Experience, culture, legislative action, critiques color MSA residential debate

MSA all-campus elections take place Wednesday and Thursday.

Emily Ayshford

Candidates vying for the Minnesota Student Association presidency in all-campus elections this week advocated their ideas in a presidential debate Monday.

Candidates answered questions previously submitted by University students, a few from the 40-person audience and some they posed to one another.

Eric Dyer said MSA provides a way for the University administration to hear the student voice and the group needs a leader who knows what he or she is doing.

“I have experience and knowledge of the University,” Dyer said.

Micah Johnson said he would like to establish a committee for student opinion and increase diversity in MSA. His running mate, Eric Hung, said he wants more input from University cultural centers.

“Cultural centers aren’t really involved in political issues as much as they should be,” he said.

Andy Pomroy and Annie Davidson pushed their platform of legislative action and affordable housing.

“We’re focusing on two issues that MSA isn’t currently dealing with,” Davidson said.

Marty Andrade, who said his platform was to abolish MSA entirely, used his time to criticize the association.

“MSA is a toilet. You throw money in and flush it down,” he said.

The debate, sponsored by MSA and the All-Campus Elections Commission, is part of the commission’s push to increase visibility of the elections.

“We’ve actually taken on a whole new role,” commission Chairman Casey Buboltz said. He said normally the commission simply oversees elections, but this year it is also advertising.

“We’re really working hard to target new populations,” Buboltz said. He said he hopes e-mail listservs will encourage commuter students to vote.

Buboltz said last year’s election turnout of approximately 2,300 students is “horrible,” and this year, the group hopes to net 7,100 votes.

MSA and the elections commission will also hold a Get Out the Vote Rally at 8 p.m. Wednesday in front of the McNamara alumni center.

The Gulchbottom Groove Band and Panoramic Blue will provide entertainment, and voting booths will be available.

Candidates Ryan Johnson and Ben Behrendt were not present because they had previous engagements in the Greek community.

For his closing statement, Andrade summed up his views on MSA.

“In five years, the students you are trying to help won’t even care,” he said.

Johnson said he just hoped students would vote.

“If they don’t vote, really they’re just hurting themselves,” he said.

Students can vote online in the all-campus elections Wednesday and Thursday at www.umn. edu/vote.

Emily Ayshford covers student government and welcomes comments at [email protected]