MSA representatives urged to expand

by Raiza Beltran

Multiculturalism and the Student Services Fees Committee were again the topics of debate in the Minnesota Student Association meeting Tuesday.
Although each issue was discussed separately, both generated intense comments from several student representatives and created division among council members.
A Multicultural Initiative amendment, proposed by College of Liberal Arts Senator Reuben Moore, was introduced to the forum.
The proposal passed by a 26-5 vote and will be added to the MSA constitution. In its final form, the initiative requires MSA representatives to attend one multicultural training per year, which will be held during MSA Forum or committee meetings.
“It’s an initiative to promote and celebrate diversity,” said Moore, an international relations junior. “We live in a multicultural world, as representatives of the U of M and the state of Minnesota, MSA should be aware.”
Sanford Hall representative Malli Arudi was hesitant to pass the initiative.
“We need to embrace (multiculturalism), that’s why we’re here; to express our diverse voices,” Arudi said. “We all know what we’re suppose to do and how we’re supposed to act. What we think can’t be altered.”
Moore said he noticed isolationist and broadly Eurocentric views from MSA representatives in earlier meetings.
“You can only be ignorant if you don’t have access to information,” Moore said.
Questioning the definition of multiculturalism, MSA Forum President Ben Bowman said finding a speaker for multicultural training would entail hours of infighting between MSA representatives.
“Although I agree with the spirit of the resolution, I have reservations,” Bowman said.
However, Queer Student Cultural Center representative Nick Dehnert said the training would encourage understanding within MSA.
“There’s a lack of understanding amongst groups. I think we’ve seen incidents of that in the past,” Dehnert said. “We need to be able to work together, which can be facilitated by the resolution.”
MSA also reviewed the Student Services Fees Committee. A resolution to remove the voting rights of administration, staff and faculty members from the fees committee passed with a majority vote.
“(Faculty, staff and administrators) don’t pay. Students pay, students benefit from the fees, students should decide the fees,” said Mike Millerm, student life committee chairman.
However, Jason Vorbeck, a QSCC representative, said faculty and administration are important to the fees committee.
“They add outside input,” Vorbeck said. “Their voices and opinions do help the process.”
MSA holds its Forum meetings every two weeks and they are open to the public.

Raiza Beltran covers student life and student government. She can be reached at 627-4070 x3225.