Pair proposes a 12-month agenda

Tracy Ellingson

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a three-day series highlighting the candidates for the presidency of the Minnesota Student Association. Elections for all MSA positions will take place April 23-24.
‘Tis the campaign season, and MSA presidential candidate Jigar Madia and his running mate Bridgette Murphy have decked the halls and walls of campus with their most creative postering efforts.
“I like the ‘Hale-Bopp or Bust,'” Madia said, referring to his favorite of the slew of posters he and Murphy have plastered around campus. The nonsensical slogans and the pair’s campaign literature, featuring a photo of martial arts star Bruce Lee, serve as the trademark of a campaign Madia and Murphy say sets them apart from candidates’ campaigns — present and past.
“We wanted to run a different campaign this time around. Students are getting tired of partisan bickering and the same old recycled garbage,” Madia said. “We wanted to find a way to get students excited about this campaign, but at the same time we have to balance that against the interest of our issues, because our issues are so strong.”
Since the start of their campaign, Madia and Murphy have touted an agenda filled with these issues titled, “Twelve Months of Action.” The plan lays out a specific goal that the pair, if elected, plans to accomplish each month they are in office. The agenda is the result of conversations the candidates have had with several students and student organizations.
“The Madia-Murphy administration would be the first administration in years,” Madia said, “to come in with a solid, defined agenda which was formed by students of the undergraduate community at the University of Minnesota.”
Of these 12 objectives, the two have most often emphasized their goals of devising a 15-minute-maximum waiting policy for every student service on campus, restructuring the book buy-back program at University Bookstores, improving safety on and around campus and extending the use of the U Card to include local businesses.
The agenda is a tall order, largely because University administrators are not required to implement MSA requests, but Madia and Murphy believe they can pull it off.
“Next year, I’d like students, when people go out and ask them about MSA, to know what MSA is and to be able to say, ‘Yeah, MSA has done stuff for us,'” Murphy said.
Opponents of the ticket have questioned the feasibility of some of Madia and Murphy’s objectives, but the two say they have already done much of the necessary research and know that they can meet their goals.
“We’ve already talked to administrators. We’ve already talked to local businesses. We’ve already talked to students,” Madia said. “Everything here is attainable.”
Murphy said she has spoken with administrators, such as Bob Baker, the director of Parking and Transportation Services, to find out if they would include students in their discussions and on their committees. Members of the pair’s campaign team have formed a committee to help conduct research, talk with students and administrators and set up an agenda.
But both Murphy and Madia added that despite the amount of work they have set before them, they still represent the student body and will open their doors to any student with an issue.
“We absolutely encourage people to come in and speak to us,” Murphy said.
Madia said that next year he hopes students will be able to say that MSA and the Madia-Murphy administration have made a difference to their lives on campus. “We want students to be able to take the ‘Twelve Months of Action’ that we’re giving them now, look back and say, ‘These concerns were addressed; the quality of student life on this campus is better.'”
Madia, who is from Plymouth, Minn., said he came to the University because he wanted to go to a big school that provided many opportunities and because it was close to home. He is a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts with a double major in journalism and political science. Madia joined MSA last year as a representative and is now speaker of the Forum.
Murphy, who is a junior in the School of Human Ecology with a major in family social sciences, came to the University from Waunakee, Wis., because she said she wanted to go somewhere new. Although she has never been a member of MSA, she has been active in several other campus organizations, including the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Program Against Sexual Violence.