Resolutions to sign a petition in support of the Chinese language program and to take an official stand on a lawsuit regarding student services fees were both tabled Tuesday at the Minnesota Student Association’s biweekly forum.
Members of the student group voted to adjourn the forum meeting because there were not enough members present.
A resolution that would align the student group with the position of University President Mark Yudof was presented by MSA presidential candidate Nikki Kubista and her running mate Erin Ferguson. The resolution recommended that the student association adopt the statement made by Yudof in March, which was in support of having a student services fee.
“If this case goes through it will not be the regents who suffer the consequences,” said Nikki Kubista, a College of Liberal Arts senior. “It will be the student cultural centers and other organizations receiving student fees.”
The lawsuit, filed in February against the Board of Regents by five students, claims the University violates the law by forcing students to pay mandatory fees for student organizations with which they don’t agree. The lawsuit specifically criticizes the funding of University YW, and the Queer and La Raza student cultural centers, arguing the groups have engaged in political or ideological advocacy.
Because of the importance of student organizations on campus, the fees process will be defended in a court of law, Yudof said. Further, he supported the democratic process of the fees committee in giving each organization an equal opportunity to receive funding.
Kubista told members of the forum that the offical position needed to be taken by the student association, which is also a fees receiving organization, to prove that MSA members embrace a diverse campus and that members also believe in the student-driven, democratic fees process.
MSA President Jigar Madia called the resolution one without teeth because it doesn’t discuss student involvement. Madia said he plans to suggest another resolution at the next meeting.
“Any student position on the lawsuit must include strong student involvement in the restructuring process,” Madia said.
Forum member Jessie Roos, a CLA sophomore and plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the student association should support student groups but that a resolution is unnecessary. The members’ opinions are too divisive to choose one clear stand on the issue, Roos said.
In other MSA proceedings: Jill Sanders wrote a resolution suggesting MSA sign a setter to Yudof in support of increased funds for the Chinese language program.
Because the meeting was adjourned before the resolution was proposed, it will be on the agenda in the next forum.
Sanders said she was disappointed because she wanted to give the letter to the president today during an ongoing fast and rally by several students for the Chinese program.