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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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MSSA Addresses Communication Between Senators and Media

by Emmeline Elliott
Issue date: 8/31/06 Section: Campus News

Walking in the Taylor Center and seeing the numerous student senate posters will give anyone the impression that the Minnesota State Student Association is trying to start the school year promoting an open dialogue with students.

The officers of MSSA are also encouraging senators to work together to create a unified flow of information that represents the organization.

At the senate's first meeting of the year yesterday, MSSA President Gabe Afolayan and Vice President Chris Frederick made a motion that asked senators to consult the MSSA public affairs coordinator for clarification on a subject before making a statement to media outlets about the subject.

Afolayan said this motion was made primarily due to two incidents last school year when a senator or senators submitted a letter to the editor to The Reporter that did not contain accurate information or did not represent a view endorsed by the organization.

The one incident involved a senator writing on a recent student death. Assuming the death was alcohol related, the senator went on to stress the dangers of drinking and writing that the student body needed to learn from the event. The cause of death had not been determined at that point, but was later ruled a suicide by poisoning.

The motion passed 14-9.

Some senators were concerned that the motion would not allow them to answer questions from reporters.

"I think that the motion is really constricting," said Gage A Senator Evan Trosvik.

MSSA Public Affairs Coordinator Bill Brozak said the motion is meant to focus on written communication representing the MSSA rather than when senators speak to reporters and express their individual opinion.

"This won't hinder senators from speaking to any media outlet," Brozak said.

Afolayan said Brozak will soon give guidelines to senators advising how to communicate with the media. He said he wants senators to have the facts rights when they speak with the media so as to not misrepresent the MSSA.

"We don't want to do anything that would ruin the integrity of the association," Afolayan said.