Student Forum Report 10-12-2016

Because diversity and inclusion play a huge role in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s core values, Dean Morris presented a Strategic and Inclusion Plan so the senate can continue advancing in ideas and their community. Morris also asked the Minnesota State Student Association for its feedback since it is largely considered a key partner and it is responsible for how the plan is implemented.

The document report provided to the MSSA members lists objectives, goals, and action steps that inquire how to make the university more inviting and inclusive for diverse faculty and staff, as well as in the community and taking on responsibilities. It was also mandated that the plans be handed over for the president, then the chancellor, to sign. Morris will participate in a leadership panel in the next week or so that will discuss and develop the one-year preliminary plan which allows for three to five plans to be written. The preliminary plan is used as a guide for future plans as they progress.

According to Morris’s report, 18 percent of the student population on the MNSU campus make up for domestic students of color as of fall semester 2016. He said as a student 36 years ago, colored students amounted to less than five percent of the population. Morris added that international students also rest around 25 percent for that student population, in addition to the color diversity.

The plan Morris passed around informed of the primary stewards of certain groups he and his colleagues believed should have a responsibility in carrying out the condensed plan. He said that student government may have some more direct roles in increasing participation, depending how much they decided they wanted to get involved.

With that, Morris asked the MSSA members if they believed that they were the stewards they thought they were or if they should be partnered with someone. He further said the MSSA should not limit themselves to the plan’s suggestions, but should examine the plan overall for any changes he and the others may not have thought of.

The reason why Morris said that the Mankato campus had received good marks was because of their intentions. Because of federal or legislative regulations or mandates, he said that some things in the plan were specified to domestic protective class so when they are told to “close the gap,” they obey.

“We are becoming much like private institutions,” Morris said. “What I mean by that is we have become driven by our tuition dollars.” He again compared to when he had attended college, the campus had received 70 percent from state allocations and the intuition’s budget was around 30 percent. “It has now flipped,” Morris said.

It has changed because of students who choose Minnesota State University and have become more consistent in staying. Morris also noted that since his time, the faculty and administration has changed in helping students stay rather than making it challenging for them. “You had to prove you wanted to stay,” Morris explained.

The university has also adopted a new model in which it is held responsible for the students it accepts.

In answer to Senator Martin’s question about what set the Mankato campus apart, Morris said that it had “a very active and energetic precedential emphasis on diversity” and “a very robust division of institutional diversity.” Both characteristics, because of how the institution is structured, allow more freedom for the campus, especially the nursing program in its strong and vibrant global emphasis. The campus also sets aside $200,000 around a plan so they can invest in a continued growth while other campuses don’t do that. Morris also suggested examining other school policies that may unintentionally prevent students from becoming successful and that would include all students.

Other news issues covered in the meeting include:

– President Faical Rayani will follow up with Jordan for a contingency plan in relation to concerns about what Star Alerts students should receive.

-The MSSA is hosting a haunted house on Oct. 26 starting at 9 p.m.

-The Dance Marathon for Feb. 12 to benefit the Children’s Hospital is still seeking morale captains.

-Enterprise Rent-a-Car Program fully activated on Friday, Oct. 14 for a two-year contract. It is $1 to sign up and $5 to check out either a brand-new Nissan or a Rogue.

-Two vacancies were filled: Edgardo Martinez for College of Science, Engineering, and Technology and Lydia Bodnar for College of Arts and Humanities.

-A letter was signed to support the Sioux people and their protest for the Standing Rock Formation. The MSSA is sending out an all-student team to let the citizens know of their decision.

-Senator Peterson reported that the clinical science building will receive the keys in November and nursing classes are still scheduled for the Spring Semester.

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