By Giacomo Bologna, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 10, 2013
LSA junior Chris Osborn, Central Student Government treasurer, became the first candidate to throw a hat in the ring for the upcoming CSG presidential race when he launched a new political party, forUM, on Sunday.
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youMICH offered Osborn its presidential nomination on Monday, but Osborn declined the offer on Friday.
The election dates, which have yet to be approved by the University Council, are tentatively set for March 27 and 28. Osborn is the only confirmed presidential candidate for the race because youMICH has yet to nominate a presidential candidate and LSA junior Omar Hashwi, the current CSG vice president, declined to comment on his plans for March.
In addition to a presidential slate, forUM will also be running candidates for representative positions. Osborn said forUM will be looking both inside and outside of the walls of the CSG chambers for possible candidates.
“We definitely want to recruit internal talent, but we also recognize that this is an opportunity,” Osborn said. “Some students just don’t know about it, and we want to do our best that they do know about and that they can enact change through the medium of Central Student Government.”
LSA junior Hayley Sakwa, Osborn’s running mate, has no CSG experience. Osborn said he met her only last weekend through a mutual friend, but was immediately struck by how well they got along. He also lauded her work with the Jewish Detroit Initiative, which she co-founded.
A veteran of student government at the University, Osborn was an assembly representative before being becoming treasurer in the administration of current CSG president Manish Parikh. Osborn said he had been approached in January about the possibility of running for president. Public Policy senior Alexander Lane, the forUM’s communications director, and Osborn came up with the name for the political party in the middle of January.
Still, it wasn’t until this week that Osborn made the decision not to run with youMICH.
youMICH nearly won the presidential election last year, handily won a plurality of seats in the assembly and is the only active party from last year’s election. Osborn noted that running with youMICH would have been an easier path to victory than trying to run an entire party in opposition, but he said ideological differences outweighed increased political security.
In particular, Osborn said forUM will hold open meetings every week as well as closed meetings for its executive board.
“We want to make it as open and transparent as possible, and that was something I didn’t necessarily see with youMICH either,” he said.
Osborn added that youMICH can be “somewhat exclusive,” which he didn’t necessarily support.
“If you weren’t in the party, it was kind of (like), ‘Okay, too bad,’” he said. “It was behind closed doors.”
One platform idea from forUM is to update Mcards to include information like allergies, blood type and other medical information and to make those cards compatible with the University Health System. Osborn said it could eliminate paperwork for students.
“So that when you walk into UHS it’s more of like a check-in system,” Osborn said. “It’s more efficient; it’s more convenient for students too. There’s no reason that students should have to go and fill out the same paperwork every single time they want to go to UHS.”
Lane added that if it’s possible for your Mcard to act as an ATM card for TCF bank, it should have other purposes too.
Another platform point is making healthy food more available around campus. Lane and Osborn pointed to the difficulty students have finding fresh food at available prices if they don’t have cars.
“We like our ideas; we think our ideas are pretty good, but they’re just our ideas,” Osborn said.