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Editorial Cartoon: Alabama and IVF
Editorial Cartoon: Alabama and IVF
Published March 1, 2024

MSA prepares to send COVID-19 resolution to administration

As COVID-19 cases increase at the University of Minnesota, MSA takes action to help administrators take more precautions.
Illustration by Sarah Mai

Illustration by Sarah Mai

The Minnesota Student Association (MSA) at the University of Minnesota has been working on creating a new COVID-19 resolution to send to administration, asking for more proactive steps toward a safer, healthier campus.

Author of the resolution, second-year student Carter Yost, wrote the resolution to shed light on and confront the current issues facing the University faculty and students in regards to COVID-19.

“The sentiment shared amongst the communities seemed to be a sense of frustration with a dissonance between the state of COVID and public health in the Twin Cities and on campus, and the state of support systems available to students, faculty and community members designed to address issues,” Yost said.

Yost wrote this resolution with the help of third-year student Nick Wallenhorst, third-year Zeke Jackson and second-year Amanda Ichel.

The resolution includes a list of solutions, including more COVID-19 testing options on campus, higher quality face masks, integrating S/N grading, requiring the booster shot and more.

“[Carter] approached me, Nick Wallenhorst and a couple other people out of concern that the University was not doing enough to address COVID and COVID concerns,” Ichel said.

Ichel said the resolution focuses on reinstating the policies the University put into place back in 2020 when the pandemic started as well as adding some new policies of their own.

According to Ichel, the old policies MSA wants to reinstate include “an increase in the number of free mental health appointments you can get at Boynton, the change in S/N grading later in the semester, which were measures put in place to help students through these uncertain times.”

On Feb. 22, MSA will vote if they are going to pass the resolution through Forum. If the resolution gets approved, it will get sent to administration almost immediately, according to Yost.

“We’re anticipating admin’s response, so we’re waiting to send the resolution to administration,” Yost said. “We’re going to change some language things, getting rid of some of the policies that seem unnecessary and adding other things that we think are important.”

Yost thinks the key to this resolution is spreading awareness of the physical and mental resources that students need to ensure they have immediate access to them, as well as the academic accommodations.

“Expansion to S/N grading options or changes to attendance policies, bringing in more grace with those systems, are a key piece to students having that support system,” Yost added.

After talking to many undergraduate students, MSA wrote the resolution through the perspective of students and advocating for them, according to Ichel and the other authors of the resolution.

“As students, we see first hand how these policies are working and how it affects the student body, so we are voicing our concerns,” Ichel said. “Our [resolution] is less of a single demand and more of a compilation of all these different issues and bringing them to the attention of the University.”

According to the four authors of this resolution, the overall goal is to keep students safe and make sure they succeed. Ichel added that she believes success begins with the foundation of safety.

“Making sure that everybody who goes to school here, or works, or teaches here knows that the University and the community has their back and makes sure that they’re safe, healthy and in a place to succeed is really crucial,” Yost said.

Wallenhorst said some other students that have been consulted on the resolution have also said that the University’s administration should be doing more in regard to protecting and helping students navigate their way through the pandemic.

“It is telling that across the board, regardless of perspective, so many people agree that there’s work that has yet to be done on strengthening that core support system,” Yost said. “This is reassuring for the purpose of the resolution but is disappointing as someone who is a member of this community at the University.”

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