Last night the Michigan Student Assembly amended its election code to place stronger restrictions on candidates campaigning in residence halls.
University Housing will determine the time that candidates cannot be found campaigning in residence halls, which is speculated to be either 8 or 10 p.m. Candidates found campaigning after that time will be given three demerits per violation.
The amendment, which failed when it was first presented at the Jan. 30 meeting, was reconsidered because of the vocal opposition that the assembly observed from students, said Student General Counsel Alok Agrawal.
“Last semester we received literally over 100 e-mails complaining about candidates in residence halls,” said LSA senior Ryan Norfolk.
In an effort to reach students in residence halls this week”s meeting was held in Mary Markley Hall. Many assembly members commented that the noticeable lack of Markley residents served as an indicator of students” view of MSA.
“There are not a lot of residents here, and we are in a residence hall,” said College of Architecture and Urban Planning Rep. Shana Sevitz. “That would lead me to believe that they don”t care about MSA so they don”t want us knocking on their door late at night campaigning.”
Vice president Jim Secreto argued that MSA should obey and enforce University rules because MSA is a department of the University, not a self-supporting entity.
“To get that ($500,000) that we get every year, we have to play by the rules,” Secreto said.
Assembly members against changing the rule to comply with University Housing were concerned because Housing officials have not yet stated that they will allow candidates to stay until 10 p.m.
“We can”t assume they won”t make it 8 p.m.,” said LSA Rep. Erika Dowdell. “We shot this down last time for a reason.”
Engineering freshman Mark Hutchinson was the sole Markley resident to speak out against enforcing limits on candidates.
“No one solicited my room before, and I wouldn”t mind if they did,” Hutchinson said. He added that he attended the meeting because members of the Defend Affirmative Action Party approached him and asked him to come.
Members of the Residence Halls Association who were present at the meeting urged assembly members to amend the code because they said they would most likely be allowed to stay until 10 p.m. and that it would exemplify MSA”s concern for students.
Also passed at last night”s meeting was a resolution of solidarity pertaining to racism against Asian Pacific American students at the University of California at Davis.
“This has nothing to do with Michigan students whatsoever,” said Kinesiology Rep. T.J. Wharry. “What I see here are frat fights, and we don”t stop frat fights here.”
Other assembly members were opposed because of the lack of information.
“If you”re going to make a decision for yes, you had better know that these things really happened at that these people are really racist,” Secreto said.
Almost half of the attending assembly abstained from the vote.