Serafy Cox to begin new term

Serafy Cox will begin the presidency for the Minnesota Student Association on July 1.

Riham Feshir

ACorrections:
The Daily misstated Cox’s major goal. Cox said her major goal is to get the student government to concentrate on tuition issues as its number one priority.

The Daily misquoted Cox’s stated goal in relation to gender. Cox’s correct quote is: “I want to change the notion of gender to a complicated form. As it is now, the notion of gender is too simplistic.”

A knock on the door was Emily Serafy Cox’s inspiration to run for political office.

Cam Gordon was running for Minneapolis City Council Ward 2, and Serafy Cox was one of the community members he talked to.

“I was just impressed that he was knocking on my door and that he was running for political office,” she said, smiling as she sipped grape juice at Second Moon Coffee Cafe in South Minneapolis.

Serafy Cox will take office as president of the Minnesota Student Association on July 1.

Born and raised in Madison, Wis., she had never held an elected office, but she said she has always been involved in activism. She sees being MSA president as an extension of activism in which she can make a difference.

“There are things in the world that need to be done differently; a really good avenue for that is activism and being in political office,” she said.

Passionate about dance, Serafy Cox’s main concentration growing up was her art. Although she was never involved in politics at all before college, she has always been very opinionated, she said. As an only child, Serafy Cox grew up surrounded by adults.

“I would stand there and try to engage in the conversation in a lot of ways. I seemed to grow up faster, have a larger vocabulary than my peers,” she said.

Serafy Cox is majoring in women’s studies and uses feminism to reach her goals of eliminating the intimidation that some women face, she said.

“I want to change the complicated notion of gender, bringing a really critical eye to every situation,” she said.

She hopes to encourage women to make their voices heard, she said.

Serafy Cox is also passionate about animal rights, she said. She has been a vegetarian since age 12 and a vegan for three years.

“The meat industry is economically and environmentally resource wasteful,” she said.

Working effectively with administrators and understanding their business language is a challenge that Serafy Cox said she faces.

“A lot of administrators speak a language that is highly wrapped up in the language of business,” she said.

She said she hopes to bridge the communication gap between herself and administrators. She said administrators do not focus solely on making money, but they still need to worry about tuition costs and budgets. She wants to adjust to that viewpoint.

One administrative decision Serafy Cox said she disagrees with is the General College closure.

“I think it’s very unfortunate,” she said.

She said friends from her high school who did not have the chance to excel academically did well in other areas, such as poetry and art. Those kinds of students are brilliant and General College could have been a place for them, she said.

Serafy Cox agrees with General College’s admissions policy, which looks at more than grade point average and ACT scores.

“I disagree with the idea of relying solely on numbers, and General College sees more than numbers,” she said.

Serafy Cox was involved with the clerical workers’ strike, the Metro Transit workers’ strike and the unionization campaign for graduate student employees.

She said she believes labor unions give people voices that need to be heard.

“I am personally and extremely in support of labor unions,” she said. “I think that they’re an excellent way to help with economic justice.”

Although Tom Zearley, outgoing MSA president, did not publicly support any of the candidates in this year’s MSA election, he said he thinks Serafy Cox will make a good leader.

“She has very different points of view. She understands how things inside and outside of the University work. She works well with the city government and the Legislature,” he said.

But Tom Meyer, who ran against Serafy Cox in the MSA election, said he disagrees with Serafy Cox’s policies.

“It’s good to know that she wants to lower tuition costs,” he said. “But lobbying at the state level is just repeating that the students don’t want to pay a lot of money for school. I think it’s just a waste of time Ö There is so much we can do, and MSA doesn’t have that much power.”

Colin Schwensohn, incoming MSA vice president, discussed goals he plans to reach while working with his running mate. Tuition costs, housing and transportation are their first priorities.

Schwensohn said Serafy Cox will be a good leader because of her confidence and her other traits.

“She has people skills, she is friendly, communicates well, capable of getting her point across and doesn’t take no for an answer,” he said.

Matt Haacker, a friend of Serafy Cox, said he thinks she will be a “strong, capable” leader.

“In the years that I have known her she has always been friendly, outgoing, opinionated, intelligent, idealistic and tenacious,” he said.