Monday, July 12, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
student to try
for regents bid
Boehme looks to bring
student voice to
Board of Regents
By SUZANNE JACOBS
While most incoming freshmen
wait for classes to begin before get-
ting involved on campus, Simon
Boehme from Kalamazoo Central
High School is looking to break the
mold. Boehme, who has yet to reg-
ister for his first class, has already
begun campaigning this summer to
get elected to the University's Board
Boehme said being elected this
November would allow him to serve
on the board for his entire four-year
undergraduate career rather than
just two if he waited to campaign for
the next election as a junior.
To get his name on the ballot,
Boehme said he and his team are try-
ing to get the required 30,000 signa-
tures through campaigning and his
website - simonboehme.com - by
the July 15 deadline. With only about
1,000 signatures acquired as of last
Thursday, Boehme admitted that
they probably won't meet their goal.
According to Boehme, he and
his campaign team tried to contact
members of the Michigan Student
Assembly for support but never got a
"There's no real Ann Arbor sup-
port, which I wish there was," he
Even if he doesn't get on the board
this November, Boehme said he is
optimistic that he is at least making
"I'm really excited to go to the
University of Michigan, and I have
a lot to learn and I'm ready to learn
and be involved and help make a dif-
ference and help to get a student on
the Board of Regents, even if it isn't
me," he said.
Boehme said the inspiration for
this campaign came when, as the
salutatorian for his senior class in
high school, he had the honor of giv-
ing his graduation speech in front of
President Barack Obam.a - the com-
mencement speaker for KCHS this
In February, President Obama
challenged high school students
across the country to prove why their
high schools represent "the best that
our education system has to offer"
and agreed to deliver the commence-
ment address at the winning school.
Boehme said the KCHS principal
Von Washington Jr. pulled him out of
class one day to discuss the Race to
the Top High School Commencement
Challenge, askinghim if he wanted to
lead the project.
"I don't tell my principal 'no',"
Boehme said with a laugh.
The campaign began with the
submission of many essays, Boehme
said, and it ended with the making
of a video called "We are the Giants"
that the school sent off to the White
House, earning them the win.
Boehme said he and his classmates
received an overwhelming amount
of media attention for winning the
Commencement Challenge, adding
that he had interviewed with the
Associated Press, local news stations
and the Epoch Times in China. MTV
cameras, he said, also followed him
around school for a day.
"I was there from the beginning,"
he said, "and it was just something
you will never forget."
When he found out that KCHS
had won the competition and that
President Obama would be speak-
ing at their graduation, Boehme
said he decided to use his speech as
an opportunity to tell the president
about an idea he had to better con-
nect the government with the youth
The idea, Boehme said, was for
President Obama to create an all-
youth council that would give young
Americans a much-needed voice in
Washington. Boehme added that
it was the same idea of connecting
young Americans to governing lead-
ers that led him to consider cam-
paigning to become a University
"If I want to be a leader, then I
have to lead the way and I have to do
this," he said.
Boehme said he decided to lead a
campaign to "bridge the gap between
the Board of Regents and the stu-
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COURTESY OF SIMON BOEHME
Simon Boehme delivers a graduation speech before President Barack Obama at Kalamazoo
Central High School. Boehme is campaigning for the University's Board of Regents election.
dents" at the University, noting that
having someone who is always on
campus and immersed in student
life involved in the decision-making
process would be "something really
"I find it absolutely ridiculous that
with so many bright people around
Ann Arbor, there's no (student) on
the Board of Regents," he said.
Boehme pointed to the student on
the University of California at Berke-
ley's Board of Regents, highlighting
the student reaction to the tuition
hikes in California as an example of
why it's important for students to
have a voice on the board.
As someone who is technically
not yet a University student, Boehme
said he has encountered resistance
from some people who believe he is
too young to be on the board.
"People have actually not signed
the petition because of that exact
reason," he said. "I don't have all the
experience that an upperclassman
does, but I have the advantage of
being the student voice."
Boehme, who said he plans to
study political science and possi-
bly business, added that he wants to
eventually pursue a career in politics.
"I don't want to be a career politi-
cian or a crooked politician," he said.
"As cliche as it may sound, I just want
to help people."
Coming this week to
Regents meeting: Look
for Thursday's coverage of
the Board of Regents' last
meeting of the summer.
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Check in online for doily updates
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Managing Mutim..eia io
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