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November 18, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-18

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8K- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 18, 1999
Candias divide on affirmative action issueq

By Jeannie Baumann
D)aily Staff Reporter
Two years after lawsuits attacking the
University's use of race as a factor in admis-
sions practices were filed and less than one
year before they are expected to go to trial,
candidates running for representative seats
on the Michigan Student Assembly are trying
to define their role in the process.
"As a rep., it's more MSA's job to be
informing the University
about both sides of the issue,"
said Music senior Shaila
Guthikonda, a Blue Party can-
didate and MSA representa- ae

Lawsuits against 'U'

go to trial next fall

and MSA Rackham Rep. Jessica Curtin said
in a written statement that in regards to affir-
mative action, the assembly should take
action and educate the student body.
"MSA should increase its commitment to

the central


Guthikonda said since her
student constituency is equal-
ly divided on the issue, she
does not vote on resolutions
supporting- or opposing affir-
mative action.
"I cannot make a decision

' E

fight of our generation. It is
MSA's job to educate students
about affirmative action and
provide more avenues for stu-
dents to express their support
and commitment. We are whole-
heartedly in favor of sponsoring
more debates and teach-ins on
affirmative action," Curtin said.
Friends Rebelling Against
Tyranny Party candidate Jason
Davis-Martin, an LSA senior,
said he supports affirmative
action because it is "the antithe-

action, we'd all end up in the place we are
now, except we couldn't do any ending up, or
any ending or starting anything for that mat-
ter, because we'd have no action," Davis-
Martin said.
Like many of the students campaigning,
BP Candidate Amit Pandya said the assem-
bly's primary responsibility in the affirma-
tive action debate is to educate, but he feels
some of the forums on campus have had a
negative impact on students.
"I know a lot of people were intimidated
by the Day of Action. They didn't want to be
attacked for having an opposite view," said
Pandya, an LSA junior. "To properly deal
with the issue, we should sponsor education-
al events on neutral grounds."
Pandya also suggested working with the
administration and examining how the
admissions process works.
"The best way to get things done is
through the administration," he said.

Nursing Rep. Jennifer Seamon, a senior,
said education and representation should go
"My primary function is to represent my
constituents ... I always ask around (for
opinions), but it's not always easy because of
the restraints of clinical classes," she said,
adding that sometimes she has to inform her
constituents about the issues so she can get
Independent candidate Ryan Gregg
expressed a similar approach to the assem-
bly's role in the contentious issue
"As a hopeful representative to the College
of Engineering, the views that I express to
MSA should be those of the student body, not
my own," the Engineering first-year student
said in a written statement.
"This is the purest form of a representative
government. It would be a crime for less than
1 percent of the student body - MSA - to
dictate to the student body as a whole what

policy should be on any given issue, based
purely on their personal opinions," Gregg
MSA Treasurer Suzanne Owen said that as
a Rackham representative, she feels the best
course of action is to evaluate each resolu-
tion based on its intent and as it comes to the
assembly. 4
"Few resolutions that come before MSA
can be evaluated on face value; I represent
my constituents by voting conscientiously,"
she said.
Josh Trapani, the assembly's student gener-
al counsel, who also is an independent candi-
date for Rackham, said he would prefer that
the MSA stay out of the affirmative action
"I can see MSA serving an educational
role to some degree, but generally, I believe
that this is an issue for the courts," Trapan4
"When MSA debates resolution after reso-
lution with an affirmative action theme, the
arguments get old and tired, the beliefs and
sides become entrenched and nothing pro-
ductive gets accomplished," he said.

to say that the Music School is for or against
affirmative action," she said.
Defend Affirmative Action Party Chair

sis of inertia."
"Affirmative action is action - affirma-
tively. And I'm all for action. If it weren't for



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LSA first-year student Matt Nolan (right), a candidate for the Michigan Student Assembly, passes out a filer to Engineering
sophomore Tanuj Metha on the Diag yesterday.

Continued from Page JA
voter turnout. Earlier in the semester, MSA passed a resolu-
tion that banned any postering in the Angell Hall complex.
"We were worried about people not voting. The fact is that
there's been chalking and e-mail, so everyone knew about it.
If there is a low voter turnout, it's not due to the lack of pos-
tering'" Gupta said.
Kinesiology junior Kelly Vaughn said she noticed candi-
dates promoting the elections across campus.
"You can't walk anywhere on campus without knowing
MSA elections are going on," she said.

But Wilkins said postering helps to increase awareness.
"I was less aware of not only the elections but who was
running. In the last elections, I was able to recognize people
because of the posters," he said.
Floden also said he felt he was less knowledgeable of the
candidates than in previous years.
"It's hard to educate yourself on the people who are run
ning. I only voted for two people on MSA," he said.
Gupta and Katz, while working at the voting booth, said
they advised students to read the platforms available on the
Internet and then vote online.
Voting continues online until midnight tonight and until 4
p.m. at polling sites in Angell Hall and Pierpont Commons.





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