12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 15, 2002
Michigan Student Assembly candidates
go head-to-head in presidential debate
By Tomislav Ladika
Daily Staff Reporter
Besides re-emphasizing their party
platforms, the Michigan Student
Assembly executive officer candidates
had a chance to challenge each other's
opinions and create a conflict of politi-
cal interest at yesterday's MSA debate.
During the debate, which was tele-
vised on WOLV-TV, each presidential
candidate was asked about MSA's effec-
tiveness in terms of addressing student
concerns. Three of the candidates
stressed the need for MSA reforms.
"Students on MSA think MSA is a
joke, and they think it's a joke because
candidates run on joke platforms' said
Agnes Aleobua, the Defend Affirmative
Action Party presidential candidate. "I
do think students would take MSA
more seriously if we give them real
issues to debate on."
Students First presidential candidate
Sarah Boot said because Students First
candidates are involved in many student
groups, they will be able to relate more
"I know what it's like to be a student
on this campus, involved in different
things," Boot said.
Independent presidential candidate
Matt Stone said "the problem I see with
MSA is that the same people have been
involved in MSA since I got here.
"I'm sick of student government run-
ning things behind closed doors. I want
to get out on the Diag," he said.
While most of the candidates agreed
that students have become apathetic
toward MSA, Blue Party presidential
candidate John Carter said his party
took over an assembly that was a wreck
and has revamped interest in MSA by
working on projects for University stu-
"This past year, we have implemented
a fall break. We have extended Central
Campus Recreational Building hours,"
Carter said. "The Blue Party is going to
remain committed to student programs."
Carter added that most candidates
address MSA's problems so they do not
have to talk about concrete issues.
Each presidential candidate was also
asked about his or her stance on affirma-
tive action in light of the anticipated rul-
ings in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Aleobua said none of the other par-
ties has come out and stated how they
plan to handle the issue, but DAAP
unequivocally defends affirmative
action. "There's no difference between
affirmative action and ice machines in
the dorms;' she said. "We have to have a
student government that is willing to
deal with both."
When asked if DAAP would contin-
ue to support affirmative action if a
majority of University students voiced
their opposition to the policy, DAAP
vice-presidential candidate Ben Royal
said, "Our position on affirmative
action is a principled position, and one
we'll stand by."
Boot said although she supports affir-
mative action personally, Students First
feels MSA should hear all students'
opinions on the issue. "I have my opin-
ions and I plan to listen to students on
campus and not make any decision for
them," Students First vice-presidential
candidate Dana Glassel said.
When asked about his position on
affirmative action, Matt Stone
emphasized his neutrality. "All I can
do is provide a forum (for student
debate)," he said. "I don't want to
make that decision."
Carter said Blue Party candidates
have a variety of opinions on affirmative
action, but he did not directly state his
opinion on the issue.
In his closing speech, Carter directly
addressed problems of the other parties,
including an intense focus on affirma-
tive action, a lack of experience and a
lack of taking firm stances on student
Aleobua said she can not tell the dif-
ference between the Blue Party and Stu-
dents First because, unlike DAAP's
support of affirmative action, neither
party takes unequivocal positions on
Independent Michigan Student Assembly presidential candidate Matt Stone speaks as,
seated from left, Blue Party candidate John Carter, Defend Affirmative Action Party
candidate Agnes Aleobua and Students First Party candidate Sarah Boot listen.
Stone said his platform promotes
extra-curricular involvement and stu-
dent debate. Independent vice-presiden-
tial candidate Megan Stohner added that
although inexperience is a challenge,
serving on MSA is a learning experi-
ence, and she and Stone are going to
"learn very quickly how to take their
issues to the administration."
Because Students First is a union of
former members of the Blue, Michigan
and University Democrats parties, Boot
said she feels that her party's candidates
are more experienced leaders than those
running for the Blue Party.
John Carter and John Simpson |
e experience Blue Party presidential candidate John'
Carter and vice-presidential candidate John Simpson
have gained while serving on student government at
the University will help them accomplish their current
Simpson said by working with the administration on
numerous projects such as the implementation of a
new fall break, he and Carter have developed relation-
ships that would help them achieve their goals for
MSA if elected.
