The University Elections Commission wishes to express its complete disapproval of the U-M administration’s decision to unilaterally end voting on AR 13-025 and AR 13-026 at 10:00am on November 30th.
As many on campus know, two petitions were considered by the University's Central Student Government (CSG) legislative body. To reach the Assembly, the aforementioned petitions needed a minimum of 1,000 verified student signatures, and the confirmation of constitutionality by the Central Student Judiciary (CSJ). Both petitions passed through public hearings conducted by CSJ’s Election’s Court, and were thus considered as petition-resolutions to be brought to CSG’s Assembly. Both petition-resolutions failed to pass in the Assembly. According to the University’s All Campus Constitution, when a petition-resolution fails in the Assembly, the items are then added as ballot questions in either the next election cycle, or a special election. This is precisely how AR 13-025: University Accountability in the Face of Genocide and AR 13-026: CSG Response to Atrocities in the Middle East came to fruition on the ballot for this November election cycle.
Yesterday at 10:05am, an email was released through the University of Michigan system to the student body. We are aware that there have been allegations of student emails being “stolen” in order for this email to be sent. This is not true. This email was approved by University personnel prior to its release through University channels. Additionally, the CSG Compiled Code does not include any regulations on promoting or opposing student petitions over email or in general. Therefore, while it is possible that CSG policies may change in the coming months as a result of this email, our current Elections Code was not violated by the mass email that was sent.
Let there be no mistake: the decision to close the ballot was not made by the Central Student Government, or our Commission. The Elections Team was not responsible for this decision, nor were any of us consulted by U-M administrators before this decision was made. This was an action taken by U-M administrators to stop students from voting on important, student-launched ballot questions. This represents an unprecedented attempt by U-M officials to shut down student voices and their votes.
The Commission isn’t advocating for either petition-resolution, or anything else on the ballot. We have seen unprecedented student activism on campus around these elections, and we support all students’ efforts to amplify their voices. But we don’t support one side over the other. We’re here to impartially administer the CSG elections. We’ve done that through polling tables, content-neutral awareness emails, and signs throughout buildings all across campus. We side with no one except the student body at large. We support students’ rights to vote in alignment with their beliefs on all of these issues. Sadly, the administration seems to disagree with this position.
We hope to relaunch these petition-resolutions in the coming weeks, and we are continuing to administer the remaining CSG elections that have not been influenced by U-M administration’s overreach.
The University Elections Commission
This is a statement by the University Elections Commission, and does not represent the views of any member or part of CSG outside the Commission.