With the deadline looming for student government candidates to file their declarations of candidacy, two parties have announced nominees for the Michigan Student Assembly presidency.
The Michigan Action Party, which dominated last year’s presidential election and November’s midterm elections, nominated LSA junior Sabrina Shingawi to run for the top position. Business School junior Arvind Sohoni is the party’s vice presidential nominee.
The Defend Affirmative Action Party, which has struggled to win broad support in past student government elections, nominated Rackham student Kate Stenvig to run for president and LSA junior Maricruz Lopez to run for vice president.
Student government elections run from March 19 to March 20. Candidates have until 5 p.m. today to file candidacy applications. As of last night, no other major parties had announced plans to contest the election, even though this year’s MSA term was marred by scandal.
MSA President Zack Yost, who was elected on the MAP ticket, was forced to resign in December after another representative revealed that Yost had created an offensive Facebook group.
Last month, MSA Rep. Anton Vuljaj, who also ran on the MAP ticket, resigned after pleading guilty to launching a denial-of-service attack that brought down a rival party’s website during the March 2006 student government election. During that race, Vuljaj was a member of Students 4 Michigan, the predecessor to MAP, which was formed last year.
March 2006 was also the last time there was a fiercely competitive race for the MSA presidency. Two parties were created that year in part as a response to MSA’s loss of $20,000 in student fees on a Ludacris concert at Hill Auditorium. That year also saw the resignation of MSA Rep. Ari Liner, a member of then-dominant S4M, after he sent an offensive e-mail to the parent of a freshman. In that election, the Michigan Progressive Party came close to winning the presidency, although it failed to win many representative seats on the assembly.
All four of this year’s presidential and vice presidential nominees have lengthy student government experience.
Shingwani is currently MSA’s treasurer and Sohoni is the student general counsel. Stenvig previously served as DAAP’s campaign manager and Lopez is the current co-chair of the party. Last year, Lopez ran unsuccessfully for the MSA presidency with DAAP, which strongly advocates for affirmative action.
The two party’s platforms differ greatly.
Shingwani said she and Sohoni would work to improve alumni connections with students to bolster career opportunities. She also added that they’d try to improve campus safety and increase student involvement in MSA.
“We want to get more student voices out there,” Shingwani said.
Stenvig said she and Lopez would push the University to provide more academic and financial aid support for women and minorities on campus. Stenvig and Lopez also said they would work to improve the mental health services available to students.
“I think MSA should be playing its part to inform and educate students and also mobilize students to be more active and more involved in local and national issues,” Stenvig said.
MAP also nominated candidates for the LSA Student Government presidency. LSA junior Leslie Zaikis will run for president on the party’s ticket while LSA sophomore John Monaghan will run for vice president.
Monaghan is currently the chair of the Student Advisory Panel to Academic Advising and Zaikis is the treasurer of LSA-SG.
Monaghan said he and Zaikis were still developing a platform.
“We won’t just put down things students want to hear,” he said. “At the end of our term, we want to hold ourselves accountable.”
Candidate applications are available at msa.umich.edu. They must be turned in to Room 3909 in the Michigan Union by 5 p.m. today.