SLC votes to reorganize; funding to change

Emily Ayshford

The Student Legislative Coalition voted unanimously Saturday in Morris to change itself from a student group into a “coordinating board,” according to Graduate and Professional Student Assembly president Chris Frazier.

“What we’ve done in the past hasn’t worked,” Frazier said.

The university-wide coalition, as of next year, will be funded separately by each campus’ student government services fees.

Frazier said the reorganized SLC will focus more on single campus initiatives, but will also hold meetings with all campuses four times a year to discuss university-wide legislative issues.

Complaints of ineffectiveness and poor use of funds caused turmoil within the coalition earlier this year and caused Twin Cities campus members to consider pulling out of the organization.

The confusion continued when Duluth campus SLC chairwoman Kari Amstutz submitted a fees request without the approval of the Twin Cities members. The request was determined invalid, and Robert Jones, University vice president for Campus Life and vice provost, ordered the fees committee to ignore any requests made by SLC until the members came to an agreement.

The coalition is still considered a student group until the end of this academic year. Frazier said they will use their current funds to hire a consultant who will “put together a plan and keep us organized.” She said she hopes the consultant will spur students to be more active in lobbying at the legislature.

“We are trying to do what we can with our current SLC structure,” Frazier said. “We’re accountable to our students.”

Because it will not be a student group, SLC will receive funding next year on the Twin Cities campus through GAPSA and the Minnesota Student Association. Frazier said the groups will have to amend their fees requests, which were submitted in December, to accommodate the coalition. Next year, SLC will receive 30 cents to 40 cents per student. This year, the group was funded by a nonmandatory $3 fee. MSA and GAPSA have until Jan. 24 to submit the revised request.

MSA President Josh Colburn said the funding the association hopes to receive next year will go toward Lobby Day at the state Legislature. Frazier said the money will fund programs to educate students on legislative issues.

Emily Ayshford welcomes comments at [email protected]