To the Daily:
On Monday night, Michigan Vision Party presidential candidate Ian Margolis rightfully noted that the Michigan Student Assembly needs to provide “tangible things for students.” However, “encouraging professors to post course syllabi,” a noted accomplishment of the past year under MVP, is not effective action. MSA could organize a protest, sit-in or large public meeting – almost anything would be more effective than “encouraging.”
The fundamental problem with MSA is that it has not yet organized students to take action on student issues. MVP either doesn’t understand this, or doesn’t want to put in the effort to organize students. Last year, MVP candidates for MSA told me they would fight to change the printing allotment so that printing double-sided would be counted as one page (it currently counts as two). Yet, one year later the printer still charges me for two sheets if I print double-sided. This issue may seem insignificant and somewhat silly, but if MSA under the leadership of MVP had mobilized students around this issue, they could have forced the administration to act.
In my four years at the University, the Michigan Student Assembly’s greatest accomplishment has been to alleviate the potential problem that well organized student action could pose to the University Administration. In their viewpoint published on Tuesday, MVP was quick to point out that students pay $7.19 a semester, but slow to realize the potential power of organized student action. Chris Armstrong and MForward – with their focus on advocacy and organizing students for action – represent the best chance for MSA to do something meaningful. MForward, as far as I can tell, has not forgotten that a University cannot function without undergraduates and their tuition money.