During last spring’s MSA elections, the Michigan Vision Party campaigned and won an election with the promise to return control of student government to its rightful owners, the students. As part of this campaign, MVP also promised to maintain trust between students.
Last semester marked a slow start as the new executive board took time to settle in, and summer vacation arrived soon after the transition. The plans they had only begun to set into motion earned the Assembly and the leadership a grade of C+ from me. Excuses like time needed for transition and the onset of vacation are no longer rational — if MSA is to receive a passing grade for its work this term, it needs to produce real results.
This is not to say that progress toward our vision has not been attempted or partially realized. Readers of the Daily may have noted the attempts to reform the period of time known as “Community Concerns” so that only germane, student business is discussed. Unfortunately, despite the clear mandate we received for our vision in the last election, MVP still does not have a firm hold on the Assembly to pass each of our reforms. This has certainly not kept us from trying to bring more transparency to the Assembly and returning it to students, and I am pleased to note this progress.
Specifically, the forthcoming Constitutional Convention has great potential to make MSA more relevant to students and constituent groups. It provides the chance for students from across campus to fix or dismiss things that aren’t working, as well as create something that has an opportunity to actually matter to students. Changing the Constitution could be a huge step toward making MSA a true student government rather than the bureaucratic, unwieldy institution that it currently is. This step toward a convention that will help to represent all corners of campus is unprecedented. Plenty of small changes have been made. But our vision is for fundamental overhaul. The Convention improves the Assembly’s grade from a C+ to a B.
But should you care?
We’ve already spoken a bit about the potential of the Convention, but there is so much more that can also be done as we work toward making the Assembly more accountable, transparent, and relevant to students. These ideas cannot be accomplished without the other two principles guiding it, and a constant influx of new participants is necessary to keep our vision alive. MSA Mondays, an improved block M and a Campus Leaders Luncheon are only the beginning of our campus improvement effort, but we need your help to continually improve. Our biggest obstacle is not the Constitution or the Assembly itself — it is the apathy that has plagued the Assembly for so long.
I’d like to issue an invitation and a challenge to join the Michigan Vision Party. Our mass meeting, internal elections, and information for candidates will be today at 8:00 p.m. in 3460 Mason Hall. This is your assembly and your school: What’s your vision?
This viewpoint was written by Bradon Smith on behalf of the Michigan Vision Party.