MSA passes bylaws, reviews budget

The MSA hadn’t reviewed bylaws or constitution in a few years.

by Jenna Wilcox

The Minnesota Student Association passed a slate of bylaw changes during TuesdayâÄôs forum to address issues with effectiveness and efficiency.
MSA President Lizzy Shay said the organization hadnâÄôt reviewed bylaws or reaffirmed the constitution other than a few sporadic changes in a few years.
One change involved creating an internal management committee to help resolve issues that come up when a committee director, staff member or executive board member neglects responsibilities and does not cooperate with procedure.
Last year, a committee director who, despite being the College of Liberal Arts senator, never attended Student Senate meetings, lost his role in MSA. He was then re-elected as an at-large member without the responsibility of attending senate meetings and regained his director position.
âÄúWe never discussed with forum why [this happened]. It was very shady. If people had been fully informed it probably wouldnâÄôt have happened,âÄù Shay said.
The internal management committee would also handle personnel issues like representatives or directors who are disrespectful. Shay said a former committee director would swear at members of the office staff and be disrespectful âÄî something that will now go to the new committee to address.
 âÄúThis is something that weâÄôve run into in the past, but have had no way to deal with it. The hope is that by establishing this interim management committee we will be able to better resolve these issues,âÄù Shay said.
These situations will be handled by the committee on a case by case basis and all recommendations will be reported to the forum.
But some members expressed concern over adding an additional layer of bureaucracy.
âÄúI feel like weâÄôre making up rules,âÄù Colter Heirigs, director of MSA legislative affairs, said. âÄúMaybe we need a code of conduct here.âÄù
Forum revisited a presentation from Colleges Against Cancer in regards to increased sponsorship for Relay for Life. Last forum meeting members expressed concern over increasing funding for the relay by $1,500 and pushed the decision.
Relay for Life is an event hosted in communities, high schools and colleges to raise money for the American Cancer Society for cancer research, funding and advocacy. The relay runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and teams are required to have at least one person on the track at all times. The UniversityâÄôs relay is the 8th largest college relay in the country.
Last year MSA contributed $3,500 to Relay for Life, but this year there is no $3,500 level for sponsorship. The group requested MSA increase their donation to $5,000 âÄî the next level of sponsorship.
Zach Morris, University junior and a member of Colleges Against Cancer, said three sponsors had already turned down the increase in sponsorship and the group needed MSA to contribute extra funding.
Some representatives did not like the idea of increasing funding to meet their sponsorship requirements.
âÄúItâÄôs not fair that they raised the bar on donations,âÄù one member said.
MSA voted to increase sponsorship to $4,000, making the student group the largest sponsor of the relay. Half of that money will come from the campus relations committeeâÄôs funding and the other $2,000 from reserve grant funding.
Relay for Life is planning on increasing participation by 17 percent this year, which will boost additional costs like food and T-shirts. The sponsorships make ensure all the money the participants raise can go directly to the American Cancer Society instead of covering the cost of the event.
âÄúWe want to prevent as much of that money going to overhead costs,âÄù Morris said.