A Michigan Student Assembly representative was recently charged with using a computer to commit a crime and interfere with an electronic communication device. This is an unfortunate situation, and I hope no one will pass judgment until the matter is fully resolved. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and I stand firmly by everyone on MSA through this process. It is the court’s job to determine guilt or innocence.

To make time to properly attend to his personal matters, the MSA representative in question has stepped aside from his position as chair of MSA’s Budget Priorities Committee. Meanwhile, it is my job to make sure MSA runs smoothly, effectively and responsibly. While we face a difficult circumstance, this is a great opportunity to take an introspective look at self-governance and how we can make MSA better.

In that vein, I pledge to you that MSA will continue to work tirelessly for students. Our work for you will remain as strong as it has always been. Accomplishments like removing the loophole from the lease signing ordinance, fighting for freedom of gender identity and gender expression, planning events like homecoming and organizing a rally to protest mid-year tuition hikes are just some of the things we’ve done so far. MSA will also push hard to bring more lighting to student housing areas, finding creative solutions so everyone can watch our sports teams’ on television and making the financial aid process smoother and more transparent.

Further, as MSA president, I am going to take some steps to rectify this situation and make sure that similar circumstances don’t arise in the future. In the next few weeks I plan to do several things. First, I will reach out to the Department of Public Safety to create a joint DPS-MSA committee to bring more people into the conversation about how we function as a university and how MSA functions as a student government. I will also open a dialogue (that anyone is welcome to join) to examine the campaign rules governing our elections. Finally, I will ensure that the Budget Priorities Committee will not miss a beat in the midst of its leadership change and will continue to help hundreds of outstanding student organizations on our campus.

Like I said before, this is a difficult time, but we’ve got some great things going on and we would love for you to get involved with MSA. Shoot us an e-mail at msa.info@umich.edu to talk to us about how we can get you on board.

– Zack Yost is president of the Michigan Student Assembly.

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