Students hailing from the Duluth campus might be underrepresented in the University of Minnesota’s system-wide professional student government.
Changes made last May to the Professional Student Government constitution have raised flags for the group’s supreme court, which released an advisory opinion late last month about possible Duluth underrepresentation.
Certain bills and actions the group approves can be enforced differently on the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses, said Elizabeth Clifton, a justice on the PSG supreme court.
Because of this, accurate and equal representation is in the best interest of both campuses, she said.
Rose Olson, a member of the Medical School Student Council from the Twin Cities, said she and co-representative Molly Goodier brought up the issue with the PSG congress when they realized there was no direct representation from Duluth students.
“We saw a problem with that. … We then approached PSG congress to amend the constitution so those Duluth [professional students] could have a spot on PSG’s congress,” Olson said.
Under the current system, each of the 10 professional student councils, which are based on individual graduate school tracks, is designated two representatives.
Those representatives can attend either the Twin Cities or Duluth campuses, said Kyle Kroll, president of PSG.
The changes in representation are due to changes that occurred over the past year for the student government group. The current set up differs from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly — PSG’s predecessor — when representatives from Duluth were required to be present during meetings.
The restructuring of the congress resulted in fewer members being included in the PSG congress, Kroll said, adding that the congress shrunk to 20 members from an initial 50.
“Given this large decrease in size, it didn’t make as much sense to require there to be representatives from Duluth,” Kroll said.
Olson and Goodier originally proposed a measure to the PSG congress asking that each council select an additional representative who is not from the Twin Cities campus.
The bill was rejected 2-8, with five absentees, Olson said.
The bill’s failure resulted in the PSG supreme court being asked to release an advisory opinion, detailing possible rule changes.
PSG chief justice Cresston Gackle said the opinion lays out what might happen if someone were to file a formal complaint. He said the opinion is currently non-binding and preemptive.