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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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MSSA Talks Latino Center

Senate passes proposal giving Multicultural Affairs a bigger office, moving ISA

Photo by Wale Agboola

News by Dannie Higginbotham

Issue date: 02/04/2010 Section: Senate News
Media Credit: Wale Agboola
MSSA President Murtaza Rajabali addresses the senate during open forum Wednesday. He talked about the senate's relationship with the administration.

In a move that will hopefully silence the Latino Center controversy for at least a while, the Minnesota State Student Association passed a recommendation it hopes will satisfy all parties involved.

Since a main reason stated for the proposed center was the need for more space, the Centennial Student Union boards suggested the Multicultural Affairs office switch with the office for the International Student Association and combine the office with the neighboring Intercultural Student Center to create one large space. It recommended the ISA office be moved to the first floor of the CSU, into the space formerly occupied by the Veteran's Center.

Dilip Pokhrel, president of the ISA, said the organization wouldn't mind moving as long as it was able to retain enough space for the different cultural groups it represented.

"The closeness to the International Center is also important," he said.

Suneel Parvathareddy, graduate assistant for the International Center, asked that the ISA not be moved to a smaller space, since it is already limited. The area houses three graduate assistants, the executive board of the ISA and other members of the organization.

Parvathareddy mentioned the ISA is responsible for several events on campus, such as Nepal night, South Asian Night and the International Festival, which this year is expected to draw around 5,000 attendees.

"Preparation for the festival starts 10 months in advance," Parvathareddy said. "Much of the planning, preparation and deliverance of the festival takes place in this space."

The senate eventually decided ISA would take over the Multicultural Affairs office once it moves, a space that is actually larger than the one it has now.

After meeting with members of the Division of Institutional Diversity, President Murtaza Rajabali added an amendment to the proposal that said Multicultural Affairs and the ISC would have the option to opt out of the switch once it met with an architect, a move the senate as a whole agreed with.

"This is a way of saying 'We tried, they tried'," said Vice President Bob Dooley. "They can say 'We don't like the new changes, we'll go back to what we had.'"

If this were the case, all parties involved would start back at square one in terms of planning for a larger multicultural or new Latino center.

Alexi Roskom, chair of the CSU board, stressed that the recommendation be taken as it is - a recommendation.

"The next step is to contact an architect and make sure all offices involved are consulted," Roskom said. "This isn't going to happen overnight."

The senate passed a motion overturning the Residence Hall Association's recommendation regarding 2010-2011 room and board rates, minimizing the increase to what may be potentially eight percent down to a more reasonable amount

It also voted to support an increase in the graduation fee, from $20 to $25, to ensure leather binders are received at commencement ceremonies.

The senate filled a vacant seat when it elected pre-electrical engineering major Jason Knopik as the senator for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Rajabali, recently faced with accusations that the senate is bending to the will of administration, spoke to the senate in open forum. Some people have even gone as far as saying the senate is the "mindless puppet of a racist [university] president."

"One of our missions is to work well with everyone," Rajabali said. "Everyone here is here with a student perspective

Dannie Higginbotham is the Reporter news editor