MSA Forum elects new members, works on budget

Chad Hamblin

The speaker of the Forum stood onstage at the Coffman Union Theater and tapped his gavel on the podium. The first Minnesota Student Association Forum meeting of the year was underway.

MSA President Tom Zearley welcomed members back to school and encouraged Forum members to look forward to the coming year.

But before Forum members could look ahead, they had to focus on the budget and electing five new Forum members.

Despite a relatively long discussion among Forum members, the proposed budget passed with 26 votes.

Immediately after the vote, Shaun Laden, a Forum member on the executive committee, moved to create a committee to review the budget.

Laden said that if MSA wants to be a credible and accessible student government, members must run it responsibly.

“Is passing a budget of one of the largest student organizations in a half-hour that responsible?” he said. “No one has had time to raise concerns.”

Laden said he is not necessarily against the proposed budget but believes that Forum members need more time to look it over.

The meeting was the first time many Forum members had a chance to view the budget, Zearley said.

Laden’s motion to create a review committee passed and is set to have eight members, including Laden.

Zearley said he, Vice President Amy Pierce and Chief of Staff Patrick Delaney put more effort into the budget than other executive committees in the past.

“We felt we put forth the best budget possible,” he said. “It’s always a contentious issue.”

During the meeting, Forum members were also responsible for electing five members.

Ten people were nominated for the position and were each given 30 seconds to introduce themselves to Forum members.

Pierce collected many of the ballots in a red baseball hat she borrowed from someone in the crowd.

After the first vote, two candidates were in a tie for votes. After the tie-breaker, the two candidates were still tied, because three members forgot to put their names on their ballots – which disqualified their votes.

To pass the time, Delaney showed screensavers on the theater-sized screen behind the stage.

“Do toasters!” someone yelled from the seats.

“We don’t have that one,” Delany yelled back.

After the second tie-breaker, Rick Orr, Ashley Sierra, Alan Roy, Alaina Aaserude and Kyle Ries were the newly-elected members of the MSA Forum.

Students running for the position said they had different reasons for wanting to get involved.

Ries, a first-year student, said he wants to study finance and get more involved at the University. He said he plans to join the newly formed budget review committee.

Roy, a political science junior, said he hopes to help represent the growing number of minority students at the University, because he is American Indian.

“I am the absolute minority here at the University of Minnesota,” he said.