On Wednesday and Thursday, University students will vote in the Minnesota Student Association elections. This year, five tickets have decided to make a run for the offices of president and vice president. In contrast to past years, all five have taken a serious look at the issues and attempted to formulate solutions to the University’s problems. Among the dynamic duos, presidential candidate Brett Rowlett and his running mate, Irene Kao, stand out as the most credible, the most informed and the most deserving of undergraduates’ votes. When casting their ballots this week, students should vote for Rowlett and Kao for MSA president and vice president.
While the other candidates fall over themselves proposing reforms for MSA itself, Rowlett and Kao offer a platform that actually makes suggestions for improvements to the University community. They have set forth an ambitious agenda full of innovative ideas for improving the student experience. Rowlett and Kao believe in the idea of student government, and as president and vice president, they would serve as strong ambassadors to several corridors of power where students need a voice.
A common complaint heard on campus is that MSA cannot do “anything.” On some matters, this complaint rings true. It is a certainty that if elected, none of the candidates, no matter how hard they try, will cut tuition in half, solve all campus parking problems or cancel school when it snows. However, what MSA does have the ability to do is make the student voice heard by the administration. Considering this fact, Rowlett and Kao stand out as the best candidates. They have experience as members of MSA and in other campus organizations. Moreover, the two have a presence University officials will take seriously.
One candidacy that is certain to develop interest is that of Jared Christiansen, who along with his running mate proposes to do away with MSA. This position will seem attractive to some students who are fed up with the perceived inaction of student government. What this crowd fails to understand is that MSA’s job is not to enact policy; it is to propose and comment on it. If we as students knew how to run the University, why would we be in school in the first place? Abolishing MSA is not the appropriate response to the rash of poor leadership in recent years; electing strong leaders is.
It is certainly reasonable to raise objections when MSA members behave like children. Instead of spending their time impeaching each other, practicing identity politics or pursuing politically correct crusades, MSA members should work for students. Rowlett and Kao have proposed an agenda for MSA composed of real issues faced by students. Honest disagreement and debate among the members of student government is to be expected; the nature of the job requires it and an assembly without it would be pointless.
Rather than bemoaning the existence of student government, Brett Rowlett and Irene Kao have devised a candidacy that will serve student interests. It is innovative, positive and represents the kind of thinking students should expect from the leaders of their student government. Rowlett and Kao believe in the mission of MSA, and they would be an asset to the University undergraduates.