Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan students elected Chris Armstrong as the president of the Michigan Student Assembly on Thursday, making him the first openly gay student body president in the University’s history.
Armstrong, a junior in Sociology, said he wants to bring student advocacy and activism back to the assembly, including activism on LGBT rights.
As the chair of MSA’s LGBT Commission for the past two years, Armstrong was instrumental in bringing the 2011 Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Ally College Conference to the University of Michigan.
Last summer, Armstrong interned at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund in Washington, D.C., a political action committee that works to elect openly gay politicians to public office. Armstrong said he is “elated” to be part of such a historic moment at his campus.
“The significance of this event really demonstrates the diversity of this University,” Armstrong said. “The ability of this campus to elect an openly gay president to lead them is something that students should be proud of, and the LGBT Community should be proud of.”
Armstrong, along with newly elected vice president and Business School junior Jason Raymond, formed MForward as a new party for student government this year. The two said their party is unique because it brings together campus leaders from diverse student organizations and communities who are “committed to making MSA the progressive, active body it has the potential to be.”
MForward ran on a platform of advocacy and collaboration. Under Armstrong’s leadership, they plan to spearhead social justice initiatives like a gender neutral housing option and saturday night dining in the residence halls, and lobby the administration and state legislators for a tuition freeze. Armstrong said he believes they can accomplish these goals by drawing from their own experience and relationships with campus leaders.
All 17 of the MForward representative candidates, in addition to Armstrong and Raymond, were elected March 25. The competing parties, the Michigan Vision Party and the Defend Affirmative Action Party, elected two candidates each.
Voter turnout in the election, which took place online March 24 and 25, was at 14 percent, the highest it has been in years, according to the Michigan Daily. Armstrong and Raymond beat out MVP’s presidential and vice presidential candidates by 20 percentage points.
Armstrong said he believes this represents the desire among students for a new, “truly engaged and active” assembly.