Letter from the Candidate: USG Vice Presidential Candidate Michael Thompson

Undergraduate elections at IUPUI will take place on March 7. The Campus Citizen has reached out to the candidates to offer the chance to write a letter to IUPUI students regarding why they deserve your vote. The following is from USG vice presidential candidate Michael Thompson. This letter was published as it was received. 

This election will be a reset.

In the past, we haven’t had outreach on any broad level, students don’t know who we are or what we do. Our advocacy has up till now been largely limited to things like the food court, due in part to a failure of leadership to engage the broader student body and a failure of the senate to get down in the mud and straight up dirty in order to fight for the voice of the students.

We don’t have an effective student outreach because most senators don’t have a clue about what senate can do or how to employ that power properly. Recently, when polled by the executive, most didn’t even know the proper way to write a piece of legislation, something that is absolutely vital to fully represent students you are supposed to serve. The training that senators are just now receiving should have happened at the start of the year and needs to be much more in-depth and something that every senator receives prior to taking the floor to represent the student body. I believe that the lack of tools available to senators to help them reach out on a personal level to the student body is also a symptom of this issue. You should know when a senator is in your class, not because they say something, but because you see them representing you.

On the issue of broader student advocacy, I feel that the current administration has been far too politically correct and I think this needs to change if we are going to make significant headway on the major issues we currently face like banded tuition. While I believe that all major administrative levels should be kept open and working as long as possible, not bringing the full weight of the student body to bear on top officials at the school is a mistake. Hearing students talk about how the current executive team isn’t doing enough to fight it pains me. Once again I’m struck by the lack of personal outreach at the top levels of student government. Sope, my running mate, has shown me firsthand what governing from beside students looks like. There is a power in being laid back in approach, by conducting business out in the open and just laying everything out on the table as it happens. This has brought the campaign help from people I would have bet the farm would never have supported us. It has also showed me how many students are willing to get behind things that are generally considered boring in political circles.

The campaign we have ran doesn’t end if we get elected, we intend to use the lessons we’ve learned in public outreach to help grow the Senate, to help the senate with reach out to the student body and better communicating in the most up to date way possible, what we are doing and where we see this going for the whole of USG. Senate should be the powerhouse of the student government on campus, but it won’t get there unless certain steps are taken to make that happen. Sope and I are committed to working to build up the Senate from the Executive, giving them every possible tool to represent the student body as closely as possible, the way it was meant to be done.