Simpson, who has served as chair of the Rules and Elec-
tions Committee of MSA for two years, said the main
responsibility of an executive officer is to ensure the smooth
functioning of MSA committees and meeting, and he said
his bureaucratic experience has prepared him for these
After serving on LSA Student Government and as an
executive officer on MSA this year, Carter said he has
learned that executive officers have to work together with all
the committees and make sure everyone feels enfranchised
inM SA. - , . -. a ..."
"When we unite as a team and get everyone involved
and everyone motivated behind certain goals of the assem-
bly and student body, is when we can effectively work with
the administration," he said.
One of the projects Carter has begun working on
is a student book exchange, through which students'
can sell used books directly to each other. Carter
said he will finish the exchange if elected president
"That's something that would save every student
on campus hundreds of dollars right off the bat," he
The book exchange and all of the Blue Party's other ideas
- which include delaying spring break, installing wireless
Ethernet throughout the entire campus and expanding
Entree Plus - are equally important, Simpson said, because
if he and Carter are elected, MSA will complete all of these
projects next year.
Political resolutions or Campus Projects
Carter: The party is focused on ideas that will directly
affect the lives of students.
Simpson: MSA resolutions that voice opinions on issues
that MSA cannot influence should also f
include a tangible benefit for University 'A
"Putting on a symposium for
students to learn more about an
issue, or putting on a symposium
for students to learn about their
rights, is something concrete for
the students and still gets MSA's Carter
Carter: When affirmative action
debates surface next year, MSA should 0
discuss the issue if students want it to.
The Effectiveness of MSA
Carter: Two years ago no one cared
about what MSA did, but this past year
MSA has begun to work with the
administration and trmove ira pli:-SlIpSon
S" I think right now, students are startngsgings
ting done for them."
Simpson: Students only remember what MSA has d
within the past four years. Before this year, MSA's pri
ty was voicing political resolutions, but now that MSA
committed to campus projects, students are beginning
see that student government can make changes at the I
Why they feel you should vote for them
Carter: "Vote Carter/Simpson if you want to
student government actively working to improve y
lives. If you want us to remain focused to import
things on campus like we have for the past ye
making a difference in what you're doing in ye
everyday life, then vote Blue."
Simpson: "You vote for the Blue Party becau
you're going to get wireless Ethernet, because you
going to get a student book exchange, and beca
your spring break is going to be moved back a we
We know how to get these things done... they're go
to get done."
STUDENTS FIRST PARTY
Sarah Boot and Dana Glassel
Having already organized a wide variety of stu-
dents into the new Students First Party, presi-
dential candidate Sarah Boot and vice-
presidential candidate Dana Glassel said they have
the experience to unite MSA.
"I've been able to take that leadership role, espe-
cially in forming this new party," Glassel said.
Through her work as Communications Committee
chair, Boot said she has gained experience organiz-
ing and prioritizing projects.
If elected, Boot said she hopes to reach out to stu-
dents who feel disenfranchised or apathetic toward
Because many of the candidates of Students First
are leaders in various student organizations around
campus and share the perspective of constituents,
they will hopefully give people a reason to care
about MSA, she said.
To ensure contact between representatives and stu-
dents, Boot said she will develop an MSA outreach
"What I want is for representatives to be assigned
four student groups, and for that semester they bring
the issues of the assembly to them," she said.
Glassel said she plans to expand Entr6e Plus to
South University and South State streets, and to the
Michigan Union bookstore.
Boot added she would like to implement a bus
route from campus to Metro Detroit and purchase
more equipment and TVs for University recreational
opinions important, and because ,
Students First candidates are lead-
ers from a wide variety of back-
grounds and student groups, they
can bring a student perspective to
Also, to ensure MSA functions
more smoothly, committees must
save time at meetings by printing Boot
Boot: "I think affirmative
action is pertinent to this campus
especially ... regardless of the
stance you have on this issue, it's
pertinent to our campus right
Glassel: MSA should have no
set plan for dealing with affirma-
"The biggest thing is listening
to all the students."
Political Resolutions or Campus Projects
Boot: While the main focus should be on student
projects, MSA should vote on political issues impor-
tant to the students as well.
Although these resolutions should be handled on
an issue-by-issue basis, in general they should do