The Students 4 Michigan party nearly swept the Michigan Student Assembly elections, winning all but one of the open positions, including MSA president, which went to LSA junior Jesse Levine, and MSA vice president, which went to LSA sophomore Alicia Benavides.
“I am very proud of our candidates,” said LSA sophomore Stuart Wagner, Students 4 Michigan’s campaign manager. “When it really comes down to the end of the day, our candidates were strong, they were active in the community, they were involved in student government and they were committed to their campaigns.”
Students 4 Michigan was founded before last semester’s election. One of the key differences, some candidates say, between the party and its predecessor, Students First, is that it will not ask candidates to run as representatives of the racial, cultural or religious groups to which they belong — what Wagner termed “tokenism.” But Levine has said his party still aims to be representative of the whole campus.
The team of Levine and Benavides garnered 2,008 votes, beating Rackham student Kate Stenvig and LSA junior Monica Smith — who ran on the Defend Affirmative Action Party ticket — by 1,356 votes in a landslide.
Levine said his main goal as president is to protect student’s rights, most notably by supporting a $2.50 increase in student fees that would pay the salaries of two new lawyers at Student Legal Services.
One lawyer will deal with immigration law, and another will deal with students’ housing rights. SLS Director Doug Lewis is proposing the fee increase to the University Board of Regents at its June meeting.
Levine said he plans to propose an MSA resolution asking University Hospital to stop notifying police when a minor who is drunk receives medical attention because it violates patient confidentiality rights and discourages students from seeking necessary treatment.
“Students are reluctant to go to the hospital when dangerously drunk,” Levine said.
The lone seat that went to another party was the MSA representative of the School of Education. Education senior Andrew Jacobs of DAAP edged out Engineering sophomore Johnny Park of Students 4 Michigan by 11 votes.
LSA sophomore Andrew Yahkind will serve as LSA Student Government president, and LSA junior Paige Butler will serve as vice president after winning their uncontested election.
They said they plan to focus on expanding the number of LSA minors offered and increasing the day-to-day quality of life of LSA students after a year in which LSA-SG’s progress was hindered by the resignation of four executive officers. Yahkind said they plan to prevent future resignations by matching the interests and qualifications of LSA-SG members to suitable executive positions.
Students also voted to pay a $1 fee that would go toward funding student groups through MSA’s Budget Priorities Committee. MSA will bring the fee in front of the regents for approval in June.
The results will not be official until today’s MSA steering meeting, but unofficial tallies usually differ from official tallies by just a few votes that do not affect the outcome of the races. Complete results of the election are posted at http://www.michigandaily.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/03/28/4247f04a090d6
MSA President: Jesse Levine
MSA Vice President: Alicia Benavides
LSA-SG President: Andrew Yahkind
LSA-SG Vice President: Paige Butler