After nearly 8,500 students voted in last week’s Michigan Student Assembly elections – exceeding last year’s turnout by more than 1,500 voters – Students First Party candidates Angela Galardi and Monique Perry emerged with the top executive officer positions on MSA.
According to official MSA election results, Galardi beat out University Party presidential candidate Jon Clifton and Defend Affirmative Action Party presidential candidate Kate Stenvig for control over the assembly’s executive arm. Galardi and vice presidential running mate Monique Perry garnered 403 more votes than Clifton’s ticket, and 2,709 more votes than Stenvig’s ticket.
Students First candidates also claimed 13 of 25 open representative seats on MSA, with U Party candidates taking another nine and DAAP candidates walking away with two seats total from Rackham and the Law School.
Alluding to her diverse coalition of supporters and representatives, Galardi said her platform, which combined ongoing projects with upcoming campus improvements, was key to the election victory. “The thing on our agenda that’s different from the other agendas was that it really had something on it for every student, whether you were in the Greek system, an athlete, whether you live by the rock or you live by North Campus,” she said. “It wasn’t just geared at one community.”
Students First candidates also saw wins on the LSA Student Government, with LSA junior David Matz picking up the government’s presidency by 429 votes. “We all campaigned really hard, and we all made sure we campaigned for the team,” Matz said. “Student First really picks students who represent their communities.”
Although the U Party failed to attain executive control over MSA and LSA-SG, members said they are confident next fall’s elections will yield more victories.
“(We’ll return) with more vigor and excitement,and I’m excited for next fall,” said MSA Rep Andrew Roskamp, who won one of three seats available for the College of Engineering. “Unfortunately, there was a little bit of the negative influence that we had to endure through, so I think some of that will be gone in the next election.” U Party candidates claimed all three Engineering seats.
“I think a lot of the e-mail rumors went to their advantage, and a lot of the untrue rumors went to their advantage,” MSA presidential runner-up Jon Clifton said, referring to allegations of racism against the U Party over remarks made by candidate Adam Haba. “I think we need to step it up in the next election,” Clifton added.
Looking ahead to the next term, Galardi and Matz said the coexistence of three political parties will not impinge on their ability to unite representatives.
“Everyone’s been getting along well and its not going to be a problem,” Galardi said. “What’s most important is that the reps on the assembly follow us in that attempt to make sure everyone’s working together.”
“LSA-SG has historically been less bipartisan on party lines than MSA,” Matz said. “I’ve met and spoken to a lot of U Party candidates, and I’m sure we’ll all get along together and have a good time.”
When voters logged onto the elections website last week, they viewed an MSA ballot surveying student opinion on the University’s admissions policies. The ballot question followed a trail of concern over an MSA resolution supporting University admissions policies in February.
Out of 6,431 respondents, 2,675 students said they did not support the “use of race-conscious Affirmative Action in (the University’s) admissions policy.” But 2,622 students said they supported the policies, while another 1,134 respondents said they required more information to make a decision.
Although students voted against University admissions policies by an 18-vote margin, Galardi said MSA’s stance on the issue will be determined by student opinion and assembly discretion.
“It’s going to be a combination of both,” she said. “Obviously we’ll have to see how the assembly feels too. We have a whole new assembly starting on Tuesday so it’s going to depend on how they feel too.”