A replacement student representative for the Department of Public Safety Oversight Committee will step in at the next committee meeting after one of its two elected student representatives resigned last spring.
LSA senior Deandre Hicks, a member of the Defend Affirmative Action Party, finished third during the March elections, and according to MSA regulations, will be selected as the replacement for LSA sophomore Ellie Howe — also a member of DAAP.
The spring elections were the first for student representatives on the DPS Oversight Committee — responsible for hearing citizens’ grievances against the University’s police force — in over a decade. Previously, representatives had been appointed by the Michigan Student Assembly, but a Michigan Daily investigation last fall revealed that the practice was in violation of state law.
The 1990 Michigan state law that allowed four-year public universities to establish campus police forces required the institutions to create oversight committees with representatives directly elected by the students, faculty and staff.
In a student-only vote, Howe and LSA sophomore Hari Vutukuru of the Michigan Vision Party were elected as the student representatives to the committee, which is also comprised of faculty and staff representatives.
Hicks, who removed himself from the race before the votes were cast, remained on the ballot.
Hicks did not respond to interview requests, but in an interview with The Michigan Daily last March, he said he withdrew from the race because of a “hectic schedule,” which was comprised of classes and a 40-hour-per-week internship with United States Rep. John Dingell (D–Ann Arbor).
Hicks’ name remained on the ballot as a result of miscommunication between MSA election officials and the candidate, officials told the Daily last spring.
Despite his withdrawal from the contest, Hicks told the Daily last March that if elected he would accept the seat on the committee. However, he also said he wasn’t fully knowledgeable on what his responsibilities as a representative would be, or what the function of the committee was.
“As far of the details, I’m not quite sure,” he said at the time.
In an e-mail interview, MSA President Chris Armstrong said Hicks will start work on the committee as soon as possible.
“Deandre is away for the summer, but as soon as he returns, he will be attending the next DPS Oversight Committee meeting to officially replace Ellie,” Armstrong wrote in the e-mail.
In an e-mail interview with the Daily, Howe wrote that her resignation was a result of other conflicting priorities.
“I was taking summer classes, working, and trying to plan an affordable trip to Europe,” Howe wrote. “It was a very overwhelming and stressful time and I felt in over my head.
“It would have been possible to stay on, and sometimes I wish I had, but I realized that when your family needs you, there are some things you have to give up,” Howe added. “So I made the difficult decision to leave, and the committee was very understanding.”