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March 21, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 21, 2006


be £idttgan tailg


Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.
Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Kevin Bunkley, Gabrielle DAngelo,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Mark Kuehn,
Frank Manley, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Katherine Seid, Ben Taylor, Jessica Teng,
Rachel Wagner.

For MSA, vote MPP
Fox and Nowinski have new ideas MSA needs

S4M best choice for LSA-SG
Experience will mean results for LSA students


For the last few elections, the Students 4 Mich-
igan Party and its predecessor Students First
have dominated Michigan Student Assembly
elections. But this year, the newly formed Michigan
Progressive Party has risen to challenge to the S4M
establishment. Leading the MPP ticket are presi-
dential candidate and S4M defector Rese Fox and
vice presidential candidate Walter Nowinski, an
MSA newcomer.
While Fox clearly has the experience necessary
to run the assembly, Nowinski has yet to prove him-
self. But Nowinski's inexperience is not necessarily
a handicap; inexperience need not imply ignorance,
and the assembly could use an infusion of new
blood. Importantly, Nowinski has a firm grasp on
pertinent MSA issues and complements Fox's expe-
rience with a refreshing outsider perspective.
MPP's platform is impressive, encompassing many
facets of student life. From outlining specifically
how to improve student parking, to taking a stance
against MCRI, MPP has taken an issue-oriented
approach. Unlike S4M, which presents a grab-bag
of ideas and candidates, MPP's candidates present
a unified front. Furthermore, even without the bully
pulpit of the MSA presidency, MPP has already
made impressive strides on issues like off-campus
housing, notably starting the group Students Pro-
moting Active Neighborhoods. Voting for the MPP
executives will help deliver specific results instead of
vague promises to improve student life.
The political climate created by this year's intense
campaign will create a unique challenge for which-
ever candidates end up winning the top jobs. Inevi-
tably, S4M and MPP will both hold a sizable number

of seats. The turbulent relation-
ship between the parties, sadly,
could handicap either MPP or
S4M executives aiming to run4
MSA as a competent governing
body. In the end, we feel that
Fox and Nowinski will bring
the best balance of energy,
ideas and criticism. By cam-
paigning on specific promises,
they have given themselves Fox
concrete goals that students will
be able to hold them to. Rather
than letting each representative
fight to control the assembly's
agenda, Fox and Nowinski will
be able to lead a divided assem-
bly toward actual results.
MPP's presence on the bal-
lot has made this year's MSAA
elections the most interesting
in recent memory. MPP repre-
sents the first party in years with Nowinski
a coherent ideology and set of core beliefs that stands
a chance at winning the presidential election. For too
long, MSA has drifted without direction under S4M.
Fox and Nowinski are highly motivated and well-
versed candidates who are honest about their goals
and politics. Time will tell whether the MPP model
builds a better record than its S4M rival; a year from
now, MPP may have imploded. But today, we're will-
ing to take a chance. We strongly endorse RESE
dent and vice president.

Presidential candidate Joanna Slott and her run-
ning mate, Justin Benson, offer the best choice
for this term's LSA Student Government elec-
tion. Their combined experience in student govern-
ment and campus affairs, as well as their extensive
knowledge of issues affecting the LSA student body,
make them strong candidates to follow the success-
ful tenure of current LSA-SG President Andrew
Yahkind and Vice President Paige Butler.
Unlike the Michigan Student Assembly, where
the S4M establishment is reeling under accusations
of incompetence, the S4M leadership in LSA-SG
has scored notable achievements in the past year.
Consequently, we believe steady leadership by
experienced candidates - not a total overhaul - is
the best course for LSA-SG.
Slott and Benson present the necessary pack-
age. Their academic agenda contains plans to
improve the University's study-abroad program,
increase student access to classes and narrow
the brackets used to determine student registra-
tion appointments. They also plan to keep pres-
sure on professors to release textbook lists early.
We see this platform as realistic: For the most
part, it addresses issues relevant to LSA students
without making undeliverable promises.
Yet Slott and Benson may want to reconsider
certain elements of their agenda. With such a
broad list of plans for their term, they risk piling
too much on their plate. They must make sure
they are acting responsibly - and within their
bounds. While reform of the race and ethnicity
requirement may be long overdue, simply broad-
ening it to include any sort of "differences," as

Benson suggested, may only
weaken the requirement.
More importantly, while
it is sometimes tempting to
blur the line between LSA
issues and broader Univer-
sity issues, it is outside the
scope of LSA-SG to advo-
cate for the University-wide
student body. In past years,
LSA-SG attempted to place Slott
median course grades on
student transcripts. Because
the University issues stan-
dard transcripts across all
its colleges and LSA-SG
only represents one segment
of students, the administra-
tion was unwilling to follow
through. Slott and Benson
would be wise to remember
that MSA, not LSA-SG, is
the correct vehicle for such Benson
initiatives - including their
plan to provide students with transportation to
away games.
Ultimately, this S4M pair brings a familiarity
with LSA-SG and a knowledge of the issues that
make it the best duo in the field. S4M's broad
umbrella strategy may be ineffective at MSA,
but it has been remarkably successful in LSA-
SG. In light of these facts, we endorse JOANNA
president and vice president.


