Campus elections are upon the University once again. This year, the 10 percent of our campus that usually votes will be choosing, among other things, one set of candidates running for leadership of the Minnesota Student Association. Six pairs of candidates are seeking the presidency and vice presidency of the organization, and each has carefully defined themselves and their issues over the past week. Closed-circuit television, MSA Days, campus safety and improvement of on-campus dining are just some of the issues the pairs have addressed. Of the six, one pair has established a vision that will not only benefit a large portion of the student body, but one that can be realistically implemented as well. Presidential candidate Matt Clark and his running mate Rachel Boeke offer sound leadership, experience and a clear vision that should not be ignored.
Clark and Boeke offer unique forms of experience that will only work to strengthen MSA’s voice. Clark is the current vice president of the organization and has almost single-handedly implemented the 10th Avenue Bridge Circulator. He is also a member of the Food Task Force Advisory Committee, which is reviewing the University’s contract with Aramark. Boeke has gained much experience in MPIRG, organizing students around environmental and women’s issues, and has learned from her current organizing efforts in St. Paul. Boeke’s broad range of organizing knowledge, along with Clark’s familiarity with the University’s administration, would mean a strong student voice during the upcoming year.
An important aspect of this year’s elections is the feasibility of the candidates’ platforms. If the fees committee’s recommendations are upheld, MSA will receive only $15,000. With little money and no official power, any presidential pair would need a reasonable, workable platform. Only Clark and Boeke present such a platform. The other candidates’ platforms are less practical, or even necessary. Taken’s and Street’s MSA Days, Tatting’s and Olin’s expanded housing Web site and Rorvig’s and Post’s desire to see more emergency telephones on campus are reasonable ideas. However, incorporating co-presidents into MSA, expanding 624-WALK to the greeks when it already includes them and core group counseling are not immediate student priorities.
Of course, there are two sets of candidates who are concerned not with what MSA can do, but what it has not done. Both Christiansen and Franklin, and Grocholski and Steel are running on platforms that can easily be interpreted as being anti-MSA. Such platforms are not without a fair amount of legitimacy. Most students on this campus have no idea what MSA is supposed to be doing for them and are curious why the organization receives student services fees. The few students who do know what MSA does often admit that it hasn’t done much. But MSA’s influence is not the same as the administration’s power, which is more direct and specific. Instead, MSA’s power exists because of the influence it has with the administration and how well it can represent the students’ voice.
Clark and Boeke would show students the specific limits of MSA’s power, but also the potential the organization has. They are well qualified to unify students and can use this to influence the administration. Their enthusiastic and effective campaign machine would easily transform into a similar tenure of leadership. MSA has often been referred to as a link in the chain between the students and the administration. Especially in the upcoming years, students deserve a strong link in this chain — a link only Clark and Boeke can provide.