MSA OKs endorsements

MSA will keep allowing student-group endorsements on ballots for its elections.

JP Leider

Should students vote in the all-campus elections this spring, group endorsements of candidates will once again greet them on the ballot.

Debate about the endorsement issue continued during Tuesday’s Minnesota Student Association meeting, where Forum members approved up to three endorsements per candidate on the ballot.

While some wonder how something as seemingly innocuous as an acronym next to a candidate’s name on a ballot could cause a controversy, others see possibility of a takeover, of sorts, of MSA.

Opponents of endorsements on the ballot have argued at recent MSA meetings that if groups can endorse as many candidates as they want, and should those candidates make it onto Forum, a majority might exist.

At Tuesday’s meeting, an amendment was proposed ” and subsequently voted down ” that would have limited the number of candidates a group could endorse on an MSA ballot to three.

Forum member Brian Peterson, who spoke for the failed amendment, said he was looking for a middle ground.

The proposal wouldn’t allow one group to “dominate the elections, (while) at the same time allowing student groups help their members be part of the University community,” he said.

“I’m not totally comfortable with one group getting as many candidates as they want on the ballot. That’s what most of the people are worried about,” he said.

Proponents of endorsements argued that restricting the number of endorsements was unnecessary.

MSA President Emily Serafy Cox said she hasn’t heard of anything like the failed amendment before, and it also didn’t have much support in Forum.

“(In a previous Forum meeting), we had already voted to have endorsements on the ballot ” the issue was the number of endorsements,” she said.

Other business

Later in the meeting, Forum members approved MSA’s fees request of nearly $130,000, down from $147,000 last year.

At the meeting, Forum members voted to create a separate $6,000 fund that could be granted to student groups to finance travel and other expenses should they want to attend a conference promoting University-related matters.

Forum members also reduced the vice president’s and future speaker of Forum’s salaries by $1,000 each, to $3,500 and $2,000, respectively.

While the people preparing the budget spent time cutting money and being responsible to students, Forum member Eric Ling said that some at Forum began adding things on that didn’t necessarily make sense.

Ling cited the newly proposed $6,000 travel fund as an expenditure that didn’t make sense.

Ling also said he didn’t support the idea of funding MSA’s conference, the Association of Big Ten Schools, which would receive $5,000 under this year’s fees request.