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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/news/html/article4.html

MSSA Is Kind Of a Big Deal

March 28, 2006

With the Minnesota State Student Association election set for April 11, it’s important this year’s candidates not make a mockery of what many MSU students already consider to be an insignificant process.

Solicit unsuspecting students in the CSU on election day? Forget it. Woefully contrived and possibly racist slogans? Not necessary. “Vote 4 Pedro” T-shirt parodies? You should know better.

Of course, the MSSA elections are important because the MSSA and its representatives are entrusted with millions of dollars in Student Activity Fees and they literally shape future tuition and fees. When at odds with Minnesota State administration or Minnesota State Schools and Universities, the MSSA is the voice of the students (or it should be). At its best, the MSSA is an effective democracy that acts on the behalf of the student body. At its worse, the MSSA is run by power mongers seeking another nugget for their future job resume or greater input for special interests better known as “recognized student organizations.”

So as candidates form parties, create agendas and cover the campus with posters, the Reporter asks students to be critical before they vote. Never mind the superficiality of a student government with limited representation — just be sure the representative you vote for knows the desired agenda of his/her constituents.

Those running for MSSA positions should look no further than last year’s election for an example of low-brow political tactics. When all was said and done, there were cries of racism, alienation and even propaganda. The fate of the free world does not depend upon this vote, but the dignity of a highly entrusted student senate does. We would expect those in the running to maintain the same level of dignity in campaigning as they would in office.

“Voting” will never be listed under popular student activities, so be not surprised if and when voter turnout is low. More important is an informed vote which comes as the result of open and honest candidates. This year, we hope candidates are more than names and faces and piranhas handsomely outfitted on election day in pursuit of free votes. To the candidates: Be forward. Be clear. Be everything politicians are not. Be a student, because at the end of the day, elected or not, that’s what you are and that’s who you represent.