By Donn M. Fresard

Daily News Editor

Students reacted with varying degrees of concern after the campaign manager of a party running in next week’s Michigan Student Assembly elections questioned whether it is appropriate that the leading presidential candidates for MSA and LSA Student Government are both Jewish.

Carl Pogoncheff, campaign manager for the Maize Rage Party, brought up as a concern during an endorsement interview on Monday with The Michigan Daily’s editorial board that Jesse Levine and Andrew Yahkind, the Students 4 Michigan Party presidential candidates for MSA and LSA-SG respectively, were “from the same fraternity and ethnic background.” When asked to clarify, Pogoncheff said Levine and Yahkind are both “white and Jewish.”

All six of the Maize Rage Party’s candidates for MSA are white.

The Maize Rage Party is an offshoot of the Maize Rage basketball fan group, composed of some of the fan group’s members but not directly controlled by its leadership.

Ryan Shinska, head of the Maize Rage fan group, said he does not support Pogoncheff’s comments but continues to support the Maize Rage Party’s campaign.

“Carl shouldn’t have said that,” Shinska said. “He let his emotions get the best of him in that situation, and obviously I don’t support that, but I support Carl, and I support what the guy does and what kind of person he is.”

“Obviously I don’t agree that what he said was a classy and dignified thing to say, but people make mistakes,” Shinska added.

Monica Woll, chair of Hillel’s governing board, called Pogoncheff’s comments “absurd.”

“If the two presidential candidates were of any other background, I don’t know if questions would arise,” Woll said.

Levine took issue with Pogoncheff’s comments.

“Making judgments about people solely based on their ethnic backgrounds shows a lack of understanding and character, and insults the entire University of Michigan campus,” Levine said.

Brian Chrzanowski, MSA presidential candidate for the Maize Rage Party, said Pogoncheff did not intend to specifically target Levine and Yahkind for their religion.

Defend Affirmative Action Party MSA presidential candidate Kate Stenvig could not be reached for comment.

Although the Athletic Department has ties with the Maize Rage fan group — students receive free Maize Rage T-shirts when they buy men’s basketball season tickets — the department does not support any political party in student elections, said Athletic Department spokesman Bruce Madej.

“This is the first I’ve even heard that they have a political group,” Madej said.

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