Members of the Michigan Student Assembly discussed last night the organization’s role in establishing new bus routes to the Hill Street-Washtenaw Avenue area, enhancing the University’s Recreational Sports facilities and the need to create a taskforce to improve student housing.

MSA representatives are discussing with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority the possibility of a cost-efficient plan to extend TheRide bus service to “the area commonly known as the Rock,” Elliot Wells-Reid, Transportation Issues Taskforce chair, said yesterday.

“We’re trying to feel student input about what we can do to facilitate,” he added.

“Our goal is to make (the new transportation) free or low-cost to students.”

Wells-Reid added that MSA expects the AATA to set up at least one additional route after collaborating with the city’s Downtown Development Authority. The new route would create potential for more affordable housing because students would have access to an array of neighborhoods whose remoteness from public transportation has made them impractical for off-campus living.

The Assembly addressed a rising concern over off-campus housing by agreeing to vote next week to create a Student Housing Taskforce designed to “improve housing conditions” for students. Plans for the taskforce will be finalized Friday.

“One part of (the taskforce) is fixing the housing portion,” MSA President Sarah Boot said. “Our plan puts tenant counseling services under Student Legal Services.”

Currently, students involved in legal disputes with their landlords must seek counsel off-campus, but MSA hopes its proposal will give tenants recourse to services provided by SLS.

“Students will be able to go to the (Michigan) Union and get legal advice about their landlords,” Boot said, adding she was still unsure what the final plans would look like.

Communications Committee Chair Pete Woiwode elaborated on MSA’s plans to revamp Rec Sports facilities like the Central Campus Recreation Building and the Intramural Sports Building.

“Rec Sports is going to send an e-mail (survey) to 8,000 randomly selected students,” he said.

The survey will ask students for suggestions on ways to improve the facilities, including features like athletic equipment, Woiwode said.

The survey has approximately 36 questions and will go to the University Board of Regents upon return to the assembly.

Representatives also discussed reforming the MSA election code in order to reign in the costs of campaign flyering.

In previous elections, candidates unable to match their opponents’ funds were put at a disadvantage, a problem MSA hopes to clear up in coming months.

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