Most of the attention focused on the Michigan Student Assembly in recent years has centered on an election scandal that ended in a felony conviction, a president resigning in disgrace and an apparent transformation into a debate society. Recently, MSA has debated the conflict in Gaza.

It is hard to take MSA seriously with this record, so we understand that you may not have been paying attention.

By any measure, MSA has failed to fulfill its promises. Every student at this University has great potential — why hasn’t this translated to the student government?

In our time at MSA, it has become clear that the current culture does not recognize that the student should hold the government accountable for its actions. The lack of responsibility and transparency in an institution that is supposed to represent the student body has made MSA inaccessible and unrepresentative. It’s not surprising that voter turnout is so low. Much of MSA’s current work does not merit positive attention and is merely self-indulgent debate to fill the agenda.
With these failures in mind, the Michigan Vision Party has tried to change the stagnant “business (or lack thereof) as usual” attitude. If you’ve been through the Diag as of late, you may have had someone ask you — or seen a T-shirt asking, “What’s your vision?” Rather than resorting to simply handing out flyers that you will inevitably throw away, we have urged you to give us something.

Our vision is a student government that addresses student concerns and is relevant to campus, rather than a government that recycles old personnel and talking points. We don’t want to be re-elected on a promise to refocus. We don’t want to “re” anything. Instead, we want to fundamentally change the culture of MSA. Our vision should be synonymous with your concerns. This can only be done if students have a student government that they believe will listen and representatives that truly understand student concerns and deliver real results. This is probably the biggest difference between MVP and the cadre of students who have managed MAP and the reMICHIGAN campaign. If elected, MVP will insist that MSA focus on issues it is capable of handling.

This is not to say that our impact will be small or limited. MVP wants MSA to work for all students. We will do this by implementing plans such as a “How to Get a Job” week of resume preparation, interview practice and a job fair for all schools, colleges and departments. We’re committed to making campus greener by placing recycling bins alongside every trash can and encouraging students to print double-sided. We would like to make campus resources more available by creating a Student Help Desk that may not have all the answers but can direct students toward someone who does. We want to contribute to a campus that can respond effectively and holistically to LGBT concerns. We want to be vigilant in handling student safety issues like sexual assault and domestic violence. We will promote a campus as unified as it is diverse while sharing ideas, engaging in dialogue and striving toward our individual and collective potential.

Our vision has many different aspects and concerns because it is a reflection of the student body. MSA should be a similar reflection. But this can only happen when we have an MSA that is accountable, transparent and at work for students. This is our vision. We hope that on Wednesday and Thursday, you’ll help us realize the student body’s potential by voting for the Michigan Vision Party.

This viewpoint was submitted on behalf of the Michigan Vision Party.

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