Experience and boldness needed in times of crisis

by Thomas Trehus and Lauren Himle

ItâÄôs that time of the year again: student government elections. Last year, approximately 88 percent of the undergraduate student population either didnâÄôt know there was an election or simply didnâÄôt care to vote. The year before that, a whopping 97 percent of undergraduates failed to vote in AprilâÄôs elections.
By looking at these numbers, a vast majority of students are largely unaware of campus-wide elections, or simply did not take the two minutes necessary to vote. But in a time when tuition and fees are skyrocketing out of control and some may be losing their space on the second floor of Coffman Union, taking the time to vote for the right candidate may be as important as ever.
Now is the time to pay attention to whom you put in charge of your student government. LetâÄôs be frank: The future of this University and the future of this state is in peril. Earlier this week the state Legislature passed a budget bill that would reduce the University of MinnesotaâÄôs funding back to 1998 levels. In 1998, most of us were in elementary school, Bill Clinton was in denial and the Spice Girls were dominating the charts. This $200 million cut would mean more double-digit tuition increases, bigger class sizes and a lower quality of
education for students.
As the political director of MSAâÄôs Legislative Certificate Program, I am at the state Capitol two to three days per week, making sure legislators realize how devastating these cuts would be to students. I am the only candidate for student body president fighting for students right now. There is no reason the president of MSA should not be talking to policymakers in St. Paul about these issues. In times like these, we need the experience and expertise necessary to stand up for students.
This kind of advocacy doesnâÄôt stop at the state Capitol. As leaders of MSA, Lauren and I believe in reducing the number of administrators and administrative salaries at the University. We spend far too much money on unneeded bureaucracy and waste. ItâÄôs time we cut back on all forms of overspending.
Lauren and I are the only candidates who understand the real and pertinent issues that face this University.
On campus, an issue that has been in the news lately has been the allocation of space on the second floor of Coffman. In order to preserve and increase diversity at the University, we must not only look at keeping the cultural centers on the second floor, we must move to actually increase space for these cultural centers. One solution to the so-called problems on the second floor would be to relocate the âÄúcampus club,âÄù located on the fourth floor, to another building such as the McNamara Alumni Center. We stand with the multicultural centers.
There is only one approach to solve the many issues we face as students at this University, and that is to stand together as one, in solidarity. Stand up and vote.