Groups hung up on governance memo language

Student government leaders did not sign a document calling for a more substantial student voice in University decision making.

Cali Owings

Student government leaders Friday did not sign the much-anticipated memorandum of understanding âÄî a document calling for a more substantial student voice in University of Minnesota decision making.

Minnesota Student Assocation President Sarah Shook said the leaders didnâÄôt feel comfortable signing on behalf of their organizations without more student input.

Instead, they are building an ad-hoc committee between MSA, the Student Senate and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly to draft a new memo that includes more student perspective.

The new committee will include 11 students: four from MSA, four from Student Senate and three from GAPSA. A few students from coordinate campuses will likely join the group as Student Senate representatives.

GAPSA President Abou Amara said he hoped the committee would allow for a “healthy back-and-forth” between students and administration. But no matter how many students agree with the terms in the memo, it will eventually have to be something the University presidentâÄôs office can uphold as well.

The new document will have a more collective voice than the old version, drafted by former GAPSA President Ryan Kennedy and MSAâÄôs shared governance committee, which will be used as a guide.

After revisions, the memo was previously criticized for being too vague and “wishy washy.”

With the general student government election quickly approaching, the urgency of shared governance progress has grown.

Shook, Amara and Student Senate Chairman Aaron Carlson created a PresidentâÄôs Agreement to uphold commitments to shared governance, even though their terms end July 1. Their duties will soon involve transitioning new leaders who will continue the work to give students a louder voice with the school administration.

The presidents also agreed to keep their organizations more informed throughout the process, as a memo will not be signed until GAPSA, MSA and Student Senate have approved the final document.