Student Forum Report 2-8-2017

Last Wednesday’s MSSA meeting was very brief, lasting only thirty minutes. It was kept short to allow time for the annual senator vs. Student Activities staff bowling matchup.

A presentation was given by Not This Weekend, a campaign organized by Student Health Services calling on MNSU students to refrain from binge drinking – defined as less than four drinks in a day – from this coming Thursday through Monday. All senators were asked to sign Not This Weekend’s pledge and all did so. The campaign is promoting upcoming alcohol-free events on campus and offering incentives for those who sign the pledge, including $5 gift cards from Buffalo Wild Wings and Pub 500 and free popcorn at Stomper’s Cinema. Students who fill out the Not This Weekend survey to be sent via MavMail will be eligible for prizes.

Those seeking more information on Not This Weekend can call 507-389-3239.

The consent agenda was approved unanimously, with several minor amendments added by President Faical Rayani. The consent agenda appointed fifteen delegates to last Friday’s Students United conference: Abdul Aziz, Emily Christensen, Fred de Ruiter, Michael Dufresne, Qendresa Isniqi, Alex Lucier, Connor Martin, Yulia Podorova, Faical Rayani, Maria Ruiz, Abhirup Saha, Othmane Sekkat, Pamal Wanigasinghe, Raymond Witte, and Griffin Goode.

In addition, ten appointments were made to MSSA committees. Muhammad Al-Shammari was appointed to Student Affairs Committee and Public Relations Committee; Alysia Sue Pryzbilla, Abdullah Moin, and Abhirup Saha to Parking Advisory Committee; Bryan Beltran to Tehcnology Advisory Committee; Faical Rayani and Maria Ruiz to the Constitutional Commission; Sujan Shrestha to Environmental Committee; and Muna Mohamed to Legislative Affairs Committee. $655 of recommendations proposed by Student Allocations Committee were approved. This included $200 for the School Psychology Society’s trip to the Minnesota School Psychology Association’s Mid-winter Conference in Plymouth, revised from the $400 amount that was erroneously recommended at the previous student senate meeting. $255 was allocated to the Pre-Physician Assistant Club for a trip to “an informational session on the Physician Assistant Graduate Program at Bethel University in St. Paul.” $200 was allocated to Chi Alpha Campus Ministry for a trip to “a spirituality conference at Lake Geneva Bible Camp in Alexandria.” Three new RSOs were approved: Chi Alpha Campus Ministry, Water Polo Club, and Structural Engineering Institute.

In his presidential report, Rayani expressed excitement for last Friday’s Students United conference. He called on MNSU’s delegates to meet beforehand to prepare.

Following the conference, President Rayani explained that “Mankato passed several motions among the seven schools that were well written and beneficial to Students United. Several motions were passed regarding the improvement of accessibility in the seven schools. A motion that Mankato made regarding implementing food pantries passed. Several motions passed advocating for the improvement of communication in the seven schools. These motions will hopefully bring about positive change.”

In his report, he mentioned that Josh Hrad has been installed as the new campus intern. The campus intern serves as a mediator between MSSA and Students United. He also announced that Advocacy Day, a day for students to voice their tuition concerns to administration, will take place on Feb. 15. More information on that can be found on the YouTube video entitled “Students United Advocacy Whiteboard Video.” He also noted that all students are invited to a comedy show and socializing event at Rochester Community and Technical College intended to facilitate discussion regarding issues facing campuses in the Minnesota State system.

Vice President Maria Ruiz spent her report talking about potential changes in signage to single-use restrooms on campus. The new signs are meant to be “gender neutral.” The new proposed signs, which would cost the university $1,200, feature the handicap symbol and an image of a toilet alongside the word “Restroom.” This was modified from an earlier plan which utilized the term “Gender Neutral Restroom.”

President Rayani noted that the decision was influenced by the fact that the political correctness of gender terms is constantly in flux and the university would not like to spend a large sum of money on a signage change that may not even be considered appropriate in the near future.

The topic generated some discussion. Senator Lucier was concerned with whether transgender or “gender non-conforming” students had been included in the discussion. Vice President Ruiz was unsure. Senator Sekkat expressed concern over whether the plan would allow members of any gender to use any restroom. Vice President Ruiz made clear that the signage change applies only to single-use restrooms.

Speaker Fred de Ruiter revealed the championship trophy for Wednesday night’s bowling showdown. The annual competition, which he facetiously added had been inaugurated in 1854, had never been won by the senators. The senators did, in fact, overcome that 163-year drought, defeating the Student Activities staff for the very first time after Wednesday’s meeting.

Senator Ben Thao briefly announced that Asian American Affairs is seeking a new director.

Senator Connor Martin promoted the upcoming Big Ideas Challenge. The challenge is seeking startup ideas from MNSU students and former MNSU students who graduated no more than two years ago.
$8,000 will be awarded to the first-place winner and $2,000 will be awarded to the people’s choice winner. The deadline for idea submission was last Friday.

The meeting was concluded as Speaker de Ruiter led his bowling compatriots to battle with a cry of “1… 2… 3… beat admins!”

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