My fellow Wolverines,

As an elected representative of the Central Student Government and as a member of Greek life, I owe each and every member of the University community an apology. Over the weekend of January 16-18, my fraternity and I went on a ski trip. On that ski trip, some members caused extensive damage to the host resort. While my fraternity is making full restitution to the owner, the destruction was appalling and inexcusable, and I condemn it in the harshest terms. I am even more saddened by the damage that my fellow students caused to the reputation of the University. It pains me to know that members of my own fraternity were able to tarnish the good name of our fraternity, Michigan Greek life and the entire University.

Let me say in the clearest terms — I did not commit any damage to the resort, nor did I witness any destruction as it was taking place. When I discovered what had happened, I was horrified and deeply ashamed of the behavior of my peers. I immediately began working with other members of my fraternity to mitigate and control the situation to prevent further destruction.

As a leader on this campus, I am accountable to each of you. Leaders do not run away from problems; they confront them and work toward solutions. Since that weekend, I have helped lead my fraternity brothers in an attempt to right the wrongs that were committed. I organized four build sites through Habitat for Humanity that will be dedicated shortly. In order to begin mending the ties with our neighboring communities, I planned a chapter service trip to Detroit, with the help of The Detroit Partnership. I am a strong believer in the principle of restorative justice, and the fraternity is working to repair relations with our neighbors.

I refuse to be defined by the actions of others. My record speaks for itself. I have dedicated my time on campus to positive, worthwhile causes and have worked to impact meaningful change. While serving on the boards of SRC and GARP, I devoted time to maintaining Greek self-governance, safety and responsibility. As an LSA representative on Central Student Government, I have pursued change within the dining department, planned events such as the Police Brutality Speak-out and worked to increase diversity on campus by serving on CSG’s On-Site Admissions Task Force. I have met with administrators to discuss problems on campus, and I have worked with administrators to create solutions to these problems. Most recently, I worked with the Dining Department to design a program that will allow students to donate their leftover Dining Dollars and Blue Bucks at the end of the year to local food pantries. Beginning at the end of March, all students will be able to donate money in $1 increments at all campus stores, like U-Go’s, Victors and the Blue Apple. The money that is raised will be used to purchase local, sustainable, non-perishable food that will be donated to local food pantries, including our campus’ own student food pantry. As a student leader, I have worked to represent the interests of fellow students and to build a better campus for all communities.

As a candidate for CSG vice president with The Team, I plan to continue and expand upon this important work. I want to ensure that as the voice of the students, our CSG is representative of all communities on campus, not just those of a few. It’s time for all students to have easy, convenient access to their elected representatives so that CSG gives students a chance to share their ideas and accomplish their goals. CSG has tremendous potential to be a driver of collaboration with and empowerment of student leaders, not of competition and politics. Student leaders should be able to rely on CSG’s budget, administration connections and clout as a platform to advance their great work on campus. Together, we can support and empower student leaders across campus to better address important issues such as increased minority enrollment, increased sexual assault awareness and prevention efforts and an improved campus climate. By working together, our collective potential is much greater than that of any individual.

I ask you to judge me based on my accomplishments and my ideas rather than on the actions of some members of my fraternity. I am not my fraternity. I am Matt Fidel. I am running for Vice President because I see the great potential of CSG, and I want to continue serving you. I am a member of The Team, and together we can focus on the real opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. With your input and support, we can partner to accomplish our shared goals. We have serious work to do, and I look forward to getting started.

Feel free to e-mail me at mhfidel@umich.edu if you have any questions or ideas that you would like to discuss together.

Matt Fidel is an LSA sophomore.

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