Student involvement

The Minnesota Student Association resolution to cap tuition increases during the next two years, passed Tuesday night, is supposed to serve as the unilateral student voice on the issue of tuition. But what most students donâÄôt know, and need to, is that MSA resolutions are not binding policies for the University of MinnesotaâÄôs administration. âÄúThereâÄôs no real authority behind it,âÄù MSA president Mark Nagel said. âÄúJust because weâÄôre passing a resolution doesnâÄôt mean itâÄôs going to happen.âÄù Nagel said more students need to know that MSA âÄúis an advocacy organizationâÄù and does not create official University policy. Other university student governments do have this power; Wisconsin State Statute 36.09 (5) gives students in the University of Wisconsin system shared governance over the policies that affect âÄúall decisions regarding our educational experience,âÄù according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Shared Governance CommitteeâÄôs website. Students in these schools have a direct impact on the policy being made about their college education, as opposed to students in MSA, who issue opinions that, according to Nagel, make official âÄúwhat the student body is saying.âÄù The resolution says the student body supports a tuition increase total of up to 5.5 percent for the next two years. In January, President Bruininks will request a $141 million increase in funding from the state to keep tuition increases at 4.5 perce nt. Students can get out and support the resolution during the Legislative session, said Ryan Kennedy , who co-authored the resolution. MSA will train students to lobby for University issues at the Capitol, he said. âÄúWe needed to take a stance on the tuition issue,âÄù Kennedy said. ItâÄôs unfortunate that MSAâÄôs stance doesnâÄôt hold more weight with the administration, but for now, the good news is that MSA and students can continue to voice their opinions to both President Bruininks and the Legislature this spring. We urge student body leaders, lawmakers and the administration to push for more student involvement in the decision-making process at the University.