The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents passed controversial standards for student representatives earlier this year, and they’ve already affected candidate selection.
Among other policies, the board set a GPA floor of 3.0 for candidates, which has since dropped to 2.5, at the time of election. The Minnesota Daily Editorial Board, along with other student leaders, disapproved of the policy.
However, when a committee of student government leaders picked part-time graduate student Greggory Reid as their student representative in April, another new policy came to the forefront, which allows only full-time University students to become a representative on the board. The board passed the policy amendment in March, which blocked Reid, who was taking only three credits when he applied to the board.
Lowering or eliminating the GPA requirement should be the board’s first step. Student representatives are also requesting that the credit load rule be more accessible for graduate students, who are often enrolled part time.
The next step should allow all University students, such as Reid, to join the board regardless of class load. If the Minnesota Student Association and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly are willing to endorse a student representative candidate, the board should trust students to select them. This decision is for students to make, not the board. Because of this policy, University student government was unable to select Reid, who has a whopping 19 years of experience working with students. Who is this policy supposed to benefit?
Due to this recent controversy, we should have an open discussion about the need for these policies and what authority the board should have to limit students’ choice for their own representatives.