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MSU Student Gov. Spends Thousands for #ElectHer Program

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Author: Grant Layle

In January 2019, the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) General Assembly allocated $5,000 to a program called #ElectHer.

The #ElectHer program is “a one-day nonpartisan training for women on how to run for student government [and] political office,” according to the sponsor Running Start.

In a previous General Assembly meeting, the original #ElectHer proposal allocated $2,000. However, the second proposal allocated the $5,000.

“Young men are more likely than young women to be socialized by their parents and encouraged by their peers to think about politics as career path,” the proposal states.

“[W]omen make up a mere 24.9 percent of all state legislators nationwide and 19.8 percent of the United States Congress,” the proposal continued.

ASMSU Rep. Kathrine Gray presented the bill that would bring the seminar to Michigan State.

“I think reaching out to minority communities and encouraging interested individuals...has potentially enormous benefits,” Gray said.

Quickly into the discussion, an alternative idea to #ElectHer was suggested, as reported in the State News.

ASMSU Rep. Sergei Kelley proposed a program designed to engage all students, instead of women specifically. Dante Booker, the Diversity and Inclusion Liaison pushed back.

“The starting line isn’t at the same place...when we look at the road to a GA [General Assembly] seat...there has to be extra resources allocated in certain places to people that are part of a certain demographic,” said Booker. “That’s because of systematic barriers that are in place...nothing to do with individual life competencies.”

Representative Gray indicated that the program does not openly discriminate and is open to anyone.

Several others proceeded to speak on the need to elect more women in high U.S. government positions, and that the #ElectHer seminar would support this initiative.

“The general career and political seminars are great...we can do those too, but this one [ElectHer] serves a need,” said Elizabeth Medlin, a representative of the Music College and Finance Committee Chair.

The Morning Watch reached out to the presidents of the MSU College Democrats and the MSU College Republicans for comment on the political training program #ElectHer.

“I believe the intent is good...but if the goal is to educate as many people interested in becoming active in politics as possible it will be important to inform students that it is not only for female students,” Aleks Oslapas, president of the College Republicans told The Morning Watch.

No comment was received from the MSU College Democrats in time for publication.

The #ElectHer legislation passed with 2 against, ASMSU representatives Sergei Kelley and John Binkowski.

Contributor: Grant Layle

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