The Michigan Student Assembly continued to work through the summer, sending four delegates to attend a conference at Pennsylvania State University hosted by the Association of Big Ten Schools.

“Michigan obviously stood out as the leaders and the best,” said MSA Vice President Jessica Cash. President Matt Nolan, student General Counsel John Carter and Rackham Rep. Jessica Curtin also attended.

The conference served as a way for student governments from Big Ten schools to network and share ideas.

“We pulled several ideas from other schools that will make a big difference in the Michigan Student Assembly,” Cash said. A resolution was passed which may result in a future Washington, D.C. lobbying trip to combat possibletuition increases at Big Ten schools.

“ABTS was a great forum to discuss improving government,” Cash said. “Some suggestions we received include different methods to create a more cohesive assembly, work more effectively with administration, and include the city government in student affairs.”

“Since Matt and I are taking over an MSA that was on life support for the past year, we”re both looking for the best ways to put the life back into MSA,” Cash said, referring to former President Hideki Tsutsmi”s turbulent term.

Remnants of that turbulence were evident at the conference.

“A few unacceptable things did happen, however, that quite frankly made me furious,” Nolan said. “Unfortunately, they all stemmed from U of M, specifically from Jessica Curtin.”

Curtin allegedly brought members of the Defend Affirmative Action Party who are not University students to the conference using a University van.

The DAAP members sat in on voting sessions, and Curtin proposed two resolutions that had not been previously approved by the MSA executive officers, Nolan said.

“The conference was for MSA delegates only … We were honestly thoroughly embarrassed to have had it happen,” Nolan said. “ABTS was made worse by this.” The issue will be brought before the general assembly when it reconvenes in the fall.

Curtin chose not to comment on the allegations but said she felt the conference was a success because of a resolution which was passed to educate other Big Ten schools about recent racial tensions and events at Penn State.

“The ABTS conference did do something real,” Curtin said.

Overall, the delegates generally agree that the convention was a success.

“We built some bridges that hadn”t existed in the past, as well as set up some projects that make me very excited just thinking about them,” Nolan said.

The University will host the next ABTS conference in February.

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