MSA decries administrative ‘intervention

President Kaler released a divestment statement before the group discussed the issue

by Nick Wicker

Tensions rose between student leaders and administration after University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler released a statement hours before two contentious student resolutions reached discussion. 
The Minnesota Student Association voted Tuesday to postpone conversations on a proposal for divestment from Israel and another calling to stop anti-Semitism on campus. 
Before the meeting, President Eric Kaler released a statement showing disapproval of both measures, which led MSA President Joelle Stangler and Vice President Abeer Syedah to release their own statement Wednesday
Their statement said Kaler “intervened in the actions of the undergraduate student government, prioritizing potential [public relations] or legislative consequences over the student voice.”
Stangler said the break from usual relations with Kaler came from a pileup of instances in which he spoke out on MSA discussions, like the affirmative consent proposals last summer. 
Before Tuesday’s meeting, Kaler received a letter signed by DFL and GOP legislative leaders urging him to disavow the student divestment movement.
Stangler said Kaler should have told students about the legislators’ concerns, adding that many in the MSA meeting didn’t know about the letter. 
“People were in a state of feeling that their agency had been taken away from them because the president decided to insert an opinion into the discussion,” Stangler said. 
If Kaler doesn’t start “taking student voices seriously,” MSA should pull support from yearly student lobbying for the administration, Support the U Day, she said.
Stangler said she and Syedah will meet with Kaler next week to demand the president “stop intervening with student discussions” before deciding whether to move ahead with suspension of lobbying effort. 
“I would love to be able to walk out of our meeting on Wednesday with the president with a renewed partnership,” she said. “But if that doesn’t happen … we need to seriously consider whether we can ask our peers to support the institution.”