We find it both heartening and disheartening that, at the end of Bob BruininksâÄô term as University of Minnesota president, heâÄôs willing to work with student leaders on a system of shared governance, one wherein the majority stakeholders of this public institution, students, get a more assertive voice in the UniversityâÄôs governing process.
Nevertheless, questions remain, the most important among them being just how much of a voice the administration is willing to grant students. Indubitably âÄî because tuition money now makes up a majority of the UniversityâÄôs revenue âÄî it should be strong and lasting.
By strong, we mean students should have the right to vote on all nonacademic related projects for which students are assessed a fee âÄî as in the legally binding University of Wisconsin system. By lasting, we mean the regents shouldnâÄôt have an easy time of undoing this policy if itâÄôs implemented.
Of course, members of the Minnesota Student Association have other options. Last Tuesday, Bruininks met with MSA and said that, rather than take shared governance to the Legislature, student government leaders should “keep this issue internal.” ThatâÄôs a fine proposition, we think, if the administration is really excited about implementing MSAâÄôs resolution (we certainly are). But MSA should also recognize that it has leverage. If the administration is unwilling to execute a strong policy of shared governance, and do so swiftly, weâÄôd urge its members to go straight to the Capitol next session.