Although the presidential election is over, University students
should prepare to be bombarded with more campaigning — not
from major politicians, but from fellow students.

Student government elections will take place on Nov. 17 and Nov.
18, and about half the seats on the Michigan Student Assembly, as
well as spots on other governing bodies, are up for grabs.

With Students First — the party that has led the Michigan
Student Assembly for three straight years — disbanding this
year, the two parties competing in the elections are the Defend
Affirmative Action Party and the new Students 4 Michigan Party.

Students 4 Michigan consists mainly of members of the Students
First party, which was reorganized because its leaders said it is
common practice for a party to change names and restructure every
two or three years. DAAP, meanwhile, has been running candidates in
student government elections since 1997.

Candidates will be campaigning door to door in the residence
halls and placing flyers in the mailboxes of residents living in
residence halls in the run up to the election.

More than 50 candidates will run as representatives of the two
parties and as independents, said MSA Rep. Russ Garber, who is
running for reelection this year as a member of Students 4
Michigan. The MSA president and vice president will be elected in
the winter term.

Although many of the members of Students 4 Michigan have been
involved in Students First, “Students 4 Michigan Party does
not have an owner. … This ensures diversity and
representation from all schools,” said Sashai Alvarez, vice
chair of MSA’s Budget Priorities Committee.

“The founders of Students 4 Michigan include many current
MSA and LSA (Student Government) representatives, as well as
students who are new to the government,” Students 4 Michigan
Campaign Manager Monica Woll said.

The Students 4 Michigan party platform says it is committed to
improving campus life for all students. Its members said they
believe in fostering dialogue between student groups and
strengthening outreach programs.

“The party promotes candidates who are accessible,
approachable and accountable, and who are ready and willing to
improve the communication between the student body and its
government,” said Woll, an LSA sophomore.

Founded in 1997, the Defend Affirmative Action Party is the
oldest party running in the MSA elections and the only party
returning from last year.

This year, members are campaign ing to reverse the drop in
minority enrollment at the University, said Kate Stenvig, who is
DAAP’s campaign manager and is running in the election.
Overall minority freshman enrollment in the College of Literature,
Science and the Arts decreased this year, even though the incoming
freshman class is the largest in the University’s
history.

Through a petition campaign, DAAP is demanding that
administration reverse the drop in minority enrollment by
“expanding recruitment, admissions and retention
efforts,” said Stenvig, a Rackham student.

She added that the party wants to make clear that there is a
strong movement on campus toward a greater presence of minorities
at the University and that legal victories, such as the
court’s ruling last year allowing for the general use of race
as an admissions factor, do not guarantee high minority
enrollment.

Last fall, 5,598 students voted in MSA elections. Students First
won a large majority of MSA seats in that election.

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