Bruininks calls on U students to lobby

Chad Hamblin

University President Bob Bruininks spoke at Tuesday’s Minnesota Student Association meeting and urged students to lobby at the State Capitol to avoid further tuition increases.

“We need your help,” he said. “Get engaged in this political process.

“Your voice is highly respected in St. Paul.”

Bruininks specifically encouraged students to participate in Lobby Day, an annual event in which students ride buses to the Capitol and lobby for issues they care about.

“Every $3.5 million you can argue out of (the Capitol) and into the University is 1 percent of tuition,” he said.

Bruininks said that despite “difficult” economic times, he is committed to keeping the University one of the top public higher-education institutions in the world.

“We’re out there beating the bushes nonstop for the promise of tomorrow,” he said.

And there is hope, he said, as tuition increases won’t be nearly as high as they have been the last few years.

“I can assure you it won’t be as bad as the last time,” he said. “It would be hard to imagine something as bad as what we’ve seen.”

Stadium

Bruininks also said the University will know within nine months if an on-campus stadium is possible. An on-campus stadium would be a center of the University community, he said.

“Our academic needs are the most important issue we need to address,” he said. “(But) I think it’s the right thing to do, and I think it’s the right time to do it.”

Bruininks warned that the Twins and Vikings’ contract at the Metrodome is up in 2011, and after that, the Gophers’ might have to pay for it by themselves.

“We could be sitting with a real turkey,” he said. “We need to take charge of our own destiny.”

The stadium would be primarily funded by private donations, not from student tuition money, he said.

After a string of serious questions, one MSA member asked Bruininks which building he’d like named after him when he

retires.

“I’m sure glad we don’t have outhouses at the University,” he said.

Position statement

After Bruininks finished, the MSA Forum passed a position statement encouraging the All Campus Election Commission to remove student-group sponsorships from the MSA election

ballot.

Currently, when students vote for MSA officers, student-group sponsorships, such as the University DFL or Campus Republicans, are listed next to the candidates’ names on the ballot. The position statement is only a recommendation to the commission, and the group does not have to agree to it.