MSA forum to discuss presidential candidates

by Tracy Ellingson

Students can show their support for the University presidential candidate they like most today at the Minnesota Student Association forum.
Former MSA President Matt Musel, the student representative on the presidential advisory search committee, will discuss the three presidential finalists — Auburn University President William Muse, Portland State University President Judith Ramaley and University of Texas at Austin Provost Mark Yudof — and answer students’ questions at the forum. Following the discussion, students will participate in a straw poll vote.
The forum and vote are open to all students, and MSA President Helen Phin said the group will use the poll to get a general feel of who students are supporting.
“Some MSA leaders are going to start thinking about who they want to support,” Phin said. “Some of us have talked to the candidates on the phone and done some work finding out who the candidates are and how they would relate to students.”
The winner of the straw poll will not necessarily receive an official MSA endorsement, however.
In addition to Musel’s address to the forum, three MSA members from the Academic Affairs committee will speak in support of each of the candidates, who were officially announced Wednesday when the Board of Regents affirmed the search committee recommendations.
Phin said several MSA members have shown an early interest in Ramaley.
“I do get the sense very much that she is very pro-student and she’s very willing to look into students’ concerns,” said Phin, who has spoken with Ramaley. “I think she’s a really very good person. She’s very visionary and I think (she would) be a good president.” Last year’s MSA Vice President Rebecca Mathern will also be at the meeting to offer a second endorsement for Ramaley.
The speakers collected most of their information from Musel, and discussed each candidate during the last Academic Affairs committee meeting.
Students will have the opportunity to talk with the candidates at open forum meetings Dec. 9, 10, and 11 in the Great Hall in Coffman Memorial Union.
The regents could select a successor to University President Nils Hasselmo as early as Dec. 13.