Only two tickets vie for MSA leadership

Tracy Ellingson

In a little more than three weeks, the University’s undergraduate student body will elect its newest president and vice president.
Two pairs of candidates vying for these top positions on the Minnesota Student Association set their campaign wheels in motion Tuesday night when they spoke before the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Council. Candidates, who were competing with one another for a council endorsement, hope the backing will increase their chances of winning the April 23-24 all-campus election.
All University undergraduates who pay student services fees are eligible to vote for the executive and other MSA legislative positions.
A two-ticket ballot at this phase of the campaign season — the final candidate filing date is Friday — is an unusually low turnout compared to years past. Last year, five presidential tickets ran.
Having only two tickets “will make (the race) very polarized,” said Corey Donovan, one of the presidential candidates. “It can be a good thing in that people can really get to know the candidates … but also, dirty politics can come into play.”
However, candidates on both tickets said that they would like to see a clean, fair race this year. And that race, judging from each ticket’s preliminary presentations, will consist of boosting a feeling of University community and making an effort for student government outreach to the student body.
The following is a look at the two tickets that have already entered the race.

Jigar Madia and Bridgette Murphy
Madia and Murphy, who seized the Panhellenic endorsement Tuesday touting a one-year plan, have dubbed their campaign “Twelve Months of Action.”
The plan lays out a goal the ticket hopes to achieve each month of the year they, if elected, will serve as student body president and vice president.
Among the goals the two have set are: implementing a system that would allow students to use their U Card as a credit card anywhere on campus, including in Dinkytown and Stadium Village, ensuring a 15-minute maximum waiting policy for student services, and placing students on all professor tenure review committees.
“Students are going to know what’s going on next year because things will be going on. Things will be happening for them,” Madia said, about a year under his and Murphy’s leadership. “The quality of student life is going to improve so drastically next year that students will know that MSA is active. That’s the major part of this plan.”
Murphy added that the two expect to make outreach to all students in the University community a major focus of their potential presidency.
“Any organization that will have us and listen to us,” Murphy said, “we want to go out there; we want to find out what their needs and wants are and fulfill them.”
Corey Donovan and Kiaora Bohlool
Donovan said he and his running mate have already hit the ground running with their effort to “bring the U back to you.”
Illustrating their commitment to the race during their presentation to the greek council, Bohlool removed her shoes showing that her “feet are planted firmly in the ground,” and Donovan threw off his tie, vowing that from now on he would speak with his potential constituents on a personal, frank level.
“We’re going to be all about talking to people in our grass-roots (style),” Donovan said.
Bohlool said the running mates know what they want to say, and now it’s just a matter of getting out to talk with as many students as possible.
Although the two have some broader issues that they would like to work on next year, Donovan said the two want to first hear the student body’s concerns and issues and then form their objectives for their year in office.
“We’re going to take up the issues that matter to the students and that students bring forward to us,” Donovan said. “We don’t want to have the same MSA that is working on the same things… (We’re) not just going to pick and choose, as the elites, what we’re going to work on.”
Donovan said that the president’s cabinet is an integral part of reaching out to the student body. By adding more active members to his cabinet, Donovan said, all members will be accountable and accessible to those they represent.