MSA: Students need more time to add, drop classes

MSA wants to extend the deadline because holiday and school cancellations have cut down on class time.

Kaitlyn Walek

The Minnesota Student Association voted Tuesday to ask University of Minnesota administrators to extend the deadline to add or drop classes this semester.

The undergraduate student government passed a position statement asking the University to give students an extra week to add or drop classes because a holiday and school cancellations have cut down on class time in the first two weeks.

“If you have a Monday class, you have yet to go to class,” said Joelle Stangler, MSA’s ranking representative to the Board of Regents.

Current University policy allows students only to add and drop classes during the first two weeks of each semester without risking certain penalties.

Effective Feb. 4, students will need both instructor and college scholastic committee approval to add a class and could lose up to 50 percent of tuition already paid if they drop a class, according to the current policy.

If students drop a class after Tuesday, they will also receive a “W” on their transcript, indicating they withdrew from the course.

MSA is sending its position statement to University President Eric Kaler, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Bob McMaster and the Office for Student Affairs. University officials weren’t available for comment Tuesday night.

Stangler, who presented the position statement, said she reached out to some students and found many wanted more time before finalizing their schedules. She said there’s student support for a deadline extension.

Support for divestment passes

MSA voted on three other position statements at its first forum of spring semester, including one supporting fossil fuel divestment. The statement passed in a 29-24 vote with four abstentions.

The statement recommends that University administrators immediately freeze new investments in fossil fuel companies and divest the institution’s endowment from these companies.

MSA tried voting on the same statement last month, but there weren’t enough members present to call a vote, and some opposed the measure.

“There was one loud voice against it,” said Alex Vagac, a Fossil Free Minnesota member.

Some MSA members and student group representatives again spoke out against the position statement on Tuesday, but the measure still passed.

Simone Childs-Walker, a divestment advocate who helped present the statement, said the measure will now go to the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and the University Senate for a vote.

If they also pass it, she said, it will prove there’s support for University divestment from fossil fuel.

Additionally, MSA passed a position statement supporting the Good Neighbor Fund, which funds community projects around the University.

The association also voted down a measure supporting “kill switch” legislation, which would require smartphone manufacturers to require a switch that disables stolen phones.