Conservative populists
SCP wouldn't be able to deliver on Coke pledge

Clutching Jesse's coattails
S4M lacks clear goals, promises more of the same

The tale of the Student Conservative Party
is, in a word, tragic. Led by presiden-
tial candidate Ryan Fantuzzi and run-
ning mate Tommi Turner, the SCP has focused
on rhetorical tricks and clever campaigning
instead of providing a credible ideological
alterative to the Michigan Progressive Party.
The party hasn't fully thought out any of its
three main planks. Rather, it seems they've taken
conservative talking points and half-heartedly
modified them to fit a liberal campus atmo-
sphere. The promise to cut MSA discretionary
spending to free up money for student groups
appears noble. But when pressed on the issue,
vice presidential candidate Turner couldn't
come up with specific examples of waste other
than last year's Ludacris concert. Amusingly,
the remaining promises - to cut out "political
BS" and bring back Coke to restore "student
choice" - are mutually exclusive.
SCP has reached many students using the
tried-and-true tactic of providing free good-
ies. For the last few days, SCP candidates have
happily handed out free Coke on the Diag.
Sadly, this gimmick does little more than
exploit students' ignorance on the Coke issue
and disguise the biggest problem with SCP's
agenda: It is impossible for MSA to return
Coke to campus.
At most, MSA can pass resolutions encour-

aging administrators and
the University Board of
Regents to take action on
the Coke issue. To actual-a
ly return Coke to campus,
MSA would need to con-
vince the administration
to scrap, or at least over-
haul, the Vendor Code of
Conduct - a political and
polarizing move that would Fantuzzi
redefine this institution's
values. The irony is rich: y
The SCP honestly prom-
ises to return Coke while '
simultaneously stamping
out irrelevant MSA resolu-
tions and political grand-
The SCP could have been
a legitimate force in this
election. In Turner, SCP
has a charismatic, well-spo- Turner
ken and intelligent candidate. But half-baked
ideas do not make a party. Though the party
has wasted much of its potential, the grander
tragedy would be if the Coke strategy works
and elevates SCP to power. SCP simply does
not have the ideas to make MSA an effective
body for students.

it's no question that Students 4 Michigan
presidential candidate Nicole Stallings and
her running mate Justin Paul have the experi-
ence and confidence to run the Michigan Student
Assembly. As the current MSA vice president and
chief of staff respectively, Stallings and Paul have
been prominent figures in student politics and
are knowledgeable on the concerns of the student
body and many other campus affairs.
But their strength - a familiarity with MSA
politics that surpasses the other tickets - may also
be their weakness, leaving them complacent with
the status quo. MPP has, almost overnight, created
a strong party that promises to continue beyond
elections.. In contrast, S4M is a party machine that
exists only to get candidates elected. Stallings and
Paul advocate the S4M method as an assurance
that representatives vote their own minds.
In practice, this model falls short. Because S4M
effectively dissolves after elections, it is difficult
to hold the dominant party accountable. With low
representative attendance at meetings and the short-
comings of last year's Ludacris concert, it seems that
S4M has failed to foster the communication MSA
needed to run an effective student government.
Experience isn't everything, and what is most
concerning about Stallings and Paul is their com-
placency with S4M's past year. Compared with
MPP's clear platform, Stallings and Paul are run-
ning on a long list of goals, many of which carry

over from last year. A vote
for them represents continu-
ity with the current state of .2
MSA. Although MSA has had
its accomplishments this year
- particularly in establishing
a strong relationship with City ', .<
Council and pushing through
the lease-dates ordinance -
the fact remains that MSA has Stallings
seen a lack of focus and declin-
ing interest under umbrella
parties such as Students 4
Michigan and the former Stu-
dents First party. MSA can
only reach its potential with
change and new ideas.
Despite S4M's claims that
what is important is action,
not ideology, there is a place
for ideology in MSA - not
simply to stir partisan debate, Paul
but to drive discussions over what constitutes
good policy. Any decision MSA makes ultimately
reflects ideals of what students' interests are and
how student government can further those inter-
ests. S4M lacks the dedication to specific aims,
commitment to common goals and, yes, the ide-
ological foundation needed for effective student


Stuck on voter fraud
DAAP candidates only focus on MCRI

Enthusiasm isn't enough
MPP candidates for LSA-SG have too much to learn

In a crowded field that includes two new
parties, the venerable Defend Affirma-
tive Action Party is an important part of
the Michigan Student Assembly election.
Presidential nominee Monica Smith and vice-
presidential nominee Kate Stenvig are dedi-
cated advocates of affirmative action at the
University. Their presence puts the feet of the
Michigan Progressive Party and Students 4
Michigan to the fire, ensuring that the larger
parties devote attention to diversity and affir-
mative action.

work in the Assembly and
previous presidential cam-
paigns, Smith's familiarity
with the assembly is less
The party's association
with BAMN is also trou-
bling. Though DAAP has
no official ties to BAMN,
Smith and Stenvig are two
of the radical group's most
active members. BAMN's tac-

Presidential and vice-presidential candi-
dates Joe Golden and Daniel Ray bring
with them an enthusiasm for improving
LSA Student Government and the backing of
the Michigan Progressive Party.
But for all of the energy they have, they lack
experience. It is difficult to take seriously
their complaints about S4M's record this year
when neither has been involved with LSA-SG.
Golden complained that during one meeting,
representatives were too social and crammed
actual business into the last few minutes of the

ing the website may help
LSA-SG to be more rel-
evant to students, a lack of
Web savvy hardly indicates
a need to put trust in inex-
perienced leadership.
LSA-SG officials need to
work with figures within the
College's administration to
accomplish most of their goals.
Far from having built rela- Go
tionships with administrators,




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