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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Senate stalemates

MSSA divided about raising graduation fee

by Dannie Higginbotham

Issue date: 03/26/09 Section: Senate News and Notes
The Minnesota State Student Association passed a motion Wednesday asking Minnesota State to bring in a green consultant.

The consultant would look at ways the university could conserve energy and reduce its carbon emissions and would be paid for through grants and the newly-passed stimulus bill.

The motion also approved the idea of a voluntary green fund to which students and faculty can donate.

"If students want to contribute to the environment, this would be a good way to do so," said MSSA Vice President Murtaza Rajabali.

The motion also seeks to create a full time staff or graduate assistant position dedicated to researching new ways to save energy. This would be funded by sources such as grants and the green fund.

"I think it's about time MSU started paving the way for green research," said Off-Campus Senator Thomas Williams. "If we have the government money for it, why not exploit it as much as possible?"

The senate was divided, with a vote of 13-13, about a motion made on whether to make a recommendation regarding raising the graduation fee from $20 to $25. The motion was created during a presentation from Jennifer Guyer-Wood, director of Alumni Relations and Special Events.

"This is our only funding source for commencement ceremonies," Guyer-Wood said. "This is probably the most important event on campus and is very meaningful to students."

The fee hasn't increased since it was first implemented in 2000. The proposal comes now because the Registrar's Office has decided to stop paying for the diploma covers given to graduates when they walk at commencement.

Some senators asked if the university had thought about charging for tickets to the commencement ceremonies.

"If we charge, we don't think as many people would come," Guyer-Wood said. "Many of them already have to travel and stay overnight."

Graduate Studies Senator Kevin Clement said the $5 increase "doesn't seem like a big deal."

"A $5 increase is low for what's provided," Clement said.

"Commencement isn't necessarily just for students," he said. "It's also for the parents and family who have supported them through their time here."

The reason some senators didn't support the increase was because they believe it would start a trend of many departments coming to the MSSA asking for recommendations on fee increases.

"I'm afraid of how many things people would come to us asking for," said Off-Campus Senator Brett Anderson. "I'd like to see other ways we can trim back and still have a good commencement."

"We can't put everything on the backs of students," Anderson said.

Williams said the increase would seem fair.

"The fee hasn't been raised in a decade," Williams said. "We're only charging for inflation."

The senate suggested looking at the possibility of charging the increase only to students who want diploma covers.

Dannie Higginbotham is the Reporter assistant news editor