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March 26, 2010 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-03-26

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, March 26, 2010 - 5

From Page 1
procedures needed to be revised.
Outgoing MSA President
Abhishek Mahanti co-authored
a proposal to place student can-
didates wanting to serve on
the committee on ballots in the
campus-wide elections that take
place in March and November.
In a Dec. 9, 2009 Daily article,
Mahanti said the majority of the
assembly was in support of the
"It's nice that the entire assem-
bly got behind (the issue) to fig-
ure out what can be done to go
forward," Mahanti told the Daily
at the time. "It was a really good
collaborative effort."
Howe and Vutukuru said
before the election results were
published that they were in favor
of the change in election proce-
"I really believe in the demo-
cratic process and making that
prevalent in respect to student
leadership," Howe said. "I think
when you have a group in power
appointing more and more rep-
resentation it doesn't lead to true
representation and focus on stu-
She added that elected repre-
sentatives are more productive
and attentive to addressing stu-
dents' concerns than appointed
"When you have a group of stu-
dents that directly are asking you
to represent, them and to work
for them, you are much more
accountable to those who elected
you," she said.
In an e-mail interview, Vutu-
kuru expressed a similar opinion
and wrote that he supported the
change to an electoral process.
"I think it's beneficial that the
students understand who exact-
ly is representing them when
it comes to the DPS Oversight
Committee," Vutukuru wrote.
"It allows for more accountabil-
ity and transparency within the
Vutukuru wrote that he
wants to serve on the commit-
tee to improve the relationship
between students and the cam-
pus police.
"Right now I feel as if there's
a mindset that students don't
really appreciate DPS," Vutukuru
wrote. "I feel that when a student
sees a DPS officer they feel like

'OK, here comes another one.' I
want students to feel some admi-
ration for DPS officers, and at the
same time I want DPS officers to
understand students and their
Howe said she thinks there is
a lack of communication between
DPS and students.
To solve this problem, she said
she wants to hold open forums
where students can talk about
their safety concerns. She also
plans to work with students in
University organizations like
SAPAC and the Spectrum Center.
"I would like to talk to them
a lot about hate crimes they've
heard of and experienced and
try to individualize the approach
that DPS takes towards students
to make it a more efficient and
personal service here," she said.
In an interview on Wednesday,
Hicks said he was not running for
the position and said he was not
aware that his name was still on
the ballot.
Though previously planning
to run, Hicks said he had a "hec-
tic schedule" because he interns
with Congressmen John Dingell
(D-Mich.) 40 hours each week
and attends class.
Hicks said he thought MSA
representatives knew he was not
planning to run anymore.
When Michael Benson, chair
of the MSA Rules and Elections
Committee, was asked about
the matter, Benson said he was
"confused" and didn't know that
Hicks wanted to retract his can-
"His name is on the ballot,"
Benson said. "As far as I'm aware,
we never received notice from
him saying he wanted to be taken
In an interview Thursday
night, MSA Election Chair Sagar
Despande said that Hicks offi-
cially withdrew at 9:51 a.m.
Wednesday morning.
Though Hicks is not running,
students could still vote for him
on the ballot. Despande said
Hicks would not take office if he
is elected.
But on Wednesday Hicks said
he would probably accept the
position if elected.
However, he admitted that he
did not know what his responsi-
bilities on the committee would
be or the basic function of the
"As far of the details, I'm not
quite sure," he said.

LSA junior Chris Armstrong (center) and Business School junior Jason Raymond (right) celebrate their elections as the next president and vice president of MSA.

From Page 1
compromised as many as 1,000
student ballots, Michael Benson,
chair of MSA's Rules and Elections
Committee, said that the election
ran "relatively smoothly."
Benson said he was happy with
the voter turnout, though he said the
percentage could have been higher.
Student participation in MSA
elections has increased every year
since 2007. In the winter 2008
election, 6.4 percent of the stu-
dent body voted and that number
doubled for the elections in winter
2009 - with 4,497 votes cast.
This year, the tight race between
MForward and the Michigan
Vision Party yielded an even high-
er voter turnout as 5,488 students
cast a ballot.
In the phone interview, Arm-

strong said that he didn't expect
that he and Raymond would win
the majority of the student vote.
"Part of me felt like we were
doing very well, but I never
expected to win," Armstrong said.
"I didn't know how to react until I
actually heard my name."
Armstrong and Raymond will
serve as the new MSA president
and vice president for the remain-
der of the school year and until
March 2011.
Armstrong and Raymond won
by 1,035 votes, though there were
15 grievances filed against MFor-
ward, which resulted in the party
receiving a demerit for one of the
grievances - an unauthorized
campaign sticker was placed above
a urinal in Angell Hall.
Benson said that the number of
grievances filed would make it pos-
sible, yet highly unlikely to threat-
en the newly elected president and

vice president positions. He added
that less than five grievances were
filed in last year's winter elections.
Armstrong and Raymond formed
MForward - a party focused
on direct advocacy and student
involvement - during this year's
election cycle because they believed
some members of MSA didn't think
MSA was solving enough issues or
making University students unite
inside and outside the assembly.
The MForward party platform
includes lobbying for Saturday
night dining in the residence halls,
a gender-neutral housing option
for students and the lobbying for
the passage of the Good Samaritan
Law - a law intended to safeguard
against an intoxicated student
getting a Minor in Possession for
calling an ambulance for another
intoxicated student.
The Michigan Vision Party's
platform promoted tangibility -

or small events that improve stu-
dents' experience at the University.
The Students 4 Progressive Gov-
ernance new student constitution
also passed last night with 2,356
votes in favor of the measure. Since
the document was passed, the
structure of MSA will be revised
accordingly in the coming weeks.
Current MSA Vice President
Michael Rorro, chair of S4PG, told
the Daily earlier this month that
the new constitution will allow
students to have "greater access"
to how their $7.19 student govern-
ment fee is being spent.
The new structure includes the
creation of the University Council
- a body of MSA representatives
who can call for a vote on a drafted
resolution for their constituents.
The resolutions that are approved
by the University Council will
appear before MSA during the
assembly's weekly meetings.


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