MSA to sponsor

by Rebecca Czaplewski

In an effort to promote diversity on campus, members of the Minnesota Student Association voted Tuesday to support a May event featuring workshops and a nationally known speaker on affirmative action.
The event, which is organized by MSA’s Diversity Task Force, will cost $13,000. The Forum voted to contribute $2,000 to the event. The remainder of funds will come from various grants and sponsorships.
The workshops will showcase an appearance by Lani Guinier, a law professor at Harvard Law School. Guinier was President Clinton’s initial candidate for assistant attorney general for civil rights and is well-versed on affirmative action.
Members debated the necessity of funding the event and speaker, especially in light of recent cuts to MSA’s budget.
Forum member Jesse Berglund felt that Guinier may be too radical a choice to bring to the University.
“She’s very controversial; this will be a very biased thing on affirmative action,” Berglund said. “She’s a very criticized person by both the left and the right.”
Other Forum members welcomed Guinier’s viewpoint and MSA’s responsibility to represent all University students through the event. MSA member Brandon Lacy Campos cited the University’s reputation as one of the least-diverse universities in the Big Ten.
“To promote and protect students of color is very much MSA’s job,” Lacy said. “It’s an absolute necessity and importance to keep our students of color here.”
MSA member Anders Carlson said Guinier’s controversial reputation on the subject would be an asset to the University.
“She’s of a controversial nature, but we’re in college and here to be challenged,” Carlson said.
Forum members also passed five other resolutions, some dealing with the internal operations of MSA, such as attendance measures and slight constitution changes.
In other resolutions, forum members voted to sponsor the MSA Presidential Debates, held by the All-Campus Elections Commission.
One resolution that was voted down by members dealt with MSA’s traditional moment of silence. In an effort to streamline the association, MSA President Nikki Kubista, authored a resolution to do away with the traditional moment of silence, which speaker Ben Bowman said usually lasts about 30 seconds at the beginning of each forum meeting.
“A way to work faster and work better is to get rid of the extra baggage,” Kubista said. “It’s something that we do, but holds no real value for the students.”
The subject of silence soon turned to debate as members voted to keep with tradition and save the moment.