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March 23, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-03-23

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4A - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

C 1 1614 li
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


p, ALIPT B L./c7





Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Vote Watson Campbell
Support MForward candidates in MSA election
tudent engagement in the Michigan Student Assembly has
been lacking in recent years. There seems to be a debilitating
disconnection between MSA representatives and their student
constituents. But MSA presidential and vice presidential candidates
DeAndree Watson and Brendan Campbell, both LSA juniors from the
MForward Party, are hoping to combat this disinterest among stu-
dents and have plans to do so. Watson's extensive experience serving
on MSA, personal goals to improve the University's student govern-
ment, selection of Campbell as vice president and MForward's strong
party platform all bring a fresh perspective to the table - making the
MForward ticket the strongest in this year's MSA election.

Go vote, go blue

have the task of convincing you
to vote in the student govern-
ment elections taking place

today and tomor-
Why should
you vote? After
all, won't stu-
dent government
continue on just
the same with-
out your input?
Won't students
running for
office continue


One of the most encouraging qualities about
Watson is his willingness to acknowledge that
student perceptions of MSA are less than favor-
able. He told The Michigan Daily that "a lot of
students see MSA as a bank (and) don't really
see the advocacy of it." Many of his goals aim
to reverse the trend of student apathy. Specifi-
cally, Watson plans to make MSA meetings and
its budget more transparent to University stu-
dents. His plan to publish the approved budget
and weekly presidential addresses on the MSA
website will certainly help to make MSA more
accessible to students.
Having institutional knowledge of the
way MSA functions is crucial to success as
president, and Watson currently serves as the
speaker in the three-branch MSA system. He
is aware of the pitfalls and advantages of this
newly formulated system and will be the best
candidate to ensure MSA operates efficiently.
Watson's plans to improve the campus com-
munity is in line with student concerns, and he
has realistic plans for addressing these issues.
Some of his objectives include working to
implementthe open housing plan that students
originally formulated, combating bias inci-
dents on campus and working with the Univer-
sity's Board of Regents and state legislators to
fight tuition hikes.
Defend Affirmative Action Party candidates
Briana Hatcher, an LSA freshman running
for MSA president, and Lena Cintron, an LSA
sophomore running for MSA vice president,

have positive ideas like interacting with con-
stituents through mixers and social events
and creating a more unified campus. But their
lack of experience with student government is
concerning. Additionally, their platform is too
focused on advocating for particular issues,
instead of improving MSA and making sure it
operates efficiently for the entire student body.
It's difficult to blame students for their dis-
content with MSA. Many of their concerns are
valid and result from the lack of transparency
in the way MSA functions and uses student
funds. But if students don't take the few min-
utes to vote for MSA officials, they forfeit their
right to complain about the actions of these
While uncontested, LSA Student Gov-
ernment elections are just as important for
students. Junior Anne Laverty, running for
president, and junior Jeff Larkin, running for
vice president, feel that student access to their
student government is vital. They have palpable
plans to increase student involvement in LSA-
SG by adding a forum feature to the LSA-SG
website, holding college town hall meetings and
collaborating with organizations on campus.
For this year's election, The Michigan
Daily's editorial board endorses MForward's
CAMPBELL for MSA president and vice pres-
ident. We also endorse ANNE LAVERTY and
JEFF LARKIN for LSA-SG president and vice

advocating for
student rights, even without your
support? The answer to this ques-
tion is yes, but student voter turnout
has a huge impact on our ability to
advocate for policy reform around
campus. We often approach the
dean's office with new ideas, (typi-
cally recommendations which come
out of suggestions from students
e-mailing thissucks@umich.edu).
These recommendations have great-
er meaning and more impact when
we can show that a larger contin-
gency of the student body supports
them. With each additional student
who votes in our election, our argu-
ments and voice become stronger.
And at a University with an ever-
increasing volume of requests for
improvements in technology, facili-
ties and other resources, sometimes
the student voice can be pushed
aside. A higher turnout in elections
means a higher degree of student
control over the direction and mis-
sion of LSA and the University.
The people you vote for make a
difference in your experience at the
University. In the past, students who
won elections went on to help create
the international studies concentra-
tion, and others have developed the
way roommates are selected for those
entering the residence halls without
a roommate. Elections have chosen
people who organized art contests

