The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 4, 1994-- 3
Student leaders, groups and individuals exert influence on 'U' administrators
Sometimes it seems like us versus them.
The administration on one side and the stu-
dents on the other.
Each side strives to accomplish its own
goals and win the same game. Both sides work
on common issues that center around student
life, but with different game plans that tend to
conflict with one another.
Sometimes, however, the captains of each
team come together in an attempt to work out
The University has many ways to work
with "the other side" and students also have
opportunities to influence the administration.
One approach the two teams use to tackle
issues is through their top players - the
Student groups such as the Student Leader
Board and Student Leader Roundtable pro-
vide information to the University on student
Student Leader Board Coordinator Randy
Schwemmin said any student can attend the
meetings, which are every Sunday at 2 p.m.
"Our mission is to provide networking
time to student leaders," Schwemmin said.
The Student Leader Board has provided
input on such issues as Welcome Week and
the alcohol policy. Schwemmin said the ad-
ministration has been consulting student groups
more often through the Student Leader Board.
"We've been making significant progress
in consulting student organizations when policy
decisions are made," Schwemmin said.
The Student Leader Roundtable is smaller
and has become one of the most important
measure of student views.
The roundtable is a selected group of stu-
dent organizations that represent a variety of
different viewpoints and backgrounds.
Interfraternity Council (IFC) President Kirk
Wolfe serves on the selective roundtable group
and said he sees it as beneficial.
"I think it's something that(Vice President
for Student Affairs Maureen A. Hartford) can
use to see where the students are, what they
want, and what they need," Wolfe said. "It's
effective because it allows different student
leaders to network."
One item that Wolfe has seen generated by
the roundtable was the Senior Days program,
which will be a series of special events honor-
ing graduates this year.
"The ideas were generated and then a
committee was formed," Wolfe said.
The variety of different players on the
Student Leader Roundtable helps to increase
"It's a whole group of organizations and it
represents students of color, it represents pub-
lications that may take official stands against
University policy, it's the official student gov-
ernment, it's living units, it's special interests,
academic groups," Hartford said.
The roundtable has recently discussed top-
ics such as Welcome Week, orientation, com-
mencement, the alcohol policy, the Statement
of Students Rights and Responsibilities and
increasing programming on campus.
One group has the opportunity to provide
a unified game plan for the students - the
Michigan Student Assembly.
MSA helps provide an important source of
information for the administration, but prob-
lems in the assembly itself may hurt its effec-
"I try to and hope that MSA can get beyond
some of the internal politics, which I think
distract them sometime from more major is-
sues," Hartford said.
Low student voting may impact the influ-
ence of the University's student government.
"It has been, historically, a pretty low
turnout and I think that anytime people want to
minimalize MSA they use that 'Well, only 5
percent of students voted so are you really
representing student input?"' Hartford said.
People within the University often use the
low voter turnout as a reason to avoid looking
to MSA for its contribution.
But MSA's new adviser, Kathleen
MacKay, the director of co-curricular pro-
grams, said the low voter turnout is not spe-
cific to the University.
"On Big Ten, huge campuses, voter turn-
out in elections is always small," MacKay
said. "I'm not sure that's MSA's fault."
MacKay said the candidates in MSA's
March22 and 23 elections should make it their
goal to increase voter turnout in general.
"I would love to see all the candidates go
out for 'Let's increase the election participa-
tion'," MacKay said. "It's always an uphill
battle ... but everybody needs to continue to
urge for students to participate in their govern-
Another problem limiting the assembly's
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of many of the assembly's problems, Hart-
"I also think that for a lot of years the
University administration ignored MSA and
helped reinforce the viewpoint of them not
being players in decisions," she said.
While the assembly may not now have
the respect from students it would like, the
administration does look to MSA for impor-
tant campus issues.
When Dr. Cy Briefer, director of Univer-
sity Health Services (UHS), proposed a sub-
stance abuse counseling program, he turned
to MSA. The proposal would have provided
students with drug and alcohol counseling
for free with a small increase in tuition.
When MSA opposed the proposal be-
cause of the tuition increase, Briefer had
planned to not take it any further since the
assembly did not approve it.
But the issue didn't die there. MSA liked
the basic plan, but not the tuition increase.
The Student Leader Roundtable also felt the
idea was an important issue and has now
reopened the discussion.
On a day-to-day basis, MSA deals with a
wide range of issues, such as the amend-
ments to the Statement of Student Rights and
In the short time MacKay has been work-
ing at the University, she said she often sees
the administration looking to MSA for input.
"When meetings are set up and we're
trying to get student input, MSA is often
asked," MacKay said. "I think the adminis-
tration wants student input and MSA's the
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Michigan Student Assembly -
The president of MSA is elected by
the student body as a whole in
March. The MSA president meets
often with Hartford and the
assembly deals with a wide range
of campus issues.
The Greek system - The
lnterfraternity Council and the
Panhellenic Association have
influence because of their
prominence on campus. Their
leaders are elected by the
members of the Greek system.
Because of their prominence at the Uni-
versity, both IFC and the Panhellenic Asso-
ciation (Panhel) have a great deal of influ-
Wolfe said the Greek system deserves its
large role in student activities because of its
size on campus.
"We, as a Greek system, are stepping up
and we're being looked to for our leadership,"
Wolfe said. "I thinkwe're a big part of campus
and we are looked to because of our leader-
With all the ways to gather input on cam-
pus, Hartford said the more involved student
will have more influence on campus.
"In a place as big as Michigan, I think you
look at some kind of representation of the
students rather than all students," she said.
1 L- _ 1 _ _ _ ....__ ,-. .__ L. .. ...,_.-..
Student Leader Roundtable - The
leaders of a select group of
organizations meet to discuss
campus issues with Vice President
for Student Affairs Maureen A.
Student Leader Board - Although
all students can attend the
meetings of the Student Leader
Board, generally it is composed of
student leaders from a wide variety
of campus groups.
players on the students' team.
"To be truthful, most of our offices in
Student Affairs ... are partially staffed by
students and that's another very good weather
vane of student opinion," Hartford said.
LSA has students involved on its curricu-
lum and faculty-student policy committees.
Students also serve on the academic judi-
ciary, commencement committee and spe-
cial task forces for LSA.
"I think student input is very important,"
said LSA Dean Edie Goldenberg. "I think
the student input on the curriculum commit-
tee has been very important. ... It's vital. The
students that participate always make im-
portant contributions to the discussion."
The students serving on LSA committees
are appointed by LSA Student Government.
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While the University seeks a large amount
of student input, often times these views are
ignored. Sometimes issues are adopted -
such as the Statement of Student Rights and
Responsibilities, the code of non-academic
conduct - which have widespread student
But in the University there are many
teams competing for the attention of the
"I think we should be seeking student input
on student issues very widely, but I think we
ought to be doing that with faculty, staff and
alums," Hartford said.
In LSA, Goldenberg also uses alumni to
gather different viewpoints.
The college has avisitingcommittee, made
up of primarily University alumni, who meet
with students. Members discuss campus is-
sues and give advice to the administrators
within LSA, Goldenberg said. The members
of this LSA committee serve for three-year
Schwemmin saidwheneverthe University
makes decisions that impact students, the ad-
ministration should discuss the issue with
"If it is a procedure or a system that directly
affects the students, then it is extremely im-
portant to consult students," he said.
Hartford said the administration needs to
look more broadly since University policies
are not created only for current students.
"Administrators are basically creatingpoli-
cies and issues, and developing programs and
services that are meant to serve not just the
current population of students, but for genera-