MSA creates tuition committee

The Minnesota Student Association had increased participation, attendance and a strong debate in their first forum Tuesday night, in which new proposals were passed and new members were elected. Five new at-large members were elected at the forum. MSA Speaker of the Forum Mark Lewandowski applauded the turnout of 11 nominees for the five positions. Lewandowski said they had the same number of nominees as positions available last year. The election process included introductions of the candidates, as well as a brief question-and-answer session from current MSA members. The new elected at-large members are Paul Buchel , Duane Koski, Megan Callahan , Rachel Rudy and Bunbob Chhun . MSA President Mark Nagel said the new members seemed willing and ready to advocate for the student body. âÄúI see a lot of work ethic in them,âÄù he said. One proposal for the formation of a new committee to oversee tuition issues received a large amount of debate, but passed with a 13-10 vote. The proposal puts both student and administrative representatives from the Twin Cities campus, as well as the Crookston, Duluth and Rochester campuses, together in a joint effort to lower tuition. MSA at-large Rep. to the Executive Board Ryan Kennedy made the proposal. The committee would be entirely focused on tuition, said Kennedy. Kennedy said he feels the new committee is needed because MSA isnâÄôt making a big enough impact when it comes to lowering tuition. Kennedy noted that tuition at the University has increased 119 percent in the past eight years, making a change necessary. Nagel argued that the committee will do nothing new and that a new committee will create an extra layer of bureaucracy. âÄúI think that, if this group is created, they will have much more work than they can handle,âÄù Nagel said. Kennedy said the proposal will go to the student governments at Morris and Duluth next week. He added that members of student government have already expressed support for the committee. âÄúEspecially since it looks at lowering tuition as a system-wide issue and not just something that is metro-centric,âÄù he said, referring to the University of Minnesota as a whole. âÄúWeâÄôre an entire system.âÄù Although Nagel disagreed with the idea of the new tuition committee, developments on grant reforms were a positive accomplishment, he said. University student groups can get grants to cover costs of events. If an event is sponsored by a single group, it is only eligible for $900 in grant money, but if it is sponsored by two groups, it is eligible for $1,800, Nagel said. Before, the grant money for an event was the same whether it was put on by one or two groups. âÄúI think thatâÄôs going to encourage groups to work together,âÄù he said.