A common complaint of Central Student Government — one the Daily’s editorial board has echoed year after year — is that CSG isn’t relevant to students because students don’t know about it, nor do they care. After CSG President Manish Parikh’s year in office, however, we feel comfortable saying that more students are aware of CSG and understand the tangible changes the assembly can bring to campus. Moving forward, CSG should redirect its purpose, focusing on policies that can change the face of the University. While many of the CSG presidential and vice-presidential candidates brought up inconveniences they’d like to remedy, such as more printing for LSA students and an app for MCards, one party stood out in its commitment to solving everyday problems students regularly face, while concentrating on goals that might significantly change a student’s university experience. The Michigan Daily’s editorial board endorses forUM candidates for CSG president and vice president because of party’s dedication to both social change and daily student struggles.
MomentUM is unique in that their presidential candidate, Nick Swider, is an LSA freshman. While he brings a fresh set of eyes to CSG, as evidenced in his desire to give LSA students more printing and increasing bus services between North and Central Campus on weekends, a representative, rather than a president, could work to remedy these problems. While being a freshman may offer a distinctive perspective, it doesn’t necessarily foster the ability to recognize long-standing flaws that upperclassmen may understand more deeply. With more time on campus, we’re confident that Swider can continue develop his platform, along with his awareness of the diverse issues that affect the University. But the role of CSG president is not a learning experience and requires a leader with a serious understanding of campus.
The presidential and vice presidential candidates from youMich, Michael Proppe and Bobby Dishell, offer clearly defined objectives for their campaign, such as developing a survey that links students to organizations of interest and bringing a 24-hour café to North Campus. However, their proposed plan seems more quantitative than qualitative in nature — a laundry list of tasks, rather than a vision. Furthermore, the long-term goals offered by youMich, like an entrepreneurial learning community angled towards engineering and business students, fail to meet the needs of students on a larger scale. Though the MCard mobile app and student organization survey they promise may be practical proposals, these are goals which could be accomplished through active participation in CSG. The viability of youMich’s platform, however, is certainly strong, and forUM should take note of Proppe and Dishell’s feasible goals.
Independent candidates Scott Christopher and Ethan Michaeli also offer a wide-reaching platform with a variety of issues covered. Their primary goal — expanding and improving the University’s Counseling and Psychologist Services — touches on an important issue that has been largely ignored by other candidates. Their plan to reduce crime in Ann Arbor through reforming mental health resources on campus, however, lacks a direct path to implementation. From promising shuttle service for graduate students to and from job interviews to allowing current students to have the first read on University applications, completing the tasks in Christopher and Michaeli’s platform would be a reach. The breadth of their goals leaves us uncertain in terms of what they would accomplish in a year.
As their name suggests, the Defend Affirmative Action Party also brings a specific platform to the race, with a focus on one main objective — bringing affirmative action back to campus. Presidential candidate Ashley Garrick and her vice-presidential running mate Chene Karega both have significant activist experience on campus, and offer a strong vision of social justice to the campaign. To say their objectives are important would be an incredible understatement, as underrepresented minority enrollment at the University continues to decline. However, their platform, which includes an upcoming march on Washington D.C. and campus-wide dialogues on racism, is too specific for CSG leadership. The president of CSG must represent the interests of all students, and while a commitment to affirmative action is prevalent among some students, others may be more interested in longer dining hall hours and other immediate goals. Moreover, the bureaucratic nature of CSG might actually impede the candidates’ ability to enact the change they desire, as they become inundated in student organization funding forms and meeting minutes. The goals of DAAP are commendable, and while they may not be the right fit for CSG leadership, we hope they continue the fight for equality on and off campus.
Of all the parties running in this year’s election, forUM strikes the best balance between tangible goals and dedication to fostering a socially aware campus. Presidential candidate Chris Osborn has significant CSG experience, serving as CSG treasurer under Parikh. Hayley Sakwa, Osborn’s running mate, hasn’t been involved in CSG, leaving the pair with both fresh eyes and a seasoned understanding of the body. The commitment of forUM to giving students a greater role on campus, as made clear through their plan to introduce a non-voting student seat to the Board of Regents, suggests that the party cares about empowering students outside of CSG committees. From bringing in more local food on campus to increasing the University’s connection with Detroit, forUM’s platform molds activist visions into achievable goals. While forUM lacks certain provisions of the other candidates, such as mental health reform and mentorship with local high school students, their well-defined plan and commitment to working within and outside the CSG structure suggests openness to new ideas.
For this year’s election, The Michigan Daily’s editorial board endorses CHRIS OSBORN and HAYLEY SAKWA for CSG president and vice president.