MSA opposes plans to increase parking prices

Emily Babcock

The Minnesota Student Association will not support proposed parking rate increases and wants to create an official process for selection of Student Services Fees Committee members, as determined at its Forum meeting Tuesday.
MSA members met for the first time this quarter Tuesday to discuss issues they want to address in upcoming weeks.
Members voted to dismiss all four proposals to increase parking rates suggested by Bob Baker, director of Parking and Transportation Services. He addressed the forum at the request of University President Mark Yudof.
Baker has been visiting groups such as MSA, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, and the Faculty Senate to seek support for any of the four different methods to create revenue for the construction of additional parking ramps. Parking and Transportation Services is seeking $2 million over a three-year period.
However, MSA President Jigar Madia suggested an alternate plan, which the forum supported, that rejected each of Baker’s proposals.
“Students oppose unfunded mandates without commitments from the administration,” Madia said. He added that financial support should come not only from commuters but from groups such as the University Alumni Association.
Baker’s first plan would increase hourly and daily rates by 20 and 25 cents respectively. The second plan increases by 10 and 25 cents respectively both the hourly and daily rates, along with monthly contract rates. The third plan calls solely for an increase of up to $18 a month from $85 for certain parking garages. A fourth plan, created at a University Faculty Senate presentation, would be a combination of both the first and second plan.
Baker said the adjustments would need to be made on the first three proposals after the first year. However, the combination plan would be a greater increase of revenue and only a one-time increase in parking rates.
MSA also discussed a resolution to officially organize a process to select Student Services Fees Committee members.
“Students need a tangible set of guidelines by which to choose the most powerful student committee on campus,” Madia said.
The urgency to design a formal process arose because of controversy surrounding the selection of alternates for the 1998 Student Services Fees Committee. Traditionally, the committee is selected on the basis of recommendations by GAPSA and MSA representatives.
Last fall, for the first time, recommendations by four representatives from both MSA and GAPSA were rejected and then vetoed. GAPSA rejected the proposed list of alternates for the committee because of one individual. After a new list was created, Madia vetoed the new list.
A resolution proposed Tuesday was written by Student Services Fees Committee Chairman Kevin Nicholson and calls for all alterations to the list of recommendations to be altered by the selection committee instead of by MSA and GAPSA legislatures.
Members voted for the resolution to move to the MSA executive committee for a closer examination and proposed amendments.
By the time a final resolution is created, it must match the resolution passed by GAPSA. GAPSA Executive Vice President Mark Ott said the graduate student group hasn’t discussed the resolution yet, but expects they will also make changes.
Nicholson said he expects it to be a difficult process to create a resolution on which everyone can agree.