Since the Minnesota Student Association lost almost half its funding, members have remained optimistic as they begin to discuss how the reduction will affect MSA and its programs.
Some fees committee members questioned the effectiveness of MSA in recent years and were not willing to give the student association full funding. A split slated for next year between MSA and the Council of College Boards also played a part in the funding cut.
MSA received $76,500 in funds for the 1999-2000 school year from the fees committee, a sharp decline from the estimated $150,000 they had this year. MSA had initially asked for almost $200,000 in funding for the upcoming year.
Many MSA members believe the cut will give their organization a chance to look at the current system and restructure themselves. Association members also plan to look at different grants that will be available to supplement their funding.
“This gives us a chance to really focus on what students want from their government,” said Ben Bowman, MSA speaker.
Historically, the CCB has operated under the umbrella of MSA funding. The fees committee decided that next year the two groups will separate, each having their own funding amount. The CCB received $35,700 for the 1999-2000 school year.
Kyle Kilbourn, president of the CCB, said the fees committee is simply reversing its initial decision to put the groups together. But he hoped the decision would give the council a chance to get its message across.
Although the separation of MSA and the CCB is reason for some of the reduction in MSA’s funding, MSA members still must deal with the outcomes from the cut.
Nikki Kubista, MSA president, said although she respected the fees committee’s decision, she was still disappointed by the decrease.
“I think that maybe they’ve evaluated MSA in a way that we can’t stand up to,” Kubista said. “We’re most effective with advocacy and acting as students’ voices — it’s hard to put a price on something so intangible.”