The Michigan Action Party is running a virtually uncontested slate in the student government elections that begin at midnight tonight, ensuring that it will maintain its hold on the Michigan Student Assembly and LSA Student Government, which represents students in the largest college at the University.

The most contested races will be for the LSA seats on MSA. There are 10 available seats up for election, and both MAP and the Defend Affirmative Action Party have fielded 10 candidates each. There are also two independent candidates and two candidates running with the Michigan Independent Party. In contested elections, DAAP candidates rarely garner a significant number of votes.

DAAP promotes affirmative action and vocally opposes racism on campus.

Some key incumbents up for reelection in the LSA races include MAP candidates current MSA Treasurer Sabrina Shingwani, an LSA junior, and current MSA Rep. Stella Binkevich, the chair of the Budget Priorities Committee, which oversees the assembly’s funding of student groups.

Last year’s DAAP presidential candidate, LSA junior Maricruz Lopez, and vice presidential candidate, LSA senior Sarah Barnard, are both running for LSA seats on MSA. LSA-SG and MSA president and vice president are elected in the spring election.

MAP candidates are running unopposed in some schools – accounting for all the candidates in schools like the College of Engineering and Ross School of Business. But races for seats representing some of the smaller programs, especially graduate programs like Rackham and the School of Information, are being contested largely by independents and DAAP candidates.

MAP is an umbrella party without an official ideology. Many of the candidates have advertised platforms that are similar to many MAP candidates in last year’s elections, as well as echoing a few things from the previously dominant Students 4 Michigan.

These include things like expanding Entrée Plus, longer library hours and more money for student groups.

The new MSA intern program, created this semester to familiarize new students with the ins and outs of the assembly, yielded a single candidate: freshman Joe Marshall, a candidate for an LSA representative seat.

Earlier this semester, there was a debate over semantics in the assembly about whether the undergraduate Public Policy School should receive a seat in the election.

The conflict over the seat led to the election date being changed twice, while the assembly tried to figure out how to deal with the issue.

The school did end up receiving a seat, for which only current MSA Rep. Max Lebowitz-Nowak, a junior in MAP, is running. Lebowitz-Nowak was one of the more vocal members of the assembly in calling for a Public Policy seat. He’s currently an LSA representative. He was a student in the school until this semester, when he transferred to public policy.

The constant shuffling and lack of a solid election date could have led to the relatively quiet election period, said MAP Chair Alex Blouin, an LSA junior.

“This is one of the most interesting (elections) because the election date changed twice,” he said. “People don’t know as much about the election than others.”

DAAP’s slate, especially in LSA, is considerably larger than in the past few years. Lopez, who also acts as party chair, attributed her party’s fielding of more candidates than in the past to increased activism on campus.

“It’s definitely a reflection on campus – a reflection of the whole country,” she said. “The entire country is becoming more and more politicized over the last couple years because of things like the immigrant rights movement and because of things like the varied attacks on affirmative action.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.