Maroon and Gold Association will light fire under MSA

People are often resistant to improvements and change. It is much easier to defend the status quo than to take leadership and make a change. It is much easier to table a bill than it is to pass one. It is much easier to say one is working on something rather than get it done.

It is with that in mind that the Maroon and Gold Association was launched Oct. 3. We will be fighting for students’ issues within the Minnesota Student Association Forum, keeping people accountable and making sure MSA is not a bunch of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

In short, we will make sure MSA gets things done for students. Our contract with the students lays out a list of issues MSA needs to accomplish immediately. I agree with the allegation leveled against us that the contract is just a list of things MSA has been working on, but they have been working on them for too long. We want these issues to get done now. Recent events show that students can no longer wait.

Perhaps the best example of MSA Forum’s impotency is the historical preservation issue. Today, barring a miracle, the Minneapolis City Council will most likely vote to designate a large portion of areas with fraternity houses as historic while MSA has been eerily silent on this issue. They brought the issue up a while ago in Forum, but let the resolution fall by the wayside and took no strong position. As a result, MSA, the voice of the student body, was totally silent on the issue. Its support could have been invaluable to the greeks as they fought to save their houses.

The MSA has also been silent on the stadium issue. For the last two years, this issue has been important to the student body. Although MSA President Eric Dyer has been advocating for an on-campus stadium, his zeal has not translated into action by MSA.

To the best of my knowledge, MSA has not even passed a position statement saying there is a general student desire for a stadium. With student support in doubt, it is no wonder that the legislator, donors and the administration have been slow to act on this issue.

In an attempt to hide and maintain MSA’s ineptitude, there have been several people who have suggested the Maroon and Gold Association is a partisan, Republican organization. These accusations are blatantly false. The Maroon and Gold Association, like MSA, is a non-partisan organization. The issues we are fighting for are not Republican nor are they Democratic; they are pro-student issues.

In the end, the Maroon and Gold Association will help MSA gain legitimacy and become a stronger organization. MSA is constantly maligned for not doing anything; we will help make sure things get done, providing the impetus and accountability to take student government to the next level. I urge students and MSA Forum members who are fed up with inaction to look to the Maroon and Gold Association and our actions in the coming months.

In the next week, we will put forth bills urging the University and The Minnesota Daily to stop running advertisements by campus slumlords. Also, we will present a position statement on historical preservation relaying the student position, although it may now be too late. This will just be the start of our advocacy for students taking action in MSA.

Anthony Zammit, a junior, is chairman of the Maroon & Gold Association and a MSA Forum member at-large. Send comments to [email protected]