In recent history, a gap has grown between University students and their most local representative body, the Minnesota Student Association. This stems perhaps from an indifference to the actions and composition of MSA, as well as a belief that it has little to do with students’ daily lives.
Unfortunately, this mindset has created a self-fulfilling prophesy – without broader student interest and support, MSA’s effectiveness is severely diminished. We urge students today to break out of this mold and vote in the MSA election. Doing so will lend greater legitimacy to the legislative body and encourage it to adopt a broader focus useful to University students.
Even with the current level of MSA awareness, it remains one of the most influential campus organizations in regard to promoting diversity and education at the University. Diversity Education Fund grants, allocated by an MSA committee, serve as the primary funding source for many campus organizations’ efforts to bring notable and knowledgeable speakers here. MSA also decides who will serve on the Student Services Fees Committee, which administers a process that, in many ways, shapes the culture of the University community.
MSA also has the potential to carry students’ voices to University administrators. And in the past, that voice has been loud enough to stop this institution in its tracks – like, for instance, in 1970, when MSA organized a student and faculty strike that ground the University to a halt. But without students’ support, that voice is barely a whisper. And so we urge every student to cast his or her vote in Tuesday’s election. The following is a brief synopsis of MSA president and vice president candidates. Voice your support so they can give voice to your concerns.
Emie Eshmawy and Anna Rusch have focused their campaign on affordable housing, increased awareness of and representation in MSA and have voiced their opposition to the proposed 13-credit minimum. Eshmawy and Rusch have already met with Minneapolis Ward 2 City Council member Paul Zerby, who represents most of the University, to discuss the housing crunch students face and what can be done to ensure students’ rights as tenants. They have also proposed amending MSA’s constitution to allow any student group to gain MSA representation.
Eric Dyer and Joshua Colburn have stressed a reorganization of MSA to make it more accessible to students. They want to make sure new students gain a working knowledge of MSA and have proposed round-table discussions with student groups. Additionally, they have emphasized supporting the Twin Cities Student Unions to help ensure the continuation of activities such as Spring Jam.
Tyler Richter and Jeremy Jordan want to devote more MSA resources to the DEF grant program and make MSA more visible on campus. They oppose student funding for a late Campus Connector route because of its cost and redundancy, another major tenet of their campaign. By eliminating other redundant MSA projects, they hope to free up more funding for programs students will find more useful.
Jake Jagdfeld and Rick Norton have focused on campus safety and, citing that as a reason, support a late-night Campus Connector running from Seven Corners to East Bank residence halls. The two also want to focus on sexual violence on campus and have expressed interest in working with existing University organizations to combat it. They also support adding area landlords’ records to the University’s housing database.