Softly barking without the bite

Students need stronger student government and involvement.

Under Wisconsin law, students of the University of Wisconsin system are able to vote on decisions dealing with student life and are able to have sitting members of committees that directly impact student life. Compare this to the fractured state of student power on the University’s Twin Cities campus.

Under University policy, the University is not required to officially consider student government opinions. This helps explain some of the apathy on campus. Why vote in student government elections if the student government is basically a softly barking dog that can’t bite? What reason is there for University administration to listen, let alone act, on student government positions?

Potentially, the University’s Twin Cities campus has the power to influence campuses from Duluth to Morris and the Minnesota State Colleges and University system campuses such as St. Cloud State and Minnesota State at Mankato. As it stands student power is diluted between the graduate students and the undergraduates, among the Student Senate, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and the Minnesota Student Association. Power must be consolidated to have more of an effect. A shared governance model similar to that of the University of Wisconsin would be a good start. Students are the driving power behind universities and to supposedly have decisions made on behalf of them is a losing proposition.

If they remain fractured, the University’s student governments are placed in the position of asking for power from those in power and only creative minds can devise of methods in which students take power. When overall student welfare is involved, arguing about inner political differences gets nothing accomplished. The University’s direction over the past few years doesn’t reflect well on the power of University student government. One only has to look at their rising tuition bills to see that.