As the University Party disbands and some of its members decide
to run independently, a new party, the Other Political Party, will
be going against the Defend Affirmative Action Party and Students
First in this month’s student government elections.

Beth Dykstra
Members of the Other Political Party, a new student party, discuss the upcoming Michigan Student Assembly elections in the Tap Room of the Michigan Union yesterday. Elections begin at the end of March. (JOEL FRIEDMAN/Daily)

Former U Party member Anita Leung said she disagrees with the
party system partly because of high campaign expenses, hinting at
reasons why the party disbanded.

“The party system has gone out of control … a
candidate should not have to spend money to be part of student
government,” said Leung. “We are one of the few Big Ten
schools that have parties.”

Members of both the U Party and OPP commented on the high cost
of waging a campaign on the party level. However, OPP members said
they support the party system because it is more realistic and
makes elections fairer and more regulated.

One of the main goals of OPP is to establish direct
communication between the Michigan Student Assembly and the student
body, said OPP vice presidential candidate Matthew Lapinski, who
has never served on MSA.

He added that the OPP wants to reach out to non voting students
to make sure they have an opportunity to voice their opinion.

“We are really out to get a lot of people who don’t
really vote,” OPP candidate Katie Tobias said.

The members said they want to ensure students that their
campaign issues are feasible.

“We’re not going to run on things that can’t
be done,” said Lapinski. “We want people to vote and
actually take a stance on what they think government should

Some of the main issues that OPP chose to focus on are school
spirit, the bus system and tenants’ rights.

“We need to increase school spirit to increase unity among
students,” said Kinesiology candidate Ryan Shienska.
“We want to bring more University-sponsored pep rallies and
buses that take students to football games, like at Notre Dame and
University of Wisconsin.”

Members wanted to establish more late night bus routes for the
safety of students and expand the bus routes to include areas such
as south of Hill Street.

Tenants’ rights and involvement with the Ann Arbor City
Council was also an imperative topic for the OPP.

The OPP is also concerned about off-campus housing issues and
wants to deal with this issue by lobbying the City Council,
Lapinski said.

“We want to create a student group that is linked to City
Council,” added OPP candidate Mike Affeldt.

Members said they are really excited about talking to students
and keeping communication open between MSA and the various schools.
“We want to mesh all the schools,” Tobias said.

The new party wants to put a twist on its campaign strategy and
make it more personal.

“We do not want to be overbearing, but we want students to
come to us,” said party member Brent Carr, who is running for
a seat on MSA. “We would rather the students see our faces in
person than on a flyer.”

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