Correction Apphended: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the location of the “AA Chillen with Wale and The Clipse” concert. It will be held in the Power Center.

At last night’s Michigan Student Assembly meeting, MSA President Abhishek Mahanti apologized for the costly and unsuccessful attempt he led to fix MSA’s website this past year.

According to an e-mail sent to MSA representatives, MSA Student General Counsel Jim Brusstar wrote that MSA spent close to $9,000 to hire graphic and web designers to fix MSA’s website.

The cost, Brusstar wrote in the e-mail, was an “egregious mistake.”

MSA treasurer Vishal Bajaj said the money to fund this website renovation — which was estimated to cost $3,000 — came out of MSA payroll funds.

Mahanti said that the cost to fix the website is on his shoulders.

“I take full responsibility for it,” Mahanti said at the meeting last night. “I have done a large disservice to the students. I am wholeheartedly putting my effort into getting it fixed.”

As head of the project, Mahanti hired two University student web designers to launch a new MSA website in the fall and the developers worked on the project for eight months, beginning last April.

Mahanti said the developers faced problems that were too difficult to fix and that he and those he hired realized the website was an “institutional failure.”

“We realized that the website just wasn’t working,” he said. “There were so many things that went wrong that we couldn’t swallow all of them.”

According to Mahanti, the room reservation calendar system — a web application that allows students to schedule a room in a University building to study or hold meetings — was one of the main obstacles that the developers could not fix on the website.

Mahanti said his biggest mistake throughout the website design process was that he didn’t fully comprehend the timesheets for the developers or the cost of the website until Monday.

Throughout the discussion at the meeting last night, Mahanti never blamed the designers for the cost, but said they never informed him of how many hours they were actually working on the website.

“I saw the work getting done, but I was not aware of the money being spent or the hours,” he said.

Mahanti said that in the future, MSA payroll needs to be regulated with more consideration, and the limit to payroll needs to be decided in advance. He also said MSA officials need to thoroughly assess what MSA staff members are actually doing for the assembly.

“We as an executive board are making sure that this will never happen again,” Mahanti said. “I know the spirit of the website might not be the highest, but it is an important tool that MSA needs.”

Mahanti has now passed responsibilities of the project to Brusstar.

At last night’s meeting, Brusstar said the main issue with the website was communication and that the process needs to be more open. He said he hopes all the MSA representatives take part in the process.

“I will try to avoid all the mistakes to avoid the quagmire we have today,” Brusstar said at last night’s meeting. “This is a big project and needs to be treated like a big project.”

Brusstar added that MSA will not pour any more funds into designing the website.

“We will not be spending another dollar on this,” he said.


In collaboration with Big Ticket Productions, the Michigan Student Assembly is sponsoring a subsidized concert to be held in the Power Center for University students on March 30.

According to MSA’s website, the concert, called “AA Chillen with Wale and The Clipse,” will feature performances by hip hop artists Big Sean, Wale and the Clipse.

MSA representatives expressed their enthusiasm for the concert at last night’s meeting.

“There’s a lot of excitement and lots of uproar,” Bajaj said. “If you’re a fan, be excited, if you are not, check them out.”

MSA has not sponsored a concert since 2005, when Ludacris performed at Hill Auditorium. Current MSA representatives view the 2005 concert as a failure because few students attended.

In a Feb. 17 Michigan Daily article, Mahanti said the low attendance may have been because MSA charged $30 per ticket for the Ludacris concert.

At last night’s meeting Bajaj said he hopes MSA doesn’t lose money like it did on the 2005 concert.

“If we loose $125,000, I won’t be able to sleep,” he said.

Bajaj said that MSA representatives are planning a huge “marketing blitz” to encourage students to buy tickets for the event.

Tickets will go on sale at the Michigan Union Ticket Office starting tomorrow. Student tickets sold before the show will cost $10 or $15, depending on the seating. Non-students will have to pay $20 or $25 for a ticket.


Passed in a unanimous vote last night, the Michigan Student Assembly approved a resolution to write a letter to the University Board of Regents that asks them to prohibit University exams on national election days. MSA’s Voice Your Vote Commission — a group that encourages students to vote on campus — proposed the resolution.

According to the resolution, students found it difficult to attend classes during the 2008 presidential election due to long lines at the election polls. The resolution stated that students who had exams on Election Day had to leave the polls early and missed the opportunity to vote.

Rock The Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, also reported that scheduled exams caused voting problems at the University, the resolution stated.

MSA Academic Affairs Chair John Lin, an author of the resolution, said at the meeting that he plans to send the letter to the assembly for review as soon as it is drafted.

— Jenna Simard contributed to this report.

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