Minnesota Student Association, like all politics, is subject to stalemates

Daily Editorial Board

For the past few years, students have petitioned for the installation of a fall break. Nearly every year, candidates running for top positions in the Minnesota Student Association — the University’s student government body — campaign for fall break.

This year, MSA passed a resolution “supporting” fall break. Some will laud this as a victory, but in reality, we should be cautious of accepting this as a victory; it could be much more opaque than that.

The resolution’s primary author, Makda Biniam, is now running for MSA’s vice president role. The reality is that getting the resolution’s implementation is far-fetched — necessitating much deliberation from various administrative bodies at the University and long-term planning regarding the length of the term and the start day of school.

The bill also does not specify any concrete implementation strategy despite demanding that the resolution be implemented “effective immediately.” There was no specific event that prompted the drafting of this resolution this late into the year — the discussions of fall break began as early as 2015.

If anything, these final discussions should have begun at the beginning of the school year to ensure that the policies that people voted for in the past election could be implemented as soon as possible. Such strong language without any legitimate implementation plan in the resolution suggests that the function was just to pass something.

Last year, MSA started the “How Are You?” campaign spearheaded by then-President Joelle Stangler and Vice President Abeer Syedah, along with many other leaders. The timing was oddly coincidental — mental health was part of the winning ticket’s platform for a while, yet publicity on mental health awareness floundered until the next election when current President Abeer Syedah was running.

Certainly, MSA did pass many important resolutions that helped the University shape their mental health policy. This work, regardless of the timing, was important. Even the idea to add a fall break has value.

When thinking about the role of “politics,” it is easy to point to legislators at the state and federal levels. However, politics does not escape the University student body.

This fall break resolution is a microcosm of the political nature of any student government. It was drafted by a prospective candidate for MSA Vice President in the heat of an election between many candidates, each competing with a list of accomplishments — each trying to get the upper hand. But the resolution still has not resulted in tangible results — rather it has restarted a dialogue that has already been occurring for several years.