By YOUSUF ALI, Opinions Editor
Yousuf Ali is the Opinions Editor at the Michigan Journal. Yousuf’s views do not necessarily represent those of the Michigan Journal.
Understandably many Americans, especially college students, are disillusioned when it comes to politics. The presidential campaign has basically been a giant circus with two unpopular presidential candidates on the top of the ticket. Therefore, many people of our age group plan simply not to vote on election day. Although I empathize with those who don’t want to vote in the presidential election, that is no reason to completely abstain from voting. This is because there is far more on the ballot that matters besides the presidential election. These range from state-wide elections to who runs the school board. In the case of students at the University of Michigan, they should be paying particular attentions to the election for the Board of Regents.
The Board of Regents make major decisions that affect all three of the University of Michigan campuses: Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn. Amongst the many matters decided by the board are the tuition rates, approval of professorial appointments, librarians and the appointment of administrators. Needless to say, the decisions that they make have profound impact on the lives of students. As such, I shall give my thoughts, as a University of Michigan student, on the major candidates for the Board of Regents:
- Regent Denise Ilitch (D) Out of all the candidates, she is my favorite. As a regent, she has consistently opposed raising the already exorbitant tuition rates that University of Michigan students have to pay every semester. Rather, she believes that more of the costs should be paid for by the state of Michigan and the university should look for alternative sources of funding. Furthermore, she voiced support for non-voting representation of students or faculty in a recent candidates forum. As the decisions by the University administration seem to make less and less sense to students and faculty, it is essential that their voices be heard during the decision making process that affects their lives the most. Given her views and track record, I highly recommend that voters return Denise Ilitch to the Board of Regents.
- Regent Laurence Deitch (D) Out of all the major candidates, he is probably my least favorite. Not only did he vote for increases in tuition, he said that he favors a high tuition and high financial aid model at the aforementioned candidates forum. Additionally, he does not see the value in allowing for faculty or student representation on the Board of Regents. Sure, he did say some bad things about Trump, but that hardly makes him a good regent. I think he succinctly summed up his agenda when he said he plans to accomplish “more of the same”. The same is not good enough.
- Candidate Ron Weiser (R): Ron Weiser has the distinction of being the only Republican who I intend to vote for next week. In addition to opposing tuition increases, his proposals for cross-campus engagement are a breath of fresh air. On his website, he states that students at the Dearborn and Flint campuses “should have access to the same quality of classes, professors, rights and privileges” as Ann Arbor students. Having seen remarkable progress on this front with President Mark Schlissel, electing Ron Weiser would definitely send the right message in support of his work in improving the relationship between the three campuses
- Candidate Carl Meyers (R): While he does have some positive points, his views are, on the whole, unimpressive. Sure, he does favor more resources going to the Dearborn campus; however, he is rather vague in his proposals for increasing transparency in decision making. Also, his proposal to limit the percentage of out-of-state or international students is not in the best interest of the university or the state of Michigan. We benefit by bringing talent in from out of state. Due to these flaws, Meyers falls short of receiving one of my two votes for the Board of Regents election.
Without any doubt, the Board of Regents election is one of the most important choices for University of Michigan students. The decisions that they make impact all aspects of University life. Also, the candidates offer a great opportunity for the Dearborn and Flint campuses to improve their standing relative to Ann Arbor. Since only two of 10 candidates will be elected, we must consider the choices carefully. Above, I have presented my view on who the best choices are for us. I urge all readers to do their own research into the candidates before making this important decision.