Despite a Michigan Student Assembly vote to award a seat to the Ford School of Public Policy at Tuesday’s meeting, it appears that the school still might not receive a seat on the assembly in this month’s election.
Candidate application material released Wednesday by MSA did not include applications for a Public Policy seat.
MSA’s constitution says every school in the University should be represented on the assembly. But MSA’s compiled code says the apportionment of seats must be based on the most recent enrollment data from the registrar. The most recent data the registrar has is from winter semester, when the public policy school had no undergraduate program. Now, it does.
Although MSA voted on Tuesday to follow its own constitution and award the public policy school a seat, there’s some confusion about whether MSA can reapportion seats on its own.
Election Director Ryan Bouchard said MSA does not have the authority to tamper with seat reapportionment, according to its constitution and the online version of the Compiled Code. The online version of the code contains a provision that grants reapportionment powers only to the Rules and Election Committee and the Central Student Judiciary.
“The Compiled Code with the constitution for MSA that is most readily available says that the seat reapportionment goes from the (Rules and Elections) Committee from MSA to the Student Judiciary – CSJ – for approval,” Bouchard said.
Bouchard later said he has since been informed that the online code is not accurate, and MSA now has reapportionment jurisdiction.
“At some point last year, there was a resolution in the assembly that changed the Compiled Code, so that instead of CSJ approving the seat reapportionment plan, the assembly approves the seat apportionment,” he said.
The candidate materials have also been rescinded.
“They’re not available anymore and I hope to have a complete packet by the close of business tomorrow,” Bouchard said.
The deadline for Bouchard to provide election materials was Wednesday.
Part of the issue is that the code has not been formally updated since February, MSA President Zack Yost said in an interview earlier this week. The online version does not reflect any of the changes made to the code since then.
Bouchard said he plans to meet with MSA Student General Counsel Arvind Sohoni today to discuss the updates to the code and clear up the situation. MSA’s constitution says the student general counsel is in charge of interpreting the code for the assembly.
Sohoni did not return calls for comment yesterday.
Bouchard said he submitted the original apportionment plan – without a Public Policy seat – two weeks ago to MSA’s Rules and Elections Committee, who in turn submitted the plan to CSJ. CSJ approved the plan, Bouchard said.
The plan was then amended and approved by the assembly with the addition of a Public Policy seat.