Share the power

The University should give students a vote on non-academic construction.

Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota Student Association recently passed a noteworthy resolution that would require student approval of any construction project not relating to academics for which students are assessed a fee. The resolution, however, is non-binding, meaning the administration can simply ignore it. But if the University of Minnesota values student input, it will agree to its enforcement.
The problem is that President Bob BruininksâÄô administration has made a habit of trying to box students out of the decision-making process. In recent years, the administration has abruptly restructured the Graduate School, imposed embarrassingly high tuition rates and began charting its course for its academic future with a committee that Bruininks himself once told the Daily was too top heavy with administrators.
Administrators did not bother to get student approval to charge students to finance the construction of TCF Bank Stadium. Nor did the administration think it was necessary for students to approve being charged for the $60-million Recreation Center expansion, financed through long-term debt.
WeâÄôre aware that governing a major university is not entirely a democratic exercise; executive decisions must be made. Yet MSAâÄôs proposal is not youthful idealism. Our neighbors at the University of Wisconsin allow student input in a legally-binding system of shared governance.
The University is a public institution that is now officially deriving the majority of its revue from student tuition dollars. To muzzle the participation of its chief shareholders only amounts to bad business practice.