MSA forum discusses Dream Act resolution, fees

President Bob Bruininks attended the forum to give an update.

Amber Kispert

It was a relatively quiet forum for the Minnesota Student Association on Tuesday, but University President Bob Bruininks came and added some flare.

Bruininks attended the forum to update MSA on what’s been going on with the University.

Capital enhancement fee

Bruininks discussed a possible student fee that would go toward on-campus building maintenance.

“I’m not sure what I want to do about this yet, except talk about it,” he said.

If the fee is implemented, it would cost students approximately $12.50 a semester, helping to eliminate the need for state bonds to maintain campus buildings, Bruininks said.

The program would last for about six years.

“This fee would create a sizable pool of money that could be used to retire bonds,” Bruininks said.

There will be more discussions about this fee in the future, but he said right now it’s just something that’s on the table.

“It is a way for you, in this point in time, to make a commitment to the future of the University of Minnesota,” he said.

DREAM Act

MSA passed a resolution in support of the Minnesota Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act. The resolution also urges the University’s Board of Regents to support the act’s passage in the Minnesota Legislature.

The DREAM Act allows students who attend high school in Minnesota for at least three years to be eligible for in-state tuition, despite not being permanent U.S. residents.

The University has the option of doing this now, but nothing will be required until the act is approved by the federal government, Legislative Affairs Committee chairwoman Alicia Smith said.

“We are taking a good first step,” she said.

Relay for Life

MSA granted Colleges Against Cancer a $2,500 grant for its Special Events Fund, to go toward the Relay for Life event later this semester.

John Kieffer from Colleges Against Cancer was in attendance and asked forum members to think about cancer in terms of their own lives.

“When you think about cancer, think of how it affected you personally,” he said.

Relay for Life will cost a total of $14,628, according to the 2008 Relay for Life budget.

Light rail

Bruininks expressed his disappointment in the Central Corridor light rail being planned to be at-grade rather than in an underground tunnel.

“We’re Minnesota Gophers and we like to be underground,” he said. “That’s where we belong.”

The light rail is going to create gridlock, Bruininks said.

Budget request

Because Bruininks will be speaking at the Minnesota House of Representatives today about University funding, he urged students to come and make their voices heard.

“When a state or a community or a family has an economic challenge, everyone needs to roll up their sleeves and be part of the solution,” he said.

Smith proposed that forum members could draft a letter addressing the budget cut, and Bruininks could bring it with him to lawmakers.

“We can do this so we don’t get completely drawn out of the picture,” she said.