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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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MSSA recommends changes to alcohol policy

Senators suggest increased education for freshmen

by Dannielle Higginbotham

Issue date: 01/15/09 Section: Senate News and Notes
The Minnesota State Student Association kicked off 2009 with four new senators, two recommendations regarding the off-campus alcohol policy and one presentation about the school's budget.

MSSA elected Megan Hertzog and former Gage A Senator Samuel LeVaughn as new senators for the College of Business, replacing former senators Yonis Gabow and John Busch. Juniors Brett Anderson and Thomas Williams were also elected to fill the vacant seats for Off-Campus left by Andy Wilke and Hassan Mohomed.

Williams said his main concerns for off-campus students are parking and class times and that he felt he was a good person to represent the students.

"I am a strong voice of moderation and reason," Williams said.

The student senate also made a motion reaffirming its opposition to the off-campus alcohol policy, where students receive on-campus disciplinary action for off-campus alcohol violations. MSSA made exceptions for transgressions occurring on-campus, at school- sanctioned off-campus events, legal felonies and repeat offenses.

"I think this is the perfect compromise," said Allied Health and Nursing Senator Robert Dooley.

The motion included recommendations for steps the university could take to curtail underage drinking, including discussions on the consequences of high risk and illegal drinking during Orientation and Welcome Week, and a good Samaritan policy to encourage people to seek help in the event of an emergency while illegal drinking is taking place.

Off-Campus Senator Abby Knott said she supported talking to students when they first arrived in Mankato.

"Drinking is a problem that often starts freshman year," Knott said. "This is when students develop drinking habits that last their entire college career."

Knott said she would support a speaker at orientation to discuss overcoming alcohol or drug addiction.

"I think we need to do something more proactive than reactive," she said.

MSU President Richard Davenport gave a presentation on the school's budget, assuring the senate the university would do everything it could to not pass the cost onto the students.

"Four or five years ago there was a $191 million reduction to the system and tuition was raised 15% two years in a row," Davenport said. "Everyone knew the burden went on the shoulders of students. It won't be anything like that this year."

MSU is considering various ways of cutting the budget, including cutting adjunct faculty. This would decrease the number of sections available for classes. Davenport said the administration would try to decrease sections of lower level classes rather than those for juniors or seniors.

"It is our priority to make sure students aren't delayed in graduating because of pulled courses," Davenport said.

Davenport said he didn't want students to dwell on negative topics such as the budget.

"There are a lot of good things going on at MSU," he said. "We will survive."

Dannie Higginbotham is a Reporter staff writer