MSA Forum speaker Abdel resigns post

Joanna Dornfeld

Minnesota Student Association Forum Speaker Matthew Abdel resigned Oct. 22 after clashing with the organization’s leadership.

Abdel said he resigned because of conflicts with MSA President Dan Kelly – also a member of The Minnesota Daily’s Board of Directors – and Vice President Nick Dehnert.

“This was their ultimate goal,” he said, referring to his resignation. Abdel will remain an at-large Forum representative.

Kelly said he and other executive board members were concerned about Abdel’s performance this semester.

“I wasn’t happy with how Matt was performing, and I did express those concerns to Matt on a number of occasions,” Kelly said. “We felt there was no resolution to these concerns.”

No MSA members addressed leadership concerns with him, Abdel said.

Patrick Peterson, executive committee member, said he was surprised by the resignation. Executive Committee members had discussed their concerns about Abdel’s leadership with him and he was taking action to correct the problems, Peterson said.

Concerns also arose about how dedicated Abdel was to his post. MSA staff rarely saw Abdel in the office, Kelly said.

Abdel said he fulfilled his office hours in the evening.

Peterson called an emergency executive committee meeting to discuss the committee’s accountability and to add an agenda item to the next Forum meeting. The committee also wanted to address a personal incident with Abdel and move forward.

Peterson followed all MSA by-laws, Kelly said.

Abdel did not attend the meeting. He said he told Kelly and Dehnert he would be in and out of town. Peterson said he did not know Abdel would be absent from the meeting.

Committee members can call in to meetings if they are unable to be physically present, Kelly said.

“From what I could see, Matt did a fine job, did an adequate job running meetings,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, MSA Academic and Services Committee chairman. “I think they’ve been productive meetings. Do we have disagreements? Yes.”

A new MSA Forum speaker will be elected Tuesday. MSA Forum is the legislative body in student government.

“I don’t think when someone resigns it is ever a good time,” Kelly said. “Whenever new leadership takes office it’s a great opportunity for change and growth.”