and provided a voice for students to
advocate for decreasing the cost of
textbooks. Members of student orga-
nizations can thank elected students
for cutting internal University oper-
ating costs the past eight semesters
to provide more funding for lectures,
service projects and other events that
happen every day on campus.
Student government represen-
tatives actually have an impact on
what goes on at the University, and
when you cast your vote, you express
what you think student government
should work on through your selec-
tion of the people who representyou.
Each candidate has a platform that
represents what work he or she will
do over the coming year, and you
should elect those who will work
on things that are important to you.
This includestackling wireless issues
in the UGLi, maximizing printing
resources and addressing academic
policies that directly influence how
you learn at the University.
In my previous columns, I have
outlined a few of the new poli-
cies, programs and resources we
are advocating for on behalf of stu-
dents. Changes to the course guide,
improvements to exam scheduling
and increases to student organiza-
tion funding are only a sample of the
items we lobbied for in just the past
six months. I have received a lot of
feedback from people across campus
expressing agreement with our advo-
cacy efforts as well as disappoint-
ment with our work. This election
is an opportunity for you to indicate
concrete endorsement or criticism
about our actions and ensure we
work for you. We operate on behalf
of students and motivate administra-
tors to change their practicesto focus
on the things that are important to
students. Your representatives are
responsible for improving your LSA
experience. They just need your vote
to know what to work on and to pro-
vide strength to student voice.

Outside voting for student repre-
sentatives, you also have the ability
to weigh in on three ballot questions
relevant to your experience here at
the University. Each semester, we
take the data we acquire from sur-
veying students in our elections and
mold this information into new poli-
cies and ideas for LSA and the Uni-
versity. These ballot questions allow
you to clearly indicate your priorities
for student work on issues pertain-
ing to all aspects of student life and
requests that you dictate how we
advance the University from a stu-
dent perspective. We want honest
answers and strong data to demon-
strate to the LSA dean's office and
other entities what the student body
wants and how that wish list should
be prioritized.
Voter turnout has
a huge impact on
policy reform.
Please take the time to vote in the
student government elections today
and tomorrow by going online to
vote.umich.edu. It only takes a few
minutes for you to read a little about
what your fellow students are doing
on your behalf and endorse their
work. Supporting our efforts through
voting allows us to push harder for
these changes and make an impact
on the rules and resources you expe-
rience at the University. Your vote
indicates that student activism is
important at Michigan and provides
the support for that activism to work.
Go vote, go blue.
-Jeff Wojcik is the LSA-SG
Academic Relations Officer. He can
be reached at jawojcik@umich.edu.


Moving (M)forward

Aida Ali, Will Butler, Ellie Chessen, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Teddy Papes, Asa Smith, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner

When MForward began nearly a year ago,
the promise of ideas, action and community
truly resonated with me as a student leader,
as it did with all those who decided to run for
positions on the Michigan Student Assembly
on the MForward ticket. Although we all knew
it would be an uphill battle, we didn't let these
odds discourage us from setting in motion a new
approachto student governance. As a result, this
first year has not only yielded many improve-
ments to campus but, perhaps mostimportantly,
it has created anew tone for leadership and new
foundation off of which future representatives
can base their work inyears to come.
The mission of MForward includes an
emphasis on increasing the extent to which
studentorganizations can access MSA resourc-
es. By working with Student Parking and
Transportation Services, we were able to cre-
ate a $5,000 budget to fund groups that require
vehicles to carry out their service-based ini-
tiatives. We also launched the "Get Involved
Campaign," which started activities like Diag
Days dedicated to promoting our many won-
derful arts and service organizations and
eventslike Explorthto bring information about
these opportunities to North Campus.
To continue these efforts, current MFor-
ward representatives are meeting with Uni-
versity administrators to improve Festifall
by making it more environmentally friendly,
easier to navigate and more accessible for stu-
dents with disabilities. MForward represen-
tatives are partnering with the Office of New
Student Programs and Student Activities and
Leadership to institute a panel at orientation
which student leaders can share with incoming
students the importance of involvement. This
program will begin this June.
Another cornerstone of the MForward phi-
losophy is to improve and publicize our inter-
nal activities as means to hold representatives
more accountable to the studentbody. Our new
website, which we created without spending
any student tuition dollars, now contains infor-
mation aboutcvoting records, attendance, meet-
ing minutes, agendas and resolutions.
Furthermore, the new MSA Constitution,
initiated by the MForward leadership, is near-
ing the end of its transitional period. The con-

