MSA, GAPSA pass fees slate

MSA also passed a position statement opposing the proposed voter ID amendment.

by Tyler Gieseke

The Minnesota Student Association and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly approved the slate of candidates for the Student Services Fees Committee at a joint meeting Tuesday.

The 15 voting members of the SSFC are responsible for distributing student services fees to student groups and administrative units at the University of Minnesota. For 2012-13, the SSFC allocated nearly $29 million in student services fees to almost 90 student groups and University organizations.

Both Katie Saphner and Rebecca Doepke, president of the College Republicans, will serve on the committee for a third year.

MSA Speaker of the Forum Sophie Wallerstedt said she thought selectors for the SSFC did a great job.

“I think it’s a very diverse group of people for each body,” she said.

Candidates for the All-Campus Elections Commission, which organizes the process by which MSA’s and GAPSA’s leaders are chosen, were also approved after little debate.

MSA opposes voter ID amendment

MSA approved a position statement opposing the voter ID amendment on Tuesday, saying its passage would “impact the political power of Minnesota’s youth, especially those in higher education.”

The amendment would require voters to provide valid government-issued photo identification at the polls. MSA is concerned that student IDs may not be considered valid

The statement also says that MSA “opposes such restrictive measures on voting.”

Mitch Menigo, a student representative on MSA from the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, co-authored the position statement with College of Liberal Arts Senator Andie Whitaker.

 “[The amendment] could very much adversely affect students voting,” Menigo told the forum.

Instead of debating on whether MSA should approve the amendment or not, discussion focused on amending the statement for clarity.

The forum meeting began with an address from state Sen. Kari Dziedzic, who currently represents the University area and is running for re-election, followed by a question and answer session.

Dziedzic said it’s important for students to vote.

“I encourage you to go vote,” she said, and to “drag somebody else to go vote.”

She also stressed the importance of the upcoming Nov. 6 election because it will offer students the chance to decide what they want the future of Minnesota to look like.

Dziedzic said she’s hopeful that Kaler’s budget freeze proposal will be accepted by the Legislature, but she encouraged forum members to call their representatives and explain how important the University is to them.

 Boynton Health Service professionals also spoke to the forum about an initiative to make the Twin Cities campus tobacco-free, a policy which the Duluth campus has already instituted.

University President Eric Kaler has said he would be reluctant to support a tobacco-free campus since it cannot be easily enforced and lacks broad-based support.

Boynton representatives said the tobacco-free policy would be enforced primarily through peer regulation and the fact that it would be a social norm.

MSA President Taylor Williams said he was excited about the proposal and hoped MSA would support the program in the future.

“It’s just common sense.”

GAPSA passes fall platform

GAPSA approved its fall platform Tuesday, although a lack of quorum prevented it from discussing the marriage

The fall platform included resolutions to support Open Access Week and to support a plan put forward by the Department of Recreational Sports to build a recreation and wellness center on the West Bank.

A University Libraries representative spoke to GAPSA about Open Access Week, which begins Oct. 22. GAPSA will assist the libraries in promoting the idea that academic journals should be available for free to students online, said Brittany Edwards, GAPSA president.

Failure to meet quorum and time constraints prevented GAPSA from discussing the marriage amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman in “respectful conversations” as scheduled.

The conversations were to be based on the Respectful Conversations Project, which aims to facilitate listening, taking place Oct. 25 in Coffman Union, Edwards said.

The group also discussed the possibility of passing a position statement regarding the marriage amendment. MSA has already passed a statement opposing the

Without a quorum of members, however, the prospect wasn’t pursued further.