Because of a conflict between administration officials and the Michigan Student Assembly, about five to 10 newly elected MSA members will not be sworn in as scheduled tomorrow.
Student Affairs Program Manager and MSA Adviser Anika Awai-Williams must first verify with the University’s Office of the Registrar that candidates are enrolled in the school they are elected to represent before they can be seated. She must also check their uniqnames and student identification numbers.
In previous years, Awai-Williams has been given immediate access to the data. But Williams has been on medical leave for the last four weeks, and the Office of the Registrar refuses to release the information to any other MSA official.
MSA fall election polls closed last Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. On Wednesday, MSA’s Election Board met to certify results and notify candidates of their positions. But because of the delay in confirming schools, the positions of write-in candidates could not yet be certified.
Students whose names appear on the ballot must apply and have their information checked before the election. However, because write-in candidates don’t have to apply to the Election Board beforehand, the schools they are enrolled in aren’t verified until after the election is over.
According to MSA President Abhishek Mahanti, the Office of the Register would not release the data to Susan Wilson, director of Office of Student Activities and Leadership, who has been filling in for Awai-Williams, even though Awai-Williams technically reports to Wilson.
“(Wilson) has been trying to get the data in a pretty timely fashion, but for some reason they have not been able to get us the data,” Mahanti said.
Despite the confusion, Mahanti said the Registrar’s Office has been helpful with trying to get the election results certified.
Mahanti said he believes MSA will be able to get the names verified today. However, the MSA Compiled Code requires the Steering Committee to hear official election results before the candidates can be sworn in.
The committee, which meets every Sunday, met last night and is not scheduled to meet again before tomorrow’s MSA meeting.
Mahanti said the write-in candidates will be informed they won and will be invited to Tuesday’s meeting, which is the last one of the semester. They will then be sworn in at the first MSA meeting next semester on Jan. 12.
Mahanti said he plans to work with the candidates during winter break.
“We’ll keep in touch with them over break, and it gives us time to get them to learn the rules of the road,” he said.
Though the candidates will eventually be seated, Mahanti said the delay was unnecessary.
“This has kind of put a hitch in everything,” he said.