Candidates promise more student input

by Fabiana Torreao

Although they are running for president and vice-president of the Minnesota Student Association, Laura Taken and Aaron Street plan on becoming MSA co-presidents.
“We each have a lot of experience and strength,” Taken said. “We can be in charge of different areas.”
Their first step will be amending the MSA constitution to allow the top two positions to become co-presidents. After that, the duo plans to make broader systemic changes to MSA to increase its representation of the student body.
Operating under the assumption that the current student government is out of touch with students, Taken and Street are trying to build a coalition of student groups to strengthen MSA’s connection with the campus.
Both propose regularly scheduled meetings, called “MSA days,” with students at large to determine what issues they consider important.
“We want to represent the different student groups,” Taken said. “We would like to meet with students on a face-to-face level so students can have a direct contact with MSA.”
The MSA elections will take place on March 21 and 22 at five on-campus polling stations and online.
Besides restructuring MSA, Taken and Street also plan to address three other issues. They want to shift the hours of operation of the 10th Avenue Bridge Circulator to more closely match peak student use, a move they say will not require extra funding.
They also want to eliminate the Graduation Proficiency Test requirements, although Street said they do not propose to eliminate the foreign language requirements for College of Liberal Arts students; only the test aspect.
The candidates also intend to work with the Minneapolis City Council to amend zoning laws in order to encourage fraternities and sororities to make their houses safer. Street said some fraternity houses need to be remodeled to address safety issues, such as fire hazards.
Taken, a dance and political science senior, is the president of the University chapter of Habitat for Humanity. She was an MSA member during her first two years at the University and has worked with the Student Legislative Coalition.
Street, a political science junior, is currently the vice chairman of the Student Senate and the co-chairman of the College Democrats. He is also a member of Minnesota Public Interest Research Group.
They are both members of the College Democrats.
The Taken and Street campaign Web site is The two have been endorsed by the College Democrats and the Queer Student Cultural Center. They have received support from several residence halls, members of MPIRG and MSA. Their next step is door-knocking on residence halls, fraternities and cultural centers.

Fabiana Torreao welcomes comments at [email protected]