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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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The Minnesota Daily

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Online petition asks Pawlenty to support U’s capital request

The University’s Legislative Network presented Gov. Tim Pawlenty with a campus-wide online petition yesterday that was posted almost one month ago.

The electronic petition – the first University-wide petition compiled by the Legislative Network – was signed by 6,500 alumni, students and others involved with the University.

“We’ve had a tremendous turnout from students, alumni and faculty,” Legislative Network coordinator Mike Dean said. “They’ve recognized how important it is to support the University.”

The Legislative Network is an association of alumni, students, faculty, staff and community members who work to get students involved in University legislative issues. The network is sponsored by the University’s Alumni Association.

The petition asks the governor to support the University’s full 2004 capital request when he makes his recommendations to the state Legislature in January. Because this year is a bonding year, the Legislature will fund buildings and capital projects.

The University’s $188.7 million capital request this year will include $74 million to renovate Kolthoff Hall, the Mineral Resources Research Center and the Academic Health Center’s Educator Centers on the Twin Cities campus.

The network also began a five-day letter-writing campaign Monday.

The campaign’s goal is to send 5,000 letters from University students and advocates to legislators. The letters will also ask legislators to support the capital request.

Dean said students responded quickly; on Tuesday, 1,500 letters had been sent in less than 24 hours.

Dean said some legislators have responded to students, saying they appreciate the letters and will work to support the University in the upcoming session.

The letters are being sent electronically through the Legislative Network’s Web site. A link on the site offers participants the choice of signing a pre-drafted letter or personalizing the template.

“Legislators really like it when people write their own letters,” Dean said. “It’s much more effective. It shows them how passionate you are about the issue.”

Dean said many people sending the letters have personalized them.

The letter-writing campaign will be the Legislative Network’s last lobbying effort until next semester.

The group is already planning.

On Jan. 22, the network will hold a legislative briefing for students with University President Bob Bruininks, legislators and regents. The network will also help with the University’s Lobby Day, which the Minnesota Student Association is organizing.

The Alumni Association will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2004. The organization has 57,000 members and works to connect alumni, students, parents and community members to the University.

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