Pomroy/Davidson for MSA

Wednesday and Thursday are election days for the Minnesota Student Association. Although often derided, MSA provides an outlet for student opinion on important issues as varied as the availability of fair trade coffee on campus to course guide composition. As the University faces a grim budget situation, MSA requires a steady leader who understands the University, Minnesota politics and the amalgam of on- and off-campus issues. It is our view that Andy Pomroy provides the most realistic and well-rounded platform along with the requisite experience to affect change in students’ interest. Students should support him and vice presidential candidate Annie Davidson to lead MSA.

The Pomroy/ Davidson ticket advocates on- and off-campus action to deal with four key issues: restoring work-study funding, implementing online course evaluations, advocating affordable housing and fighting for campus funding targeted for cuts.

A veteran of political campaigns now serving as MSA’s chairman of legislative affairs, Pomroy has developed the skills needed to deal directly with state politicians. He has been a strong voice opposing funding cuts and tuition hikes. In particular, we were impressed by his idea to put course evaluations online. This is the type of proposal desired from a serious MSA candidate. It is a realistic proposal that would provide a valuable resource for students at marginal cost. Good leadership does more than point to obvious flaws: It offers solutions and improvements beyond the status quo.

While Pomroy stood out for his professionalism, other candidates offered ideas worth considering. In campaign literature, Micah Johnson highlighted the advantages of flat University Dining Service meal rates. A flat UDS meal rate is an issue especially important to students who are forced to purchase unrealistic and unfair meal plans because they live in residence halls. The next MSA leaders would be wise to pursue such a plan.

Another issue brought up in the campaign was the idea of capping parking rates. Although parking is expensive for students, parking fees are a source of University funding and capping costs would encourage even more commuting by car, something the University should discourage for both congestion and environmental reasons.

Candidate Eric Dyer advocated a late-night bus route linking downtown and campus. While the plan has good intentions, it does not seem to be an essential pursuit considering the presence of city bus routes that already serve essentially the same functions.

It remains to be seen whether MSA will prove to be the student voice it aspires to be. Part of the problem is student’s inability to recognize the functions of MSA and its importance. But as student initiatives are successfully passed and MSA is recognized for its efforts, the problem will be self-correcting. For the general student body, the best way to encourage MSA success, short of running for office, is to be sure your voice is heard. Get out and vote.

Elections will be held Wednesday and Thursday. Polling stations will be located at Coffman Union with polls open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. You can also vote online at http://www1.umn.edu/vote.