MSA criticizes council historic vote, Daily ads

by Jens Krogstad

The Minnesota Student Association Forum passed resolutions opposing the historic preservation of greek housing and demanded tighter screening of The Minnesota Daily’s classified housing advertisements at its meeting Tuesday.

MSA Forum member Ryan Johnson, also a fraternity member, sponsored the resolution opposing the Minneapolis City Council’s decision to declare greek houses historic.

“Why this is a bad idea and where the threat arises is that there are no funds,” he said.

Johnson said a greek house that recently needed a $20,000 roof repair that would have cost $100,000 under historic designation.

He said such costs would eventually force greeks out of the houses, which he said is the historic designation’s ultimate goal.

“People use this as a political tool, and that’s just not acceptable,” he said. “People want to kick the greek community out of the neighborhood.”

MSA Forum member Josh Colburn said historic designation can only work in greeks’ favor.

“The purpose is to maintain historical integrity, not tear down the buildings,” he said.

MSA has no authority on the historic designation issue. The historic designation took effect Friday when the City Council voted to approve it.

Demands of Daily

MSA Vice President Jeff Nath sponsored a successful resolution he hopes would require the Daily to exclude landlords with frequent student complaints from its housing classified advertisements.

In an applause-drawing speech, he said the University is updating its off-campus housing directory to eliminate “troublesome” landlords and the Daily should do the same.

“The Daily should be more responsible in their listings,” he said. “We want them to help out the students.”

He said the Daily’s First Amendment protections do not apply because the newspaper is partially funded by student fees.

“Because (the Daily) is a subsidized newspaper by the students, they owe us some responsibility,” he said.

If the Daily refuses to comply with the resolution, Nath said MSA would recommend the newspaper’s student fees be cut or reduced.

The Daily’s president, Joseph McKenzie, said in a prepared statement that while the newspaper respects MSA’s efforts to improve student safety, it cannot comply because the Daily must remain neutral.

“It is by no means our objective to undermine MSA, but it is the Daily’s responsibility to be an unbiased observer and reporter on the campus community, and not a participant in policy-making,” he said.