Ahead of the Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 elections, the LSA Student government hosted a hybrid forum Saturday evening in the Michigan Union for candidates to discuss their platform for running. Out of the 26 students running for 15 seats on student government, 14 of the candidates were present at this forum.
Candidates presented their platform, answered one Diversity, Equity and Inclusion question that pertained to how the candidate would represent the diverse population of students and answered two questions from members of the audience.
The candidates discussed issues pertaining to the University’s handling of sexual assault cases. Survivors of former athletic doctor Robert Anderson, who currently has more than 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse against him from more than 1,000 individuals, have been camping outside of University President Mark Schlissel’s house since Oct. 8. The protesters plan to stay outside of Schlissel’s house until the administration agrees to a conversation with them about the University’s role in perpetuating misconduct of sexual assault cases on campus.
LSA freshman Christina Thieu, who is running for representative, said she believes the Division of Public Safety and Security needs to establish a better connection with students so they can be more approachable to report incidents of sexual assault.
“If DPSS made more of an effort to connect with students in not only their residential halls, but just on the streets, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, (students) would feel less like they’re out to breathalyze us and more like they’re just looking out for our safety,” Thieu said. “I feel like I’ve been reached out to more by DPSS about protecting my bike, rather than myself, when going out, and although lock it or lose it is a really great motto, I feel like maybe we should use those resources more for student safety.”
LSA sophomore Noah Gadola, who is also running for representative, touched upon the availability of mental health resources, another dominating issue of many of the candidates’ platforms. He discussed the need to augment the availability and awareness of mental health resources to students.
“A lot of people have been isolated and lost loved ones, and a lot of our students still don’t know all of the resources on campus,” Gadola said. “The campus offers a lot of resources people don’t know how to access, (such as) CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services), and even when they access CAPS, they find it very difficult to use … As an elected member, I want to work with CAPS to try to streamline the way that the website is focused and to have an abundance of programs about promoting mental health awareness for students.”
Candidates also expressed their concern over the low voter turnouts that have been seen in past LSA SG elections. LSA junior Claudia McLean, a candidate for representative, has been a member of LSA SG since her freshman year and is currently the appointment subcommittee chair. She discussed low voter turnout as a major part of her platform and explained how she would like to go about solving this problem.
“I want to have booths with incentives in multiple campus buildings during election days, flyers banners and other paper advertisements, as well as collaborations with the University-official Instagram accounts, as well as sending information early on across campus,” McLean said.
To vote in the upcoming elections, students can visit vote.umich.edu.
Daily News Contributor Sophia Filipof can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.