Legislature might revoke grant money from rioters

Libby George

Students who participated in Saturday night’s riots will have more than hangovers to deal with if legislators have their way.

Rep. Doug Stang, House Higher Education Finance Committee chairman, suggested Monday that in addition to any actions the University will take against student rioters, the state should also take grant money away from students who participated in Saturday’s disturbance.

“As we look at our state grant money and see the actions of some of these students Ö we can take away their state grant money,” said Stang, R-Cold Spring.

Stang’s recommendation came during a higher education committee meeting discussion of the omnibus bill. He said that particularly in light of the budget crisis – with the University receiving cuts topping $200 million – these kinds of actions should not be tolerated.

“That behavior is unacceptable,” Stang said. “During these limited budget times Ö these students should not receive funding.”

Amy Phenix, University News Service director, said the University would see that sort of legislative action as appropriate.

“From the president’s point of view, that would be (an acceptable) form of discipline,” she said.

She added that this kind of legislative action could deter future rioters.

Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul and Higher Education Budget Division chairwoman, said she would prefer even tougher penalties for rioters.

“I think they should be expelled,” Pappas said. “These students have no excuse.”

However, she said the Legislature should not take disciplinary action.

“The University has it in their power and the city police have it in their power,” Pappas said. “I don’t think the Legislature needs to intervene.”

Phenix said the University will consider expulsion as an option.

“The discipline under the student conduct code certainly does go up to expulsion,” Phenix said.

University President Robert Bruininks said Sunday the University would work with the Minneapolis Police Department to identify all those involved, and he encouraged anyone with information to contact campus police.

Libby George covers politics and welcomes comments at [email protected]