Student Senate thanks Milton Ford, supports U.S. presidential council

By Claire Fodell | 3/30/14 6:35pm

Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate passed two resolutions on Thursday — one to commemorate the work of professor Milton E. Ford, who passed away on March 19, and the other in support of developing a national Presidential Youth Council.

The first resolution was sponsored by President Ricardo Benavidez. Benavidez said he found it necessary for Student Senate to make it known how thankful the community is of Ford’s work since he came to GVSU in 1973.

Ford was a big part of the creation of the LGBT Resource Center on campus, and Benavidez said Ford was known to say that creating the center was the proudest moment of his career.

Benavidez said the center has made a big difference at GVSU, because it has the largest self-identifying transsexual population of any college campus in the nation.

“I feel like that’s largely due to having the LGBT Resource Center, and so I don’t think we would have all of those students feeling comfortable expressing who they are without the resources that Milt helped put into place,” he said.

The resolution will be presented to Ford’s family members at his memorial today, and a copy will also be given to the LGBT Resource Center and the Board of Trustees.

This isn’t the first time Student Senate has written a commemorative resolution. Benavidez said there have been three similar resolutions during his time on the senate. In 2012, Student Senate wrote a resolution when a former senator died. Two others were written for faculty members who had a big role in senate and retired from GVSU.

“They are very different from other resolutions that we write because they are not asking for anything, they are not calling for any action, but they are just kind of on behalf of the students just thanking this person,” Benavidez said.

Andrew Plague, vice president of the political affairs committee, sponsored the second resolution that was passed by Student Senate. The resolution shows the senate’s support of the establishment of a national Presidential Youth Council to advise the president of the U.S. and his or her administration on the perspectives of young people.

The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council contacted Benavidez and Plague to ask for the endorsement of their plan to create a youth advisory board that is of bi-partisan nature.

“What we’re doing is sending it to that campaign, and then they’ll keep it with their documents because they are lining up support from university student governments across the country,” Plague said.

The resolution doesn’t in any way bind the senate or GVSU to the campaign, he said — it’s just a document stating the senate’s support.

“We’re just kind of getting on board as a senate,” Plague said, adding that he hopes the resolution will entice students to get involved in the Presidential Youth Council. “If it comes to fruition, I hope that there will be people on campus encouraging students, maybe the Office of Fellowships. I’m sure that people would be interested in it.”

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