Student Forum Report 3-22-2017

Last Wednesday’s MSSA meeting featured four presentations.

Director of Campus Recreation Todd Pfingsten presented on the outdoor recreation fee. He explained that the fee is used for upkeep of the athletic fields south of Stadium Road which are open for student use. He said that the fee—set at $2.50 per credit in 2008—is locked in for a total of twenty years.

Director of Athletics Kevin Buisman gave a lengthy presentation on the athletics fee and the state of MNSU athletics in general. The current fee is $3.71 per credit. Buisman strongly encouraged a fee increase to a level similar to that of other schools in the Minnesota State system. He explained that $3.84 would be “about normal” and that $4.11 would be average. Such an increase is so essential, he argued, because MNSU athletics faces a “triple threat.” The first threat is a drop in total credit hours among students at MNSU, which has led to a decrease in fee revenue. The second threat is the realignment of the WCHA, the intercollegiate league that Maverick hockey participates in. Once “the king of the hill,” the WCHA no longer provides MNSU with as many high-value opponents, thus driving down ticket revenue. Additionally, new long-distance opponents have driven up travel costs. Buisman estimates that this has cost Maverick athletics a total of $350,000. The third threat is that MNSU’s student athletic fee is the second-lowest in the Minnesota State system.

Michael Manderfeld of IT Services and Dr. Emily Stark presented on Quality Matters, the organization that works to provide “quality assurance through faculty development and course design.” Quality Matters’ goal at MNSU is to optimize the online learning experience for students. Vice President Maria Ruiz praised Quality Matters, saying that the improvement she has seen as a result of the program is “unbelievable.”

John Bulcock and Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Chair Cristian Perez presented on the looming MSSA budget meeting. Bulcock stressed its importance to all senators, saying that the next two weeks “will be the two most important weeks of your term as a senator.” He urged them to consider the power each of their votes has and to do their research beforehand. He stressed that SAC has already put lots of work into crafting their budget proposal.

“I encourage you to trust the work that they’ve done,” he said.

Senator Jacob Royce presented on a proposed change to homecoming festivities. He is urging MNSU to emulate the U of M in replacing homecoming king and queen with the term “homecoming royals.” He argued that “it’s those gender terms that enforce a cis-gender society.” He added that the Homecoming Committee is supportive.

Student Martin Ly spoke during open forum, asking MSSA to offer non-financial support to the IBE backpack meal program.

In his report, President Faical Rayani noted that Student Affairs is crafting a bike-friendly campus motion. He also spoke about statewide politics. He encouraged the senate to lobby in favor of receiving the originally-desired amount of state funding for MNSU. He also encouraged the senate to advocate against state legislature bills HF2197 and HF2198. According to the state legislature’s website, HF2197 would “[require a] student body vote for any increase in mandatory student fees.” HF2198 would “[make] student activities fees optional.”

Tomorrow’s meeting will be the last before next week’s budget meeting, which is expected to be a very lengthy procedure. The budget will be finalized at the meeting.

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