ArticlePage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/news/html/campusrectostudents.html
Campus Rec Proposal Going to the Students
Mandatory insurance measure fails to find support; library hours to be extended.
There are two reasons for the student body to participate in this year's student senate elections.
Not only will students get to elect their new senate representatives, but they will be able to vote in a referendum to choose one of three funding options of the outdoor campus recreation proposal during the April 10 Minnesota State Student Association general election.
MSSA President Gabe Afolayan announced the referendum at yesterday's senate meeting.
It is within the constitutional authority of the student body president to bring a referendum to the students.
"It is unprecedented for the student body at large to have an opportunity to directly influence future costs and the physical landscape of MSU," Afolayan said to the senate as he read from a prepared statement.
He cited a survey from last spring that showed about half of Minnesota State students supported a student fee subsidy for upgrades to outdoor facilities and roughly 2/3 of students supported the issue going to referendum. Afolayan also made note of a recent petition that was presented to the senate by students who want to be able to vote on the proposal.
Two propositions will be on the ballot. The first is to include items like improving several campus recreation fields and building a 1,500-seat multi-purpose stadium, which would increase student fees by $39.63 per semester.
The second option would include everything in the first proposition and add items such as installing synthetic field surfaces in some areas and enclosing the multi-purpose stadium with a bubble, which would increase student fees by $65.02 per semester.
A third choice would be to vote no to both propositions and therefore not increase student fees.
"I encourage all students to seize this opportunity to take a stake in their institution and make an educated vote on this proposal because you will likely not get an opportunity like this again," Afolayan said.
MANDATORY INSURANCE NOT SUPPORTED
The student senate voted not to support a pilot mandatory health insurance program.
Student Health Services Director Christine Connolly had brought up the possibility of this program earlier in the year.
The Student Affairs Committee further researched the issue on behalf of the senate.
The motion to not support the program said the MSSA did not feel that requiring insurance fit into the university's responsibility to provide high quality academics.
Afolayan mentioned a survey that showed 11 to 12 percent of MSU students do not have health insurance and that about the same number of students would consider attending another university if insurance was mandatory.
Off-Campus Senator Mike Norton said it was "inappropriate" to make students who are not already insured pay for something they probably can't afford.
INCREASING TUITION RATES
Vice President of Finance and Administration Rick Straka presented budget and tuition information to the student senate.
He said it is too early in the state legislative session to know how much money will be appropriated to higher education, but that schools should have a better idea in about six weeks.
Straka said the goal of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system was to have an average 4 percent tuition increase cap, although MSU may request up to a 5 or 6 percent increase if other schools in the system ask for a tuition increase lower than 4 percent.
"President [Richard Davenport] would like to keep open the option of increasing the tuition slightly more than 4 percent," Straka said.
LONGER LIBRARY HOURS
Graduate Studies Senator Kristeen Giese said the library will run a pilot of extended hours beginning March 18 and continuing until the end of finals. She said the library will stay open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, as compared to its current 11:45 p.m. closing time.
Gage A Tower Senator Evan Trosvik said only the first floor will remain open to students from midnight to 2 a.m., but that library staff can still retrieve materials from the second and third levels.
Emmeline Elliott is a Reporter staff writer