MSA holds closed review

Chad Hamblin

The Minnesota Student Association closed a meeting Tuesday to determine how much money certain members of the Forum should make.

All University undergraduate students are MSA members and are allowed to attend MSA meetings, but the Stipend Review Committee meeting is different, MSA President Tom Zearley said.

“This is the only meeting that I’m aware of that would ever be closed,” he said.

Every semester, MSA randomly selects Forum members to work on the Stipend Review Committee. This group can choose to give a person the full amount of the stipend, a partial amount or none.

During the process, Forum members give their opinions about how much money they think each person deserves, said Margaret Cahill, MSA adviser.

Zearley said that if other students were allowed into the meeting, the individuals on the committee might not be honest, for fear of backlash.

“It’s not like we’re being secretive,” he said. “We really want to make sure we’re not stifling whatever they need to say.”

Also, Cahill said, the meeting is for MSA’s personnel decisions and should remain private.

“Think about your own professional review. Would you want your peers and co-workers to be witnessing your review with your supervisor?” she said. “Would you want that public?”

The results of the meeting and some of the reasoning behind those results will be presented by the committee at Tuesday’s Forum meeting. The Forum must approve the committee’s decision.

Students will be allowed to attend this meeting.

“It’s open in that respect,” Cahill said.

Christine O’Shea, a biology sophomore, said that if MSA releases the results in a Forum meeting, it should allow students into the Stipend Review Committee meetings.

“If you, as an individual, are interested in the process and sitting in on the meetings, you should have the right,” she said. “Unless they have something to hide.”

Sammy Kepler, a public relations senior, said she had mixed emotions about the closed meeting. But she said that because the results would be released at a meeting open to students, they could still get involved.

“It informs students, but it protects people’s right to be honest,” she said. “It prevents the big negativity.”