summer changes to the Early Lease Ordinance requiring landlords to wait at least 150 days instead of the previous 70 days before showing new potential tenants. The Washtenaw Area Apartment Association, a nonprofit that represents rental apartment owners, filed a lawsuit against the city on Sept. 10 to reverse the changes.

CSG Vice President Carla Voigt, a junior engineer, opened the resolution discussion by highlighting the previous work that CSG has done in partnership with the Graduate Employees’ Organization and LSA Student Government in support of the changes to the Early Rent Regulation.

“A group of landlords and leasing companies in Ann Arbor have come together to sue the city for it,” said Voigt. “And essentially this resolution continues our support and talks about the lawsuit and says these companies should be removed from the Beyond the Diag website.”

Voigt said the resolution asked the university to add the leasing company or landlord to Beyond the Diag and add a rating service to the website. In addition, the resolution calls for all leasing companies that have joined the lawsuit against the city to be removed from Beyond the Diag.

LSA Senior Elena Swirczek said she was concerned that removing the companies from Beyond the Diag could affect the site’s clarity.

“While I appreciate the mood of (company), I am concerned that this may just lead to less transparency and that the students do not know what is going on,” said Swirczek. “Especially those who aren’t particularly familiar with Ann Arbor’s domestic politics.”

Voigt then reiterated that she wanted the congregation to campaign for this resolution and addressed security concerns from students using companies that have been removed from the website. She said they plan to speak to the director of Beyond the Diag about implementing these changes.

“I feel like (the rental companies) shouldn’t be supported by the university while they’re predatory,” said Voigt.

The resolution was referred back to the Communications and Resolution Committees for further discussion on advocacy support to reduce housing inequality in Ann Arbor.

At the session, the assembly also passed a resolution in support of a motion to change the university’s policy on sexual misconduct that will be presented by faculties during a session of the Senate Assembly next Monday.

The motion calls on the university to adopt recommendations from the investigation against former provost Martin Philbert, who was dismissed from office after several allegations of sexual misconduct.

If a faculty member or staff member is required to have a selection committee, the recommendations will ask the university to obtain written evidence from committee members of disclosure of all known information about the case and to document decisions on disciplinary action. The Recommendations also require the Office for Equity, Citizenship and Title IX to refer to any reports of previous allegations when investigating allegations against an individual.

The motion also calls for the university to set up a committee composed of survivors of sexual misconduct from Philbert and Robert Anderson, a former sports doctor believed to have sexually abused hundreds between the 1960s and early 2000s; Walter Lasecki, who resigned in August on charges of sexual misconduct; and Bruce Conforth, who has also been charged with multiple sexual misconduct allegations. This committee would produce an additional set of guidelines to be presented to the Board of Directors.

LSA student Karthik Pasupula, who supports the resolution, said a student approached him to present the resolution to the congregation.

“(The student was) pursuing a request from the faculty to propose recommendations on the changes and guidelines on sexual misconduct that the university recently made,” said Pasupula. “(That’s) because (the university) wasn’t focusing on the right priorities and they weren’t working properly.”

Pasupula said while he believed CSG should back the motion, they shouldn’t be the main body advocating the changes.

“I just don’t want CSG to be the main driver for this,” said Pasupula. “We should adopt a stance in which we support them, not in which we are the main driving force.”

On this issue, Swirczek said it was CSG’s responsibility to both support and promote the resolution.

“To me (the passing of this resolution) seems to make it clear to the people in the administration that we support (the motion) and it is something that matters to us,” said Swirczek.

Despite conflicting opinions, the assembly passed this resolution.
The Daily Staff Reporter Brooke Halak can be reached at [email protected]

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