Rethink the redecoration

MSA should not have spent $2,685 on new furniture for its office.

Editorial board

It is a tradition for each new U.S. president to redecorate the Oval Office. Since the Minnesota Student Association has many students who enjoy politics, maybe new MSA President Lizzy ShayâÄôs desire to redecorate the groupâÄôs office comes from a desire to emulate her idols. Nonetheless, this is one tradition weâÄôd rather not see emulated.

As multiple MSA board members have pointed out, there are better uses for the groupâÄôs funding. Redecorating the office at a cost of $2,685 serves a tiny group of students within the University. The money could be going to new student groups having trouble getting initial funding or established groups that plan events for the broader student body.

Even if the money comes from saved costs, such as having Facilities Management paint walls for free, it is wrong for MSA to think that the surplus from cost-savings should immediately benefit the cost-savers. Actually, spending efficiently is one of the organizationâÄôs core jobs so that it can better fulfill its mission to the student body. And if MSA truly needed new furniture, it could easily have gone to University ReUse instead of IKEA.

Furthermore, the vote to spend this money was taken in summer, when only a five-person executive committee had any say in this decision. MSA made its decision undemocratically, and now the group will not have much of a leg to stand on when it asks the University administration to spend responsibly.

A desk or two from IKEA will not promote professionalism, nor will a flat-screen TV increase productivity, virtues Shay claims the redesign will promote. These virtues must instead be intrinsic to those working in the office; they do not come packaged with the nuts and bolts of a new desk.