In opposition to the party system, eight students decided to run
for the Michigan Student Assembly as independents this year.
Michigan Student Assembly candidates for president and
vice-president Timothy Moore and Anita Leung disbanded the
University Party and conducted the remainder of their campaigning
as independents for the 2004 winter elections this Wednesday and
“As one of the only schools in the nation with political
parties for student government, the party system here has gotten
out of control,” Moore and Leung said in a written statement.
“While parties are inherently good, providing viable
competition, we need to reform the current party system at
Another independent candidate, Business School junior Brian
Gallagher, said he agrees with the idea of a system without
“I was involved with student government as an appointed
member and I saw that a lot of decisions happened along party
lines,” Gallagher said. “People seemed more concerned
with getting elected than making a change.”
The current system is not helping MSA because people are
electing political parties rather than effective leaders, MSA
candidate Ian Fette added.
“The two-party system includes a lot of people, but also
excludes a lot of people,” MSA candidate Andrew Landau
Despite disbanding their party, Moore and Leung said they still
stand for the U party principle of MSA devoting itself to the
“The only ideal of the U party that we carry over is that
MSA needs to bring its scope back down to students,” they
said. “Instead of voting on divisive arguments such as the
war in Iraq, we should be voting on and fighting for student issues
such as (Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center) and the
Fette, an Engineering senior, said he plans on getting
“real things” done. “I am trying to get more CAEN
labs on Central Campus, an express bus between North and Central
Campus … and reasonably priced color printing,” Fette
said. “I’m not trying to go to the moon, but simply
accomplish reasonable things.”
Gallagher plans on improving the Career Center, getting funding
for some of the clubs at the Business School and trying to push
back Spring Break.
Landau chose to focus on expanding Entrée Plus to
restaurants on State Street and South University Avenue.
Unlike some of the candidates who have developed platforms, MSA
candidate Scott Cederbaum wants to base his campaign on feedback
from students. “I’m trying to go around and see what
people want, and when I’m elected, try to get these issues
accomplished,” said Cederbaum, an LSA freshman.
Candidate Victoria Abidu said she will respond to campus needs.
“I’m not about making promises,” Abidu said.
“I offer people Band-aids when they are in need.”
Some independent candidates have found it difficult to campaign,
especially in the residence halls, because there are only a few of
them while parties often have 30 or more members.
“Currently, only the candidates themselves can campaign in
the residence halls, so that is a detriment to running as
independent,” Moore and Leung said. “However, we
don’t believe that running independent has been a detriment
to our campaign — it follows through with our beliefs on
Most of the independent candidates said they are positive about
their chances of being a success in the elections. “We are
very well connected on campus and think we have a great chance of
winning,” Moore and Leung said.
Reforming current MSA party system to eliminate effects of party
politics and make MSA more inclusive
Focusing on fighting for student issues instead of debating
Expanding Entrée Plus to local restaurants
Creating more CAEN labs on central campus
Pushing back Spring Break
Establishing express bus route between campuses