CSG challengers considered running on the same ticket

BY GIACOMO BOLOGNA
Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 18, 2012

Central Student Government presidential candidates Kevin Mersol-Barg and Shreya Singh considered running on the same ticket before announcing their respective candidacies, according to a source affiliated with CSG.

Singh, the current CSG treasurer and a Business junior, is running on the newly formed youMICH ticket, and Mersol-Barg, a Public Policy junior and an LSA assembly representative, is running with OurMichigan, also a recently created party. Singh and Mersol-Barg were among the five candidates that competed for MForward’s nomination at the party's Feb. 3 nominating convention.

MForward chose LSA junior Aditya Sathi, vice speaker of the CSG assembly, as its candidate for the CSG presidency.

“They talked about running together, but they both wanted to be president,” the source said. “It didn’t work out.”

Mersol-Barg acknowledged that he and Singh met in December, but said they had different plans for CSG.

“She was very focused on running for president," Mersol-Barg said. "We have very different visions.”

Singh also acknowledged that she met with Mersol-Barg and agreed that her goals differ from his.

“I just believe we had differing views and that’s just what it basically comes down to,” Singh said. “I wanted to focus on specific student needs.”

Singh said some of her individual goals include making the financial aid process more streamlined and bringing more job fairs to campus, noting that Mersol-Barg didn’t value these goals, and others like them, as highly as she does.

According to LSA assembly representative Omar Hashwi, he was approached twice by Singh about joining her campaign as the vice presidential candidate, adding that his work on several projects with CSG — including the Saturday night dining initiative, increasing Wi-Fi speeds in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library and adding bus service to Oxford on the weekends — make him an attractive running mate.

Michigan Student Assembly records indicate that Hashwi received more votes than any other student running for an LSA assembly representative seat in the March 2011 elections.

“That in itself proves that I’m able to get votes on campus,” Hashwi said.

Singh would not offer comment on whether or not she had been in political talks with Hashwi.

According to the source, about three or four days after the MForward convention, Singh offered Hashwi a CSG executive board position in return for supporting her presidential campaign, but he turned it down.

The source said Hashwi was approached because of the name recognition he has across the University.

“Shreya knows that Omar is well-known on campus and has proven to be a powerful vote getter,” the source said. “She is also aware of his many accomplishments at the University and (that) is why she wanted him to be her Vice President.”

According to the source, six or seven people knew about Singh’s campaign before it was publicly announced, including a few MForward members and Mersol-Barg. About 10 or 15 people knew about Mersol-Barg’s campaign prior to his official announcement. Hashwi confirmed these estimates to be correct.

The source added that Singh did not immediately announce her campaign for competitive reasons.

“In politics, people usually kind of wait ‘til the last minute and kind of surprise people because they don’t want (their opponents) to get a head start on them,” the source said.