tents of this document will establish a better
system of checks and balances through the cre-
ation of different branches of government. One
of the new positions it defines, chief program-
ming officer, has already helped the University
produce several campus-wide events, and the
implementation of a University Council will
facilitate greater communication between dif-
ferentbodies of student governance.
In terms of advocacy, MForward has long
held the belief that student government should
both reflect and defend the needs of all those
who it represents, especially for communities
whose members constantly suffer the injus-
tices of certain University standards. We feel
that advocacy includes everything from intro-
ducing new areas of CAEN printing and work-
space on Central Campus to lobbying at our
nation's capitol among other in-state and Big
Ten university leaders for increased access to
and affordability of higher education.
Among the accomplishments of MSA under
MForward leadership in the past year, our
advances in implementing the open housing
policy ranks near the top of the list. Because
of our tireless work among a coalition of sup-
portive organizations, transgender and gender
non-conforming students now have the oppor-
tunity to room with another student regardless
of their gender. Although we still have a long
way to go, we have made great strides toward
our goal of establishing a completely compre-
hensive policy that will eliminate housing
discrimination on the basis of gender identity,
gender expression and sexual orientation.
These are just some of the many examples of
the direction in which MForward has moved
student governance. Not only will the mem-
bers of its ticket continue the incredible work
their predecessors have begun, but they will
also have a better space in which to introduce
new initiatives in the name of ideas, action and
community. Not once have I regretted my own
participation in this vision, and not for a sec-
ond do I doubt the integrity and philosophy of
those who hope to form the next generation of
the MForward leadership.
Allison Horky is an MForward representative.
She is a School of Social Work student.


Defend DAAP

LSA sophomore Lena Cintron and I are running to
become Michigan Student Assembly vice president and
president for three reasons. First, we believe that the
increased privatization of our University is distorting
and deforming the experience of students on this cam-
pus and that the toll of the privatization effort is far
greater than any of the short term benefits. The loss
of affirmative action as a public mandate has paved
the way for the unprecedented attack on public edu-
cation that we are now facing. Over the past decade,
the University has become increasingly reliant on pri-
vate funds, which is stifling honest research, social
criticism and academic freedom and creating a hostile
campus climate for minority students. Cuts to funding
for public universities, tuition hikes, and increasing
reliance on private donors, in particular for minority
scholarships, place us under more pressure to be edu-
cated. Public education is a fundamental democratic
right; we should have the resources and opportunities
to explore our many interests and talents and deter-
mine our own futures.
Second, we believe that only we as students can
rescue, restore and revive our University's traditions
of academic independence, integration, diversity and
accountability to the people of our state. We oppose
the recent statement by University President Mary Sue
Coleman that we're prepared to share in the sacrifice
for state budget cuts to education. We don't have to
accept the tuition hikes and budget cuts that fall on the
backs of students and employees, while corporations
are receiving tax cuts. Students are the most power-
ful force on this campus and should be determiningthe
character and direction of our University, but we lack
the leadership and organization needed for us to assert
our will and power. The Defend Affirmative Action
Party exists to provide that leadership.
Third, we want to make the University a more wel-
coming, more interesting, less lonely and less alien-
ating campus. We believe that our University can be
a place in which all students here feel supported and
respected and are able to think critically, accept new
challenges and grow as human beings. We believe that

the much touted diversity of our campus, which few of
us experience as a meaningful part of our lives, ought
to challenge our prejudices, expose us to new ideas and
cultures and deepen our understanding of our own
humanity and potential. For this to occur, our campus
would have to become far less segregated and strati-
DAAP is the longest standing and only consistently
progressive independent student political party at the
University. Nowmorethanever we need astudent party
prepared to take on the bullies, cynics and liars and
unite all the progressive forces on the campus against
our common enemies. We pledge to make MSA an inde-
pendent and strong advocate for student rights and for
the kind of university that can allow each and every one
of us to be ourselves and express and develop our spe-
cial talents and gifts. We pledge to defend and further
the University's longstanding commitment to diver-
sity and free speech by restoring the public character
of our institution. We pledge to be the voice of minor-
ity, immigrait, international, poor and working class,
inner city and rural and progressive students on cam-
pus. We pledge to women, LGBTQ, Muslim and other
students who face harassment, threats and discrimina-
tion, date rape and other forms of physical attack that
we will fight to improve our campus climate and condi-
tions so that this campus is really your home. We pledge
to immigrant students with and without papers that we
will fight for the DREAM Act and to make our Univer-
sity a sanctuary campus. We pledge to all the campus
unions and workers to raise your issues to MSA and to
educate students on the significance of your issues so
that greater unity between us all is possible.
If anyone can stop the runaway train of privatiza-
tion, restore and revitalize public education, it's us.
Other campuses are organizing. We here at the Uni-
versity can lead, as we have so many times before, a
powerful student movement for civil rights, public
education, internationalism and progress.
Briana Hatcher is the DAAP presidential
candidate. She is an LSA freshman.


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