In their penultimate meeting before adjourning for the spring and summer terms, representatives of the Michigan Student Assembly elected executive officers and committee chairs for the current election cycle last night.

After hearing protests from members of the American Movement for Israel, the assembly also agreed to vote next week on a resolution encouraging the University to divest from Caterpillar Corp. – an American-based company that manufactures bulldozers for the Israeli Army.

Following appointment by MSA President Angela Galardi and assembly ratification, LSA sophomore Jason Mironov and Engineering senior Elliot Wells-Reid assumed the positions of MSA student general counsel and treasurer, respectively, for the upcoming fall and winter terms.

Both candidates said they plan to strengthen the assembly’s reputation.

“I want to improve relations between MSA, the administration, and the community,” Mironov said. “I want to make sure more people on MSA understand the rules.”

Mironov recently finished two semesters as the MSA Rules and Elections Committee chair. During his tenure, he worked with former Student General Counsel Joe Bernstein on overhauling the entire MSA Compiled Code and Constitution.

Wells-Reid served three terms on MSA – once as an elected representative and twice as a student at large. He chaired three commissions and committees overall and managed campaign finances for the Students First Party in the student government elections last month.

“I want to make sure students find MSA accessible for funding their student groups,” Wells-Reid said. “It will be good to have the summer to finalize plans before the semester.”

After officer appointments, candidates for committee chair positions on the assembly spoke briefly before representatives.

Among nominees for the five main committees, first year Law School student Pierce Beckham was elected Rules and Elections Committee chair, LSA sophomore Leni Morrison was elected Campus Governance Committee chair, Business School junior Greg Graves won the Budget Priorities Committee chair, Engineering junior Bobby Counihan claimed the External Relations Committee chair berth and LSA sophomore Courtney Skiles became chair of the Communications Committee.

Outcry over the use of Caterpillars arose after U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed by one of the bulldozers in Israel last month. Sponsors of the resolution also said Caterpillars have been wrongly used to demolish more than 7,000 Palestinian homes – which is an infraction of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949, the resolution said.

“Eyewitness accounts report that the soldier operating the bulldozer saw her yet proceeded to run over her twice,” Rackham Rep. Eric Reichenberger said.

“The use of Caterpillar bulldozers to collectively punish the Palestinians living in the occupied territories is one of the clearest and most blatant violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international law,” he added.

But opponents of the resolution said authorities have not confirmed whether Corrie’s death was deliberate. They added that cutting ties to Caterpillar would be improvident.

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