MSA debate is not seen from both sides

Once again, the Minnesota Student Association’s biggest advocate, Brandon Lacy Campos, has been given space to tell the University community what is really happening in our student government. It is somewhat ironic that he blasts The Minnesota Daily for their alleged “biased” reporting when it comes to MSA; in reality, his side has been the only one presented in the Daily from the first day of classes this year. Thus, I hope I will be given an equal opportunity to give the other side.
The administration of MSA (of which Lacy Campos is a part) would like nothing better than to paint this battle as one of conservatives vs. liberals. His statement that “accusations of misconduct have invariably all come from the ‘campus right'” belies this fact. I am one of the biggest accusers in his eyes, and while I concede that I am a bit to the right of Lenin, I hold enough left-leaning beliefs to the point where many of my friends call me a “bleeding-heart liberal.” Lacy Campos has been with myself and a number of others at political events because we do share the same ideology, more or less. To say the attacks upon how MSA is conducting its business are merely of a partisan nature is patently false.
The real issue is competency and compliance. While it may be technically true that the MSA Constitution doesn’t explicitly state that the fees request needs to go through the MSA Forum, it does so implicitly. Moreover, it is obvious that in the tradition of deliberative bodies, such an important decision and policy should go in front of forum for debate. To invoke legalistic contingencies to explain away behavior contrary to the heritage of democracy, as well as the espoused beliefs of the executive members of MSA, is shameful. What was done with regards to the fees request was wrong, and those involved know it. They just chose to gloss it over.
Lacy Campos states that it is obvious we are attacking MSA President Nikki Kubista’s progressive stance because nobody chose to debate the proposal at our last forum meeting. First of all, to debate a policy after it has been adopted is a bit superfluous. More importantly, however, any debate would have come to nought. Time after time in forum I have implored the membership to listen to logic and reason to right their wrongs, and I am always shouted down.
Forum is made up of a number of people who see any challenge to presidential authority as an attack on their “progressive nature” and therefore vote to uphold even the poorest of decisions. When it comes to a point where the majority of forum will vote to violate our constitution in the name of being “progressive,” instead of being rational, then there is no point for debate. Debate hinges on the possibility of a rational dialogue, one where people’s minds are not already set in stone. As this is not the case, I and many others have given up trying to use logical arguments in forum.
Instead of wasting our time debating something that has already been rammed through forum to the fees committee, we are going to the committee itself and to the students. Hopefully, their minds are not as inflexible.
Lacy Campos attacks the Daily, and by extension the students at the University, for printing editorials that come out against MSA, the fees process or anything else that he identifies with. This is just another indication of the prevailing mentality in MSA, one where they are right and those who challenge them are wrong. Is it any wonder that there is no possibility for debate within forum? Is it any wonder that the executives of MSA, choosing to disregard anything that gets in the way of their “progressive” agenda, run afoul of those who believe that following our constitution and bylaws is just as important as making the University a better place?
Students are speaking out, members of forum are speaking out, and with any luck, the fees committee will also speak out with this message: If you are going to play the game of democracy, you must follow the rules.

Rev. Nathan Hunstad,College of Liberal Arts senior,Student Senate Consultative Committee senator,Judicial Review Committee member,director of metro-area College Democrats of Minnesota