Last March, the students of the University voted for a change in their student government. Tired of having a student assembly that didn’t focus on them, they elected Michigan Vision Party candidates for president and vice president, as well as for nine out of 11 representative seats. These were candidates committed toward making the Michigan Student Assembly transparent, accountable and focused on students.

Since MVP joined the assembly, our representatives have done a tremendous amount of work to serve students and ensure that the assembly focuses on their needs. MVP representatives have played significant roles in organizing Go Blue, Beat OSU Week and the Block M at Michigan Stadium. They have also organized MSA Mondays on the Diag, helped to make campus a welcome environment for student veterans, focused the assembly on students by banning non-students from speaking at assembly meetings and called for professors to post course syllabuses during registration.

While a lot of good work for students has been accomplished, there have also been significant shortfalls that reflect the need for increased transparency, accountability and focus on students. This past week it was revealed that MSA executives, led by MVP’s president and vice president, Abhishek Mahanti and Mike Rorro, mishandled their role in overseeing the Department of Public Safety. MSA executives claimed they followed the advice of the University’s General Counsel. But this is no excuse. In fact, it’s rather disturbing because it suggests that our executives are following the guidance of the University administration rather than the student body, whom they are charged with representing.

This is the Michigan STUDENT Assembly. We should expect elected representatives to look out for student interests and know when to resist attempts by the administration to interfere with student governance. Excuses and rationalizations are unacceptable. Fumbling key issues like the DPS Oversight Committee should not be tolerated and, in keeping with our principles, MVP is holding MSA and its candidates accountable for their actions.

Accountability not only means calling people out when necessary, but also working to fix the problems we see. With regards to the DPS oversight issue, we have a candidate, Josh Buoy, running in this fall’s election. He is committed to holding DPS accountable and, in light of the recent influx in crime alerts, working to improve campus safety. When MVP sees or hears of MSA not doing its job, it is committed to not only calling out the assembly but also addressing the problems it sees.

With the fall elections just around the corner, we are proud to say that our current slate of candidates reflects our core principles of transparency, accountability and a student focus. Each of our candidates brings a unique vision of how MSA can better serve and represent the student body. These visions include hosting “campus hall meetings” at which students can meet and talk with representatives, bringing big name performers to campus, updating the student organization funding process, streamlining campus information resources and protecting students’ rights.

As previously mentioned, MVP has done a lot of good work on the assembly, but Michigan deserves more. The Michigan Vision Party is committed to serving students and fixing the problems that we see with the assembly. Our vision remains the same: to restore transparency and accountability to MSA. We believe that our candidates, with their strong belief in these core principles, are what the assembly needs in order to make MSA once again relevant.

Help us continue the vision. We invite you to share your vision for MSA with us at whatsyourvision@umich.edu, and check out our website, www.michiganvisionparty.com. Finally, we urge you to vote Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.

John Lin is the message chair of the Michigan Vision Party.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.