Now that the election is over, MSA presidents should leave partisanship at the door

Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota Student Association is the University’s student government. But this governing body does not rely on political parties to represent difference in views and perspectives; it relies on debates and dialogue about the actual issues students face.

This year, Abeer Syedah, the President of MSA, has campaigned for progressive candidates and has spoken at democratic rallies — bringing into question what the role of MSA President ought to be during an especially polarizing and contentious presidential election.

According to recent Minnesota Daily reporting, many student leaders — at the University and other Big Ten schools — find navigating the terrain of personal beliefs and their organization duties to be tricky. And while exercising beliefs autonomous from MSA may be important for any leader who hopes to connect and engage with their constituents, we believe that MSA — as a governmental body — must resist the urge of partisanship. The objective of the organization’s leadership position is to advocate for issues students face on campus. That’s why personal endorsements can carry a sense of irresponsibility.

On a campus that has so much progress to be made — from ensuring the safety and inclusivity of transgender, LGBT students and students of color; providing accessible mental health care resources to all students; and creating an environment that supports victim-survivors of sexual assault — our campus leaders must focus less on promulgating major-party agendas, and instead work with students at a grass-roots level.

If the role of the President is to bring meaningful change on campus this necessitates the facilitation of campus unity and mutual understanding. Polarity and political tension will only make this process all the more difficult. For this reason, it’s imperative the leadership of MSA not entangle themselves with political partisanship.

Especially when it comes to this year’s election, we empathize with MSA leadership’s desire to be active in political campaigns — especially since some have a hankering for professional careers in politics. Yet, their position on the executive board of our student government demands a certain level of objectivity — to listen, and respond to our campus’ pulse with policy change is essential.

The responsibility and importance of MSA on our campus cannot be understated — they serve an important duty as a tangible circuit between University administrators and the campus at large. Yet with great responsibilities come sacrifices, and our campus leaders ought to focus on our campus, and resist meddling in the wider political arena.