MSA raises don’t reflect mission

Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota Student Association approved its $164,400 budget on Wednesday. This is more than $13,000 less than last year’s budget. However, the budget also includes a $6,750 increase for MSA staff members’ stipends compared to last year’s budget. While we applaud a lower total budget, we believe the increase in available stipends for an organization that receives nearly all of its funding from student service fees is misguided.  
An organization that claims to “work as the voice of the student body” should not use its funding to amplify the voices of MSA leadership, which is made up of a select few students. Rather, a group that advocates for student issues and is funded by students should use those funds to support initiatives that will benefit everyone. Larger stipends for MSA staff members seem to reflect an increased priority in the comfort of the group’s members, not the well-being of the student population as a whole. 
Recent tuition increases and the fact that students do not have the time or resources to advocate for themselves without payment reflect a dangerous trend for public education in Minnesota. Remedying this — and not paying its staff more money — should be MSA’s top priority.  
Students shouldn’t have to pay other students to advocate for them. If MSA leaders require higher stipends, we urge the organization to ensure that the University of Minnesota, not student service fees, provides MSA with funding. Using the money of all students to increase the pay of only some of them does not reflect effective student advocacy.