Thirteen candidates and a presidential and vice presidential nominee presented their platforms and answered questions from constituents at the University of Michigan LSA Student Government Candidates’ Forum on Monday night in the Michigan League.
The candidates addressed topics ranging from increasing student involvement in campus organizations to improving the political dialogue on campus. The students gave speeches for 13 open representative seats, and one presidential candidate and one vice presidential candidate spoke about their platforms to an audience of about 20 people. Voting will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.
A common theme among platforms was increased communication between students and administrators. LSA freshman Kevan Casson, a candidate for representative, addressed the importance of making internship and employment opportunities more visible to students.
“We need to increase communication between students in government and the LSA Opportunity … Hub to better prepare students for their career,” Casson said.
LSA freshman candidate Mohsin Arsiwala also emphasized the importance of assisting LSA students in their searches for internships and careers. Arsiwala proposed improving relations with the Alumni Center, to increase available connections between students and University alumni.
Another recurring topic during the speeches was how to increase the dialogue on campus about current events, especially given the current political climate on campus.
LSA sophomore Amanda Delekta, a representative candidate, proposed hosting an event that would discuss how to translate a passion for social justice into social change. A panel would be composed of different policy experts to answer students’ questions about implementing social change.
“I want to hold an event looking into how to change an idea for social change into tangible events,” Delekta said.
LSA sophomore Eli Rachlin talked about the importance of facilitating conversations between students with different political beliefs on campus. Citing the responses to the 2016 presidential election, including the post-election protests, Rachlin believes it is crucial for students to be exposed to different ideas. He proposed bringing experts to campus to demonstrate the importance of understanding different viewpoints.
“People don’t have the opportunity, nor do they want to go out of the way to find things outside of their bubble,” Rachlin said. “It would be cool to have people who have experience with expressing their opinions that may not be in line with what they have to say.”
The event concluded with the presidential and vice presidential candidates discussing what they hope to bring to the LSA Student Government. LSA junior Nicholas Fadanelli is running unopposed for president, and LSA junior Ryan Gillcrist is running with Fadanelli for vice president. One area that Fadanelli and Gillcrist emphasized was working to establish a fixed tuition for students.
“We are fighting for a fixed-rate tuition, so that all students, when they are admitted into the University, know exactly what they will pay,” Fadanelli said.
In addition to addressing tuition, the pair is running on the platform centered around the University student body, which they believe is often forgotten about in Student Government.
“Our mission is to advocate for what we believe is in the best interest of students,” Fadanelli said. “We believe that it is the students that make this University what it is.”