Rochester gains Student Senate seat

Senate representation is the latest event in the development of the Rochester campus.

Luke Feuerherm

The imminent development of a student government at the University of Minnesota-Rochester is assuring the maturing student body that it is keeping up with the growth of the campus itself. Four years after being named a coordinate campus, the University Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution granting UMR a seat in the senate starting this fall. The senate will travel to the campus March 25 to help establish a student government at the school. âÄúWeâÄôre seeing a lot of small steps taken, and this is certainly one of those,âÄù Nathan Tesch, assistant director of student life at UMR, said. âÄúProbably even a big step.âÄù Senate representation is the latest event contributing to the development of the Rochester campus. Last Monday, the Rochester City Council announced that part of the cityâÄôs sales tax will be allocated toward the expansion of the UMR campus, which will be used to establish a larger presence in downtown Rochester. In 2005, Gov. Tim Pawlenty established the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee to study higher education in Rochester. In December 2006, UMR was named a coordinate campus, joining Duluth, Morris and Crookston. This fall, UMR admitted first-year students into the new Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree program for the first time. Prior to the addition of the program, the majority of RochesterâÄôs students were registered at other campuses, Tesch said. UMRâÄôs current enrollment is 408. Tesch said Rochester plans on admitting 250 first-year students every year into the new BSHS program, which will make a student body of roughly 1,000 students. During their March 25 visit, senators will show Rochester students how to elect a senator and how to set up a student governing body like the Minnesota Student Association. âÄúWeâÄôre going to present to them the logistics of senate and introduce the idea to them,âÄù Student Senate Chairwoman Kathy Julik-Heine said. âÄúBut itâÄôs not our place or responsibility to set up a student association for them.âÄù Distribution in the 50-seat senate changes every year to address the varying sizes of campuses and programs in the University system. The College of Liberal Arts has the most seats with 12. Comparatively, Duluth has six seats and Crookston and Morris each have two. âÄúThere was talk about it last year,âÄù said Julik-Heine, âÄúbut there wasnâÄôt someone behind it to make a resolution.âÄù If the senate did not vote to give Rochester a seat, one would have been added to the College of Continuing Education, Julik-Heine said. âÄúI think itâÄôs really good that someone will speak for Rochester,âÄù Rochester nursing student Eden Sonn said. âÄúI kind of feel like weâÄôre separate from the Twin Cities campus. ItâÄôs kind of a way to feel more cohesive with the main campus.âÄù