The Minnesota Student Association will hold forum in a new location Tuesday where the budget will be the primary issue.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will speak in Fraser Hall to the forum attendants, followed by a discussion of MSA’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13.
The presentation by Kaler and a question and answer session is scheduled to take half an hour.
“It’ll be exciting for all of our new members to get to hear the President speak,” said Sophie Wallerstedt, MSA speaker of the forum.
The proposed budget will include decreased spending on the staff, partly because the chief of staff position will be eliminated, said MSA President Taylor Williams.
In addition, the budget will increase the percentage of funds going to programming rather than operational expenses, he said.
An increase in presidential compensation is also worked into the proposed budget, Williams said. Rather than a salary increase, the proposed compensation is a stipend intended to cover the presidential hours put in during the summer to clean up some tax issues.
“He’s not hoping to set a precedent by paying the president this much more money each year,” Wallerstedt said.
In 2011-12, MSA entered the budgeting process with a $30,000 carryover from the previous year.
“What that says is that we didn’t really use student service fees money to its fullest potential because so much was left over,” Williams said.
This year, the carryover is $4,000, Williams said, “which is excellent, I believe.”
A new director of Facilities, Housing and Transit will be elected Tuesday. The previous director of FHT, Kyle Olson, resigned after accepting a position on Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign, Williams said.
There are 155 members of MSA so far this year, surpassing last year’s peak membership count of 75, Wallerstedt said.
The increase is partly attributed to the addition of non-voting individuals, who have not previously been listed as official members of MSA. In the past, these individuals could sit in on forums and hear about what was going on, “but they weren’t technically a part of student government,” said Liz Joyce, MSA director of student outreach and engagement.
This year, general non-voting members were recruited during Welcome Week, Joyce said. An MSA-appointed Welcome Week director helped organize events like a grill out in the Superblock and a barbeque with the Black Student Union to increase students’ awareness of MSA and the opportunity to become a general member.
“We have a very strong mission this year to bring a diverse range of members into MSA,” she said. “It really helps us to have more people, more voices.”