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Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

What's in a name? University of Michigan's student government will soon find out

By Kellie Woodhouse

The University of Michigan's student government plans to ditch its 36-year-old name next year in favor of one leaders say better describes the organization.

The Michigan Student Assembly is in the process of changing its name to Central Student Government.

The change marks an effort to clear up confusion among U-M students about what MSA really is, confusion that MSA President DeAndree Watson says stunts student involvement in U-M's main governing body, which has existed since 1906.


Michigan Student Assembly President DeAndree Watson

"This organization no longer is structured as an assembly," Watson said.

The MSA ratified a new constitution last year that created three branches within the organization, executive, legislative and judicial.

The legislative branch has two bodies, one called the Student Assembly, made up of representatives from each school, and another called the University Council, comprised of representatives from other U-M student governments.

"It's really confusing for one piece of the organiztion to be called the Student Assembly and the entire organization to be called the Michigan Student Assembly."

MSA last changed its name in 1976. Before that, it was called the Student Government Council.

Watson said that students are often confused by MSA's name. At events, he usually gets multiple inquiries about what the MSA is and does.

"We always respond that it’s the central student government, so actually calling the organization what it is will relieve some ambiguity," he said.

But Watson hopes the name change will do more than clear up confusion.

"We’re also using this as an opportunity to really redefine our role on campus," he said, explaining that he wants more students to engage in student government activities.

The U-M Board of Regents must approve the name change at its December meeting before the MSA Student Assembly can vote to approve it in January.

Watson said he has received positive feedback from university administration regarding the switch.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Tom Joad

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

Sounds incredibly high schoolish. Central High Student Government, first thing to come to mind.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:03 p.m.

So this is what they do? Nothing?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

I am glad that the Michigan Student Government thinks that this is really important. Who knows what other great tasks they will take on? :)


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

There is a 99% probability of ......


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

How about "Peoples' Glorious Central Student Government of Justice"? One word for each of the seven peope who care. The "of" person does get a little shorted, though.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

Whatever floats the proverbial boat, I guess.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

Not quite sure why they need a judicial branch...they carry no legal weight right? Oh wait, Moot Court? doesn't moot say it all....


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

Are they serious? Why not just rename as "SDS"?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

Tom? Tom Hayden? How you been, buddy? Glad to see you writing!