MSA attendance policies

by Sean Madigan

Nikki Kubista said she felt like a mom Tuesday when she delivered her “unhappy speech” to the Minnesota Student Association’s forum.
“We can do better for students on campus,” said Kubista, president of MSA. “We can start today. Think about how we act like normal adults serving students on campus.”
Kubista’s message was a reaction to the last forum meeting. Tensions between members over attendance issues escalated as representatives exchanged vindictive quips and pointed questions. She did not want the infighting to rear its ugly head again in Tuesday’s forum.
“We are here to advocate for and serve students,” Kubista said. She asked for two things: members to act as leaders and to hold one another accountable for their behavior.
The forum reviewed the removal of five members for attendance issues and elected three new members to fill vacated at-large positions.
According to section two of the MSA by-laws, members who miss more than one forum or committee meeting will be subject to removal, said MSA speaker Ben Bowman.
“This is the beginning of the reconstruction process,” Bowman said. Though as speaker Bowman has the authority to review all excuses, he is firm in his policy.
“I grant no exceptions,” Bowman said.
Members in question had several reasons for not attending two of the meetings.
Dustin Berger, a senior in the College of Human Ecology, was not aware he was re-elected until a month into the quarter. Dana Cheam, a representative from the Asian American Student Cultural Center, attended every meeting, but was never told he must sign in on the forum time sheet.
Three at-large MSA representatives resigned from their positions for attendance issues. Two members decided to forfeit their at-large seats.
With those positions vacated, the forum held nominations and elections for three new at-large representatives.
Nominees fielded questions from the forum. They were asked how they heard of the position, their degree of experience and involvement with diversity, and which initiatives they would address once elected.
The forum chose Joshua Waugh, Shawn Pucylowski and Hoang-Uyen Nguyen to fill the seats.
Pucylowski, a freshman in Frontier Hall, said he is excited about his new position, but thinks he will need some time to get accustomed to the forum environment.
“It just seems so formal,” Pucylowski said. “I’ll have to learn a little bit before I contribute.”