The Michigan Vision Party assumed power in the Michigan Student Assembly just about a month ago in one of the most anticipated MSA elections in recent history. The party won in large part because it promised fundamental change to the way business was conducted. We proposed a new vision for campus based on accountability and transparency to the students. But success has been hard to come by thus far.

The Daily has rightly taken note of this, most notably with its recent editorial about the funding process for student groups (Show me the money, 04/16/2009). The current system is indeed flawed and we are working toward overhauling it. Student organizations should take careful note of the consequences of these changes. As the funding process and the criteria for a good funding request are met by more and more student organizations, the decisions of the Budget Priorities Committee will become a lot harder. While this will certainly hurt organizations that have been able to pull the right levers in the past, we think it’s an important step toward a more transparent campus government.

Committee and chair elections held recently have shown the Michigan Vision Party’s success in this drive toward transparency. Real competition existed for nearly every arm of MSA and we’re pleased that this has been such a deliberative process. The same can be said for the executive slate. Hardly a rubber stamp of approval, the assembly took great care in examining and later confirming what MSA President Abhishek Mahanti and Vice President Mike Rorro believed to be the best team to lead the assembly. In addition, the promise of a new, revamped and much more accessible MSA website appears to be on track. Updates include a blog, a wiki and forms that are readily available. This is a much welcome and overdue necessity that will allow information about the assembly and its procedures to be readily accessible to every student. It has been a long time in coming and its launch cannot afford to be delayed any longer if this goal of transparency is to remain a credible ambition.

But simply choosing a good team and launching a website is not enough. The assembly, minus the summer months when the full assembly is not in session, has about eight months to make a real impact on student life and campus affairs. One month has already ticked off the clock. The executives need to make the best of their remaining time. At this point, they get a C+, yet there is ample time for the improvement necessary for the assembly to achieve its goals. University students deserve leadership that is nothing short of an A.

Bradon Smith
Michigan Vision Party Message Chairman

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