Resignation means Dyer must pick MSA’s No. 2

The Minnesota Student Association is making history – whether it likes it or not.

MSA President Eric Dyer must choose a new vice president by Tuesday because of Gina Nelson’s unprecedented resignation last week.

Since the Forum split off from the Twin Cities Student Assembly in the 1989-90 school year, an MSA president or vice president has never resigned.

A speaker of the Forum resigned from MSA two years ago. Last year, three vice presidents resigned from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.

According to the MSA constitution, when the vice president’s position is vacated the speaker of the Forum – Jeff Nath – is interim vice president until the president chooses a replacement. The Forum must then approve the president’s selection. If the Forum does not ratify the appointment, the president must select a new appointee until one is approved by a majority of the Forum.

Current and former MSA members said the process is fair and uncontroversial.

“I think it’s a pretty standard process for an organization like this,” said Andy Pomroy, last year’s MSA legislative affairs chairman. “Honestly, I can’t think of an organization like this that doesn’t have a process similar to this one.”

Tom Zearley, a sophomore and MSA executive board member, also said the process is fair.

“Forum is the controlling body in this association,” Zearley said. “The president can’t really do anything without the Forum’s approval.”

Other students’ opinions on the process varied.

Communications junior Brianna Dickey said students should have the chance to elect a new vice president.

“The student body needs to choose somebody they are comfortable with making decisions as a whole,” she said.

Kinesiology junior Angela Seibert disagreed.

“The student body elected the president, and they should trust the choice that the president will make,” she said.

Dyer said he hopes to select an active and informed member for the position in time for the Forum to vote Tuesday, but he would not elaborate on who that member might be.

“My style of leadership is that I don’t want to select someone just for my own reasons,” he said. “I want to have the consensus of everyone around me.”

The vice president is one of the most varied and least defined MSA positions. The day after Nelson’s resignation, Dyer speculated that the ambiguity of the position’s responsibilities was a source of frustration for her – though it was not the reason for her resignation.

“Vice president is a pretty dynamic position and really quite an open position,” Dyer said.

Dyer was MSA’s vice president last year and said a vice president has the opportunity to pursue issues that are personally important because of the post’s relative autonomy. Dyer chose to focus on the football stadium issue.

Wednesday evening, Dyer spoke to MSA’s executive board about the difficulty facing MSA until a successor is chosen.

Dyer said the vice president does a lot of internal office work during the first weeks of school, in addition to contacting student groups to remind them to reapply for their positions on the MSA Forum.

Approximately 70 people represented their student groups on MSA last year, and Dyer said contacting each group is huge undertaking.

Before her resignation, Nelson also spearheaded efforts to place student representatives on the neighborhood councils of the Marcy-Holmes, Como and Prospect Park neighborhoods.