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Diversity Training, Stopping 'Homophobic’ FDA Practices Highlight ASMSU’s Last Meeting

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Contributor: Anthony Barash

MSU’s student government recently finished their 56th Session approving several bills aimed at promoting diversity. Included was mandating diversity training for all members, formally adding the constitution of MSU racial and ethnic groups, and ending ‘homophobic’ blood donation practices.

In collaboration with the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students and the Council of Progressive Students (CORES and COPS), three ASMSU bills further intertwine these organizations. These councils include groups such as the Black Student Alliance, Women’s Council, and the Muslim Students’ Association.

Passed first, unanimously, Bill 56-69 amends ASMSU's Code of Operations to include the ‘living’ CORES and COPS Constitution. Representative Kyle Biel said Adding this constitution to the ASMSU code is going to really be a huge step in solidifying CORES and COPS’s place...this shows really our unity with a lot of CORES and COPS in our devotion to diversity."

CORES and COPS groups additionally have representative seats within the student government’s legislative body.

Next, Bill 56-70, requires “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training (DEI)” for all ASMSU members. Chloe Majzel, Asian Pacific American Student Organization (APASO) representative shared an unsuccessful attempt to mandate training. “In the fall, Miracle [ASMSU’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer] really tried to push for everyone to attend her training…[it] didn’t really work out as planned.”

Citing “not-so-happy events,” she said “this just codifies that everyone in ASMSU needs to attend a Diversity- Equity-Inclusion training, put on by the diversity department in ASMSU.”

“Not-so-happy” events include several alleged racist and racist events ranging from toilet paper nooses to an offensive survey published by an MSU professor.

[RELATED STORY: Prompts in MSU Survey State Blacks as “Monkeys,” Use ‘N’ Word Repeatedly]

Miracle Chatman and Black Student Alliance President Sharron Reed-Davis, both strongly advocated in support of the bill. Representative Kyle Biel also voiced his support. The bill passed with a majority and few dissenters.

The third bill, 56-75, is a resolution to advocate for an end to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with other men (MSM) donors. Currently, males who have engaged in sex with other men in the past three months cannot donate.

This deferral and other activities, “reduced the risk of HIV transmission from blood transfusion from about 1 in 2500 units prior to HIV testing to a current estimated residual risk of about 1 in 1.47 million transfusions,” the FDA states.

In contrast, ASMSU representative Travis Boling declared,“It is still very apparent that it’s still very homophobic and discriminatory towards gay and bisexual men. And this bill is just like an advocacy point to make sure that this does become an act.”

[RELATED STORY: Rural Communities TRASHED During Passage of Mandated Diversity Training Bill]

The vote for the bill was quick and unanimous. With the passing of this bill, “official letters and/or this bill” will be sent to “collaborators” who will “pursue/advocate for this bill’s action items.”

In the Fifty-Fifth session a similar bill had greater debate, with multiple recesses.

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