By Amrutha Sivakumar, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 25, 2012
LSA students who have frustrations with Course Guide and confusion over Medical Amnesty will have the opportunity to voice them beginning on Tuesday with the start of the LSA-SG election.
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There are 10 open positions on the LSA-SG executive board, which will hold elections on Nov. 27 and 28. All LSA students are eligible to vote, and can choose among 16 candidates.
LSA-SG Election Director Melissa Burns, an LSA senior and LSA-SG vice-president, said the elections are focused on receiving a broad range of ideas from a spectrum of new members. She added that only one representative is seeking re-election, though many of the candidates have already served appointed positions.
“This is an extremely good thing, to be able to get fresh ideas and fresh voices,” Burns said.
LSA-SG is working on increasing awareness regarding its policies and creating improved platforms for student discussion, including town hall meetings for students to voice their ideas. Building a Better Michigan — a student group partially comprised of members of LSA-SG dedicated to improving campus facilities — is holding the first such gathering on Dec. 6.
Burns added that future town halls would deal with campus policies such as medical amnesty — which grants students under 21 the ability to seek medical assistance for themselves or an intoxicated friend without receiving a minor in possession charge — and the University's sexual misconduct policy. A draft of revised protocols was released in October, and follows requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education requiring that colleges instigate investigations of reported acts of sexual misconduct, as well as lower their burden of proof.
The platforms of LSA-SG candidates indicate that some of the issues important to future representatives include increasing the quota of printing pages for LSA students and making more classes from other University colleges available to LSA students.
The election ballot also asks three questions of voters, which include whether or not ROTC students should be allowed to register early, whether the LSA Course Guide should allow students to search for classes scheduled during a particular time slot. It'll also ask students if they’re aware of the state of Michigan’s adaptation of the Medical Amnesty Act.
Burns said LSA-SG will use the responses of students to fuel future project development.
“A lot of times administrators don’t respond to student initiatives alone, and they want to see the data behind it,” Burns said. “We hope to get a lot of student response.”
LSA sophomore Kendall Johnson, the candidate running for re-election, came up with the idea last year to hold student debates for prospective candidates. She said despite low attendance, this year’s debate was “a great opportunity for constituents to let students know what they are passionate about and what they are running for.”
Johnson also emphasized the importance of increasing student involvement during elections, including getting students to LSA-SG events in order to increase voter turnout.
“I just hope that we can continue to be all that we can be and continue to represent the students and make changes to them that are beneficial,” Johnson said. “I hope that (LSA) SG continues to keep its name out there to make collaborations and grow as an organization.”
—Follow Amrutha on Twitter at @xamrutha.