MSA and the awful ‘Q’ word

Matt Howard

There is one word nobody wants to hear during an MSA forum: quorum.
This term is only used when the number of members in attendance is too small for any vote to accurately reflect the opinion of the majority and therefore merits immediate adjournment of the session and tables all issues on the agenda until the next forum.
 It is also a term that has ended roughly half of all MSA forums this semester.
MSA is plagued with the problem of senators, representatives and executive committee members consistently leaving forum before the entire agenda has been discussed.
As a member of forum myself, I find it extremely disrespectful when my colleagues depart prior to the conclusion of the session, and as an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, I am enraged to see members of the executive committee skive off early. These people are being paid to sit through forum with the student service fees that MSA receives from the University. It angers me to see student leaders not fulfilling their most basic of duties, and it frustrates me further to see that this practice is tolerated within the MSA forum.
How can MSA be an effective student government when such a large percentage of its members are so disinterested in participating?
To leave forum early is to waste not only the time of those who choose to stay and fulfill their duty to their constituencies, it is also a betrayal of the trust that undergraduate students have put in their elected representatives.
I understand if someone needs to leave forum early once or twice because of other commitments; however these commitments should not interfere with every forum. If a person has class or some other commitment that interferes with the meeting time of MSA that is very clearly stated in the constitution and during MSA orientation then a choice needs to be made.
It will be interesting to see how the new administration of Lizzy Shay and Colin Burke deals with this issue of chronic quorum. If things are to continue along the same path as they are now, we will soon become the Big Ten school with the undergraduate government that nobody can find.
Matt Howard, University student