In the first meeting of the Ninth Assembly, the University of Michigan Central Student Government elected 15 members to different positions on the new assembly. CSG President Ben Gerstein, LSA sophomore, and CSG Vice President Isabelle Blanchard, LSA junior, were officially sworn into their positions and gave their first executive communications of the semester.
The meeting began with Gerstein, Blanchard and new members of the Assembly taking the Oath of Office. In the March 27 to 28 CSG election, Gerstein and Blanchard won executive seats as president and vice president, respectively. Both Gerstein and Blanchard ran with the Engage Michigan Party, which also elected 31 individuals to CSG representative positions.
The Assembly then settled a tie between Education junior Cameron Keuning and Education junior Isra Elshafei for the School of Education representative, ultimately choosing Elshafei by a secret ballot vote. Both candidates had the opportunity to speak to the Assembly for two minutes about why they chose to run as a representative.
Keuning said he decided to run after discovering no one was running for the position.
“I want to do this because I want to serve the other (School of Education) students because, like myself, they wouldn’t have gotten represented in this body,” Keuning said. “I like to hold high the democratic values that Central Student Government also holds up (and) to represent my fellow students and to serve them, just as you do to your classmates.”
Elshafei, who was unable to attend the meeting, wrote in a statement to the Assembly she believes the School of Education is underrepresented on campus and would love the opportunity to represent the school through CSG.
“I am an Afro-Arab American who was born and raised in Ann Arbor to immigrant parents, so I was raised to be a Wolverine,” Elshafei wrote. “Truthfully, it was a little disheartening to see that there were not any candidates running for the position for the School’s assembly representative. The School of Education has been my window of opportunity to pursue my passions of making a difference in the education system.”
Following Elshafei’s election, Law student Victoria Allen gave a final report on the CSG election. In her presentation, Allen addressed concerns regarding Engineering sophomore Dylan Haugh-Ewald’s presidential candidacy, of which he previously told The Daily he was uninformed.
According to Allen, Haugh-Ewald turned in an election packet with multiple items filled out incorrectly, which were not initially caught by the Election Commission. She said she did not hear of any changes that needed to be made to the candidate list when she sent it out March 13.
Allen said Haugh-Ewald reached out to her March 21 regarding his name on the ballot. She changed his election status, but failed to respond to him to inform him of the change. Haugh-Ewald filled out a filler platform on the sample ballot, and Allen said he asked her if he could change it once he saw his name on the presidential ticket.
“(Haugh-Ewald) reached out to me about (the filler platform) on March 27, which was when the election ballot was live, and it would’ve been inappropriate to change it,” Allen said. “I note that in my report that it was an error on my end and I did not follow up with him, but at the same time he had four days to change his platform and review the sample ballot, so that’s human error on both sides.”
The Assembly then nominated Whit Froehlich, third-year medical student, for speaker of the Ninth Assembly. Assembly members also nominated LSA sophomore Ben Glass to serve as vice speaker.
For the next portion of the meeting, the Assembly nominated members to serve as chairs and vice chairs of each of the six CSG committees. The Assembly nominated Rackham student Austin Glass for chair and Engineering freshman Carla Voigt for vice chair of the Rules Committee. LSA freshman Joey Schrayer was elected as chair and Engineering sophomore Sandra Dubaisi as vice chair of the Communications Committee.
In addition, the Assembly voted Engineering junior Mario Galindez as chair and LSA freshman Marwan Bazzi as vice chair of the Finance Committee. LSA freshman Sujin Kim became chair and LSA sophomore Selena Bazzi became vice chair of the Resolutions Committee, and Rackham student Hayden Jackson was elected chair and LSA sophomore Audrey Lynch was elected vice chair of the Executive Nominations Committee. Lastly, Law student Martese Johnson became chair and Engineering junior Zeke Majeske became vice chair of the Ethics Committee, and LSA sophomore Mia Kalt became the Bystander Intervention Training liaison.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Gerstein and Blanchard gave their first executive communications of the semester. Gerstein discussed the privilege of his position as CSG president and said he and Blanchard hope to serve as a valuable resource to the Assembly and University students.
“During the election, we all ran with the individual promises and action to make a change on campus, being a voice for the student body and an advocate to the University administration,” Gerstein said. “This responsibility shouldn’t be taken lightly, and our collective mission to encourage students in civic engagement, to voice student concerns and actively welfare the Michigan experience for everyone is a task we will all hold ourselves accountable for.”
In her statement, Blanchard encouraged Assembly members to find topics they believe are important to address through CSG on campus during their last weeks of the semester on campus.
“Your time spent in this organization … it does not go unnoticed and it’s greatly appreciated,” Blanchard said. “… I hope you find what you’re passionate about as well as the resources you need to accomplish those goals.”