OUSC president, vice president end term with final proposal


Elyse Gregory

OUSC leaders Zack Thomas and Anders Engnell talk about plans for the future.

To fully accomplish their goal of serving students first, Oakland University Student Congress President Zack Thomas and Vice President Anders Engnell want to add more representation to the student government.

They have proposed the addition of representatives from the Graduate Council and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, along with a few other changes to OUSC’s constitution.

The proposal passed through Student Congress and is waiting on further approval. The bill is on the OUSC elections ballot, which is open March 20-24. If the students approve the bill, it will go to the Board of Trustees.

Graduate representation

“We’ve been asked by graduate students where the graduate representation is,” Thomas said. “Bringing the Graduate Council will make a structure for grad-students to fix grad student issues.”

Thomas and Engnell hope the bill will incite more action to improve life for graduate students.

“The goal is to have this council there to represent graduate students,” Engnell said. “OUSC will take their feedback and turn that feedback into action using Student Congress resources.”

As the bill stands right now, the Graduate Council would internally elect a member to voice his or her concerns to OUSC. The member may or may not be a legislator for OUSC — that would be up to the next president and vice president.

“It depends a lot on how future administrations interpret it,” Thomas said.

Student-athlete representation

OUSC currently has representatives from the Greek Council and the Residence Halls Association. Thomas and Engnell want to round that off by adding a representative for the athlete population.

The representative would come from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which already exists as the student-athlete government.

“They deserve a seat at our table, too,” Thomas said.

Like the Graduate Council, SAAC would internally elect one of its members to be the OUSC representative.

“It would be the total equivalent to the Greek Council representative and the RHA representative,” Engnell said. “They’ll bring us athlete issues and have a vote in our legislation.”

Other changes

Aside from the two large additions, Thomas and Engnell proposed some language changes in the constitution for clarification purposes. They also want to remove the requirement that students who want to be involved with OUSC have to first become legislators.

“The idea with this is to increase student involvement in Student Congress,” Thomas said.

For example, Engnell said OUSC’s judiciary committee is currently made up of only legislators. This change would avoid conflicts of interest in the event a legislator does something wrong. If committees have non-legislator members on them, they will be more balanced.

Moving forward

With elections taking place this week, it’s almost time for Thomas and Engnell to leave office. Thomas will still be around OU, continuing his graduate program. Engnell will be attending graduate school at the University of Southern California after he graduates this April.

“I’m excited to close off this year and transition to a new administration,” Thomas said. “I’m very satisfied with this year.”

Engnell shared his sense of accomplishment.

“We’re proud of what we’ve done,” he said.

Lena Mischack and Joe Shkoukani are the only candidates running for president and vice president, respectively. There are also 13 students hoping to secure one of 23 open legislator positions. 

Elections are open until March 24. Vote at oakland.edu/voteou.