GAPSA calls for shared ruling

JP Leider

At Wednesday’s Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting members officially called for more student involvement in University decision-making policy.

The Minnesota Student Association and the Student Senate have passed similar resolutions calling for a shared governance model.

The resolution calls for the creation of a Board of Regents policy that “will ensure that students shall bear the primary responsibility in the formation and review of policies that concern student life, services and interests.”

Taqee Khaled, GAPSA executive vice president the resolution’s author, said the University needs to create a formal structure that would support more student engagement in decision making.

Khaled said he proposed the resolution in part to show solidarity among the student-government organizations.

University President Bob Bruininks, who met with GAPSA before the resolution was discussed, said he had reviewed the resolution and is interested in exploring how the University can better engage students in University decision making.

“I didn’t see anything in the resolution that alarms me,” he said.

The University has limited policy officially allowing for student involvement in University decision making.

However, Bruininks said, there is a long-standing practice at the University of involving students.

When students thought they weren’t adequately involved in the University’s realignment planning, the administration created opportunities for involvement in the next stage of planning, Bruininks said.

Khaled and MSA President Emily Serafy Cox said they do not aim to emulate the University of Wisconsin system, which is required by law to include students in University governance.

MSA aims to create a system that fits the University – not only the Twin Cities campuses, Serafy Cox said – and plans to work with the other student-government organizations to further that goal.

She said the four GAPSA and MSA student representatives to the Board of Regents will push for the issue at regents meetings and, she hopes, will formally secure a spot on the regents’ agenda for next year.

GAPSA President Karen Buhr said the next step for her organization is a formal meeting with the administration, which she said will take place soon.

She said that although MSA, GAPSA and the Student Senate likely never will have issues that completely align, they will work together for common student interests.

An issue raised by administrators is a possible lack of long-term vision by students because of their short stay at the University.

Buhr acknowledged the issue but said it’s the job of the student government to think in a long-term manner.

Although many issues being decided today won’t affect student leaders by the time they graduate, Buhr said, they wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t look to the future.