MSA calls for eliminationof provostal system at U

by Lynne Kozarek

Reacting to the proposed budget currently before the University’s Board of Regents, members of the Minnesota Student Association criticized the administrators Wednesday on a wide spectrum of issues.
MSA President-elect Helen Phin stressed the importance of the student body’s role in considering the University budget, long-range planning and the search for a new University president. University President Nils Hasselmo will retire in June 1997.
“The Board of Regents is in reactive mode and is constantly making reactive decisions, forcing us to make reactive decisions,” Phin said. “The fiscal budget for the 1996-1997 year is moving away from academics that are so important to the University, and we need to change that.”
The student leaders also spoke out on issues ranging from tuition increases and diversity to the declining state of community relations and disbanding the provost system.
Runninghorse Livingston, a student representative to the board, said the administration has failed in its efforts to promote diversity on campus.
“Diversity has become a generic term often viewed as benevolent tokenism,” Livingston said. “We need a working definition of diversity.”
The MSA members pointedly criticized the provost model of administration, calling it ineffective and counterproductive. MSA Vice President Rebecca Mathern called for the system to be changed and the provostal positions eliminated.
“The provosts are taking away from the University,” Mathern said. “They are taking away from the deans and from the student administration, and they have no accountability and no responsibility.”
Moreover, Mathern said, Hasselmo has been less than visionary in his leadership.
“We need a leader to challenge the University and to foster development,” she said. “Hasselmo failed, and the new provost system just doesn’t fit in with that.”
MSA is focusing its efforts on what it feels is best for University students in the future, Mathern said. This includes establishing a ceiling on tuition, formulating a working definition of diversity, strengthening the commitment to aid Minnesota’s communities and ridding the University of the provost system.
“A public university needs to be affordable and accessible,” Mathern said, “and that is what MSA is working toward.”